Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel stand guard outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, on 14 April 2023. (Narinder Nanu/AFP)

The India-Pakistan saga at the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting: The China factor

Pundits hoping for a sign of detente between India and Pakistan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting in Goa recently would have been disappointed. It is in Pakistan’s interest to keep relations with India testy leading up to its elections, and China’s support may just give it the ammunition it needs.
This screen grab obtained from a handout video released by the Russian Defence Ministry on August 29, 2022, shows Chinese soldiers marching along a railway platform upon their arrival for 'Vostok-2022' military exercises at the Sergeevsky training ground at Primorskiy (Maritime) Kray of the Russian Far East. (Handout/Russian Defence Ministry/AFP)

Will China's military exercises with SCO countries and Russia help it build a regional security order?

East Asian Institute academic Li Nan asserts that China’s joint military exercises with Central Asian countries and Russia are done in the context of furthering “strategic partnerships” to deal with domestic and intramural security threats but not external threats. While it is clear that China aims to build a regional security order in Central Asia, its adherence to non-interference may hinder its efforts.
A paramilitary police officer stands guard on the Tiananmen Square, in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 8 March 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Ethnic minority leaders for the Central Committee: Countdown to CCP's 20th Party Congress

Li Cheng, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, analyses ethnic minority representation in the CCP leadership past and present and picks out the ones to watch in the lead-up to the 20th Party Congress.
Members of the honour guard prepare for a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 25 October 2019. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

The PLA’s political role: The party still, and must always control the gun

While the Chinese government has paid more attention to the navy and air force contingents of the People’s Liberation Army in recent times, it is still the land forces that have the most political influence. The party is well aware that it is the latter’s might they would need in the event of internal uprisings and it is this constituent’s loyalty and strength they must ensure.
Uzbekistan, Central Asia, early 20th century. A Mongolian yurt stands amid the wide grasslands, as people gather in front of the yurt. A fire for cooking has gone out, and guests are getting on their horses to leave as the host family comes out to see them off. The men on horseback are wearing long robes with slits on the side, with black sheepskin hats. Nomadic men like wearing clothes that are convenient for riding and keeping warm.

[Picture story] China’s western frontier and beyond

Taiwanese historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao considers China's historical engagements with its western frontier and the lands beyond it, and takes note of what the Chinese have documented and popularised in their version of the history of cultural exchanges with civilisations across Asia and Europe. With photos and drawings by young artist Brian Hsu, he brings us through history for a peek at those times.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gesticulates during a joint press conference with Danish Prime Minister following talks at the Chancellery on 9 February 2022 in Berlin, Germany. (Michele Tantussi/Pool/AFP)

Will Germany's new government be tougher on China?

After 16 years in office, Angela Merkel handed over the German chancellery to Olaf Scholz in December. How should we evaluate her legacy regarding China and, with the new German government almost two months in, what can be said about the future of Germany’s China policy?
Students gather as schools transition to in-classroom teaching amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Jakarta on 3 January 2022. (Adek Berry/AFP)

China’s Islamic diplomacy in Indonesia is seeing results

China’s efforts at Islamic diplomacy — including providing scholarships for Indonesian students and inviting leaders of Islamic organisations to visit China — seem to be paying off, at least in producing young academics like Novi Basuki, who has been defending China’s actions in Xinjiang. NTU academic Leo Suryadinata tells us more.
People watch a screen with live footage of the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Shenyang Olympic Sports Centre in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, on 4 February 2022. (AFP)

Will political bickering overshadow sports events at the Beijing Winter Olympics?

Yu Zeyuan takes stock of the barbs that have been traded by mainstream Western media and Chinese state media at the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics. It seems that references to political issues such as Xinjiang and Taiwan have been thrown in by both sides. After this snowball fight and the warm glow of the opening ceremony, is it time to get down to the sports?
Police officers patrol the square in front of Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, 3 May 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Why Indonesia's Muslim organisations are not critical of China's Xinjiang policy

China's faith diplomacy towards Muslim organisations in Indonesia appears to have silenced critics of its policy towards the Uighurs in Xinjiang. Among its efforts, Beijing has portrayed itself as an ally of moderate Muslims against extremism, and invited Indonesian clerics several times to Xinjiang to give them a firsthand look into conditions there. In return, major religious figures in Indonesia have called on Indonesians not to criticise China over the Uighur issue. This is likely to continue as long as the Indonesian government sees benefits in its links with China.