Political systems

A government supporter wearing a protective mask holds Chinese and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) flags to celebrate the passage of a national security law in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2020. (Lam Yik/Bloomberg)

There will be no peaceful rise — China-US relations enters a new phase

In a recent report outlining its approach to China, the US indicated that it will be guided by “principled realism” in strategic competition with China. Chinese academic Yu Zhi believes that this is a sign of the two countries moving into a “curtailment and containment” phase in their relations. Whoever the next President is, the US line on China looks set to hold. This stance harks back to the beginning of US-China relations, albeit with some adjustments. In any event, both countries are bracing themselves for a rough ride ahead.
People wearing face masks walk in front of the entrance of the Forbidden City, while the closing of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference takes place in Beijing, 27 May 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Modernise China’s governance? Get rid of deities and emperors

China has put a lot of effort into modernising its governance system over the decades, but it still seems to miss the mark or to have even regressed in some areas. EAI academic Lance Gore puts this down to a muddled understanding of what true modernisation entails. Cult of personality, formalism, and conformity still permeate the system to a large degree, such that decision-makers live in a bubble thinking that all is well.
A health worker takes the temperature of a woman amid concerns over the Covid-19 coronavirus, at an entrance of the Pyongchon District People's Hospital in Pyongyang, 1 April 2020. (Kim Won Jin/AFP)

Chinese academic: Can North Korea’s healthcare system survive the pandemic?

For a long time, North Korea has maintained that it has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, despite some reports suggesting otherwise. Whatever the truth of the matter, a closer look at how North Korea’s medical system is structured and run will give us an idea of its capacity to withstand crises such as epidemic outbreaks. Chinese academic Shang Yongmei delves into the details.
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. 
A man under a bridge of the Yangtze river in Wuhan, 15 April 2020. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

When the only option is fraud: How institutional faults led to the spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan

Chen Kang attributes the blindspots in China’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak to the tendency of officials to withhold information and put up appearances for their own interests. As such, decision-making could be impaired by the asymmetry of information and misaligned interests between superiors and subordinates, especially at the local level. Results then vary based on how well one navigates the minefields of groupthink, collusion and that seemingly innocuous aim of not rocking the boat. Using the prism of formalism, or what is prizing form over substance, Chen points out the weakness of a centralised system.
Flower installations to mark the Labour Day holiday are seen on Tiananmen Square in front of the Great Hall of the People, Beijing 1 May 2020. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

Friends to foes: Matthew Pottinger's Mandarin speech to China and US-China relations

US Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger’s speech on the anniversary of the May Fourth Movement touched on China’s political system, the spirit of the May Fourth Movement, and hopes for the Chinese people. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong sheds light on Pottinger, a hawkish China hand, and looks at how China-US relations have deteriorated since China's reform and opening up.
This file photo taken on March 8, 2019 shows a general view of the second plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China's 2020 National People’s Congress and challenges ahead

Postponed at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, China’s annual legislative assembly is set to take place in the imminent future. The meeting of almost 3000 delegates will signal a return to normalcy and be a chance for the Chinese leadership to reinforce its message of victory over Covid-19. However, rhetoric aside, it will have to confront serious social and economic challenges after the pandemic.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew speaking at the People's Action Party's annual conference at the Victoria Memorial Hall, 26 June 1955. (SPH)

Will China also move into the 'post-LKY era'?

Among all of Singapore’s leaders, one name is most closely associated with Singapore: Lee Kuan Yew, or simply LKY. Five years after his passing, has Singapore moved on from his style of strong leadership and what will other countries who are keen to follow the country’s same developmental trajectory do in shaping their political systems?
Medical staff members at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan. The city's response to the Covid-19 outbreak has been less than satisfactory so far. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

The politics behind the change of leaders in Hubei

Amid growing resentment against the leaders of Wuhan and Hubei, Chen Yixin, secretary-general of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, has taken charge of efforts against the epidemic in Hubei. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at the difficulties of changing provincial-level officials in China and the likelihood of personnel changes improving the situation.