Factionalism within the LDP has cast the spotlight on the prospect of Japan cancelling a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan that was postponed earlier in the year. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima rationalises that such requests are not a unified LDP view, much less a government one. With a general election coming up in Japan, Sino-Japanese relations will no doubt continue to be part of the shadow play, but there being no smoke without fire, the deterioration of Sino-Japanese relations cannot be underestimated as well.
EAI academic Lance Gore says that the Communist Party of China is reenacting the“great leader model” and reviving many practices of the Mao era. These include tightening control over information flow and restricting freedom of speech, enhancing propaganda and ideological and political indoctrination, emphasising obedience and absolute loyalty, advancing the ideal of the party acting for the government, among others. He says these anti-modernisation tactics need to be addressed as China attempts to modernise its governance and build institutions with soul.
China has faced reversals of fortune numerous times in history, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. After enjoying decades of upward ascent since its economic reform and opening up, some says China’s fate is about to be reversed again with the coronavirus pandemic, a mammoth disruption that kicked off the 2020s. Lance Gore argues that such massive shock to its political and economic system exposes chinks in its armour but does not necessarily unravel a big country with the world’s most comprehensive industrial structure.
Angry netizens suggest that Wuhan party secretary Wang Zhonglin’s call for gratitude for the CCP shows where officials’ allegiance truly lies. The testy mood of the public portends the zero tolerance of further grandstanding behaviour.
Three cautionary warnings have been issued in the last six days by the Chinese government, calling on officials to pay special attention to containing Covid-19 in Beijing. Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu observes that the authorities' political survival is at stake if Beijing becomes severely affected by the coronavirus. All hands are on deck to ensure that this does not happen.
China is not governing Hong Kong. The ‘one country, two systems’ principle forbids it. Foreign powers are not ruling Hong Kong. They can only influence. Hong Kong people are not administering Hong Kong. This remains an ideal. HKSAR is not presiding over Hong Kong. This is due to institutional design flaws. So, who rules Hong Kong?
China 70th anniversary
On the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, we present a series of interviews with five ordinary people of China as they reveal their extraordinary lives. As an opener, we begin by taking a look at developments in China under its five leaders.