Freedom of speech

A man uses his phone outside Beijing Railway Station in Beijing on 19 August 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Can the Great Firewall of China ever be overcome?

A Chinese app called Tuber barely had time to take root before it was yanked out of existence. It apparently gave Chinese netizens a way across the Great Firewall of China to foreign websites. In practice, those who jumped to try the app noted that it was not as revolutionary as touted to be, yet this could be a glimmer of things to come. With netizens becoming more discerning and information flows increasingly hard to stem anyway, Yang Danxu muses that a lighter touch may be the way to go.
Visitors wearing protective masks walk by Chinese national flags and red lanterns decorated to celebrate the National Day in Beijing, China, 4 October 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

The US is helping to unite the Chinese people and the CCP by challenging China’s core interests

The US has been trying to delink the CCP from the Chinese people, thinking that this will give them a clear path to defining a tangible enemy. But they have forgotten that Western imperialists were abhorred by the Chinese and any form of neo-imperialism would be anathema to them. The US may have overlooked the uneasy truth that nationalism in China is a firm glue that binds the CCP and the people together.
The great Chinese playwright, Tang Xianzu. (Internet)

In pursuit of ideals and love: The William Shakespeare of Chinese drama, Tang Xianzu

All his life, Ming dynasty playwright Tang Xianzu only wanted to stay true to himself, to do good and to make a mark. In his life as a government official, he sat on the sidelines and saw his ambitions erode with time. But he kept intact his passion for literary writing, gifting the world he left behind with classics such as The Peony Pavilion. Amid brokenness and deceit, he saw only beautiful things that were good and pure. Whether the world he created is a reality to be attained or a mirage...the dream lives on.
Heroes in Harm's Way publicity poster. (Weibo/CCTV电视剧)

China's first drama on fighting Covid-19 hits roadblock

Heroes in Harm's Way, a Chinese television series based on the Covid-19 pandemic, has drawn flak for inaccurate portrayals and gender discrimination. While the depiction of such a catastrophic event would have touched many a raw nerve in any case, the drama’s lack of finesse in telling China’s story has offended not only those outside China, but those within China as well, especially the young. Writ large, those running China’s inability to frame a credible narrative will only see them lose their cachet at home and abroad.
Students attend the 100th anniversary of the founding of Wuhan High School on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan, Hubei, China, on 1 September 2020. (STR/AFP)

Why intellectuals failed to flourish throughout 5000 years of China's history

Chip Tsao laments the dearth of independent thought in China, following a long history of strictures imposed on intellectualism. If the elements of the “scholar”, “intellectual” and “professional” can be combined and inculcated in the country’s elites, a new dynamism can be sparked off that can help China truly modernise.
This aerial photo shows stars on the red beach caused by the red plant of Suaeda salsa forming a national flag in Panjin, in China's northeastern Liaoning province on 7 August 2020. (STR/AFP)

Is China attempting to change the world order?

Even as China says that it is not trying to change the world order, its actions can be interpreted as suggesting otherwise. Chinese economics professor Zhu Ying traces how China has been influencing the world order, if not changing it.
People wearing protective masks ride past Lama Temple in Beijing, China, 19 June 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

What is China's biggest challenge?

In the great China-US contest, overcoming weaknesses, more than capitalising on strengths, will be the deciding factor in determining who emerges the victor, says Wei Da. Any country is only as good as its weakest link, and the sooner the both of them realise that and look their shortcomings in the eye, the better. Wei Da identifies China's biggest challenge and its weaknesses in this article.
Supporters hold copies of the Apple Daily newspaper as Hong Kong pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai is released on bail from the Mong Kok police station in Hong Kong on 12 August 2020, after his arrest under the new national security law. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP)

Governing Hong Kong: Beijing needs to tread carefully with the national security law

What does Moisés Naím’s 2013 book tell us about power in the modern world and how is this related to the recent high-profile arrests of Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and former member of the Standing Committee of Demosistō Agnes Chow under the Hong Kong national security law? Can China's style of showing power maintain peace in society? How long would its deterrence work in Hong Kong society?
In this photo illustration, the social media application logo, TikTok is displayed on the screen of an iPhone on an American flag background on 3 August 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. (Olivier Douliery/AFP)

Will TikTok and China continue to embrace the world despite US pressure?

That TikTok founder Zhang Yiming did not immediately beat a hasty retreat to the safety of China’s huge domestic market and is still looking for ways for his company to be truly global is a lesson for China in general. How does it want to present itself to the world from now on? Will it retreat back into its shell and allow itself to be painted as a pariah, or choose to engage its detractors and navigate troubled waters with grace?