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 — 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.