Corruption

People walk in the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai, China, 1 June 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China's crackdown on stats fraud in local governments. Why now?

The recent removal of high-ranking officials has cast the spotlight on the longstanding issue of local governments fabricating statistics. As officials compete for promotion, they manipulate economic data to show stellar political achievements, but this leads to bad policies, blind optimism and unrealistically high goals. Zaobao's associate editor Han Yong Hong looks into the matter.
A file photo of Chen Min'er. (SPH Media)

Chongqing party secretary Chen Min’er is the man to watch

After nearly five years, Chongqing party secretary Chen Min’er has delivered a good report card in terms of helping to put political blights to rest and making tangible strides in poverty alleviation. Looking ahead, Chongqing is expected to focus on high-quality economic development, whether or not Chen is parachuted out before the 20th Party Congress. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong examines the issue.
A destroyed Russian T-72 tank is seen, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in the village of Dmytrivka in Ukraine, 1 April 2022. (Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters)

Chinese academic: Ukraine war shows a corrupt Russia inside and out

Outdated military equipment, expired rations and the plundering of household appliances — these are the realities of Russia’s military fighting in Ukraine. Meanwhile, those at home face a leadership characterised by corruption and impunity. Economics professor Zhu Ying highlights the incidents that have been laid bare for the world to see and how they may lead to Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s downfall.
Theary Seng, a US-Cambodian lawyer and activist who is facing treason and incitement charges, poses in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Court ahead of her hearing in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 3 May 2022. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Why Cambodia is leaning towards China and not the US

Sokvy Rim explains why Cambodia’s foreign policy options have been constrained by the leaders’ concerns of regime survival at various stages of its history. If this trajectory continues, it may be hard for it to conduct a hedging strategy in its relations between China and the US.
People wearing face masks stand in front of a painting of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong, while waiting in line to enter a flagship merchandise store for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics before it opens, on Wangfujing Street in Beijing, China, 9 February 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Are the Chinese people the true masters of their country?

Lance Gore reflects on what Chinese Communist Party cadres today understand by the phrase “Serve the People”, stating that people in positions of power could either serve the people slavishly or ride roughshod over them. The impetus to do right by the populace is simply not ensured. As the authorities seek to get the people more involved in “whole-process democracy”, they will need to consider how the regime’s affinity with the people may be maintained in the absence of electoral democracy.
Visitors stand near a screen showing an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China, 11 November 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Tough competition: Becoming one of 2,300 delegates at the 20th Party Congress

As the elections for delegates to the five-yearly 20th Party Congress enters its last phase, Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan takes stock of impacts that the grim pandemic situation in Shanghai may bring, as well as the changes to delegate composition and safeguards against identity fraud that the authorities have put in place.
This picture taken on 1 April 2022 shows an aerial view of a giant sign being raised by protesters depicting Russia's President Vladimir Putin as an octopus with its arms wrapping around the countries of Georgia, Syria, Ukraine and the world globe during a demonstration in the city of Binnish in Syria's northwestern rebel-held Idlib province against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Omar Haj Kadour/AFP)

How Putin became trapped by his own authoritarianism

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s misjudgement of the Ukrainian situation, its people’s resilience and his own military forces have led to a prolonged war. Economics professor Zhu Ying notes that Putin has been misguided by his beliefs, and his dictatorship over Russia has struck fear even in his top officials, leading to a circle of "yes men" that have shielded him from the realities of the war. Cracks are showing in this inner circle. How long more will Putin stay trapped in his ideology?
Paramilitary police members wearing protective face masks stand near surveillance cameras at the Bund, in Shanghai, China, 20 January 2022. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

China-focused multinational firms are facing increasingly complex legal environments

As one of the largest recipients of foreign investments, China has no shortage of publicly disclosed cases of corrupt business dealings. But transnational firms are still willing to take the risks and cultivate relationship-building strategies in their business activities. They are even prepared to face a “double jeopardy” situation when they are penalised in their home and overseas locations. But their operating environment could get even more challenging with the US and China clamping down on transnational crime, and the increasing use of domestic judiciaries to regulate extraterritorial legal matters.
Chinese and Sri Lankan national flags flutter from poles at the Chinese-funded sea reclamation Port City project as sail boats compete in a sailing event attended by Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi (not pictured) on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Sri Lanka and China at the Colombo Port city project, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 9 January 2022. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

Funding wars between China and the West: The politics of bankrolling developing countries

While several alternatives to China's Belt and Road Initiative have sprung up, such as the G7’s Build Back Better World and the EU’s Global Gateway, developing countries are not exactly facing a buffet spread of options, as each avenue comes with strings attached. Only time will tell if China will turn out to be a more benevolent lender and if the new Cold War will bring better spoils for developing countries.