Politics

A supporter gestures while holding the final edition of Apple Daily in Hong Kong, China, 24 June 2021. (Lam Yik/Reuters)

Beijing’s message behind the closure of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily

Han Yong Hong observes that the Hong Kong pro-democracy paper Apple Daily meant different things to different people. Its own history and rise to infamy was also chequered and at times conflicting. But its demise just before 1 July seems to indicate that the central government is sending a clear message that without “one country”, there can be no “two systems”.
In this file photo the US flag flies in the foreground as containers are seen at the Port of Los Angeles on 18 June 2019 in San Pedro, California. Spending by American consumers and record-high imports as the global economy reopened drove the US trade gap to a new all-time high in March, the Commerce Department reported on 4 May 2021. The trade deficit rose 5.6% to US$74.4 billion, the highest ever recorded and mostly attributable to trade with China. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

The politicisation of China-US trade ties: Showdown between capitalism and communism?

Economics professor Zhu Ying notes that China-US trade ties are currently highly politicised, not least because of bilateral military competition, and what the West sees as China’s authoritarian approach in the digital sector. The US trade war is set to see further ripples and partial decoupling of supply chains may worsen. Can this standoff be resolved?
Chinese Foreign Ministry Vice-Minister Qin Gang is expected to become the next Chinese ambassador to the US. (CNS)

New Chinese ambassador to the US: New possibilities for China-US relations?

Following the announcement that Cui Tiankai, China’s longest-serving US ambassador, will be stepping down, it has been reported that his likely replacement will be Vice-Minister Qin Gang of the Chinese foreign ministry. Qin is a seasoned diplomat who is believed to have the ear of President Xi Jinping. At the same time, Qin has criticised “baseless smears on China” by “evil wolves” and is known for his assertive approach. What lies ahead for US-China relations with Qin as the chief interlocutor?
A garment factory worker receives China's Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine at an industrial park in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 7 April 2021. (Cindy Liu/Reuters)

China's efficient delivery of vaccines to Southeast Asia

As Southeast Asian countries look for Covid-19 vaccines to protect their populations, two things matter: reliability and availability. For now, China — rather than Western sources — ticks the correct boxes.
A protester holds a flare as others make the three-finger salute during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on 22 June 2021. (STR/AFP)

Chinese researcher: Why China avoids taking a strong stand on Myanmar

Since the military coup in Myanmar in February, China has been criticised by the West for not taking a strong stand against the situation. Chinese researcher Peng Nian explains China's difficult position and its hope for ASEAN to successfully mitigate the problem. What China can do now is to assist Myanmar with the fight against the pandemic, he says.
People walk along a shopping district during the Labour Day holidays, in Beijing, China, on 3 May 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

New breed of American China experts see China with a colder eye

Chinese academics have long admired the old guard of American sinologists who had a soft spot for China. But they must now discard any left-over sentimentality for these old heroes, says Wu Guo, and welcome the new generation of China hands that they will have to deal with. The post-70s and post-80s generation of China specialists dominate US President Biden’s China policy team, and will be the ones to watch in the analysis of US-China relations.
People watch a pop up event in Times Square on 11 June 2021 in New York City. (Angela Weiss/AFP)

US-China relations: Can we pin our hopes on future generations?

While views of China remain largely negative in the West, US academic Zhu Zhiqun finds one bright spot — the young who appear more receptive to alternative views of China. Will their openness help to improve the state of US-China relations?
An aerial view of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and its two units in Guangdong, China. (Wikimedia)

Guangdong nuclear power plant incident: Making a mountain out of a molehill?

Following news that the French co-owner of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong had written to the US Department of Energy regarding an “imminent radiological threat”, and disclaimers by state-owned majority owner China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) that the assertions are false, Chinese social media has been in an uproar and accused Western media of stoking fires. While admitting that “about five” of the uranium fuel rods inside the power plant have been damaged, Chinese authorities maintained that there has been no radiation leak. Zaobao's China Desk puts together the ins and outs of the story.
In this file photo taken on 30 April 2021, a naval officer throws a flower bouquet into the sea during a remembrance ceremony for the crew of the Indonesian navy submarine KRI Nanggala that sank on 21 April during a training exercise, on the deck of the hospital ship KRI Dr. Soeharso off the coast of Bali. (Juni Kriswanto/AFP)

Why Beijing offered to help raise the sunken Indonesian submarine Nanggala

China recently offered assistance to Indonesia in salvaging the sunken Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala 2 in the Bali Sea. The submarine was lost on 21 April with its 53 crew members. ISEAS senior fellow Ian Storey examines Beijing's other intentions besides altruism.