Freedom of speech

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?
The TikTok logo is displayed in the app store in this photograph in view of a video feed of US President Donald Trump, 3 Aug 2020. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

US wants it banned while the Chinese calls it a traitor. Is this the end of TikTok?

As TikTok edges towards its deadline of 15 September to either be sold to a US buyer or banned in the US, it is ironic to think that Bytedance, its parent company, is getting bruised from all sides. Some of its harshest critics, in fact, are intensely patriotic Chinese citizens who think that it has not gone far enough in pushing back on unreasonable US demands. Can ByteDance appease the gods and the hoards before the deadline is up?
The TikTok app icon sits displayed on a smartphone in front of the national flags of China and the US in this arranged photograph in London, 3 August 2020. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

Chinese companies going global? Take heed of TikTok's crisis

With its “China DNA” and despite its popularity, TikTok may end up being blocked in the US and eventually elsewhere in the world. Will its discussions with Microsoft work out? Or will it have to pull out of the US? And beyond TikTok, what does this episode mean for Chinese companies in the process of internationalising their businesses?
Attendees browse as a humanoid robot stands in the exhibition display area at the World AI Conference in Shanghai, 9 July 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

'Kiasu' Singapore, 'yao mianzi' China, and 'leela' India: How does culture influence innovation?

In a study conducted by academics from the NUS Business School surveying the China, India, and Singapore landscape, respondents often described the Chinese as disciplined and focused, Singaporeans as structured, fearing failure and sticking to the plan, and Indians as creative, flexible and frugal. While it is not the only or most pertinent factor, cultural traits matter when it comes to managing teams and maximising their potential to innovate.
A demonstrator wearing a protective mask holds a “Follow The Money” sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, 9 July 2020. The court cleared a New York grand jury to get President Donald Trump's financial records while blocking for now House subpoenas that might have led to their public release before the election. (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg)

Chinese academic: The US is where money rules behind the facade of democracy

Chinese academic Qiao Xinsheng notes that despite its image of being democratic, the US is driven by capitalism and an individualism enjoyed only by a small number of elites. Such pre-existing conditions lead to a fragmented society made worse by the actions of President Donald Trump.
In this file photo a teacher and her students pose with Communist Party emblems during a class about the history of the Communist Party at a school in Lianyungang, in China's eastern Jiangsu province, 28 June 2020. (STR/AFP)

Chinese academic: Banning all CCP members from the US is to give up hope on China

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members and their families may soon be banned from travelling to the US, while there are other indications that the CCP is becoming a target for the US in a new global competition of ideology. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the signs of worsening US-China relations.
Demonstrators gesture the "Five demands, not one less" protest motto during a protest in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, 1 July 2020. Hong Kong woke up to a new reality on Wednesday, after China began enforcing a sweeping security law that could reshape the financial hub’s character 23 years after it took control of the former British colony. (Roy Liu/Bloomberg)

Why Carrie Lam will never understand Hong Kong's youths

Hong Kong political columnist Chip Tsao makes his observations on an emerging group of people who lack sufficient job security and face a sense of uncertainty and precariousness — the precariat. This group is plugged in to social media, which means they have quick access to information, but are also able to make comparisons that might lead to dissatisfaction. Will the civil servants running Hong Kong be able to empathise with this increasingly marginalised group in society?
A woman walks past a Communist Party slogan urging people to "Follow the Party forever" outside a residential compound in Beijing on 6 July 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

The return of Mao-era practices: New threat to China's political and economic modernisation

EAI academic Lance Gore says that the Communist Party of China is reenacting the “great leader model” and reviving many practices of the Mao era. These include tightening control over information flow and restricting freedom of speech, enhancing propaganda and ideological and political indoctrination, emphasising obedience and absolute loyalty, advancing the ideal of the party acting for the government, among others. He says these anti-modernisation tactics need to be addressed as China attempts to modernise its governance and build institutions with soul.
A government supporter wearing a protective mask holds Chinese and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) flags to celebrate the passage of a national security law in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2020. (Lam Yik/Bloomberg)

There will be no peaceful rise — China-US relations enters a new phase

In a recent report outlining its approach to China, the US indicated that it will be guided by “principled realism” in strategic competition with China. Chinese academic Yu Zhi believes that this is a sign of the two countries moving into a “curtailment and containment” phase in their relations. Whoever the next President is, the US line on China looks set to hold. This stance harks back to the beginning of US-China relations, albeit with some adjustments. In any event, both countries are bracing themselves for a rough ride ahead.