Politics

People wearing face masks stand in front of a painting of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong, while waiting in line to enter a flagship merchandise store for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics before it opens, on Wangfujing Street in Beijing, China, 9 February 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Are the Chinese people the true masters of their country?

Lance Gore reflects on what Chinese Communist Party cadres today understand by the phrase “Serve the People”, stating that people in positions of power could either serve the people slavishly or ride roughshod over them. The impetus to do right by the populace is simply not ensured. As the authorities seek to get the people more involved in “whole-process democracy”, they will need to consider how the regime’s affinity with the people may be maintained in the absence of electoral democracy.
Protesters carrying a large Ukrainian flag and heading to a protest against Russia's war in Ukraine, walk by a mesh depicting an artistic view of Vladimir Putin's portrait, featured in an anti-war exhibition near the Russian Embassy, in Bucharest, Romania, 30 April 2022. (Octav Ganea via Reuters)

Why some Malaysian netizens are pro-Russia and support Putin

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Malaysia’s social media has been abuzz with discussions on the conflict, with different groups expressing both condemnation and support for Russia. Academics Benjamin Y.H. Low and Munira Mustaffa examine pro-Russian sentiments and unpack them for possible explanations for why such views prevail amongst Malaysians, including factors such as religious affiliation, impressions of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and an anti-Western mindset.
A photo taken on 22 April 2022 shows China's ambassador to the Solomon Islands Li Ming (right), and Solomons Prime Pinister Manasseh Sogavare (left) attending the opening ceremony of a China-funded national stadium complex in Honiara, Solomon Islands. (Mavis Podokolo/AFP)

Solomon Islands: Will China pick up the gun to defend its interests in the developing world?

Loro Horta notes that the US, Australia and New Zealand have been overly fixated on China possibly building a military base in the Solomon Islands. If anything, the security pact signals China's greater willingness to be more interventionist in its approach to other countries. If so, this is the true shift in policy that the West should be worried about.
Visitors stand near a screen showing an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China, 11 November 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Tough competition: Becoming one of 2,300 delegates at the 20th Party Congress

As the elections for delegates to the five-yearly 20th Party Congress enters its last phase, Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan takes stock of impacts that the grim pandemic situation in Shanghai may bring, as well as the changes to delegate composition and safeguards against identity fraud that the authorities have put in place.
The Liaoning at sea. (Internet)

China’s expanding its naval power, and it’s not afraid to show it

Recent signs point to China’s third aircraft carrier being ready to launch very soon, with more advanced technology such as an electromagnetic catapult launch system. Amid growing international pressure, China cannot afford to slacken in terms of defence, and its latest moves to beef up its navy are an effort to show that it is taking defence seriously. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan breaks down what we can expect from China’s growing naval power.
Eastern European nationals living in Taiwan stage a die-in during a demonstration at Free Square in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on 17 April 2022, against the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

'Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow': Should Southeast Asia worry?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a stark reminder of the possibility that the fate of Taiwan may be eventually decided by military force. For Southeast Asian states, the clear preference is to avoid becoming embroiled in a cross-strait conflict, though it may come at the expense of their own principles and security. Eventually, Southeast Asian states should realise that they cannot treat the threat of a cross-strait war as a distant problem as they stand to face unavoidable political, economic and security risks if the worst-case scenario unfolds.
A boy stands next to a wrecked vehicle in front of an apartment building damaged during the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, 24 April 2022. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Neither will submit: Why the Russia-Ukraine war will be the cruellest since World War II

As much as the world wants an end to the Russia-Ukraine war, Chinese professor Zhu Ying notes that in the current situation, given Russian nationalism and Ukrainian grit, it is very unlikely that peace terms can be negotiated at this point. Russian President Vladimir Putin has a point to prove, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also determined not to give in.
This picture taken on 1 April 2022 shows an aerial view of a giant sign being raised by protesters depicting Russia's President Vladimir Putin as an octopus with its arms wrapping around the countries of Georgia, Syria, Ukraine and the world globe during a demonstration in the city of Binnish in Syria's northwestern rebel-held Idlib province against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Omar Haj Kadour/AFP)

How Putin became trapped by his own authoritarianism

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s misjudgement of the Ukrainian situation, its people’s resilience and his own military forces have led to a prolonged war. Economics professor Zhu Ying notes that Putin has been misguided by his beliefs, and his dictatorship over Russia has struck fear even in his top officials, leading to a circle of "yes men" that have shielded him from the realities of the war. Cracks are showing in this inner circle. How long more will Putin stay trapped in his ideology?
Locals sit on a wall situated on the foreshore of the harbour in the Fiji capital of Suva, 24 August 2014. (Lincoln Feast/File Photo/Reuters)

The South Pacific Ocean: Another battleground for China-US competition?

While the South Pacific is looking to be an emerging arena of greater competition with China on one side and the US and its allies on the other, US-based academic Hong Nong also sees that areas of common interest could still drive cooperation between them, depending on which direction the pendulum swings.