Recent top-level changes at China’s foreign ministry are unlikely to affect Beijing’s foreign policy orientation towards Southeast Asia. The region remains important in light of China’s difficult relationship with the US and other key countries.
The recent spate of reports about investigations into senior Chinese officials — especially in the military — have prompted questions about what is happening in China. Given the lack of transparency in the Chinese government, it is hard to come to any firm conclusion about what these “fallen tigers” have done, but it is easy to see that corruption is still a major problem in the highly centralised system.
Qin Gang’s removal as Chinese foreign minister seems to confirm the rumours about his month-long absence from the public eye, especially since the authorities do not seem to have entirely refuted them. Questions swirl in people’s minds, with some asking: is the Chinese system’s quality of decision-making in selecting and appointing talents in question?
Qin Gang’s month-long absence has drawn much attention and speculation, culminating in the authorities’ announcement that he has been removed as foreign minister, and Wang Yi reappointed to his former position. Despite the authorities’ earlier claims of Qin’s “health reasons”, there seems to be more than meets the eye.
A major fire at a hospital in Beijing was shocking, not so much because of its severity, but because of the blanket silence that lasted some seven or eight hours after the event. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong explores the media control and crisis management following the incident.
The seemingly unending lockdown in Shanghai has taken a toll on investor confidence, leading to some entrepreneurs and companies talking about leaving the city. Zaobao’s Shanghai correspondent Chen Jing surveys the short-term reactions and long-term outlook of China's top financial city.
While several alternatives to China's Belt and Road Initiative have sprung up, such as the G7’s Build Back Better World and the EU’s Global Gateway, developing countries are not exactly facing a buffet spread of options, as each avenue comes with strings attached. Only time will tell if China will turn out to be a more benevolent lender and if the new Cold War will bring better spoils for developing countries.
Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong notes that even as disaster relief continues after massive floods in Zhengzhou, people are pointing fingers at the authorities, saying that early alert systems and coordination between agencies can be improved. As natural disasters increase due to climate change, will governments be forced to pay greater attention to preparing for unforeseen events?