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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.
People pose for photos in front of a statue of American actress Marilyn Monroe Universal Studios Beijing, China, 21 September 2021. (CNS)

Universal Studios Beijing: With 5,000 years of culture, can China create its own theme park?

Universal Studios Beijing opened to much publicity, with tickets being snapped up in just one minute. But some detractors question if this is exactly the sort of imperialism that China has grown out of and it should be developing its own mega attractions with Chinese elements. Would doing so simply entail rejecting Western influences? How can it develop a concept that truly reflects a flavour of China or its popular culture?
A colour illustration on 8 April 1884 shows the Battle of Fuzhou, with a shower of gunfire from French vessels and the Fujian Fleet either sinking or damaged.

[Picture story] The Sino-French War of 1884 and the collapse of Western colonialism

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao notes that the Sino-French War showed the weaknesses of Western colonial powers, particularly France. This ultimately led to the end of colonialism following World War II.
In 1842, the Chinese and British delegations consisting of the Chinese Minister of Revenue Keying, the viceroy of Liangjiang Yilibu, and the first governor of Hong Kong Henry Pottinger signed the Treaty of Nanjing — the first “unequal treaty” between China and a foreign country — on board HMS Cornwallis moored in Nanjing Harbour.

The Opium Wars: When China’s ‘century of shame’ began

Pain. Humiliation. Injustice. These are the words that Chinese generally associate with the two Opium Wars, which resulted in the infamous unequal treaties that ultimately gave Hong Kong to the British for 100 years. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao sheds light on this defining period of China’s history.
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks by a mural in Manhattan's Chinatown district of New York City, US, 2 June 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Chinese economics professor: The New York I saw was not the New York I read about in books

Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui is pensive as he visits New York City for the first time. Rather than the romanticised versions of the city he had read about, the New York he encounters in Flushing, Queens is gritty and a whole other reality. But he reflects that as societies and cultures continue to evolve, fighting for dominance in a state of chaos, the side they show to the world will sometimes be different but always real.
This file photo shows the People's Republic of China flag and the U.S. flag fly on a lamp post along Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, 18 January 2011. (Hyungwon Kang/Reuters)

How China might just win the China-US competition of governance systems

Academic Tan Kong Yam says that the ongoing China-US competition is not a tussle between two armies or two political systems, but "a competition between the governance systems of two fast-evolving countries, under the influence of rapidly globalising technologies". In that sense, China's system possesses some great advantages. Even so, it has to bide its time and not get arrogant, if it is to navigate itself through dangerous waters and emerge the winner.
A banner marking the centenary of the Chinese Community Party is seen at a subway station in Shanghai, China on 28 June 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Former Singapore FM George Yeo on CCP’s centenary: The Chinese revolution continues

George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, shares his thoughts on China’s evolution with Lianhe Zaobao on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. He sees the milestone as just a pitstop in the long journey of the Chinese nation. Fresh thinking and innovation will be needed as the country progresses. Equally important, developing a “broad-minded and big-hearted nationalism” which is humble and learns from others will keep China on the path of being a great nation. Here are edited excerpts from the interview.
Workers set Chinese national flags on a shopping street ,ahead of a rehearsal for the celebrations to mark the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing, China, 26 June 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's new-found confidence to hit back at the West

China has often been criticised by the West over various issues, from human rights to the South China Sea to the origins of the coronavirus. However, recent developments have given China confidence and grounds to hit back at the West as well as Japan. Most recently, China accused the West of its poor human rights records in treating indigenous people and their history, the UK's right of rule over Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands), and Japan’s decision to discharge nuclear wastewater into the sea. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan explains China’s fresh confidence.
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.