Pu Zhiqiang (centre), whose clients have included  artist Ai Weiwei, has already been detained for 19 months. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Pu Zhiqiang, one of China’s best-known human rights lawyers, goes on trial today on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred” and “picking quarrels and prov(...)

The US ambassador to China Max Baucus: “We remain concerned over the crackdown on human rights lawyers and others who seek peacefully to contribute their views to the public discourse on the future of China.” Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In a week that has seen focus on China’s human rights record, the US ambassador to Beijing has urged the government to end its crackdown on rights la(...)

A protester holding a sign that reads ‘Americans get off South China Sea’, is confronted by police outside the US Embassy in Beijing. Photograph: Rolex Dela Pena/EPA

China has accused Washington of having a “cold war mentality” after it sent a warship into a disputed part of the South China Sea where Beijing has b(...)

A file photo of the USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer. The US navy sailed the vessel within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea as part of a series of ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises. Photograph: John Hageman/US navy via The New York Times

The prospect of escalation in the stand-off between Beijing and Washington over the South China Sea was increased after Beijing said it was prepared t(...)

Too close for comfort: Kay Hagan’s opponents have used her kiss from Barack Obama last week against her. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty
Obama: kiss of death?

High on a shelf above a counter in the Raleigh Times Bar is an empty pint glass, sitting encased in front of a US presidential seal. This is the glass(...)

US ambassador to China Max Baucus: summoned after the US accused five Chinese military officers of hacking into American nuclear, metal and solar companies to steal trade secrets. Photograph: Rolex Dela Pena/EPA

The Chinese government has denounced American charges against five of its army officers accused of economic cyber-espionage, accusing the United St(...)

Former US ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Mr Rooney stood down in late 2012. Photograph: Eric Luke

The United States has been without an ambassador in Ireland for 15 months now, the longest period the country has not had a top diplomat in Dub(...)

Senate minority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves the Senate floor in Washington. Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate were close late last night to an agreement that would increase the nation’s borrowing authority and provide enough money to operate the government until the end of the year. Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

US Senate leaders are poised to reach an agreement as early as today to bring a halt to the fiscal standoff, and now must race the clock to sell the p(...)

Jim Messina is a specialist in social media which played a  not-insignificant role in Obama’s campaign. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Conservative Party in Britain has scored a major coup by hiring the man who led US president Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 to play a(...)