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In this file photo taken on 19 October 2020, US President Donald Trump dances as he leaves a rally at Tucson International Airport in Tucson, Arizona. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Why Trump should have two Twitter accounts

The Chinese need to do better to counter misleading tweets from US President Trump’s Twitter propaganda machine, say China academics Li Yongning and Wen Jiandong. As controversial a figure as he is, Trump commands a Twitter following of more than 80 million. Some of his questionable tweets have likely contributed to the deterioration of people-to-people relations between the US and China.
A woman cycles in Hanoi on 21 September 2020. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

How Vietnam is leveraging anti-China sentiments online

In this era of blossoming social media, anti-China sentiments have morphed and manifested online, compelling Vietnamese authorities to keep close tabs on it. ISEAS academic Dien Nguyen An Luong examines how the Vietnamese authorities have increasingly looked to social media to gauge anti-China sentiments and to calibrate their responses accordingly.
People walk in the tourist area surrounding Houhai Lake during Chinese National Day holidays in Beijing, China, 2 October 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The China story is not just about politics, Confucius and mooncakes

For China to spread its culture abroad successfully, the China story needs to be modernised, says Wu Guo. Ancient Chinese history and literature may be too daunting, while mooncakes and fan dances may be too superficial. People want to know what the Chinese man on the street thinks about, and what his culture of today is. Contemporary cultural products such as idol dramas and pop groups may do the trick, but so would down-to-earth insight into the lives of Chinese people. Often, just a peek into the everyday is enough to know we’re all not so different after all.
A visitor holds a Chinese flag while posing for a photograph at the Badaling section of the Great Wall in Beijing, China, on 1 October 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

China feels maligned

China laments that it has not done anything wrong, amid the slew of bad reactions it has been getting internationally. Han Yong Hong points out while negative perceptions of China by major countries of the world are at an all-time high, this is not solely to do with strains in the US-China relationship. Individual countries have their beef with China for a host of reasons. When everything is all said and done, communication is still key, and China has just as much responsibility as everyone else to make the effort to bridge the gap.
A man walks past a mural by artist Eric Junker which reads ‘Vote- Remember Them In November’ on 2 October 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The mural features images of deceased Black shooting victims George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. (Mario Tama/AFP)

A win for Biden is a win for China?

Economics professor Zhu Ying is well aware that US-China relations would be hard to set right whether the Democrats or Republicans win the US presidential election. But Biden at least has indicated that he does not want a new Cold War with China, and that makes all the difference.
Heroes in Harm's Way publicity poster. (Weibo/CCTV电视剧)

China's first drama on fighting Covid-19 hits roadblock

Heroes in Harm's Way, a Chinese television series based on the Covid-19 pandemic, has drawn flak for inaccurate portrayals and gender discrimination. While the depiction of such a catastrophic event would have touched many a raw nerve in any case, the drama’s lack of finesse in telling China’s story has offended not only those outside China, but those within China as well, especially the young. Writ large, those running China’s inability to frame a credible narrative will only see them lose their cachet at home and abroad.
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.
Buildings are seen in the central business district of Beijing on 3 September 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

If the world needs a new ideology, can the Chinese model be accepted?

China should de-emphasise Chinese exceptionalism if it wants to be accepted by the international community, says senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute, Lance Gore. But that is not the same as lying low or blending into the background. The fact is, China did build a post-reform hybrid system that has worked well for the country. What it really needs is to disassociate itself from the ossified stereotypes of socialism under Stalin or Mao, and rebuild its image on the strengths of market socialism. Only then can it let people sit up and take notice, rather than be given notice.
A man wearing a protective mask passes by a billboard depicting Chinese President Xi Jinping as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Belgrade, Serbia, 1 April 2020. The text on the billboard reads "Thanks, brother Xi." (Djordje Kojadinovic/REUTERS)

Why has China’s global publicity efforts backfired?

China has been wanting the world to acknowledge its contribution to international pandemic aid, to recognise its “one China” policy, and its growing influence based on goodwill and generosity. However, observes Chinese academic Sun Peisong, China’s international publicity efforts have often ended up coming across as immature or even petulant. He feels a deep mindset change is needed if China wishes to be understood and accepted by its peers in the world.