Authoritarianism

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.
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?
Pro-Ukraine demonstrators hold a placard during a demonstration in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany, on 22 February 2022. (John Macdougall/AFP)

Russia-Ukraine crisis: Can Russian aggression bring back the former glory of the Soviet Union?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he considers Russia, Ukraine and Belarus one people, and its recent actions concerning Ukraine are unsettling. Some in China support the strong and aggressive style of Putin and are glad that Russia has created a buffer to divert the West’s attention away from China. Nevertheless, Russia’s aggressive stance has resulted in 40 years of suffering and failure. US-based academic Zhou Nongjian looks into Russia's intentions with Ukraine and why it is adamant on restoring the former glory of the Soviet Union.
People walk over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan in New York City, US on 19 August 2021. (Angela Weiss/AFP)

China-US competition: Letting the enemy self-destruct

Based on the experience of the Cold War, the US can see merit in letting the enemy undo itself in its strategy against China. For the Soviet Union, it was the ills of Stalinist socialism and the failure of the command economy. For China, will its inherent contradictions lead to its own unravelling?
Dr Zhang Wenhong, China’s top infectious diseases expert and head of the Center for Infectious Disease at Huashan Hospital. (Internet)

Who saved Dr Zhang Wenhong from punishment for questioning China's Covid-19 policy?

China's top infectious diseases expert Dr Zhang Wenhong was recently embroiled in an alleged academic fraud case but investigations have cleared his name later on. The investigation came after he put forward the view of "living with the virus", which is at odds with the official stance for achieving zero-Covid. Who protected Dr Zhang from punishment? Was it public opinion, the city of Shanghai or Dr Zhang's impeccable moral standards? Will this deter professionals from speaking the truth in the future?
The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at its office in Beijing, China, 5 January 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Is Alibaba leaving its carefree days behind?

Alibaba’s name is said to be inspired by the song that goes: “Ali Baba is a happy youth!” But after the halting of Ant Group’s listing and being slapped with a 18.228 billion RMB fine, Alibaba faces headwinds. In their anti-monopoly efforts, the authorities seem to have no qualms about making an example of companies like Alibaba. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan analyses the situation.
A man holds the US and China flags in a Lunar New Year ceremony in Chinatown on 12 February 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/AFP)

'Cold peace' in China-US relations: Who will get the last laugh?

US-based researcher Wei Da notes that China-US relations are at risk of stagnating and reaching a state of "cold peace" with the current development. While China has been making friendly overtures to the US, it is also signalling that the ball is in the US’s court. Would any side give space to the other? Who will benefit from such a situation?
U.S. President Joe Biden arrives for an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on 22 February 2021. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Bloomberg)

Biden's plan to join hands with the EU against China doomed to failure

Economics professor Zhu Ying notes that the new Biden administration is trying to rope in the EU in its efforts to contain China. However, the evidence so far seems to suggest that such a plan is unlikely to work, given the pragmatic stance exhibited by key countries such as Germany. The China-EU investment agreement is an early warning that the EU may not be a firm ally of the US, not forgetting that China has always leveraged the economy to divide the West.
Paramilitary police officers wearing face masks march outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Heritage, CCP traditions & liberalism: Three fundamentals of China's new social contract

Lance Gore firmly believes that the social contract between government and people is seeing a radical upheaval around the world. In China’s case, a new social contract will be shaped by the triumvirate of Chinese culture and heritage, the traditions of the CCP, and the influence of liberal ideals. Only the strengths of each should be retained, while the shortcomings be discarded.