Society

A general view of Laos, January 2020. (SPH)

Is Laos mining itself into a crisis?

Despite low global commodity prices, the mining sector in Lao PDR still constitutes a key source of state revenue and an important destination for foreign direct investment, especially from China, Vietnam and Thailand. However, economic development through industrial mining has not translated into employment opportunities for local communities. Rather, the Lao mining sector is marked by a parallel structure of medium- to large-scale mining operations and informal artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), which often operate in a legal grey zone. ASM communities thus suffer from the sector’s high social and environmental costs and conflicts with foreign investors over allocated land.
People visit the riverbank of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province on 2 February 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China’s serious water woes

Water security is literally a question of life and death. And as one of the most populous nations in the world with a severe lack of water resources, China needs to ensure that its water sources are sustainable and usable. But as Chinese academic Chen Hongbin explains, this is not always easy, despite the country’s best efforts.
Funeral pyres burn at a crematorium in New Delhi, India 23 April 2021. (Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

China's top infectious diseases expert: India faces even bigger Covid-19 outbreak ahead

Zhang Wenhong, China's top infectious disease expert who was dubbed by the New York Times as China's Dr Fauci, gives his opinion on the Covid-19 pandemic crisis in India, which is seeing more than 300,000 infections daily. With a large domestic population and a low vaccination rate, what will it take for the country to survive the current crisis?
Black Lives Matter activists stand with shields outside of the Columbus Police Headquarters in reaction to the police shooting of a teenage girl on 20 April 2021 in Columbus, Ohio, US. (Stephen Zenner/Getty Images/AFP)

Chinese academic: Why the US ignores its own human rights issues and accuses others instead

Due to the US's historical and political heritage, Americans assume that they are one up on other countries when it comes to human rights. Chinese academic Sun Peisong notes that the US's human rights record has actually been less than perfect. But how is it that they can be in denial about their own faults while accusing others of human rights violations?
People participate in an 'Anti-Asian Hate' rally in Chinatown in Washington, DC, US, on 27 March 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

Why the Chinese people are invisible in US media

Little interaction with Chinese people and double standards in US news reports have led to Americans having a jaundiced view of China. Immersed in stories on foreign policy, politics or human rights, they rarely have the chance to realise that the Chinese are made up of individuals and families who are living their lives the best way they can, just like the average American. Better education through the media and universities is greatly needed.
In this photo taken on 5 March 2021, a couple visits the promenade on the Bund along Huangpu River in Shanghai, China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Women leaders in China: Why people are more interested in their love affairs

Chinese academic Lorna Wei notes that there have been several strong and powerful women throughout China’s history, but their political achievements have often been dwarfed by stories of their love lives. It’s not more women leaders China needs, but better ways of telling their stories, she says.
Members of the media (bottom) take photos as (left to right) Acting Law Officer (Special Duties) Llewellyn Mui, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang and Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Roy Tang arrive for a press conference at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on 13 April 2021. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

Hong Kong's electoral reform: Powerful businessmen to lose influence in politics?

Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing analyses the Election Committee’s expanded role in deciding who becomes the chief executive and gets to sit on the Legislative Council. Will these adjustments help Beijing reduce the influence of the pro-democracy camp as well as the business sector?
US President Joe Biden speaks about jobs and the economy at the White House in Washington, US, 7 April 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Biden's China strategy only looks impressive on the surface

Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao says that while the US wants China to do more to reduce global carbon emissions, surely it can expect China to prioritise its own development trajectory or to seek leverage in other areas. They should not forget that two can play at that game.
Members and supporters of the Asian-American community attend a "rally against hate" at Columbus Park in New York City on 21 March 2021. (Ed Jones/AFP)

Anti-Asian hate crimes: What makes an American?

US academic Zhu Zhiqun says that factors such as history, education and divisiveness within the Asian community have led to the persistence of anti-Asian racism in the US. This trend looks to continue unless Americans realise that every American has an immigrant past, and protecting the rights of Asian Americans is doing so for all Americans.