The former Trump administration launched the China Initiative in 2018, ostensibly to protect US national security interests. However, a recent open letter by US academics calling for an end to the initiative seems to suggest that the programme is not what it set out to be. Zaobao’s China Desk examines the China Initiative and what it has achieved — or not.
Respect. Lorna Wei says the nub of the issue in the low fertility rate in China lies in that one word. Growing up in a patriarchal society, daughters in China have for years been looked upon as second to sons. When they become wives, mothers and daughters-in-law, they shoulder the bulk of familial duties while trying to keep their jobs. Any fertility policy should first address greater equality between the sexes. Only when parents are assured that their burdens will be shared can they look forward to having more children.
Providing better support for families to play effective co-parenting roles is more likely to improve birth rates than sending women back to the kitchen, says Chen Jing.
US academic Zhu Zhiqun says that factors such as history, education and divisiveness within the Asian community have led to the persistence of anti-Asian racism in the US. This trend looks to continue unless Americans realise that every American has an immigrant past, and protecting the rights of Asian Americans is doing so for all Americans.
Stereotypically, Chinese Americans and Indian Americans are often compared in terms of their cultural traits with some drawing the conclusion that these traits have led the Chinese to fall behind in the business and political fields. Are the Chinese Americans really at a disadvantage in these areas? What are their strengths then?
Associate Professor Wu Guo analyses reactions from the Chinese American community to the recent spike in anti-Asian hate crime. He sees a clear distinction between those who see these acts as racially motivated, and those who feel that they should be taken as crimes against public safety and leave it to the police. Interestingly, the debates show that the Chinese themselves may hold certain prejudices against other ethnic groups in the US. Amid the increasing complexity of ethnic relations in the US, what steps can the Asian community take to protect their rights?
The US is doing a re-evaluation of several problems long embedded in its class system, culture and history. Han Dongping says that amid sharp divides in values and beliefs, every individual has a role to play to help resolve issues in a peaceful manner, so that the US avoids the danger of descending into civil war. But are the two major political parties ready to lead and take on the challenge?
The liberalist discursive system leaves little room for one to contemplate the possibility that a strong government can also be a good government, much less the positives of the East Asian developmental state or Asian values. In fact, under the East Asian social contract, people are willing to empower the government for greater outcomes for all, and the government works to win the approval of the people as a means to preserve their legitimacy. Now, when the flaws of liberalism are laid bare by Covid-19 and other crises, it may be worth taking a closer look at the merits of the East Asian social contract.
Chinese academic Zhang Tiankan looks at Tesla’s recent network outage incident in September and remembers a similar one suffered by Chinese consumers in May this year — a no-response "smart" car or a "missing" one on your connected car app is no fun at all. Zhang says while technology is useful, we must be aware that over-reliance can leave us vulnerable to malfunctions or prone to disparaging those who have yet to embrace the digital age.