A security surveillance camera overlooking a street is pictured next to a nearby fluttering flag of China in Beijing, China, on 25 November 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Mutual mistrust: People-to-people exchanges between China and the West seriously impacted

Mutual mistrust and fear between China and foreign countries is mounting, especially amid the self-imposed travel restrictions on both sides for high-level executives. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Han Yong Hong assesses that such developments are accelerating the decoupling between China and foreign countries, with little hope for reversal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a minute of silence for pilots killed in clashes with the mutineers during a revolt by Wagner mercenaries as he addresses troops from the defence ministry, National Guard, FSB security service and interior ministry gathered on the Cathedral Square at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on 27 June 2023. (Sergei Guneyev/Sputnik/AFP)

Putin’s dilemma: ‘Two-faced people’ in the authoritarian regime

Wei Da points out that the Wagner rebellion could only have happened because of the “two-faced people” in Putin's inner circle. Such people often emerge from the woodwork at critical moments, taking risks and rebelling. China and other countries may sit up and take notice: whether or not these rebellions work, they are usually fatal blows to authoritarian regimes.
The aims of malicious actors conducting cyberattacks on critical infrastructure vary. (Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

China-based hacking groups: Keeping critical infrastructure cyber-safe

With recent reports of a China-based state-sponsored hacking group targeting US critical infrastructure, RSIS academic Eugene Tan examines some common modes of cyberattacks around the world and the latest furore around alleged China-based hacking groups such as Volt Typhoon and Storm-0558.
A woman talks on a phone under surveillance cameras on a riverside in Shanghai, China, 7 March 2023. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Could Beijing's anti-spy campaign dampen its reopening efforts?

A recent raid by Chinese authorities on a Chinese consultancy firm relating to national security sends a signal to the entire industry to be more aware of national security issues, and to take necessary measures to prevent possible espionage. But could the revised anti-espionage law and focus on national security issues become a convenient excuse for serving Beijing’s needs, such as its diplomatic needs and so on?
A US Air Force U-2 pilot looks down at the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon as it hovers over the central continental US on 3 February 2023 before later being shot down by the Air Force off the coast of South Carolina, in this photo released by the US Air Force through the Defense Department on 22 February 2023. (US Air Force/Department of Defense/Handout via Reuters)

Mass hysteria over spy balloons: The pot calling the kettle black?

Former Zaobao editor Lim Jim Koon believes that the balloon saga between China and the US in February gives much food for thought around the role of political leaders and mass media in sensationalising the trivial incidents.
A 3D printed Tik Tok logo is seen in front of a US flag in this illustration taken 6 October 2020. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

Will the US ban TikTok completely?

The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs has advanced a bill in Congress potentially giving the Biden administration power to ban TikTok in the US. Zaobao’s China Desk weighs up the various opinions discussing the issue.
US Navy sailors assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4 prepare material recovered in the Atlantic Ocean from a high-altitude Chinese balloon shot down by the US Air Force off the coast of South Carolina after docking in Virginia Beach, Virginia for transport to federal agents at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek on 10 February 2023 in this image released by the US Navy in Washington, US, 13 February 2023. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan Seelbach/US Navy/Handout via Reuters)

Can the US and China get past the balloon saga?

Even as China and the US continue to bicker over the Chinese balloon that was shot down after entering US airspace, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi’s visit to Europe is on track, including his attendance at the Munich Security Conference in Germany and a possible meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Zaobao’s correspondent Yang Danxu looks at whether this trip could finally turn the page on the matter and refocus US-China priorities.
A jet flies by a suspected Chinese spy balloon as it floats off the coast in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, US, 4 February 2023. (Randall Hill/Reuters)

China’s military-civil fusion promotes militarisation of meteorological balloons

Japanese academic Masaaki Yatsuzuka finds China’s explanations and criticism of the US in the aftermath of the balloon incident unpersuasive, more so in light of its military-civilian fusion strategy.
Delegates attend the handover ceremony during the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, on 16 November 2022. (Willy Kurniawan/Pool/AFP)

Chinese balloon saga jeopardises 'Asian peace'

For years after the Cold War, given its military dominance, the US saw itself as instrumental to maintaining an “Asian peace”. With that mindset, the more it perceives China as a threat to its Asian primacy, the more it will be on the defensive. In truth, Asian peace was achieved through various efforts, and Asia-Pacific countries all have a stake in seeing it maintained.