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Tom Clifford


Tom Clifford is an Irish journalist, currently based in Beijing.

During his three-decade career, he has covered the fall of Marcos, the invasion and liberation of Kuwait, South Africa before Mandela became president, the Hong Kong handover, spent time, as a non-embedded journalist, in Iraq and freelanced in South America.

He has worked in newspapers in Britain, the Middle East, South Africa, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Tokyo, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Prague and Beijing. Articles by Tom have appeared in the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Gulf News, The National, The Scotsman, Japan Times, the South China Morning Post, The Prague Post, and many other publications across the globe.

Mr. Cliffod has traveled extensively throughout China and witnessed the rapid changes taking place not just in the coastal cities, but deep inland as the country emerges, with all the problems and opportunities this entails, into a global economic power. He also spent several years in Japan.

Articles by Tom Clifford

Two Sessions – One Outcome?

For the first time since Mao passed away in 1976, China does not expect tomorrow to be better than today.

May 20, 2020

China, the Commerce-First Middle Eastern Power

The standoff between the United States and Iran helps China to build out its energy and trade routes throughout the Middle East.

January 10, 2020

China: The Year of the Pig (Flu)

Pigs’ centrality to life in China is reflected in the Mandarin character for home which depicts a pig under a roof.

August 4, 2019

Game, Set and Match, China?

Trump's playing into Beijing's hands on Huawei and North Korean nukes underscores China's global power status

July 2, 2019

Hong Kong Protests: The View from Beijing

Pollution and a faltering economy are what keep China's leaders awake at night.

June 19, 2019

Rare Earths: China’s Strongest Card

The U.S. imports 80% of its rare earths from China, but accounts for just 4% of China’s rare earths exports. This gives China a significant advantage.

June 3, 2019

US Vs. Iran: The Gulf of Tonkin Precedent

Are the warmongers in the U.S. faking attacks from supposed Iranian sources? The lessons of the Vietnam War provide a clear warning.

May 17, 2019

US-China Trade: It’s Politics, Stupid!

A better safety net for Americans is the issue that should be addressed with at least as much vigor as tariffs on Chinese goods.

May 10, 2019

Japan Enters a New Imperial Era

Japan enters an era of “beautiful harmony” as a new emperor ascends to the throne. But beneath the surface is a rising militarism.

April 27, 2019

The Hanoi Summit, from Beijing’s Perspective

The failure to reach an agreement between Trump and Kim is not considered a failure by China’s leaders.

March 1, 2019

Britain’s Gunboat Diplomacy in the South China Sea

Sending its new aircraft carrier to the South China Sea is another desperate attempt by the former power to punch above its weight class.

February 14, 2019

China’s “Interesting Times”

As China rings in the New Year, a brief look at some of the problems the country is facing.

February 5, 2019

China’s Interesting Future, in 2019

If China has a problem, so does the global economy.

January 2, 2019

How the UK Always Plays Ireland

The Brexit episode is but the latest historical episode proving that the UK’s political rhetoric is just self-serving when it comes to Irish matters.

December 8, 2017

Japan’s Looming Imperial Abdication

Japan’s succession will provide the country with symbols of its past, though some will try to hijack them as markers for the future.

December 2, 2017

China’s Biggest Political Summit

For all of China's active global summitry, the most complex diplomatic exercise is entirely domestic – the CCP's Party Congress, held every five years.

October 5, 2017

Troubles in Washington, Troubles in Beijing

The U.S. and China may seem completely out of step – but face many of the same challenges.

September 2, 2017

China and WWII’s “Sarajevo” Moment

Is a bridge in Beijing where the first shots of WWII were fired – back in July 1937?

July 7, 2017

The Handover of Hong Kong Revisited

July 1, 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of Britain handing Hong Kong to China.

July 1, 2017

Japan Loves Hitler

In its shameless pursuit of Japanese suprematism, the Abe government declares Hitler's racist diatribe as apt literature for schoolchildren.

April 23, 2017

A Trump Doctrine?

From Syria to North Korea, the Trump administration struggles to cope with the world, with China caught in the middle.

April 12, 2017

China Vs. the Koreas: Food’n’Nukes

Unpacking the THAAD-Lotte-North Korea-China controversy.

March 9, 2017