Cold War

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. 
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.
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.
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?
People wear protective face masks at a shopping complex in Beijing, China, on 17 July 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Is the US just a ‘paper tiger’ or is she able to derail China’s progress?

Even though the countries are in a state of “non-war”, US-China tensions will not go away, says Chinese scholar Deng Qingbo. The US can only be expected to continue using China as a bogeyman even after the presidential election. While he is confident that China will be able to handle containment measures thrown at it deftly, he warns that it needs to guard against being increasingly withdrawn from the world as it nurses its bruises from its battles with the US. Failing to do so would only mean the US has succeeded in thwarting its goal of greater reform and opening up.
A paramilitary police officer wearing a face mask following the Covid-19 outbreak, stands guard outside the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China must endure the storm, for time is on its side 

Senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute Lance Gore says that China must learn to rein in its rage and impatience and do its fair share of self-reflection. What good would it do if it gives in to petty emotions and provokes a US-led coalition against it? For sure, it still has room for manoeuvre, thanks to the attractiveness of its huge consumer market. But it must not miss the woods for the trees: the US is still more powerful than it is and the two are better off as friends than enemies. Question is, will China be able to be humble, look itself squarely in the mirror, and refrain from doing the things it must not?
Chinese servicemen walk past portraits of German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and patrol a street near the Great Hall of the People on the opening day of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

From a Marxist perspective, the China-US Cold War is inevitable

Zhu Ying states that it is impossible to understand the new Cold War between China and the US without understanding the clash of ideologies that marked the first Cold War and which clouds the current state of relations between China and the US. If we are lucky, like the first Cold War, the new Cold War will not tip over into a hot war. However, accidental mishaps wrought by zealous ideologues cannot be ruled out.
A People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy soldier stands in front of a backdrop featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping during an open day of Stonecutters Island naval base, in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2019. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Why is the West ganging up to fight the Chinese ruling party?

“The new Cold War” is becoming a catchphrase for the state of relations between China and the US. But the China of today and the web of connections it shares with the US is very different from the former Soviet Union. Is calling the conflict a clash of ideologies oversimplifying the issue? Even further, is it in the US’s interest to do so to corral support for its actions against China at home and abroad? Zhu Ying examines the issue.