Communists

In this file photo the US flag flies in the foreground as containers are seen at the Port of Los Angeles on 18 June 2019 in San Pedro, California. Spending by American consumers and record-high imports as the global economy reopened drove the US trade gap to a new all-time high in March, the Commerce Department reported on 4 May 2021. The trade deficit rose 5.6% to US$74.4 billion, the highest ever recorded and mostly attributable to trade with China. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

The politicisation of China-US trade ties: Showdown between capitalism and communism?

Economics professor Zhu Ying notes that China-US trade ties are currently highly politicised, not least because of bilateral military competition, and what the West sees as China’s authoritarian approach in the digital sector. The US trade war is set to see further ripples and partial decoupling of supply chains may worsen. Can this standoff be resolved?
The Soong sisters on their return to China after graduating from college in the US. From left: Soong Ching-ling, Ai-ling, and Mei-ling. The Soong family was from Hainan island, and father Charlie Soong was a businessman who migrated to the US.

[Photo story] The Soong sisters and their place in Chinese modern history

The Soong sisters — Ai-ling, Ching-ling and Mei-ling — born in Shanghai and educated in the US, are some of the most well-known personalities in Chinese modern history. All of them were supporters of the nationalist revolution; two of them went on to become the wives of revolutionary leaders Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and political figures in their own right. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao examines their impact through his collection of photos.
Souvenir plates featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and late communist leader Mao Zedong are seen at a store in Beijing on 2 March 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

The CCP’s massive left turn and the post-Xi political landscape of China

In the name of “Never forgetting the founding mission” (不忘初心), CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping engineered a massive regression to communist orthodoxy, resurrecting ideological indoctrination, tightening control of the media and cracking down on freedom of speech. EAI researcher Lance Gore says this sharp swing to the left has surprised and agitated many in the West and led them to confront and contain what seems to be a renewed communist threat. However, he feels that the rationale for Xi’s left turn is misaligned with socioeconomic changes on the ground and the doctrine is thus difficult to sustain. It is in fact more of a generational phenomenon that will come to naught once Xi and his cohort depart from the scene. 
Souvenirs featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre) and late communist leader Mao Zedong (right) are seen at a store in Beijing on 2 March 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China: A good guy or a bad guy?

In the international arena, anti-communism rhetoric is on the rise and the narrative of China as the bad guy is becoming increasingly mainstream. Not only that, the CCP’s return to Red orthodoxy appears to be at odds with the country’s reform in many areas and is adding to misperceptions of China. To truly take national rejuvenation forward and save China from facing unnecessary confrontations internationally, the Communist Party needs to innovate and mould a brand-new socialist image. Can China become the good guy again? Lance Gore finds the answer.
A man holds the US and China flags in a Lunar New Year ceremony in Chinatown on 12 February 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/AFP)

'Cold peace' in China-US relations: Who will get the last laugh?

US-based researcher Wei Da notes that China-US relations are at risk of stagnating and reaching a state of "cold peace" with the current development. While China has been making friendly overtures to the US, it is also signalling that the ball is in the US’s court. Would any side give space to the other? Who will benefit from such a situation?
Pedestrians and cyclists stand in front of a screen showing an advertisement for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Beijing, China, on 5 March 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China-US strategic showdown: Will the east wind prevail over the west wind?

The 21st century sees the convergence of the Chinese socialist system and its American capitalist counterpart across the global arena, and that convergence is a critical turning point in history, says Zhu Ying. With China exhibiting real muscle on the international stage, the US must prove that the democratic system will prevail. To do this, it must not only get its house in order, but offer credible solutions to the world.
People wearing face masks walk near Qianmen Street, in Beijing, China, 10 February 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can the CCP forge an inclusive social contract and build a healthy civil society?  

Rather than perpetuate the “giant baby syndrome” of mollycoddled citizens, says Lance Gore, the Chinese government should go against its combative instincts and focus on harmony. Only then can it forge an inclusive social contract with the populace, where there’s room for active citizenry and a healthy civil society.
People walk past the New York Stock exchange (NYSE) and the 'Fearless Girl' statue at Wall Street after heavy rainfall on 30 November 2020 in New York City, US. (Angela Weiss/AFP)

Wall Street, foreign investment hankering for China deals despite US sanctions

Even as the US government blacklists several Chinese companies for being “Chinese Communist military companies” or a national security threat, Wall Street does not seem fazed; investors seem prepared to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to betting on China.
This handout photo taken and released by the Indian Navy on 18 November 2020 shows ships taking part in the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise in the Arabian sea. India, Australia, Japan and the US started the second phase of a strategic navy drill on 17 November in the Northern Arabian sea. (Indian Navy/AFP)

The Indo-Pacific strategy could turn into an empty shell under Biden

The Indo-Pacific strategy, with the China threat at the back of its mind, was a vital plank of the Trump administration’s foreign policy. Professor Xiang Lanxin considers the flaws of the concept when put into practice, and wonders if the policy will become something of a white elephant under the Biden administration.