Soft power

In this file photo taken on 19 January 2021, Taiwan’s tank troops line up for photographs after a drill in Hsinchu military base. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan: Why China-US relations are a zero-sum game

Chinese academic Ni Lexiong says that so long as a country's territorial sovereignty is in conflict with the hegemonic system governing the world, the likelihood of escalation to war is there. That is why despite any of the posturing at the recent Alaska talks, the situation between China and the US remains deadlocked in a zero-sum game.
Protesters take cover behind homemade shields as they confront the police during a crackdown on demonstrations against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on 16 March 2021. (STR/AFP)

Why anti-China sentiments are growing in Myanmar and China is set to lose

As the Myanmar coup continues, researcher Hein Khaing traces the steady but relentless progression of how the situation has resulted in increasing hatred towards China and both tangible and intangible losses suffered.
People walk in the Montorgueil street in Paris, France, 25 February 2021. (Sarah Meyssonnier/Reuters)

French cultural and academic institutions alarmed by China's influence

Recent incidents in France’s academic and cultural arenas are making the French take notice of what they perceive as China’s attempts to exert its influence, and there are growing calls for institutions and individuals to maintain independence. France-based journalist Justin Zhang explores the issue.
A picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping overlooks a street ahead of the National People's Congress (NPC), in Shanghai, China, 1 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why Southeast Asia has a love-hate relationship with China

The State of Southeast Asia: 2021 Survey Report shows that many acknowledge yet fear China’s economic dominance. What is behind this enigma of a Southeast Asia that welcomes yet worries about China? Lee Huay Leng assesses that it is a confluence of factors, both external and internal to China. A change in tone, mindset and behaviour is in order if China is to be truly understood by the people it seeks to influence.
People wait at a traffic light on a street in Phnom Penh on 11 January 2021. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Confucius Institutes accepted in SEA and embraced by Cambodia, unlike in the West

China’s Confucius Institutes have been vilified in the West, but they have gained much traction in Cambodia. This is not surprising, given that Cambodia is one of China's closest allies in Southeast Asia. ISEAS visiting fellow Vannarith Chheang explains why.
Protesters hold signs with an image of Aung San Suu Kyi as they take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on 22 February 2021. (Sai Aung Main/AFP)

A rising China needs to demonstrate moral courage on Myanmar issue

Thinking along the lines of moral realism, a concept espoused by Professor Yan Xuetong, dean of the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University, China can enhance its international esteem by establishing its moral and strategic credibility on the Myanmar issue, says Professor He Baogang.
Demonstrators protest against military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, 22 February 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)

Why China has everything to lose from Myanmar coup

Contrary to speculation that China may have abetted or has much to gain from the situation in Myanmar, Hong Kong academic Enze Han says that it is actually the party with the most to lose. Moreover, any playing up of a great power tussle between the US and China only hurts Myanmar in the long run.
An officer checks a container with COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd., as they arrive at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in the first shipment to Indonesia, in Tangerang, near Jakarta, 6 December 2020. (Dhemas Reviyanto/Antara Foto via Reuters)

Survey: China the most influential and distrusted power in Southeast Asia

The State of Southeast Asia 2021 survey published by the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute indicates that Southeast Asians’ trust in China continues to trend downward. China’s success in containing the pandemic domestically, and its "pandemic diplomacy” in the region have had little effect on Southeast Asians' trust deficit towards Beijing, as they are anxious over China’s ability to constrain their countries’ sovereignty and foreign policy choices. ISEAS academic Hoang Thi Ha notes that this trust deficit undermines China’s “discourse power”, and Beijing would do well to consider recalibrating its approach to the region.
This file photo taken on 4 June 2019 shows the Chinese flag behind razor wire at a housing compound in Yangisar, south of Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region. - The US will seize all imports of tomato and cotton products from China's Xinjiang region due to the use of forced labor, the Customs and Border protection agency announced on 13 January 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Is there a genocide in Xinjiang?

The West has often criticised China for what it calls human rights abuses and violations in regions such as Xinjiang, even going so far as to call for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be shifted away from Beijing. And as his parting salvo, former US Secretary of State Mike stated that China has committed “genocide and crimes of humanity in Xinjiang". What are the implications of the word “genocide” and why is it being tiptoed around? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong says that while China needs to be more transparent about what's happening in Xinjiang, the Chinese government's single-minded push to "educate" the Uighurs may not be equivalent to a "genocide".