Soft power

A man waves the Chinese flag to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China, in Hong Kong on 1 July 2022. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP)

One country, two systems: Can Hong Kong hold on to its characteristics?

Despite Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent speech reaffirming Hong Kong’s future as well as the “one country, two systems” policy, many are worried that Hong Kong’s unique advantages are weakening fast amid a tightening of political space. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing tells us more.
Locals sit on a wall situated on the foreshore of the harbour in the Fiji capital of Suva, 24 August 2014. (Lincoln Feast/File Photo/Reuters)

The South Pacific Ocean: Another battleground for China-US competition?

While the South Pacific is looking to be an emerging arena of greater competition with China on one side and the US and its allies on the other, US-based academic Hong Nong also sees that areas of common interest could still drive cooperation between them, depending on which direction the pendulum swings.
This photo taken on 15 February 2022 shows people visiting a lantern show during the Lantern Festival in Yantai in China's eastern Shandong province. (AFP)

China and Chinese overseas: A softer soft policy needed?

China has been engaging in a soft power campaign overseas, and one group that it counts on as a resource is the Chinese overseas. Major institutions involving Chinese overseas include the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, various associations established among Chinese overseas, as well as numerous Confucius Institutes all over the world. China will need to be sensitive to the feelings of both the ethnic Chinese and the non-Chinese population of other countries. At the same time, China has to deal with negative allegations from various sources, which may also have a negative impact on how local Chinese are viewed.
Police officers patrol the square in front of Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, 3 May 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Why Indonesia's Muslim organisations are not critical of China's Xinjiang policy

China's faith diplomacy towards Muslim organisations in Indonesia appears to have silenced critics of its policy towards the Uighurs in Xinjiang. Among its efforts, Beijing has portrayed itself as an ally of moderate Muslims against extremism, and invited Indonesian clerics several times to Xinjiang to give them a firsthand look into conditions there. In return, major religious figures in Indonesia have called on Indonesians not to criticise China over the Uighur issue. This is likely to continue as long as the Indonesian government sees benefits in its links with China.
A student cycles past a wall mural in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on 10 December 2021. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

Huawei digital talent programme: Another source of China's soft power in Indonesia

Huawei’s digital talent programme in Indonesia is contributing to China’s soft power as the latter seeks to engage Indonesia as an important node of its Belt and Road Initiative. Indonesia stands to gain from the exchange but also needs to be wary of possible cybersecurity concerns.
A child stands near a giant screen showing the image of the Tianhe space station at China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, China, 24 April 2021. (Tingshu Wang/File Photo/Reuters)

India-China space race: The role of the private sector

As geopolitical competition among global powers extends into outer space, major players are looking at how the private sector can play a bigger part in the space race and boost national space venturing capabilities. Yogesh Joshi and Ashmita Rana note that while India's space expenditure stands at only one-sixth of China's, and the latter seems to be leading the way in working with its private space firms, India's great ambitions and edge over China in working with global partners may give it a greater push to catch up.
In this picture taken on 13 November 2021, Taliban fighters stop next to destroyed armoured vehicles displayed along a road in Ghazni, Afghanistan. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China and Russia compete for influence in Central Asia

China-Russia rivalry in the Central Asian region is intensifying, with the US's departure from Afghanistan and the two countries seeking to fill the power vacuum by working within their Central Asian spheres of dominance. Can the two powers work together to foster greater regional stability or will they let their competitiveness get the better of them?
People walk along at financial district of Lujiazui in Shanghai, China, 15 October 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

How China's 'poor' ultra-rich can truly become world-class entrepreneurs

Deng Qingbo finds that those who have “grown rich first” during China’s initial period of reform and opening up, and who have grown rich a second time by consolidating their holdings, now find themselves locked in an endless pursuit of wealth with no clear direction to better themselves. He thinks it is high time that they “grow wealthy for the third time” in the spiritual sense, and give back to society by developing a truly influential and well-respected corporate culture. It works out well that this would be in line with China’s “common prosperity” goals.
Tourists wearing face masks walk along Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, on 20 October 2021. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

China’s alliance with Russia is solidifying

Even though several analyses have it that the China-Russia relationship is filled with underlying tensions and can break without warning, Loro Horta believes that the alliance they have can stand the test of time, given a mutual dependency for resources as well as common geopolitical interests and threat perceptions. Instead of warning Russia about China, Washington may want to worry more about the state of its own alliances.