Politics

An officer checks a container with COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd., as they arrive at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in the first shipment to Indonesia, in Tangerang, near Jakarta, 6 December 2020. (Dhemas Reviyanto/Antara Foto via Reuters)

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.
Members of the Hong Kong Police Honour Guard raise flags during a flag-raising ceremony marking China's National Day at Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong, China, 1 October 2020. (Lam Yik/File Photo/Reuters)

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?
U.S. President Joe Biden arrives for an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on 22 February 2021. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Bloomberg)

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.
People wearing face masks walk near Qianmen Street, in Beijing, China, 10 February 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can the CCP forge an inclusive social contract and build a healthy civil society?  

Rather than perpetuate the “giant baby syndrome” of mollycoddled citizens, says Lance Gore, the Chinese government should go against its combative instincts and focus on harmony. Only then can it forge an inclusive social contract with the populace, where there’s room for active citizenry and a healthy civil society.
This file photo taken on 4 June 2019 shows the Chinese flag behind razor wire at a housing compound in Yangisar, south of Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region. - The US will seize all imports of tomato and cotton products from China's Xinjiang region due to the use of forced labor, the Customs and Border protection agency announced on 13 January 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Is there a genocide in Xinjiang?

The West has often criticised China for what it calls human rights abuses and violations in regions such as Xinjiang, even going so far as to call for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be shifted away from Beijing. And as his parting salvo, former US Secretary of State Mike stated that China has committed “genocide and crimes of humanity in Xinjiang". What are the implications of the word “genocide” and why is it being tiptoed around? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong says that while China needs to be more transparent about what's happening in Xinjiang, the Chinese government's single-minded push to "educate" the Uighurs may not be equivalent to a "genocide".
This handout photo taken on 13 January 2021 by Indonesia's Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs shows Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) meeting with Indonesian Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investments Minister Luhut Pandjaitan in Parapat, on the edge of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, to discuss cooperation on investments. (Handout/Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs/AFP)

Wang Yi’s Southeast Asia tour: How China woos Southeast Asia in view of US-China competition

In January 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited several ASEAN countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, in an effort to push for collaboration in key projects under the BRI, and providing access to Chinese vaccines. However, Beijing’s passage of a new coastguard law has undermined Wang Yi’s outreach efforts. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook explains what is behind China's efforts and looks into its implications.
People walk in a historic street decorated for Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing, China, 8 February 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

US-China relations lost these 'five traditions' over the past 40 years

Trust once lost is hard to regain, says Wei Da, in the context of US-China relations. Even with a new administration in place, the climate of suspicion, mistrust and even animosity will persist. China must adapt and react to new circumstances if it wants to maintain even this uneasy peace.
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks to Defense Department personnel during a visit to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, US, 10 February 2021. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Why Biden will continue the trade war with China to the ‘end’

The China-US trade war looks set to continue under the new Biden administration, says economics professor Zhu Ying. Whether in terms of preventing technology transfer that could have military applications or seeking to enforce "structural changes” in China’s economy for fairer competition, the US will seek leverage through the trade war. Are we heading for a stalemate if the US wants to see a China that is playing by global rules, but the Chinese insist on pursuing an economic model with Chinese characteristics?
In this file photo taken on 8 November 2020, supporters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party wave flags, with the car bearing an image of Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in front of the party's office in Mandalay. (Ye Naing Ye/AFP)

Myanmar: Why the US lost to China a long time ago

​In Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao’s analysis, China’s strategic priority after the South China Sea is the Indian Ocean, and it is getting its ducks in a row by winning over key nodes such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The Myanmar coup has made it distinctly clear that while the West has been obsessed with Aung San Suu Kyi as a beacon of democracy, the Chinese have been steadily advancing in influence over Myanmar. More than any calls the US and their allies can make, it is China’s move, or not, which can have a significant impact.