By 2022, China is expected to cede the dubious distinction of being the world's most populous nation to India, according to the population division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
For a North Korean watcher, seeing 'The Interview' is like seeing an earnest endeavor reflected back through a freak-show mirror.
In 1949, Mao Tse-tung's Communists established the People's Republic of China, and the following year, his People's Liberation Army invaded central Tibet.
In 1995, the Chinese government picked a 6-year-old child to succeed the Panchen Lama, the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism.
North Korea faded to black in the early 1990s. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had propped up its old Communist ally with cheap fuel oil, North Korea's creakily inefficient economy collapsed. Power stations rusted into ruin.
If you look at satellite photographs of the Far East by night, you'll see a large splotch curiously lacking in light. This area of darkness is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Kim Jong Un came in as a fresh face, so I think there's a great disappointment that he's playing the same game as his father.
In 1991, few North Koreans had ever used a telephone. You had to go to a post office to make a phone call.
People have crossed the Himalayas in flip-flops seeking a blessing from the Dalai Lama.
Good reporting should have the same standard as in a courtroom – beyond a reasonable doubt.
In 1984, George Orwell wrote of a world where the only colour to be found was in the propaganda posters. Such is the case in North Korea. Images of Kim Il-sung are depicted in vivid colours. Rays of yellow and orange emanate from his face: he is the sun.
One of the ways the North Korea regime has kept power is by keeping its people ignorant of the living standards in the outside world. That's the underlying lie that supports the regime – not that their country is 'normal' but that they are better off.
We see North Koreans as automatons, goose-steeping at parades, doing mass gymnastics with fixed smiles on their faces – but beneath all that, real life goes on with the same complexity of human emotion as anywhere else.
I agree with Kathi Zellweger that sanctions mostly punish the ordinary people who live at the edge of starvation.
As a reader, I've always been interested in dystopian novels like 'Nineteen Eighty-four'.
China's one-child policy was born in 1980, after years of less severe measures to discourage births. The Communist Party promised that the policy would be temporary.
The North Korean landscape is strikingly beautiful in places. It could be said to resemble America's Pacific Northwest – but substantially drained of color.
The scene that has raised the most objections in 'The Interview' is at the very end, when Kim's head dissolves into flames. To me, it feels gratuitous.
A South Korean teenager, 18-year-old male, is about five inches taller than his North Korean counterpart. And there are many soldiers who are only about 4'6". The height requirement is supposed to be 4'9". That's the size of my 12-year-old son.
Since 2009, 140 Tibetans have immolated themselves to protest Chinese policies that limit their freedom of movement, speech and religion, especially their right to venerate the Dalai Lama.
Over the years, so many exceptions and amendments were made to China's one-child policy that it was hard to pinpoint a moment to pronounce it dead.
Walking down the street with a portrait of the Dalai Lama will get one immediately arrested in most parts of China. Tiny medallions are routinely confiscated and destroyed.
When North Koreans cross the border into China, they are stunned to learn that the Chinese can afford to eat rice daily, sometimes for three meals daily.
The East Turkestan Islamic Movement, named for an old Uighur name for Xinjiang, is a shadowy group that operates largely out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and is devoted to expelling the Chinese Communist Party from northwestern China.
Gonpo Tso was born a princess. As a young woman, she dressed in fur-trimmed robes with fat ropes of coral beads strung around her neck. She lived in an adobe castle on the edge of the Tibetan plateau with a reception room large enough to accommodate the thousand Buddhist monks who once paid tribute to her father.
North Korea, under its thirtysomething Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, is no country for old men. The latest casualty in Kim's ongoing purge of the senior military command was the defense minister, Hyon Yong-chol, who reportedly committed the classic old man's offense of falling asleep in a meeting.
By the mid-1990s, nearly everything in North Korea was worn out, broken, malfunctioning. The country had seen better days.
North Korea's whole idea is to create a crisis to solve a crisis. They're so poor and they're so desperate that they realize that this bombastic rhetoric can drive the South Korean stock market down and get the U.S. in a tizzy. And it's a game they've been playing for many, many years.
Televisions and radios are locked on government frequencies – it is a serious crime to listen to a foreign broadcast. As a result, North Koreans think that they live in the best country in the world and that, as difficult as their lives may be, everybody else has it much worse.
Kim Jong-un's style is more suggestive of Saddam Hussein or his murderous son, Uday Hussein.
North Korea is not an undeveloped country; it is a country that has fallen out of the developed world.
In 2012, a five-year-old girl in Shandong province described to me how ten officials had chased her six-months-pregnant mother through the fields to prevent the birth of the family's second child, a boy. She died during the procedure.
The anti-Japanese resistance was as familiar a theme in North Korean cinema as cowboys and Indians was in early Hollywood.
It's frightening to think about more sanctions. When I've met North Koreans in China, they've said to me, 'You have no idea how difficult our lives are. We live like dogs.' They wake up in the morning wondering what they're going to eat for dinner.
In the 1990s, the United States offered to help North Korea with its energy needs if it gave up its nuclear weapons programme.
North Korea is probably the only country in the world deliberately kept out of the Internet.
The Uighurs are a Turkic people more closely related to Uzbeks and Kazakhs than to Chinese.