Politics

This picture taken during a government organised media tour shows a seller holding a portrait of the Chinese President Xi Jinping next to pictures of the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at Dongfanghong Theatre in Yan'an, the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party from 1936 to 1947, in Shaanxi province on 10 May 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

From ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’ to ‘lovable China’

At a study session on international communications for the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on China to build an image of a “credible, lovable and respectable China”. Putting aside the euphemism, says Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong, what is most important is how the goal can possibly be achieved in China’s current diplomatic context.
Boxes of Sinovac's Covid-19 coronavirus CoronaVac vaccine are pictured during a vaccination drive at Bang Sue Central Station in Bangkok on 24 May 2021. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP)

Sinovac or not: Thai vaccine politics

The country’s political polarisation is hindering the government’s Covid-19 vaccination programme. While China has been a keen provider of the Sinovac vaccine, currently the most widely deployed in Thailand, distrust of the Prayut government and party politics have fuelled vaccine hesitancy and the fear that this is yet another way for China to assert its influence on the country.
This photo taken on 23 May 2021 shows a sanitation worker receiving the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) Covid-19 vaccine in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China. (STR/AFP)

How Chinese vaccines are paving the way for China’s Health Silk Road

With the aggressive vaccine diplomacy that China has embarked on involving countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, Chile and Pakistan, the “Health Silk Road” that China has long envisioned seems to be falling into place. While vaccine aid should not be political, says Yu Hong, China’s efforts will benefit developing countries. But can China continue to be a global provider while balancing its domestic needs?
A pit stop on a government organised media tour — a monument of the hammer and sickle in Nanniwan, some 60 km from Yan'an, the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party from 1936 to 1947, in Shaanxi province, China on 11 May 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP) (Hector Retamal/AFP)

When will the CCP stop being an ‘underground party’ in Hong Kong?

For decades, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Hong Kong has been seen as somewhat of an underground organisation which operates in the shadows. This could soon be changing. Since the anti-extradition law protests in 2019, Beijing has emphasised that Hong Kong has to be run by “patriots”, and there are growing voices in support of the CCP coming out or operating in the open. How will this change the political ecosystem in Hong Kong?
A man crossing the road at Ximending shopping area in Taipei's Wanhua district, Taiwan on 28 May 2021. (Ben Blanchard/Reuters)

Hong Kong-Taiwan relations take a nosedive as cross-strait relations worsen

Hong Kong-Taiwan relations have waxed and waned with the state of cross-strait relations. Following increased tensions after the DPP government came to power and the perceived convergence of “Hong Kong independence” and “Taiwan independence” forces, calling a temporary halt to organisations like the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office (HKETCO) in Taiwan could be the writing on the wall of cross-strait and Hong Kong-Taiwan relations.
US President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga walk through the Colonnade to take part in a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on 16 April 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

US academic: Is Japan a true and loyal US ally?

US academic Han Dongping says that while many assume Japan to be a loyal friend of the US, their complicated history suggests otherwise. Having used the atomic bomb on Japan, the US has continued to leverage the outcome of WWII to keep Japan as a pawn in its international strategy. Americans may argue that they are protecting Japan, but ask the Japanese in private, and some of their answers may surprise you. He asks: will Japan still be a willing US flunky if the global situation changes?
Customers drink on reopened cafe terraces on Saint Germain in Paris, France, on 19 May 2021. (Nathan Laine/Bloomberg)

Is the China-EU investment deal doomed?

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) was effectively frozen by the European Parliament last week, in consideration of China’s human rights issues in Xinjiang and its sanctions on individuals and organisations from the EU. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong asks: will this be the end of the deal, or is there still hope of a revival?
Philippine Coast Guard personnel are seen onboard rubber boats as they sail near Chinese vessels believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel at Whitsun Reef, South China Sea, in a handout photo distributed by the Philippine Coast guard 15 April 2021. (Philippine Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters)

Philippine-US cooperation on Whitsun Reef: A 'win' for the Biden team in Southeast Asia?

Southeast Asian views of the US declined during the Trump administration, and persisted into the Biden administration early on in the year. But Washington’s sustained support for Manila amid the latter’s recent confrontation with China in the South China Sea has helped to offset negative perceptions of Uncle Sam in the region.
Pedestrians walk across a road in front of commuter trams in Hong Kong on 11 May 2021. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

China's peaceful rise has to start in Hong Kong 

The current upheaval in Hong Kong must be seen for what it is — a clash of two systems, two sets of values and two ways of life. It is a microcosm of the clash China faces with the world, especially the West. How the CCP deals with policies there will determine if it can shake off its “evil” label in international discourse and win approval from the world.