Transparency

This handout photo taken and released by Cambodia's Government Cabinet on 13 August 2023 shows Cambodia's prime minister-designate Hun Manet (right) shaking hands with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. (Kok KY/Cambodia's Government Cabinet/AFP)

Beijing will stay the course on Southeast Asia despite personnel changes in foreign ministry

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.
Security officers stand guard inside the Great Hall of the People ahead of the fourth plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, on 11 March 2023. (Greg Baker/Pool via Reuters/File Photo)

China's never-ending battle against corruption

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.
Staff wait for the arrival of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ahead of his meeting with China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on 18 June 2023. (Leah MillisAFP)

Qin Gang’s dismissal: Reflections on the Chinese 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?
Cartoon: Heng Kim Song

ThinkCartoon

Heng Kim Song has been the freelance editorial cartoonist

Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee Wang Yi (L) speaks as South Korea's Foreign Minister Park Jin looks on during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta on 13 July 2023. (Mast Irham/AFP)

Wang Yi reappointed as Chinese foreign minister: An authoritative figure amid the intrigue

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.
Fire damage is seen at the Changfeng Hospital in Beijing on 19 April 2023, after a fire broke out a day earlier. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Beijing hospital fire: Social media silence shows tightening public opinion space in China

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.
A resident looks on behind barriers at a fruit shop, during lockdown, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in Shanghai, China, 16 May 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Covid-stricken Shanghai is down, but is it out?

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.
Chinese and Sri Lankan national flags flutter from poles at the Chinese-funded sea reclamation Port City project as sail boats compete in a sailing event attended by Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi (not pictured) on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Sri Lanka and China at the Colombo Port city project, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 9 January 2022. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

Funding wars between China and the West: The politics of bankrolling developing countries

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.
An aerial view shows cars sitting in floodwaters at the entrance of a tunnel after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in China's central Henan province on 22 July 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Zhengzhou floods: Netizens berate local government and media for inadequate response

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?