ThinkChina — Gold award for Best News Website or Mobile Service WAN-IFRA Asian Digital Media Awards 2020.

Can Mekong stingrays tell the Chinese dam story well?

China is crafting “wonderful stories” about its upstream dams in the Mekong. But the overall thrust of the narrative glosses over the more controversial aspects of dam building. The cure to the dying Mekong must begin with clinical analysis and honest exchange among riparian states. ISEAS researcher Hoang Thi Ha says China’s unilaterally imposed narratives are part of the problem, not the remedy.

Japanese academic: China's superficial 'moderate' diplomacy will not work with developed countries

China has tried to create a stable diplomatic environment ahead of the 20th Party Congress, not least with Foreign Minister Wang Yi's talks with various leaders at the sidelines of the recent UNGA in New York. While it has tried to deflect attention by highlighting divisions in the West while rebuilding bridges in light of economic considerations, it will be a tall order to convince the international community that it practises 'moderate' diplomacy.

China's slowing economy will not deter BRI outreach

Despite challenges arising from the slowing Chinese economy, China is likely to continue pushing forward on the BRI, it being a key plank of President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy. Along the way, however, it will have to make certain adjustments for a smooth transition into BRI 2.0.

Will the CCP's 20th Party Congress be the dullest in decades?

Set to begin in about a week, the 20th Party Congress is generating much interest both within and outside of China. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the talking points — or lack thereof — of the session, what we can expect, and what direction it might take.

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?