Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group pull out of the headquarters of the Southern Military District to return to base, in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on 24 June 2023. (Stringer/Reuters)

Wagner’s failed mutiny and China-Russia relations: Not weakness but strength

While some analysts say that the Wagner mutiny has revealed a weak Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes may see President Putin’s actions and outcomes achieved as an affirmation of strength. Academic Alexander Korolev explains.
China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the Lanting Forum, held under the theme of "Chinese Modernization and the World", at the Grand Halls, in Shanghai, China, on 21 April 2023. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Rumours fly amid Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s absence

Last seen publicly on 25 June, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang has fuelled plenty of chatter due to his weeks-long absence from diplomatic activities. From health reasons to alien abduction, the rumour mill is in overdrive. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu looks into the possible explanations and their implications.
Taiwan Vice-President William Lai makes a speech at the ruling Democratic Progressive Party annual congress in Taipei, Taiwan, on 16 July 2023. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwan Vice-President William Lai’s upcoming transit in the US draws ire

Taiwan Vice-President and Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate William Lai is expected to transit in the US enroute to Paraguay to attend President-elect Santiago Peña’s inauguration in August. US officials are adopting a “low-key” handling of the transit amid Chinese foreign ministry protests. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Chuang Hui Liang has the details.
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a minute of silence for pilots killed in clashes with the mutineers during a revolt by Wagner mercenaries as he addresses troops from the defence ministry, National Guard, FSB security service and interior ministry gathered on the Cathedral Square at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on 27 June 2023. (Sergei Guneyev/Sputnik/AFP)

Putin’s dilemma: ‘Two-faced people’ in the authoritarian regime

Wei Da points out that the Wagner rebellion could only have happened because of the “two-faced people” in Putin's inner circle. Such people often emerge from the woodwork at critical moments, taking risks and rebelling. China and other countries may sit up and take notice: whether or not these rebellions work, they are usually fatal blows to authoritarian regimes.
Supporters of Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) attend an election campaign for the upcoming national election in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 1 July 2023. (Cindy Liu/Reuters)

What is China's role in Cambodia’s upcoming election?

The US’s previous approach of pressuring Cambodia on improving its processes for democratic elections only pushed Cambodia closer to China, says Cambodian researcher Sokvy Rim. Now, with the ruling party dominating politics, the US and the West’s impact looks set to be further diminished. Will China’s influence further increase?
A woman sails her boat to sell goods at a port in Danang on 24 June 2023. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

How the nine-dash line undermines China’s economic interests in Vietnam

China’s controversial nine-dash line claim to the South China Sea is creating problems for its businesses operating in Vietnam.
This picture taken on 14 April 2023 shows people walking down a street at the Ximen district in Taipei. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

What does 'Taiwan independence' mean?

Japanese academic Yoshiyuki Ogasawara notes that while there has been much talk of "Taiwan independence", it seems that there is actually little understanding of what the term really means, and what making any changes to Taiwan’s status would entail.
A taxi drives under Chinese and Hong Kong flags outside a shopping mall in Hong Kong, China, on 5 July 2023. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Hong Kong’s pursuit of overseas activists could backfire

Lianhe Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing looks at the recent issuance of Interpol “red notices” by the Hong Kong government on eight pro-democracy activists living overseas, and what the move signals.
Rickshaw pullers make their way along a street during a rainfall in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 9 June 2023. (Munir Uz Zaman/AFP)

Bangladesh’s Indo-Pacific Outlook: Another anti-China vision?

Researcher Rishi Gupta analyses Bangladesh’s recently released Indo-Pacific Outlook, noting that while it does not state where Bangladesh stands vis-à-vis China and the West, some of the stated goals coincide with the Quad’s interests in upholding a rules-based system, thwarting Chinese aggressiveness, advancing connectivity projects and tackling Indo-Pacific security issues.