Authoritarianism

Argentina's President-elect Javier Milei gestures during a session at the Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 29 November 2023. (Juan Mabromata/AFP)

Will Argentina’s President-elect Javier Milei side the 'free world' and avoid China?

Academic Antonio C. Hsiang notes that Argentina’s President-elect Javier Milei will be facing several challenges once he assumes office. From carrying out transitional justice to managing economic ties with the Mercosur countries and China, Milei will have his work cut out for him.
People ride a small train for children on a street in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China on 16 September 2023. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Why China’s population policies always veer towards the extreme

China’s population policies have had a tendency to veer towards the extreme since the era of Mao, says commentator Yu Shiyu. A delayed response to adjusting the one-child policy, which has resulted in a declining population and is expected to have an adverse economic impact, demonstrates the inefficiency of an authoritarian system in self-correcting. Its decision making could also swing between extremes as it is based on subjective top-level thinking.
Members of an honour guard march out during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on 10 July 2023. (Andy Wong/Pool via Reuters)

Chinese politics is undergoing great change

While the ruling system in China, carried over from ancient history, has the features of power combined with moral authority, recent events show that change is happening in Chinese politics. With netizens increasingly challenging the central authority openly, refuting official views and commentaries, will there be greater adjustments to Chinese state-society relations?
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a minute of silence for pilots killed in clashes with the mutineers during a revolt by Wagner mercenaries as he addresses troops from the defence ministry, National Guard, FSB security service and interior ministry gathered on the Cathedral Square at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on 27 June 2023. (Sergei Guneyev/Sputnik/AFP)

Putin’s dilemma: ‘Two-faced people’ in the authoritarian regime

Wei Da points out that the Wagner rebellion could only have happened because of the “two-faced people” in Putin's inner circle. Such people often emerge from the woodwork at critical moments, taking risks and rebelling. China and other countries may sit up and take notice: whether or not these rebellions work, they are usually fatal blows to authoritarian regimes.
People cross a street in front of a large propaganda poster in Shanghai, China, 10 April 2023. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why is China struggling with identity politics both within and outside the nation?

Currently, deglobalisation and efforts to decouple from China benefit no one. Not only that, identity politics, with ideology at its core, fuels Western nations’ foolish ways of achieving a pyrrhic victory. To deal with this, the CCP’s utmost priority is to avoid being constrained by others’ definitions and to present a new image of socialism with Chinese characteristics. But is China ready to do this?
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 8 December 2022. (Saudi Press Agency/Handout via Reuters)

Xi's Saudi visit: Middle powers uniting in a hierarchical world

Amid the US-West realignment, developing countries and middle powers have strengthened mutual cooperation via high-level diplomacy. China’s deepening relations with Saudi Arabia and the Arab world as seen by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent high-profile visit to Riyadh is a key sign of this development.
"Doctors scour mountains and the sea to exterminate every single virus."

[Comic] Dystopia or 'a beautiful new world'?

Comic artist Bai Yi's artwork gives a glimpse into a dystopian world where individual lives are considered insignificant before the all-powerful and all-important state machine, and where herculean efforts are needed to uphold the dignity of human lives.
A woman uses her mobile phone as she rides an escalator past an advertising board at a business district in Beijing, China, on 16 May 2022. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

The dwindling space for public opinion in China

Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo, Bilibili and Douyin have announced measures to clean up the use of miswritten words and homonyms that could be related to sensitive terms, sparking backlash from netizens. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong tells us more.
The Texas state flag is flown at half-mast, in honor of the victims of the Uvalde school shooting, outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, US, on 31 May 2022. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Competition between democracy and autocracy a political fallacy

The US has defined major global events such as the war in Ukraine and its competition with China under the ideological framework of a fight between democracy and autocracy. But is the 21st century world just black and white? Lim Jim Koon, former editor-in-chief of Chinese Media Group, SPH Media, suggests that before we criticise others and demand them to change, maybe we should start by examining ourselves.