Political reform

In this file photo taken on 12 March 2018, a propaganda poster showing China's President Xi Jinping is displayed on a wall in Beijing, China. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

[Party and the man] Ditching presidential term limit an exception not the rule

While some consider Xi Jinping’s departure from the two-term presidential limit a sign of a descent into dictatorship, many fail to see that for China’s particular juncture in history, a deep centralisation of power is necessary, and Xi Jinping is very possibly the resolute leader needed to do it. However, this also means that China’s political future could go either way, either morphing into a new integration of democracy, rule of law and good governance, or being locked in a system that makes absolute power possible. This is the last in a series of four articles on President Xi Jinping and the road ahead.
Visitors are seen silhouetted against a Chinese Communist Party flag displayed at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China, 3 September 2022. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

China's far-left narratives are leading the country into a dead end

Commentator Lew Mon-hung notes that recent public opinion in China has been advocating a closed-door policy, sharply diverting away from the national policy of reform and opening up taken in 1978. Will China change course and reverse its decades-long process?
Anies Baswedan at an event in Jakarta, 22 July 2022. (Facebook/Anies Baswedan)

Anies Baswedan: Indonesia’s potential president adept at identity politics

ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata gives a profile of Anies Baswedan, former education and culture minister of Indonesia, current Jakarta governor, and potential presidential candidate. Will he run, and if he does, what is his platform likely to be?
People wave red flags during the filming of a Communist Party of China propaganda video in an upscale shopping district in the Sanlitun area in Beijing, China, 19 October 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Uniting China under Xi Jinping to build a modern socialist country: CPC to pass new 'historical resolution' at sixth plenum

At the sixth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee which begins today, the CPC is expected to consider the “Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements of the Party’s Centennial Struggle”, the third of its kind in the party’s history. Rather than dwelling on the errors or lessons of history, the resolution is expected to reaffirm the party’s achievements and point the way ahead for the next 30 years.
People walk along a street in Beijing, China, on 12 October 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Prelude to CPC’s 20th Party Congress in 2022: Seven new provincial party secretaries appointed

A year ahead of the Communist Party of China’s 20th Party Congress in autumn 2022, a round of promotions and game of musical chairs is at play again among provincial party secretaries. Which are the stars to look out for?
People walk in a subway station in Shanghai on 12 October 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Can there be a China-style democracy?

In a speech last week, Xi Jinping painted the broad strokes of China’s views on democracy, including criteria for assessing democratic systems and what such systems ought to do for the people. However, with the West convinced that China lacks democracy and is not in a position to preach about it, how far can the country advance its brand of ‘whole-process people’s democracy’? Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan explores the topic.
Fumio Kishida, Japan's prime minister, center, during a group photograph with his new cabinet members at prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on 4 October 2021. (Stainislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/Bloomberg)

Can Japan rise above factional politics and become the 'bridge to the world' under new PM Kishida?

Fumio Kishida became the new Japanese prime minister despite a relatively weak political base. This shows that factional politics within the Liberal Democratic Party still provided some measure of stability in influencing outcomes. However, public opinion has landed on the side of wanting a leader with the gumption and vision to implement reforms and improve the plight of the Japanese people. But will this new administration be a force for change as the people want, or will the Japanese government go back to the days of having a new prime minister each year? Japan-based academic Zhang Yun takes us through.
A colour supplement of Le Petit Journal from 1900 shows the Allied troops attacking Beijing.

[Picture story] The Boxer Rebellion: A wound in China’s modern history

The Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the 20th century goes down in history as proof that if the Chinese are weak, the West will take advantage and China will pay the price. It is a constant reminder to the Chinese of their past humiliations and guides their dealings with the West today. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao shares illustrations of the tumultuous times during that period.
Local natives of Hong Kong participate in a flash mob march to show solidarity with the 47 pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong who were charged for state subversion due to them organizing and taking part in a primary election, in Santa Monica, California on 7 March 2021. (Ringo Chiu/AFP)

Chinese culture at odds with freedom and democracy, shows fate of Ming dynasty's opposition party Donglin

Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao looks back at the Donglin movement during the Ming dynasty, concluding that its rise and fall shows that freedom and democracy have a history of clashing with China’s cultural background and DNA.