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

Vietnam not veering closer to the US or China

It is not in Vietnam’s national interest to be overly dependent on China or the US. Hanoi is expected to continue to press ahead with efforts to build on its ties with the two major powers as part of its multi-directional foreign policy. There are, however, limits to both approaches. Given General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong's health situation, a physical trip to the US may not be feasible, and any diplomacy might have to be carried out long distance.

The taste of freedom: How I feel emerging from lockdown in Beijing

Through the eyes of her cat Pudding, Beijinger Lorna Wei gives a snapshot of her daily life when her residential building went under lockdown last week.

China is finally easing Covid rules, but not all are happy

The Chinese central government has not mentioned the “dynamic zero-Covid” policy as of late, sparking hopes that it will further ease Covid-19 control measures. With public anger boiling over in the form of protests in several cities, more signs of easing are needed. The path to reopening will not be smooth, but Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong notes that any form of progress towards normalcy would be reassuring for the Chinese people.

Taiwanese photo collector: How I met Xi's top brain, Wang Huning, in Singapore

Photo collector Hsu Chung-mao tells us how he first met current Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Huning over 30 years ago at an international university debate competition in Singapore, when Wang was a university professor in charge of a debate team. Wang subsequently became a prominent strategist for Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, as well as current President Xi Jinping. This article gives a glimpse into Wang’s approach to debating and politics.

Japan's move towards acquisition of strike capabilities could benefit Southeast Asia

Japan is considering the deployment of non-nuclear counter-strike capabilities in the face of growing threats from North Korea and China. Japanese academic Yoichiro Sato believes that for Southeast Asian countries, this might be a win-win situation in terms of maintaining the region’s non-nuclear stance, yet retaining the option of bringing US-Japanese allied capabilities to bear in contingencies.

China lines up yet more aid for the property sector, but will it be enough?

Caixin notes that China is poised to roll out more policies to assist developers in an increasingly desperate attempt to arrest a protracted downturn of the multi-trillion-dollar property sector. However, amid the perform storm of changing demographics, Covid-19 disruptions, weakening demand and Beijing’s campaign of deleveraging, industry practitioners are bracing for a tough battle.

Taiwan’s 2024 presidential race takes shape

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party took a number of hits during the “nine-in-one” local elections and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as a result. Veteran journalist Gu Erde notes how the 2024 presidential race has started to take shape, but Taiwan’s elections in recent years show that voters’ tastes, especially those of the young voters, change quickly and drastically.

Jiang Zemin: The Chinese leader whose achievements outweighed the shortcomings

US academic Zhu Zhiqun gives an assessment of the late former President Jiang Zemin’s policies during his time leading China throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s.

Indonesia’s leadership in G20 shines amid contention between West and Russia

With all eyes on Indonesia as the G20 chair, the summit concluded successfully as Indonesian President Joko Widodo deftly balanced the demands of the G20 members amid the Russia-Ukraine war, along with a painstakingly crafted joint declaration that addresses the war. ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata gives us a look at how Indonesia managed to handle the situation while making it clear that the economic summit is not a platform to discuss security.

The Real Xi: Reflections on the 20th Party Congress

Vienna-based Li Ling observes that while it seems that Chinese President Xi Jinping has removed all obstacles to his rule, actually the outcomes of the 20th Party Congress has shown another side of him: a level-headed and even disciplined man who can act in a measured and controlled fashion. Being able to show restraint while holding on to great power will be a delicate balance that one has to strike in Xi’s “new era”.

Jiang Zemin who deepened China's reform and opening up dies at age 96

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan presents the life and achievements of Jiang Zemin, following his passing at the age of 96. While he was seen as not having enough heft on his own when he first began as CCP general secretary, he had chalked up various achievements by the end of his tenure and graceful exit.

Chinese Covid testing firms come under fire for pandemic profiteering

An incident involving errors with Covid test results at a test facility in Lanzhou has opened the doors to deeper digging by netizens, indicating a pattern of outbreaks wherever there are facilities established under the Shenzhen Nucleus Gene Technology Co. Coincidence, or something else?

DPP’s anti-China card has failed to work in Taiwan's local elections

Commentator Chen Kuohsiang notes that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s heavy losses in Taiwan’s recent “nine-in-one” local elections show that the people are no longer buying its line of resisting China and protecting Taiwan, as they feel that the DPP has gone too far and attracted trouble with its aggressive stance.

Covid protests: A repressed China needs an outlet to return to equilibrium

Chinese commentator Ma Haotian points out that when segments of the population feel the pain of China’s strict Covid controls, discontent boils over in search of an outlet. As China knows from its history, it is impossible to achieve outcomes that tick every box. It will have to learn to be flexible and accept trade-offs if the country and its people are to move forward from the yoke of zero-Covid.

Why the 20th Party Congress was not a 'decisive victory' for Xi

Japanese researcher Toshiya Tsugami observes that the exuberant tone of China's previous Party Congress reports has been carried over in this year’s 20th Party Congress. However, the external environment has changed much for China and its targets could be a stretch in this context.

Salary cuts for senior managers: Is JD.com founder Richard Liu championing ‘common prosperity’?

JD.com founder Richard Liu has been in the news lately following an announcement that the company is set to improve social benefits for rank-and-file employees, while cutting salaries for senior management. While it seems to kill many birds with one stone, is this a long term solution for private firms?

Will China's military exercises with SCO countries and Russia help it build a regional security order?

East Asian Institute academic Li Nan asserts that China’s joint military exercises with Central Asian countries and Russia are done in the context of furthering “strategic partnerships” to deal with domestic and intramural security threats but not external threats. While it is clear that China aims to build a regional security order in Central Asia, its adherence to non-interference may hinder its efforts.