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Why is Biden making it increasingly clear that US forces will defend Taiwan?

The US’s “strategic ambiguity” on the Taiwan Strait issue comes to question as China-US relations deteriorate. Political commentator Jin Jian Guo notes that the US has said on multiple occasions that it is ready to militarily defend Taiwan, while China has spoken against any intervention from the West. Will the US change its “one China” policy and move towards strategic clarity?

Chinese netizens debate: Should China abandon the market economy for a ‘people-oriented’ economy?

Chinese agricultural economist Wen Tiejun has landed in hot water after proposing the concept of a “people-oriented” economy. Critics believe that this is moving away from China’s reform and opening up, while others see the benefits towards common prosperity. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan tells us more about the maelstrom of controversy ahead of the 20th Party Congress.

China: Needed but not well-loved in Cambodia

Cambodian commentator Sokvy Rim explains why recent Chinese immigrants in Cambodia are viewed with suspicion and even some dislike despite major Chinese investment flows in Cambodia and related economic benefits.

A Chinese virologist's changing fortunes for speaking up against zero-Covid

China's renowned virologist Guan Yi has reappeared in public as the newly appointed chief of the Shanghai Virus Research Institute, after being denounced for his alarmist views of the pandemic at the start of its outbreak and speaking against the zero-Covid measures. But now, will his return mark an end to the harsh restrictions that have left the Chinese economy in a dire state?

Xi Jinping’s position as ‘the people’s leader’ firm ahead of 20th Party Congress

Chinese President Xi Jinping was not seen in public for over a week after attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Uzbekistan, sparking rumours of a “coup” ahead of the 20th Party Congress. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong looks into the phenomenon, noting that in fact the 20th Party Congress has seen relatively few rumours surrounding it.

Cultural historian: Impressions of Moscow [Part 1]

In the first of four articles, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares his impressions of the Moscow he knew from a decade ago. He notes that in bleak and cold surroundings, facing an autocratic regime, a nation’s people found a way to survive. And whether it was against Napoleon or Hitler, the heavens always stood on the side of lumbering Russia as it waited out its opponents.

[Photo story] A Taiwanese collector's treasured photos of old Southeast Asia and Singapore

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao showcases photographs of Singapore at the cusp of great change, from a more rural environment with many kelongs and farms to a bustling trade, finance and tourism hub. Through it all, the Singapore River has witnessed many of these changes, as seen in this collection.

Has China’s monetary policy reached its limit?

China's central bank is scrambling to increase demand for borrowing by using nearly every instrument in its toolbox. But the impact has so far been limited, as Chinese companies and households are trapped in a crisis of confidence in the economy amid slowing growth and the impact of strict anti-Covid measures. What more can China do to save the economy?

A new breed of technocratic elites in the Xi era: Countdown to the 20th Party Congress

Li Cheng, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, observes that a new breed of technocratic elites — the “technocrats 2.0” — have rapidly risen to the national leadership in China. What are the major differences between technocrats in the Jiang-Hu eras and the Xi era?

Street vendors making a comeback in Shanghai to boost ailing economy?

While still reeling from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Shanghai has loosened its regulations on the street stall economy. Some believe that the move will breathe life back into the stalled city, while others think it is a stopgap that will do little to help its domestic economy bounce back. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing tells us more.

Can China be both economic and security guarantor in Central Asia?

Central Asia is a linchpin between Eurasia and Southeast Asia and a strategic node in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping notably visited Central Asia in his first foreign visit in over two years. But while China’s economic engagement is welcome in the region, it is currently not a confident security provider. Could things change in the near future?

Taiwan's language programme imparting 'Taiwanese national identity' to US students

Amid the repeated lockdowns due to Covid-19 outbreaks in mainland China, Taiwan has opened its doors to American students learning the Chinese language. However, US academic Wu Guo noticed that the language curriculum for foreign students in Taiwan includes electives on learning about Taiwan's “national identity”. Could this be Taiwan’s way of furthering its political agenda?

Will the CCP remove the unofficial age limit for its top leadership?

There is an unwritten rule in the Chinese Communist Party leadership for Politburo members to stay on at 67 years old and retire at 68. But the average age of the representatives at the upcoming 20th Party Congress is higher than the previous session five years ago, with more members aged 55 and above. Is this a signal that age does not matter and other criteria would take priority? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu tells us more.

Upward trend of new Chinese migrants in Malaysia likely to continue

The current population size of new Chinese migrants in Malaysia is estimated to be 82,000. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down the influx of these migrants, it is expected that the pause is temporary and the inflow will continue to increase in the long term. However, while latent anxiety about these migrants has emerged among Malaysians, it has not yet become an explosive issue in Malaysian politics.

[Party and the man] Factions and fence-sitters in Xi Jinping's China

While Chinese politicians can be classified into different factional groups such as the princelings, the Shanghai gang, the Youth League group, and the Tsinghua clique, these are not necessarily functional factions in real politics. What is more pertinent is politicians’ relations with the paramount leader, Xi Jinping, who has in the last ten years tried to eliminate the various factions and lump them into one loosely connected “anti-Xi faction”. This is the second in a series of four articles on President Xi Jinping and the road ahead.

[Party and the man] Xi Jinping faces biggest challenges in decades

While Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to secure a third term at the 20th Party Congress, Loro Horta recalls the saying that one should “be careful what you wish for”. The road ahead in his third term looks to be fraught with challenges, both domestically and externally. This is the first in a series of four articles on President Xi Jinping and the road ahead.