Rule of law

This photo taken on 6 October 2022 shows a cargo ship loaded with vehicles berthing at Yantai Port in China's eastern Shandong province. (AFP)

From rule taker to rule shaper: The importance of UNCLOS to China

China’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) not only helped Beijing to adapt to contemporary global ocean governance, but also reinforced the importance for China to develop a maritime strategy to safeguard its maritime rights and interests. For instance despite China’s rejection of the 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling of the Philippines’ case against China in the case of the South China Sea, it still refers to UNCLOS (rather than simply dismisses it) to explain its decision. It can be expected that UNCLOS can be a tool of political contestation in the great power competition between Beijing and Washington.
People use their mobile phones outside a closed down business in Hong Kong on 1 November 2022. (Peter Parks/AFP)

Hong Kong's left turn could hit its financial centre status

Commentator Lew Mon-hung explores seven contradictions that he observes in the “one country, two systems” policy for Hong Kong, including the stand on the private sector, governance issues, and the dynamic zero-Covid policy. All of these factors have had an impact on Hong Kong, and it remains to be seen how these points will be addressed to ensure the special administrative region’s growth.
China is clamping down on corruptions and wrongdoings in its chip industry. (iStock)

China’s chip industry 'Big Fund' crackdown: Corruptions or failed investments?

China’s Big Fund has come under scrutiny following a series of high-profile corruption investigations involving key persons in the chip industry. The CHIPS Act was also recently signed into law in the US to counter China, which makes things even more difficult for the sector. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing speaks to industry experts to find out how the Big Fund can come out of this crisis.
Fumio Kishida, Japan's Prime Minister and president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), walks past his poster after placing a paper rose on an LDP candidate's name, to indicate a victory in the upper house election, at the party's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, 10 July 2022. (Toru Hanai/Pool via Reuters)

Japanese academic: Misunderstandings surrounding Japan’s constitutional revision

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima notes that concerns about Japan's possible increased militarism amid constitutional revision may be misplaced. The debate in Japan is focused on making Japan's Self-Defence Forces constitutional, and not so much altering Article 9 itself. If countries are concerned about Japan's security moves, they should really be looking out for changes in documents such as the revised National Security Strategy to be launched at the end of the year.
The Tangshan incident revealed that the gangsters' violence derives from the age-old patriarchal ideology pervading Tangshan to some extent. (Illustration: Lorna Wei)

A personal account of Tangshan's dreadful societal culture

The Tangshan assault case unearths deeper societal issues such as an insidious guanxi culture that has condoned the practice of turning a blind eye. Worse, ordinary folk no longer even bat an eyelid at such “norms” anymore. When that happens, is the recent violence enough to jolt society and the authorities to do things differently?
The Texas state flag is flown at half-mast, in honor of the victims of the Uvalde school shooting, outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, US, on 31 May 2022. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Competition between democracy and autocracy a political fallacy

The US has defined major global events such as the war in Ukraine and its competition with China under the ideological framework of a fight between democracy and autocracy. But is the 21st century world just black and white? Lim Jim Koon, former editor-in-chief of Chinese Media Group, SPH Media, suggests that before we criticise others and demand them to change, maybe we should start by examining ourselves.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma in Paris, France, 15 May 2019. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

How Jack Ma’s surname sent shockwaves through China’s capital market

News of the arrest of an individual surnamed Ma in the technology industry in Hangzhou on suspicion of endangering national security led to a sharp drop in the stock market, as people associated the name with Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba. Zaobao’s Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu notes that perhaps this is not so surprising, given Jack Ma’s previous trouble with the Chinese government, especially during the crackdown on the “disorderly expansion of capital”.
Paramilitary police members wearing protective face masks stand near surveillance cameras at the Bund, in Shanghai, China, 20 January 2022. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

China-focused multinational firms are facing increasingly complex legal environments

As one of the largest recipients of foreign investments, China has no shortage of publicly disclosed cases of corrupt business dealings. But transnational firms are still willing to take the risks and cultivate relationship-building strategies in their business activities. They are even prepared to face a “double jeopardy” situation when they are penalised in their home and overseas locations. But their operating environment could get even more challenging with the US and China clamping down on transnational crime, and the increasing use of domestic judiciaries to regulate extraterritorial legal matters.
The Shandong and Jinan authorities have set up investigative teams to look into thousands of illegally constructed villas in the area. (Internet)

When China’s local governments ignore Xi Jinping’s instructions to demolish illegally built villas

Recent media reports have highlighted the issue of villas continuing to be illegally built in the mountains of southern Jinan even as those found are demolished. Shandong and Jinan authorities have swiftly launched investigations, including taking action against party cadres who might be involved, but will their persistence last? Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan reports.