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Souvenirs featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre) and late communist leader Mao Zedong (right) are seen at a store in Beijing on 2 March 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China: A good guy or a bad guy?

In the international arena, anti-communism rhetoric is on the rise and the narrative of China as the bad guy is becoming increasingly mainstream. Not only that, the CCP’s return to Red orthodoxy appears to be at odds with the country’s reform in many areas and is adding to misperceptions of China. To truly take national rejuvenation forward and save China from facing unnecessary confrontations internationally, the Communist Party needs to innovate and mould a brand-new socialist image. Can China become the good guy again? Lance Gore finds the answer.
In this file photo taken on 6 January 2021 Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Alex Edelman/AFP)

US colleges rethink purpose of higher education after Capitol siege

The storming of the US Capitol on 6 January prompted a spate of statements, essays, and other reflections, particularly by US college presidents. What is the purpose of education, and what is the role of colleges in imparting higher ideals such as civic awareness and a respect for minority rights? US-based academic Wu Guo analyses the situation.
Protesters hold placards as they take part in a demonstration against the military coup, in front of the Chinese embassy in Yangon on 21 February 2021. (Sai Aung Main/AFP)

Why Myanmar people believe there is Chinese involvement in Myanmar coup

While China has refuted rumours that it was involved in the Myanmar coup, the people of Myanmar are not convinced. Researcher Hein Khaing says instead of blaming the Myanmar people for being gullible and asking them to be more discerning about what they see and hear, the Chinese need to understand why negative rumours about China are so easily presumed true in Myanmar. Not only that, but the coup has also changed the Myanmar Chinese community's sentiments about their relationship with their ancestral land. 
In this file photo taken on 24 January 2020, climate activists including Greta Thunberg (centre) march in a street of Davos on the sideline of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

Post-pandemic 'Great Reset': Can the world pull it off with Big Tech and China in tow?

At last year’s WEF, Prince Charles and other leaders proposed the “Great Reset” — a global effort to rebuild the global economic structure. However, as appealing as this may sound, Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao points out that the current slate of world leaders and international organisations are probably unable to rein in private juggernauts and get a handle on the Chinese wild card.
Supporters of former US President Donald Trump hold flags and signs near Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, US, on 20 January 2021. (Saul Martinez/Bloomberg)

US Capitol siege: Lessons for China in a post-reality, post-truth era

Deep divisions in the US highlighted by the US presidential election and storming of the Capitol show that we are entering a post-reality, post-truth era. In such a world, closely cocooned online groups perpetuate a self-confirming bias and take fiction for fact. When strident positions are taken offline and “reality” and reality go head to head, is it a tragedy akin to China’s Cultural Revolution waiting to happen?
A pedestrian walks past a mural from the "Heart of Cyberpunk" exhibition in Sham Shui Po district in Hong Kong on 24 October 2020. (Photo by May JAMES / May James / AFP)

'Transnational Chinese-language cyber intellectual enclaves': An emerging phenomenon

Wu Guo observes that with the prevalence of WeChat and other online platforms, “transnational Chinese-language cyber intellectual enclaves” are emerging. Such an avenue is freeing for some, as ethnic Chinese academics around the world who mainly use the Chinese language now have an avenue to share their views with other ethnic Chinese in or outside China. But for those keeping track of where the centre of gravity of China discourse is moving towards and who fear being left out of the conversation — should they be worried?   
A supporter of President-elect Joe Biden celebrate his victory in Wilmington, Delaware on 7 November 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP)

Chinese liberal intellectuals divided over Trump and the US elections

Liberal intellectuals in China are not a monolithic group. While the elites within the community once served to moderate divergent views, disagreements laid bare by the recent US elections shows that deeper schisms run deep, especially between those espousing conservative and liberal views.
This photo taken on 21 October 2020 shows tourists passing a wall with a slogan that says "Grand Alliance for China's Reunification under the Three Principles of the People", on Taiwan's Kinmen islands. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Are Cold War-era slogans making a return in the internet age?

Having lived through the Cold War era when people were misled by empty slogans and labels, Taiwanese writer Chiang Hsun cautions that we may once again find ourselves under the influence of such meaningless words in the noisy internet age. Have we lost our basic cognitive skills to observe and contemplate in solitude? 
People gather near the US Consulate General in Chengdu, 27 July 2020, as the final group of U.S. personnel from the consulate is expected to leave after China ordered its closure in response to a US order for China to shut its consulate in Houston. (Thomas Peter/REUTERS)

‘Melon-munching crowd’ in China enjoying the show amid US consulate closure

The recent diplomatic row between China and the US sparked off by the US ordering the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston has ended for now, with the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that the spectator “melon-munching crowd” has responded with nationalist sentiments, and the media in China is fanning the flames. Can China-US relations be salvaged?