China and Myanmar are said to have a “pauk-phaw” or sibling relationship. Many people in Myanmar, however, are clear-eyed about the limits of the bond. Who are the true beneficiaries of Chinese investment in Myanmar? Why are the people protesting while the higher-ups eagerly sign huge contracts with China and other countries?
Huang Zhiping points out the irony that in many democracies, the people elect the government, but they often have little direct influence over the decisions that elected officials make. Conversely, in the Chinese system, officials are very sensitive to public opinion on Weibo, and react at lightning speed to correct wrong or bad impressions. Is this the power of the people in the true sense of the word? Could the “Weibo model” of ruling those in power be the true utopia?
George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, shares his thoughts on China’s evolution with Lianhe Zaobao on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. He sees the milestone as just a pitstop in the long journey of the Chinese nation. Fresh thinking and innovation will be needed as the country progresses. Equally important, developing a “broad-minded and big-hearted nationalism” which is humble and learns from others will keep China on the path of being a great nation. Here are edited excerpts from the interview.
Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu journeys to Yan’an, northern Shaanxi — the old base of the Chinese Communist Party — ahead of the latter’s 100th anniversary on 1 July. She finds that Shaanxi speaks of the wins and woes of China’s development in recent years. Despite impressive economic growth, China is grappling with complicated problems such as urban-rural gaps and pockets of poverty in its vast hinterland.
With the recent military coup in Myanmar leading to the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao wonders how the US and China will act and if their stance on this matter will shape their future strategies in East Asia.
EAI academic Lance Gore finds that the trend of deglobalisation and internal unrest seen in developed countries in recent years can be attributed to the disintegration of the Western liberal social contract, as well as the struggle between various forces that seek to restore or reforge that contract. He says liberalism is only effective for the elites, while globalisation is a grand banquet for capital; the masses at large, unfortunately, fail to benefit. He sees a return to the nation-state as the precondition for repairing the social compact, and Asian countries will have an edge over the West in achieving this.
Wei Da calls out China’s modus operandi of seeking modernisation yet fighting it at the same time. He says China’s road to modernisation faces the classic dilemmas of setting its priorities right and establishing new paradigms that will liberate it from the shackles of the past. Only then, can China imagine a future that will bring it on par with advanced civilisations.
Professor Wang Gungwu, eminent historian and university professor of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore, was awarded the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology earlier this year. At the 2020 Tang Prize Masters’ Forums — Sinology held last month, Professor Wang traced the evolution of sinology in the West and East, observing that today, a “pluralist sinology” is emerging alongside a rising China. This allows for the term “sinologist” to be applied to a much larger group of scholars, and for the bringing together of various knowledge traditions and academic disciplines in the study of China. While there is much to be cheered by this, Professor Wang also urged his fellow scholars to be ready to “douse the fires that others had fanned”, as knowledge gathered by pluralist sinology could be used as a weapon amid intense rivalry between the US and China. This is the transcript of his speech.
Between October and December 1911, fierce fighting broke out between the revolutionaries and the Qing troops. And by early 1912, China's 2,000 years of imperial rule was history. The Xinhai Revolution led by Sun Yat-sen had successfully united the Chinese people against the imperial system, and built the first Republic in Asia, changing the fate of China and East Asia. Hsu Chung-mao takes us on a visual journey through that period of chaos and upheaval.