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Newborns at a maternity in Lanzhou, northwestern China, on Feb. 17
Newborns at a maternity in Lanzhou, northwestern China, on Feb. 17
Wang Xueqiao and Wang Xiaohui

BEIJING — "Our little monkeyhasdecided to join the fun," said Lucy, a 33-year-old woman expecting her first child this October. She's one of many happy Chinese women due to give birth in the year of the monkey, an animal that is associated with cleverness in the Chinese zodiac calendar.

A Founder Securities report released in July showed that China's major cities are seeing a baby boom this year. The lifting of the one-child policy and the popularity of the monkey zodiac led to this boom. The surge in births has far surpassed the numbers estimated by obstetrics and gynecology hospitals as well as by the country's family planning agencies. An additional 3 million Chinese babies are expected to make their appearance in the coming year.

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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