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Huaxi Village: The rise and fall of the "richest village in China"

Huaxi Village was once known as the “richest village in China”, with stories of prosperity and luxury. But a recent video of people queuing in the rain to reclaim and cash out their investments seems to point to a very different reality. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing finds out more.

Chinese villages' failed toilet revolution, clogged ponds and dangerous roads

Professor Zhang Rui takes stock of the government’s high-priority rural revitalisation project in villages, warning of cases of resource misallocation and misplaced priorities. He says while much manpower and resources have been mobilised to build new infrastructure, Chinese villages continue to be afflicted by poor sanitary facilities, lousy roads and a lack of clean water. The problem cannot be solved by simply building more of the same. 

Respect rules of market economy and human diversity: China needs to align its domestic and foreign policies

Chinese academic Yu Zhi notes that both the US and China need to align their domestic and foreign policies. The US needs to get the coronavirus pandemic under control and prove that a democratic system still works and that the US is still a leader in universal values. China, on the other hand, needs to take a more market-oriented approach to economic and industrial development and show that its respect for global diversity extends domestically as well.

Will the EU be setting global standards in a post-pandemic world? 

US-based researcher Yu Shiyu notes that the EU seems to have gained greater unity and internal coherence from the stress test of Covid-19. In contrast, the US seems to be more divided and has not found its way around the pandemic as well as its many other domestic issues. What has the EU done right to be able to be a standard setter in the post-pandemic era?

Media guru Chao Shao-kang's return to Taiwan politics: Will this unite or divide the Kuomintang?

Chao Shao-kang, chairman of the China Broadcasting Corporation and a former luminary of the Kuomintang (KMT), declared recently that he was returning to politics and would contest the party chairmanship in July and the presidential election in 2024. His high-profile return reminds Taiwan watchers of former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu — another KMT prodigal son who made good before his star fizzled out at the 2020 presidential elections. Will Chao walk in Han’s path and more importantly, can the KMT be rejuvenated with this breath of fresh air?

US colleges rethink purpose of higher education after Capitol siege

The storming of the US Capitol on 6 January prompted a spate of statements, essays, and other reflections, particularly by US college presidents. What is the purpose of education, and what is the role of colleges in imparting higher ideals such as civic awareness and a respect for minority rights? US-based academic Wu Guo analyses the situation.

[Photo story] Russo-Japanese War: A war fought on Chinese soil and its hard lessons

The Russo-Japanese War was in fact not fought in either Russia or Japan, but in China. It was the culmination of a fierce rivalry between a Eurasian power and an Asian country that showed it could hold its own against a much bigger opponent. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao takes us through a painful period in history that saw many Chinese lives taken.

Taiwanese art historian: Searching for peace and strength on the island of Taiwan

Playing in the screw pine (pandan) jungles of Taiwan was a childhood pastime for Chiang Hsun. But he had to be careful; screw pines were sharp and poky, and had a dark folklore dogging its back — the ghost of Sister Lintou clinging to all its swaying leaves. Will the skies clear one day, for the screw pine jungle and for this island too?

Innovation and ‘new retail’ driving the Chinese economy

Commentator David Ng explores the changes that are happening in China with developments in technology that allow vast changes in business models, from traditional offline transactions to online business, and “new retail”, which combines the two. How will the Chinese economy grow under these forces?

Will China have enough natural resources to sustain its growth?

It is no longer an unqualified truism that China is a vast land of abundant resources, says Chen Hongbin. While it is rich in minerals such as rare earths, it is one of the world’s largest importers of natural gas, oil and iron ore, and is paying through its nose in some cases to reach a level of sufficiency. How can China achieve greater energy security?

Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year or “China’s New Year”? The rise of (China’s) identity politics

ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata observes that in multi-ethnic Southeast Asia, the term “Lunar New Year” is more befitting than “Chinese New Year”, as the traditional celebration has always transcended ethnicity and national identity.

Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's Lunar New Year celebration paid tribute to Megawati

PDI-P, the political party in Indonesia with the most Chinese parliamentarians and heads of local government held a virtual Lunar New Year party to usher in the Year of the Ox. Party members paid tribute to Ibu Megawati Sukarnoputri, general chairperson of the party and former Indonesian president. How did this party put itself forward as the strongest guardian of Chinese interests in Indonesia? Leo Suryadinata listens in.

Why China has everything to lose from Myanmar coup

Contrary to speculation that China may have abetted or has much to gain from the situation in Myanmar, Hong Kong academic Enze Han says that it is actually the party with the most to lose. Moreover, any playing up of a great power tussle between the US and China only hurts Myanmar in the long run.

Survey: China the most influential and distrusted power in Southeast Asia

The State of Southeast Asia 2021 survey published by the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute indicates that Southeast Asians’ trust in China continues to trend downward. China’s success in containing the pandemic domestically, and its "pandemic diplomacy” in the region have had little effect on Southeast Asians' trust deficit towards Beijing, as they are anxious over China’s ability to constrain their countries’ sovereignty and foreign policy choices. ISEAS academic Hoang Thi Ha notes that this trust deficit undermines China’s “discourse power”, and Beijing would do well to consider recalibrating its approach to the region.

Hong Kong must be governed by 'patriots'. So who are the ‘patriots’?

Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Xia Baolong has said that Hong Kong should only be governed by “patriots”. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing asks: How do we tell apart the patriots and the pseudo-patriots?

Biden's plan to join hands with the EU against China doomed to failure

Economics professor Zhu Ying notes that the new Biden administration is trying to rope in the EU in its efforts to contain China. However, the evidence so far seems to suggest that such a plan is unlikely to work, given the pragmatic stance exhibited by key countries such as Germany. The China-EU investment agreement is an early warning that the EU may not be a firm ally of the US, not forgetting that China has always leveraged the economy to divide the West.

Chinese academics: How China and ASEAN can deepen digital economy partnership

With the conclusion of the 1st ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN) last month and the series of digital policies introduced, ASEAN is ready to move forward on building an integrated digital economy. Even as ASEAN aims to become an important player in the digital global value chain, there are areas where China and ASEAN can work together to achieve a win-win situation. Professor Zhai Kun of Peking University and Yuan Ruichen, member of the research group of the BRI Big Data Innovation Experimental Project, suggest cooperation in areas such as building smart cities, cybersecurity and digital governance.