Politics

People ride shared bicycles past the CCTV headquarters in the Central Business District in Beijing, China, on 4 August 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Chinese academics: China must avoid falling into ‘Trump’s trap’

China has limited retaliatory actions against the US, according to Chinese academics. What are China’s options, and will it dance to the US's tune and fall into 'Trump's trap'?
Residents wait to watch the processions of the 'Ropain' or rice plantation festival and the 'Gai Jatra' Hindu festival at Khokana village on the outskirts of Kathmandu on 5 August 2020. (Prakash Mathema/AFP)

India losing Nepal as China-Nepal relations strengthen

Nepal, an erstwhile land-locked country wedged between India and China, was famously called “a yam between two boulders” by the founder of modern Nepal, King Prithvi Narayan Shah. It has always had limited options in terms of foreign policy, but refusing to let geography dictate its fate, it is placing a larger bet on China with the hope that it will gain more leverage and avoid being squashed.
In this photo illustration, the social media application logo, TikTok is displayed on the screen of an iPhone on an American flag background on 3 August 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. (Olivier Douliery/AFP)

Will TikTok and China continue to embrace the world despite US pressure?

That TikTok founder Zhang Yiming did not immediately beat a hasty retreat to the safety of China’s huge domestic market and is still looking for ways for his company to be truly global is a lesson for China in general. How does it want to present itself to the world from now on? Will it retreat back into its shell and allow itself to be painted as a pariah, or choose to engage its detractors and navigate troubled waters with grace?
In this file photo former Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao Zedong (L) welcomes former US President Richard Nixon at his house in the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 February 1972. (Handout/AFP)

Was Nixon’s policy of engaging China a failure?

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo made a key speech on China at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum recently. The venue could not have been more symbolic, given former President Nixon’s role in the US’s rapprochement with China in the 1970s, and the current Trump administration’s belief that a new approach to China is necessary as the US’s engagement strategy “has not brought the kind of change inside China that President Nixon hoped to induce”. Analyst and writer Zheng Weibin weighs up the costs and benefits of this new approach.
This combination of file pictures created on 11 June 2019 shows US President Donald Trump (left) as he departs the White House, in Washington, DC, on 2 June 2019, and former US Vice President Joe Biden during the kick off his presidential election campaign in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 18 May 2019. (Jim Watson and Dominick Reuter/AFP)

Will the US abandon Taiwan?

Academics Zhou Wenxing and Wang Weinan observe the hard truth that Taiwan is often used as a strategic card to be played in the US’s relationship with China. While Biden seems to be the safer pair of hands on Taiwan policy, if Trump gets re-elected, Taiwan may be entering a game of high risk but high returns. Either way, Taiwan will have to watch for which way the political vane turns, as the winds moving them are rarely in their control.
The TikTok logo is displayed in the app store in this photograph in view of a video feed of US President Donald Trump, 3 Aug 2020. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

US wants it banned while the Chinese calls it a traitor. Is this the end of TikTok?

As TikTok edges towards its deadline of 15 September to either be sold to a US buyer or banned in the US, it is ironic to think that Bytedance, its parent company, is getting bruised from all sides. Some of its harshest critics, in fact, are intensely patriotic Chinese citizens who think that it has not gone far enough in pushing back on unreasonable US demands. Can ByteDance appease the gods and the hordes before the deadline is up?
The TikTok app icon sits displayed on a smartphone in front of the national flags of China and the US in this arranged photograph in London, 3 August 2020. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

Chinese companies going global? Take heed of TikTok's crisis

With its “China DNA” and despite its popularity, TikTok may end up being blocked in the US and eventually elsewhere in the world. Will its discussions with Microsoft work out? Or will it have to pull out of the US? And beyond TikTok, what does this episode mean for Chinese companies in the process of internationalising their businesses?
A People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy soldier stands in front of a backdrop featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping during an open day of Stonecutters Island naval base, in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2019. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Why is the West ganging up to fight the Chinese ruling party?

“The new Cold War” is becoming a catchphrase for the state of relations between China and the US. But the China of today and the web of connections it shares with the US is very different from the former Soviet Union. Is calling the conflict a clash of ideologies oversimplifying the issue? Even further, is it in the US’s interest to do so to corral support for its actions against China at home and abroad? Zhu Ying examines the issue.
A protester holds a US flag outside of the Chinese consulate in Houston on 24 July 2020, after the US State Department ordered China to close the consulate. (Mark Felix/AFP)

Playing the China card — how far will Trump go?

As US-China relations continue to deteriorate, political scientist Zhu Zhiqun worries that there is a real risk of an accidental hot war breaking out if cool heads do not prevail. While China must do its part not to react disproportionately, the US is very much in the driver’s seat when it comes to de-escalating tensions. With China hawks at the helm in the Trump administration and elections just months away however, US-China relations are set for a rocky road ahead.