Protest

Demonstrators raise their fists as they gather on 2 June 2020 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to protest the death of George Floyd while in police custody. (Chandan Khanna/AFP)

A 'left-wing cultural revolution' has come to America?

There is little doubt that the US is in disarray at the moment. Hong Kong political commentator Chip Tsao does not hold back in giving his views on the current situation in the US, claiming that America’s move to the left after eight years under the Democratic Party have worsened the culture of political correctness and left little room for policies that motivate disadvantaged groups to keep their feet on the ground and contribute to society. The middle class is also made to shoulder growing societal and financial burdens. In that light, would the prospect of a change in the US government in five months time be a boon or bane?
In this file photo taken on 1 June 2020, NYPD police officers watch demonstrators in Times Square during a "Black Lives Matter" protest. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

Between the US and China, which is the police state?

While some in China admire certain values the US upholds such as the rule of law, Han Dongping observes the irony that in many ways, China’s age-old practice of community policing at the grassroots level may have produced a more humane way of rehabilitating rather than incarcerating offenders. If the George Floyd case that sparked angry protests is anything to go by, the US seems overrun with law enforcement woes rather than ruled by the law.
People raise their hands as they protest at the makeshift memorial in honour of George Floyd, on 4 June 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Chandan Khanna/AFP)

How could democracy yield a leader like Trump?

Han Yong Hong observes that the US, long thought to be a bastion of democracy, is going through a series of hard knocks these days. The way President Trump has conducted himself during the coronavirus crisis and major protests against racism and police brutality have raised some strong caveats about democratic systems. But what is the alternative for the world to hang on to? For now, a firm belief in democracy seems to be keeping the American spirit afloat, even as everything else seems to be falling down like a house of cards.
A man holds up a sign reading "democracy instead of virology" as he attends a protest against the government's restrictions following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Cannstatter Wasen area in Stuttgart, Germany, May 16, 2020. (Kai Pfaffenbach/REUTERS)

Western democracy's worst enemy is itself, not China

Zheng Yongnian reminds political watchers of today that fascist regimes of the past grew out of once-democratic systems. What is to say that cannot happen in today’s world, even in mature democracies such as the US? Is the coronavirus crisis putting democratic systems to their greatest test yet? And despite what some think, China, where the pandemic first spread to the world, may not be Western democracy's biggest enemy after all. 
Protesters kneel and raise their arms as they gather peacefully to protest the death of George Floyd at the State Capital building in downtown Columbus, Ohio, 1 June 2020. (Seth Herald/AFP)

Protests in the US and HK: Which is 'a beautiful sight to behold'?

The riots in the US following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman have given the Chinese people a chance to gloat at US “double standards” in the terms it has used on the Hong Kong protests. In contrast, the Chinese authorities have been restrained and measured in its responses. Correspondent Yang Danxu speaks to academics to find out what this might mean.
A Trump supporter waves an American flag during a protest at the Country Club Plaza against social distancing measures, April 20, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. The US state of Missouri has sued China's leadership over the coronavirus, prompting an angry rebuke from Beijing April 22, 2020 over the "absurd" claim. Missouri is seeking damages over what it described as deliberate deception and insufficient action to stop the pandemic. (Jamie Squire/AFP)

Missouri sues, but should China be held accountable for the global spread of Covid-19?

Missouri has become the first US state to sue China for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. What is behind its case and will it stand up to scrutiny? Has China been transparent in disclosing information? Edwin Ong and Chen Jing find out.
The Chinese system has governance capacity to tackle the emerging “troubled times”. This picture shows children waiting to bid farewell to China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the international airport in Macau on 20 December, 2019.  (Photo by Eduardo Leal/AFP)

China's governance model: The way forward for today's world?

Lance Gore from the East Asian Institute says that the shape and form of widespread protests around the world show how states are fast losing their authority to govern. Systems in liberal democracies give protesters the space to air their views, but not necessarily the solutions they are looking for. In this regard, China’s brand of authoritarianism coupled with good governance may surprisingly be the tack to take.
People chant slogans and hold the words "release (the protesters)" near a police-cordoned area to show support for a small group of protesters barricaded for over a week inside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus in Hung Hom district in Hong Kong on November 25, 2019. (Ye Aung Thu/AFP)

Social protests in the era of affluence

Social movements of today are no longer campaigns by the downtrodden poor but avenues for the well-educated middle class to air their anti-establishment discontent. Aided by social media, these groups appropriate concepts without understanding their true meanings, and look set to stay due to structural imbalance in the world caused by globalisation, technological progress and social divide. Zheng Yongnian opines that states badly need institutional reforms if they are to engage the social movements of today.
Is every comment and action an indication of support for independence for Hong Kong? (Kai Pfaffenbach/REUTERS)

OB Marker no more: The problematic "Independence" label (Part II)

Political commentator Leung Man-tao ruminates on the changing definitions of the "independence for Hong Kong" label. He worries that misuse of the term in times of instability will only diminish its significance as a political OB marker and further weaken the authority's power to get things done.