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Chinese national flags displayed at Wong Tai Sin Temple to mark National Day in Hong Kong, China, on 1 October 2021. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

China's reputation in major countries is at its worst. Can it save itself?

China’s accomplishments in the past four decades deserve respect and emulation from many countries across the globe, despite disparagement from the West. However, China may squander this opportunity to gain goodwill by erring on two fronts: its attitude towards liberalism, and its handling of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s legacy. Making a wrong move on either of these fronts can easily diminish its chances of becoming “one of the good guys” in international politics.
This handout image courtesy of Netflix shows a scene from season one of South Korea's Squid Game. (Youngkyu Park/Netflix/AFP)

Does China need its own Squid Game?

Despite Netflix not being in the China market, Chinese viewers have still managed to watch the global hit show Squid Game, prompting questions on whether China can come up with its own global hit. It is not so much a question of box office ticket sales or viewership revenue, but the gains of soft power and cultural diplomacy that can be reaped. What are China’s barriers to creating global hits?
An armed homemade Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) takes off from a motorway in Pingtung, Taiwan, during the annual Han Kuang drill on 15 September 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Domestic politics and mainland China's growing incursions into Taiwan's air defence zone

Mainland China’s recent aggressive flexing of muscles in Taiwan’s air defence identification zone tests the latter’s air defence capabilities and inflicts psychological warfare on the Taiwanese. Nonetheless, says Loro Horta, Beijing knows very well what it is doing. While the number of incursions has increased in frequency and number of aircraft involved, the PLA has not violated actual Taiwanese sovereign airspace. In the lead-up to key political events in the Chinese Communist Party’s calendar, such incursions may continue.
People look at publicity posters of The Battle at Lake Changjin at a cinema in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, on 7 October 2021. (CNS)

Can the Chinese criticise their patriotic movies?

The movie The Battle at Lake Changjin has broken all sorts of box office records in China. This patriotic drama portrays Chinese volunteer troops fighting in the Korean War against the US, and is highly rated by the authorities and the public. However, certain comments have been criticised for being disrespectful to the people and times in the movie, and the police have detained Chinese financial media personality Luo Changping for his allegedly disparaging comments against the country's volunteer fighters. Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.
People walk past a China Energy coal-fired power plant in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, 29 September 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

The conspiracy theories behind China's power cuts

Last year, Western media attributed the cause of China's power shortages to the latter's unofficial ban on Australian coal. This year, Chinese netizens and we-media are claiming that power cuts are necessary and a result of “an invisible exchange of swordplay in big country economic competition”. Leveraging nationalism and big power competition to garner attention and support is indeed the order of the day. Zaobao journalist Liu Liu explains why Chinese authorities and state media are debunking these conspiracy theories and refusing to ride on the patriotism wave.
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?
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou waves as she steps out of a charter plane at Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, 25 September 2021. (Jin Liwang/Xinhua via Reuters)

Canada the biggest loser in Meng Wanzhou saga?

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou returned to China over the weekend to much fanfare. The swift end to this incident after almost three years and the release of two Canadians who had been detained in China point to political machinations behind the scenes. Is this ending just a stalemate running its course or does it signify a restart of China-US and China-Canada relations?
Cyclists traverse the main quad on Stanford University's campus in Stanford, California, US, on 9 May 2014. (Beck Diefenbach/Reuters)

Why US academics are protesting against the Department of Justice’s ‘China Initiative’

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.
People clean up their flooded homes in a Queens neighborhood that saw massive flooding and numerous deaths following a night of heavy wind and rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on 3 September 2021 in New York City, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

What can China and the US cooperate on now?

US academic Zhu Zhiqun says that the future should not be decided solely by self-interested politicians in Washington or Beijing. Instead, real problems that affect or endanger ordinary people's lives should be of the highest priority. A failure to cooperate can lead to confrontation between the two most consequential nations of today and bring harm to the world.