Politics

People walk in a subway station in Shanghai on 12 October 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Can there be a China-style democracy?

In a speech last week, Xi Jinping painted the broad strokes of China’s views on democracy, including criteria for assessing democratic systems and what such systems ought to do for the people. However, with the West convinced that China lacks democracy and is not in a position to preach about it, how far can the country advance its brand of ‘whole-process people’s democracy’? Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan explores the topic.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during the Double Tenth Day celebration in Taipei, Taiwan, on 10 October 2021. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

Tsai Ing-wen's comments on cross-strait relations: Brash or brilliant?

Leaders on both sides of the Taiwan Strait made declaratory statements over the last weekend, the anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution and what the Taiwanese celebrate as Double Tenth Day or their national day. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s comments were provocative, yet managed to stay within the bounds of ambiguity. But the Taiwanese military did forecast that mainland China will be able to launch an attack on Taiwan by 2025 to 2027. Will brazen remarks stoke the flames?
Chinese national flags displayed at Wong Tai Sin Temple to mark National Day in Hong Kong, China, on 1 October 2021. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

China's reputation in major countries is at its worst. Can it save itself?

China’s accomplishments in the past four decades deserve respect and emulation from many countries across the globe, despite disparagement from the West. However, China may squander this opportunity to gain goodwill by erring on two fronts: its attitude towards liberalism, and its handling of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s legacy. Making a wrong move on either of these fronts can easily diminish its chances of becoming “one of the good guys” in international politics.
A general view shows light projections at Taiwan's Presidential Office in Taipei, on 5 October 2021, during a ceremony to celebrate Double Tenth Day on 10 October. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Chinese legal expert: ‘Legal reunification’ with Taiwan the best solution

Zong Haichao explains why “legal reunification” — peaceful reunification through legal means — is a possible alternative to military reunification or political reunification. It will serve the common interests of the CCP in mainland China and Taiwan’s ruling party DPP and opposition KMT, even if it may not be the optimal route in the eyes of each party. However, to make this option workable, the CCP needs to first achieve rule of law, democratisation and modernisation transformation. A possible scenario in the future?
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.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a meeting commemorating the 110th anniversary of Xinhai Revolution at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 9 October 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Power games in China's clampdowns on platform companies

Japanese academic Kai Kajitani says that given China's past efforts to clamp down on individuals and entities that "stick out too much", its current clampdown on internet platform companies is not surprising. Such moves are also expected as the Chinese government seeks to win popular support and stabilise society ahead of the 20th Party Congress in 2022.
University students display a flag of the Communist Party of China to mark the party's 100th anniversary during an opening ceremony of the new semester in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on 10 September 2021. (STR/AFP)

How is mainland China planning to achieve reunification with Taiwan, when a common history no longer holds the same significance?

For Beijing, the anniversary of the 1911 Xinhai Revolution on 10 October is replete with political significance, not least as a reiteration of the Chinese Communist Party’s mission and an assertion of its one-China stance. But for Taiwan's younger generation, the revolution and even the history of the Republic of China are fast losing their meaning. How will mainland China communicate its thoughts on cross-strait relations as it commemorates the Xinhai Revolution over the weekend? With such different perspectives on the history, present and future of "China", how is mainland China going to achieve its goal of reunification?
Activists stage a protest outside the Chinese Consulate, guarded by Philippine police, on the fifth anniversary of an international arbitral court ruling invalidating Beijing's historical claims over the waters of the South China Sea, in Makati City, Philippines, 12 July 2021. (Eloisa Lopez/Reuters)

While preserving good relations with China, the Philippines must exercise its maritime rights

Since taking office in 2016, Philippine President Duterte has downplayed the South China Sea Arbitration Award in the hope of gaining China’s infrastructure and financial offerings. This hope has so far remained largely unfulfilled. Despite Duterte's stance, various departments in the Philippine government have referenced the Award in defence of the Philippines' legal rights and jurisdiction in its maritime zones. Philippine academic Jay L. Batongbacal says that this and negative public opinion of Duterte’s China policy means that the Award continues to serve as a bedrock for the Philippines to exercise its rights and to delegitimise China’s claims and bullying actions in the South China Sea.
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, arrives for a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on 6 October 2021. In the last annual policy address of her current term, Lam announced plans to transform the northern part of the New Territories. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

Did Carrie Lam impress with her 2021 final policy address and 'Northern Metropolis' housing plan?

Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing examines the last policy address by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam in her current term, which announced plans to resolve the housing crunch in Hong Kong. But is it too little, too late for Lam in her efforts to win re-election?