Economy

Students take part in an evacuation drill in a primary school in Kunming, Yunnan province, China, 11 May 2022. (CNS)

China wants to create a new democratic system. Is that possible?

Domestic and external pressures compel China to face the issue of democracy. With growing affluence and diversity in the population, the government needs to find a way to incorporate various views that goes beyond the Mao-era “mass line”. In forging a new path, the Chinese Communist Party is feeling its way around bringing about a socialist neo-democracy, or what has been verbalised as “whole-process people’s democracy”. But what stands in the way of putting thought into action?
A worker in a protective suit disinfects at a closed residential area during lockdown, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in Shanghai, China, 17 May 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

It takes a mountain of effort to tell the truth about China's economy

Chinese economist David Li Daokui has been mocked by netizens for comments he made at a recent economics forum, where he said that China’s life expectancy has increased by an average of ten days due to pandemic efforts, and suggested setting up quarantine facilities next to factories in order to maintain productivity. But is this derision deserved? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu analyses the issue.
People ride escalators at a business district in Beijing, China, on 16 May 2022. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

China's unified national market has its drawbacks and challenges

The Chinese government has recently announced plans to establish a unified national market that is highly efficient, standardised, open and competitive. It would break down walls, raise the standards of the business environment within China and act as a buffer against external pressures. While the intention is good, NUS academic Lu Xi points to possible drawbacks and challenges.
US President Joe Biden (centre) with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on 12 May 2022. (Michael Reynolds/Bloomberg)

US-ASEAN summit: Washington still has an uphill climb

The US hit all the right notes when it hosted ASEAN leaders in Washington last week. The fact remains, however, that Washington has an uphill climb if it wants to catch up with Beijing’s economic momentum in Southeast Asia. Not only that, Southeast Asian countries understand that in the end, it would be every man for himself.
A man drives his bike inside a fenced residential area under a Covid-19 lockdown in Beijing, China, on 11 May 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Tough Covid measures in China may drag on for another year

The swift way that districts and communities were shut down in Shanghai and Beijing is a reminder that the authorities will not hesitate to take drastic steps to stamp out Covid-19, whatever the human cost. Not only that, the end may not be in sight even by the summer of next year.
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.
This file photo taken on 4 August 2021 shows police officers wearing protective gear against the spread of Covid-19 spraying disinfectant at Nanjing port, Jiangsu province, China. (AFP)

China’s powerful export engine losing steam amid Covid-19?

Waves of Covid-19 outbreaks have dealt a big blow to China's economy, with strict anti-epidemic measures affecting businesses, exports and trade. Lockdown uncertainties have also sparked fears of increased competition with foreign manufacturers and a global supply chain restructuring away from China. Caixin surveys the challenges ahead.
A newsagent picks up magazines next to a mural by Italian urban artist Salvatore Benintende aka "TV BOY" depicting a girl painting a peace symbol on an Ukraine's flag, reading "Hope" in Barcelona, Spain, on 30 April 2022. (Pau Barrena/AFP)

Russian academic: Whose ideology will rule an emerging 21st century world?

Amid a changing global order, Russian academic Artyom Lukin analyses the different ideologies of the US, China and Russia and explains why it would be hasty to lump Russia and China in one camp or to dismiss the similarities between the US and Russia. In the end, the ideology that rules the emerging new world may not even be that of any of the three countries.
Service members of pro-Russian troops ride an armoured personnel carrier during fighting in Ukraine-Russia conflict near the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, 5 May 2022. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

The Russia-Ukraine war and its potential impact on Russia’s arms sales to Southeast Asia

Russia has been the largest exporter of arms to Southeast Asia over the past two decades but the value of its defence sales to the region has fallen sharply since its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will only exacerbate this downward trend. Not only that, as the war looks set to drag on for months and possibly years, and sanctions increasingly disrupt Russia’s economy, Moscow’s dependence on Beijing may deepen. China will seek quid quo pros, probably including discounted energy imports, increased access to the Russian defence industrial sector’s most sensitive military technology and greater support for its "core interests" in Asia such as Taiwan and the South China Sea.