UK

This photo taken on 20 September 2015 shows Chinese farmers picking cotton in the fields during the harvest season in Hami, Xinjiang, China. (STR/AFP)

The fight that never ends: Why are China and the West now fighting over Xinjiang cotton?

While Western and Chinese governments continue their tit-for-tat one-upmanship, multinational companies and their big brands are running greater risks of stepping on political landmines in the Chinese market. But can they stay out of the fray?
People stand at a vaccination site after receiving a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, in Shanghai, China, 19 January 2021. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

War of words over efficacy and safety of vaccines: Will China win?

A media war is underway between the state media in China and the media in the US and Europe over vaccine development, distribution and reception. With loud hailer tactics used all round, it’s not the truth but what people perceive to be true that counts most. Whose voice will be the loudest to drown out the din and shape the vaccine narrative?
Pedestrians walk along the banks of the River Thames in view of the Battersea Power Station office, retail and residential development in the Nine Elms district in London, UK, 7 January 2021. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

Life is short. Would you risk yours for a Covid-19 'challenge trial'?

As Covid-19 “challenge trials” in the UK get underway where volunteers are intentionally infected with the coronavirus, Chip Tsao ponders how many of us would put our lives on the line for the greater good? Would having a Western or Chinese mindset have a part to play in the decisions made? And would cultural differences such as the Chinese focus on self-preservation explain why China was better at getting the epidemic under control? 
A Union Jack and a Chinese flag on a pole with security cameras in front of a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen gate in Beijing, 31 January 2018. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

A century later, China has closed its doors to Western humanism

British philosopher Bertrand Russell was favourably impressed when he visited China a century ago. More than just advancing business and trade, he saw an opportunity to engage with and positively influence Chinese thinkers of the day. Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao looks at the evolution of UK-China relations and the reasons why hopes that China would develop along a certain trajectory may have all been dashed.
Students attend the 100th anniversary of the founding of Wuhan High School on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan, Hubei, China, on 1 September 2020. (STR/AFP)

Why intellectuals failed to flourish throughout 5000 years of China's history

Chip Tsao laments the dearth of independent thought in China, following a long history of strictures imposed on intellectualism. If the elements of the “scholar”, “intellectual” and “professional” can be combined and inculcated in the country’s elites, a new dynamism can be sparked off that can help China truly modernise.
The TikTok app icon sits displayed on a smartphone in front of the national flags of China and the US in this arranged photograph in London, 3 August 2020. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

Chinese companies going global? Take heed of TikTok's crisis

With its “China DNA” and despite its popularity, TikTok may end up being blocked in the US and eventually elsewhere in the world. Will its discussions with Microsoft work out? Or will it have to pull out of the US? And beyond TikTok, what does this episode mean for Chinese companies in the process of internationalising their businesses?
A People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy soldier stands in front of a backdrop featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping during an open day of Stonecutters Island naval base, in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2019. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Why is the West ganging up to fight the Chinese ruling party?

“The new Cold War” is becoming a catchphrase for the state of relations between China and the US. But the China of today and the web of connections it shares with the US is very different from the former Soviet Union. Is calling the conflict a clash of ideologies oversimplifying the issue? Even further, is it in the US’s interest to do so to corral support for its actions against China at home and abroad? Zhu Ying examines the issue.
A Keep Calm and Carry On flag flies in the garden of a home in Bodiam, southern England, 9 April 2020. China-Britain ties have cooled in the past few months. (Ben Stansall/AFP)

From 'natural partner' to the opposition: UK's China policy veers towards the US amid Covid-19

In some ways, the UK has been independent of the US in making decisions when it comes to China, such as in joining the AIIB, and initially deciding to allow the use of Huawei’s equipment for its 5G network. However, the coronavirus and the new national security law for Hong Kong has pushed Britain to be more aligned with the US in opposing China. Chinese academic Zhu Ying notes that Britain’s new stance would embolden others to follow suit.
The US flag and a smartphone with the Huawei and 5G network logo are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration taken on 29 January 2020. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

Cut-throat competition for world-class chips: The end of Huawei?

Greater restrictions have been imposed by the US in recent months to choke off US-related chip-making supplies to Huawei. As the noose tightens around its neck, it has to think fast about how it can produce its own chips domestically to minimise the impact.