Guangzhou robot restaurant: Robot chefs did their part during the epidemic

The use of robot chefs in restaurants has been on the rise in recent years. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi takes a closer look at how Foodom, a robot restaurant in Guangzhou is bringing us one step closer to the future. But that is not all — the robot chefs also volunteered their service in Hubei during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Lippo Group founder Mochtar Riady: Globalisation without China is unrealistic

Nonagenarian Mochtar Riady, founder of Lippo Group in Indonesia, shared his views on “New Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Covid-19 World” at a webinar yesterday. He believes that with its combined strength, ASEAN can weather any potential headwinds of deglobalisation. And contrary to what others predict, China’s place in global supply chains is firmly anchored and the country looks set to play a leading role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

China wants 'co-opetition' with the US, but can that happen?

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima says that China had until recently reined itself in while working to form new power relations in the face of friction with the US. Since the spread of the coronavirus however, it has become more brazen in criticising the US. While it has said several times that it is not out to replace the US and that it seeks to build a “shared future for mankind”, will China stay the path of seeking cooperation amid competition?

Cut-throat competition for world-class chips: The end of Huawei?

Greater restrictions have been imposed by the US in recent months to choke off US-related chip-making supplies to Huawei. As the noose tightens around its neck, it has to think fast about how it can produce its own chips domestically to minimise the impact.

Tan Kah Kee, Aw Boon Haw and the Second Sino-Japanese War [Photo story]

When Japan attacked China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia made contributions to China’s war efforts. Among the most prominent community leaders were Tan Kah Kee and Aw Boon Haw, who corralled donations and made separate visits to Chongqing. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao takes us back to that period and shows us the atrocities of war and the indomitable human spirit reflected in old photos.

Hong Kong’s Cinderella story ended in 1997

With the Chinese government about to enact a national security law for Hong Kong, the SAR is worried about its future and people are afraid. Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao, in his usual abrasive way, notes that over the more than 20 years following Deng Xiaoping's passing and Hong Kong's return, Beijing and Hong Kong have been butting heads to the point that everything now seems to be an irreconcilable, destructive mess. Hong Kong has been taken hostage, he says.

Taiwan's Tsai surprised the world with her achievements, but can her good fortune last another term?

Qi Dongtao reads into signs of change in President Tsai Ing-wen’s second term inauguration speech, sussing out that compared to four years ago, the president is placing greater emphasis on the idea of Taiwan as a national entity on its own. Such fateful steps augur potential clashes in the next four years as Taiwan runs the risk of being an unwitting pawn in US-China competition.

Why Beijing is taking the risk to push through the national security law and rein in Hong Kong

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan notes that this year’s “two sessions” in China includes a contentious national security law for Hong Kong that has been months in the making. The law is unlikely to go down well in Hong Kong, nor with Hong Kong watchers with vested interests such as the US. What gave Beijing the confidence to push through such a law at this point in time?

The world has become greener because of Covid-19, but will it last?

The world has become greener and cleaner because of a drastic drop in human activity brought about by the pandemic. Professor Koh Lian Pin opines that these effects may be only temporary but the fact remains that the world needs to direct more attention to climate change. He sees China playing a bigger role in implementing nature-based solutions for climate and sustainable development. With its experience and immense investments in scientific research and development, it could even lend a hand to countries in the Asian region.

Hong Kong will move into another period of unrest

Following last year’s protests in Hong Kong, the Beijing central government is all set to roll out new legal measures to plug the gaps in Hong Kong’s national security. The plan for the law was unveiled on 22 May during the opening session of China's annual National People's Congress. The draft proposal said the security law would "guard against, stop and punish any separatism, subversion of the national regime, terrorist group activities and such behaviours that seriously harm national security". Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong opines that worse days await Hong Kong, as neither side seems to be able to make a concession.

Can less than 500 green peacocks grind a billion-RMB hydropower project to a halt?

Construction work at a 3.7 billion RMB hydropower station was suspended by court order in China recently, because it could destroy the natural habitat of endangered green peacocks and a rare plant accorded first-grade protection by the state. Chinese academic Zhang Tiankan weighs up the arguments of nature versus economic gain. What is the cost of having an intact, healthy ecosystem? Should it all be expressed in economic terms? And how can humans fight nature's battles on the latter’s behalf? Can there be a win-win situation?  

History lessons: Who gets to decide what is humiliating, unfair, right or wrong?

Following a recent controversy over a history question in a national exam about whether Japan did more good than harm to China in the first half of the 20th century, Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao asks: "Who gets to decide how history is read?"

AIIB, ADB or World Bank: Which is the bigger lender to Southeast Asian countries?

In the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, various countries have extended support to nations in need, including those in Southeast Asia. There has been talk about possible shifts in the international balance of power. In terms of funding provisions to Southeast Asian countries at least, the pandemic does not seem to have made big dents to long-established patterns. The more established multilateral development banks — the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank — are still ahead of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, but this could change in the near future with the latter stepping up its efforts in the region.

Chiang Hsun: How great a mark of rebellion it is to hold an ink brush

Empress Wu Zetian (624-705 CE, China's only female emperor who ruled during the Tang dynasty) used 1000 copies of the Diamond Sutra and 1000 copies of the Lotus Sutra to pray for her mother when the latter passed away. In part four of his series of articles on calligraphy, Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun looks back at history and is grateful for the tool he has in hand to deliberate, act and to act deliberately. But what is it about holding an ink brush that makes it a rebellious act?

What is China's next move? It has two alternatives

Economics professor Yu Zhi points out that the ball is in China’s court as to whether it will continue being plugged in to the international economic system and whether globalisation itself will continue on its path. In the medium- to long-term, he sees that it is in China’s interest to stay the course and scenarios of decoupling between China and the West are much exaggerated. However, how China sees its strategic role in the world in the future is something its leaders and people have to give great thought to, not in the future, but right now.

Chinese academic: Tsai's true intention was to redraw boundaries in cross-strait relations

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration speech yesterday delved into various areas concerning the future direction of Taiwan, but the most important aspect was the strong tone she set regarding the handling of cross-straits relations. Chuang Hui Liang and Edwin Ong analyse the nuances of her speech and gather reactions from Taiwan and mainland China.

Foreign investors exiting China: Vietnam milks the gains

Vietnam stands to benefit from MNCs’ efforts to diversify their production base beyond China. How much it will actually benefit, however, depends on how fast it can roll out measures to further improve its infrastructure and business environment.