Loro Horta

Diplomat, Timor Leste

Loro Horta is a diplomat from Timor Leste. He is a graduate of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, the Chinese National Defense University, the US Naval Post Graduate School and the American National Defense University.

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a ceremony at the Monument to the People's Heroes at Tiananmen Square to mark Martyrs' Day, in Beijing, China, 30 September 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Is Xi Jinping really going back to Maoism?

Some analyses have sounded the alarm of China lurching to the left in a marked return to Maoism. On closer examination, says Loro Horta, China’s recent clampdowns on capital are rational and not exactly ideologically driven. Issues facing China, such as the need to tackle rising inequality, affect the ruling party’s legitimacy and longevity. These concerns may have a strong push effect on the authorities. In fact, rather than a reversion to Maoism, the Xi government seems to be embracing Confucianism as a basis to enforce social order and norms, just as it derides “evil fan culture” as a means to keep a tight rein on social control.
An armed homemade Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) takes off from a motorway in Pingtung, Taiwan, during the annual Han Kuang drill on 15 September 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Domestic politics and mainland China's growing incursions into Taiwan's air defence zone

Mainland China’s recent aggressive flexing of muscles in Taiwan’s air defence identification zone tests the latter’s air defence capabilities and inflicts psychological warfare on the Taiwanese. Nonetheless, says Loro Horta, Beijing knows very well what it is doing. While the number of incursions has increased in frequency and number of aircraft involved, the PLA has not violated actual Taiwanese sovereign airspace. In the lead-up to key political events in the Chinese Communist Party’s calendar, such incursions may continue.
A tuktuk is parked at Camoes square in Lisbon on 14 July 2021. (Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP)

Washington threatening Portugal to choose between China and the US?

Portugal has in the past decade developed very lucrative relations with China. Chinese investment significantly assisted its recovery from the 2008 global economic crisis. However, Lisbon’s increasingly close ties with Beijing have raised serious concerns in Washington.