World War II

People wearing face masks wave China flags during a flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square on National Day to mark the 71st anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China, in Beijing, China, 1 October 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

How to improve China-US relations? Follow these three laws

Wei Da observes that those who paint China and the US as mortal enemies are gravely mistaken or simply disingenuous. In history, the two countries have found a way to work together and even had some honeymoon periods. The truth is, China is well aware that countries with good relations with the US prospered, and it would not like to veer too far away from a similar path. Will deep-seated issues such as ideology and modes of governance get in the way?
People climb the Great Wall, illuminated to mark the first day of Mid-Autumn Festival and the Chinese National Day, in Beijing, China, 1 October 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Wang Gungwu: The high road to pluralist sinology

Professor Wang Gungwu, eminent historian and university professor of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore, was awarded the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology earlier this year. At the 2020 Tang Prize Masters’ Forums — Sinology held last month, Professor Wang traced the evolution of sinology in the West and East, observing that today, a “pluralist sinology” is emerging alongside a rising China. This allows for the term “sinologist” to be applied to a much larger group of scholars, and for the bringing together of various knowledge traditions and academic disciplines in the study of China. While there is much to be cheered by this, Professor Wang also urged his fellow scholars to be ready to “douse the fires that others had fanned”, as knowledge gathered by pluralist sinology could be used as a weapon amid intense rivalry between the US and China. This is the transcript of his speech. 
Japan's prime minister-in-waiting Shinzo Abe (right) smiles with newly appointed Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa (centre) and General Council Chairman Yuya Niwa of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party at a party executive meeting in Tokyo, 25 September 2006. (Toshiyuki Aizawa/File Photo/Reuters)

Shinzō Abe's first term: A princeling's attempt to rewrite World War II history

Looking back on politician Shinzō Abe’s career, academic Toh Lam Seng asserts that the greatest driving force of Abe, the “pampered princeling”, was his maternal grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. When Abe became prime minister for the first time in 2006, he was preoccupied with changing Japan’s peace constitution and establishing a new take on Japan’s war history that his grandfather was a large part of. Several hawkish policies followed but his single-minded pursuit and unpopular Cabinet soon led to his departure.
In 1951, the volunteer army surrounded and attacked the US army's elite 1st and 7th infantry divisions. As it was barely one year since the CCP established the PRC, it did not yet have its own defence weapons industry. The troops were using mainly Soviet-made weapons, arms left behind by the Japanese, and US weapons seized from the KMT army. The volunteers in the photo are using Czech-made ZB-26 light machine guns, which were relatively rare among the volunteers due to the lack of matching bullets.

[Photo story] The Korean War: The first large-scale war between China and the US

China and the US fought their first major war against each other during the Korean War. China's ill-equipped volunteer troops suffered huge losses, sacrificing eight lives for every one lost on the US side. Nonetheless, China showed great determination and resilience during the war. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao delves deep into the images and facts of the Korean War, and reflects on how it has shaped modern international geopolitics.
A neon sign of the American flag and neon lights at One Times Square in New York, 31 July 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

No country can be the world's policeman: Debt-ridden US needs to focus on itself

For all of President Trump’s failings, says US academic Han Dongping, he did persist in his belief that the US has over-extended itself abroad and sought ways to pull it back. Whoever becomes the US president next will have to recognise that the US’s global role has changed irrevocably since 1945.
Two domestically-made armoured vehicles launch smoke grenades during the annual Han Kuang military drills in Taichung on 16 July 2020. - The military drills aimed to test how the armed forces would repel an invasion from China, which has vowed to bring Taiwan back into the fold — by force if necessary. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Chinese academic: A ‘reunification by force’ would be Taiwan's last

Chinese academic Shen Jinhao says that when it comes to Taiwan, the mainland will not start a fight it is not ready to finish. If it launches a “reunification by force”, Taiwan would be subdued in one fell swoop, even before the US has a chance to make a meaningful intervention.
This aerial photo taken on 1 September 2020 shows elementary school students attending a flag-raising ceremony on the first day of the new semester in Shenyang, Liaoning, China. (STR/AFP)

America's ideological crusades against China highlight conflict of values

Chinese academic Zhu Ying says the US is reviving its rhetoric of ideological crusades against China that harks back to the time of the Truman doctrine. Such tactics will only get worse with post-pandemic tensions and greater strategic competition between the two countries.
In this photo taken on 4 September 2020, a man walks with the Chinese national flag in a park next to the Yangtze River in Wuhan. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Mixed signals to the US? China has revealed its bottom line

After a brief softening of its stance towards the US, China seems to be hardening its rhetoric again. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu says this has much to do with President Xi Jinping’s clear message not to trifle with the Chinese Communist Party’s bottom line — relations between the party and the people are sacrosanct.
The Empire State Building and the World Trade Center sit behind the Statue of Liberty in New York City, 26 August 2020. (Kena Betancur/AFP)

Did the US feed itself the wrong intelligence?

The CIA itself admitted that much of the intelligence it had gathered on China in the Mao era was proven wrong, says US academic Han Dongping. Later when it tried to cultivate academics in the US and when it supported pro-democracy groups, it arguably still did not achieve its aim of getting China to change. What were its missteps?