Way past tit-for-tat

The Reading List
Bloomberg

Earlier this week, the U.S. forced China's consulate in Houston to shutter. Then on Friday, China demanded that the U.S. close its consulate in Chengdu. But "tit for tat" doesn't seem to accurately describe the deteriorating relationship between the two nations anymore.

As a whole, the shift is much greater. And it's not just America — China is on a collision course with much of the rest of the world, too. Among our best reads of the week is a field guide to the significance of each major flashpoint and its consequences.

China isn't all we're talking about, though. There's also a deep dive on Ben & Jerry's (bring your own spoon) and scandal at one of the world's largest video-game publishers. And if you're doing any socially-distanced socializing this weekend, remember this rule of thumb: Be awkward, not rude. —Megan Hess

 

No Amateurs Here

Two former classmates from China are among the most prolific hackers ever, the U.S. says. The pair stole trade secrets worth hundreds of millions of dollars over the past 10 years for their own personal profit — but received protection from Chinese authorities, according to an indictment unsealed this week.

 

A Nice Ride, Until It Wasn't

Africa is starting to have second thoughts about all the Chinese money that's flowed in to fund huge infrastructure projects over the years. The debt has become crippling for many countries. And wherever there is economic imbalance, there's also a power gap. 

 

Ice Cream Sprinkled With Criminal Justice Reform 

As the Black Lives Matter movement swelled in the U.S. after the death of George Floyd, many U.S. companies suddenly started waxing poetic with their support. Ben & Jerry's, which has always taken social activism seriously, showed the others how it's really done

 

Scandal in the Game Room

Ubisoft, one of the world's largest game publishers, is the family-run maker of blockbuster series like Assassin's Creed and Far Cry. Over the past few weeks, more than a dozen people have come forward with public allegations of widespread sexual misconduct, raising uncomfortable questions about who knew what and for how long. 

 

If Luxury Cars Weren't Luxe Enough Already

Some high-end automakers are producing tiny runs of cars that are all about exclusivity, echoing the "drop" model for specialty sneakers used by brands like Nike and Supreme. When we say high-end, we mean high-end: Only 50 Kryptos editions of the Rolls-Royce Wraith will be made, at $450,000 a pop.

 

You'll Want to Bookmark This

TikTok, spying, Hong Kong's national security law: The list of tensions between the U.S. and China seems never-ending. We made things easier for you by rounding up all the big disputes between the world's two biggest economies and rating each one's impact and consequences. 

 

Speaking of TikTok…

Even if you're unfamiliar with Zhang Yiming's name, there's a decent chance you've spent hours mindlessly scrolling through his app. The 37-year-old Chinese entrepreneur who built TikTok into the platform you know and love (or hate, or love to hate) still controls the company, and now he's racing to save it from Trump's threats.


Surrounded by Lakes, Mountains and Extreme Pollution

The world's worst air isn't in Beijing or New Delhi, but a tiny town in Chile. And it's not due to 24/7 factory activity, but poverty. In certain ways, forcing people to stay indoors during the pandemic may have made Temuco's problems even worse.

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