Governance

Motorists pass the China-Myanmar border gate in Muse in Shan state on 5 July 2021. (STR/AFP)

Will the Chinese government's crackdown on cross-border crime in Myanmar work?

In recent years, Chinese criminal gangs have moved to Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Laos and Thailand as China tightened its crackdown on telecom fraud at home. These gangs even have the support of local authorities in some cases. Now that the Chinese authorities are cracking down on cross-border crime, will the situation improve? Or will it be a never-ending merry-go-round?
Chinese President Xi Jinping waves at the end of the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can the CCP avoid the Stalin curse under Xi Jinping?

Fatal flaws in the Soviet system, or the Stalin curse, led to the eventual demise of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. These systemic flaws had different manifestations at different levels of the system. The current CCP leadership is aware of these problems and has tried hard to avoid travelling down the same path of the Soviet Union, but tinkering with the same Leninist vanguard party is not going to ensure its survival. Instead, a new model of party building is needed to break the Stalin curse.
Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's president, attends a commissioning ceremony for a new Ta Chiang guided-missile corvette in Suao, Yilan County, Taiwan, on 9 September 2021. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

Serious consequences if Washington allows renaming of Taiwan’s US office

The US is reportedly considering a request from Taiwan to change the name of its mission in Washington from “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” to “Taiwan Representative Office”. What are the implications, and is it likely to happen? Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun examines the situation.
Models gesture as they present creations for medical professionals, which are designed by Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology in collaboration with Dishang, during China Fashion Week in Beijing, China, 11 September 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

A zero-Covid strategy has worked in China, but will it work elsewhere?

Despite various waves of the coronavirus resurfacing in different parts of China, the authorities have effectively implemented a zero-Covid policy to control the spread of infections, including the more transmissible Delta variant. Academic Gu Qingyang notes that while the policy has largely worked and helped to keep China’s economy humming, it is specific to China's conditions and may not be replicable elsewhere.
This drone shot taken on 21 August 2021 shows a general view of Shenzhen. (CNS)

Will clampdowns on China’s property sector lead to economic turmoil?

Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that China’s property market has long been deeply bound with various aspects of China’s economy and society, forming a community of shared interests. Following increasing regulations on the property sector as part of the government’s drive towards “common prosperity”, will a chain reaction of economic turmoil ensue or is this a necessary move to achieve larger goals?
People visit the Alibaba booth during the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China, 4 September 2021. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

How internet giants' monopolistic practices hurt SMEs in China

Internet giants in China have been engaging in monopolistic practices that hurt the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, says technology specialist Yin Ruizhi. As such, these practices will be dealt with by the government if the platforms themselves do not find ways to resolve them. Is this another move towards "common prosperity"?
Two men have their breakfast on the street in an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China on 30 August 2021. Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired a high-level meeting that “reviewed and approved” measures to fight monopolies, battle pollution and shore up strategic reserves, all areas that are crucial to his government’s push to improve the quality of life for the nation’s 1.4 billion people. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Can China succeed in income distribution reform and get rid of its celebrity economy?

The assets of the top eight tycoons in the world have a combined worth of half the global population, says EAI academic Lance Gore, and the Chinese Communist Party faces a choice: Will China go down the old path of Western advanced capitalism, especially Anglo-American capitalism, and make the same mistakes as them? China has shown resolve in reforming its income distribution issues in various sectors including the entertainment industry. But it is not an easy path as vested interests may still interfere and the people can only rely on the self-purification of the Chinese Communist Party to uphold the regime’s people-centred nature.
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk down Nanjing East Road in Shanghai, China on 14 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Why China is embarking on the journey of 'common prosperity'

China has set itself the goal of achieving "common prosperity" in the coming years, after realising its goal of "building a moderately prosperous society in all respects". Chinese academic Luo Zhiheng describes this ideal society which is the opposite of a society plagued by a serious wealth gap — people should look forward to improving their quality of life and not worry about their basic needs; social safety nets should also provide basic livelihood protection for the disadvantaged groups. He outlines how China can realise this ideal by harnessing the strength of all who are able and who have "gotten rich first" during the reform and opening up process.
A general view shows residential buildings in Hong Kong on 21 August 2021 (Bertha Wang/AFP)

Can Hong Kong get rid of its atrocious subdivided flats anytime soon?

Hong Kongers face the perennial problem of housing shortage and high property prices. Some have no choice but to rent subdivided flats — residential flats further partitioned into smaller units — which are still not quite affordable and are rarely well maintained. Residents report physical and mental health issues, but amid land scarcity and a lack of supply, will they just have to keep making do?