Politics

Cartoon: Heng Kim Song

ThinkCartoon

Heng Kim Song has been the freelance editorial cartoonist

Wind turbines on the outskirts of the new city area of Yumen, Gansu province, China on 31 March 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Can China keep its climate change promises?

The adoption of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) with significant targets for the development of renewable energy and other green technologies, together with the launch of a national carbon emissions trading scheme, indicates that the Chinese leadership is committed to policies that should reduce the nation’s carbon footprint, ultimately leading to a zero-emission economy by 2060. However, the complexities of implementing these policies are daunting, with stakeholders that are likely to resist change and reforms that require substantial investment over the next decades.
Qin Shi Huang's Terracotta Army, built to protect the emperor in his afterlife. (iStock)

Why were Chinese imperial families prone to fratricides and tragedies?

Throughout Chinese history, imperial families were some of the fiercest battlegrounds. Emperors stopped at nothing to hold on to power. At the instigation of wily courtiers, they might even have executed their kin without batting an eyelid. Li Jingkui says economically speaking, this has to do with the logic of contract theory — there was no neutral arbiter in leadership transitions. Without a third party to oversee the proceedings, family members were often subjected to the tyranny of the “lion king“. But under those circumstances, could anyone else other than the emperor have held court?
Members and supporters of the Asian-American community attend a "rally against hate" at Columbus Park in New York City on 21 March 2021. (Ed Jones/AFP)

Anti-Asian hate crimes: What makes an American?

US academic Zhu Zhiqun says that factors such as history, education and divisiveness within the Asian community have led to the persistence of anti-Asian racism in the US. This trend looks to continue unless Americans realise that every American has an immigrant past, and protecting the rights of Asian Americans is doing so for all Americans.
This handout photo taken on 13 January 2021 by Indonesia's Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs shows Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) meeting with Indonesian Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investments Minister Luhut Pandjaitan in Parapat, on the edge of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, to discuss cooperation on investments. (Handout/Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs/AFP)

Wang Yi’s Southeast Asia tour: How China woos Southeast Asia in view of US-China competition

In January 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited several ASEAN countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, in an effort to push for collaboration in key projects under the BRI, and providing access to Chinese vaccines. However, Beijing’s passage of a new coastguard law has undermined Wang Yi’s outreach efforts. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook explains what is behind China's efforts and looks into its implications.
In this file photo from 6 January 2021, supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol, in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

America's flawed democracy: When power and cognitive abilities of the people fail to match

Academic Deng Xize notes that the 2020 US election demonstrates what he terms the Socratic Trap, referring to the gap between people’s cognitive abilities and the power they hold. How will this affect the democratic process, and what are the shortcomings of democracy?
The central business district (CBD) of Singapore, 28 January 2021. (Lauryn Ishak/Bloomberg)

Survey shows 70% Chinese have favourable view of Singapore

A recent survey of 1,064 Chinese adults done right before the US presidential elections shows that Chinese people are much more favourably disposed towards Singapore than other rich nations such as Australia, Japan and the US. What does China see in Singapore?
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, centre, walks in an area under lockdown in the Jordan area of Hong Kong, China, on 23 January 2021. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

The race is on: Picking Hong Kong’s next chief executive

The Hong Kong chief executive elections are still a year away but speculation is rife as to the possible contenders in the race. Tai Hing Shing surveys the field and does not discount incumbent Carrie Lam.
People walk along a commercial street in central Paris, France, on 23 December 2020. (Christophe Archambault/AFP)

Securing its place in the world economic order: The EU can't afford to wait for the US

The conclusion of the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement and the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) in the last days of 2020 sent a strong signal that the EU will not wait for the US to resume a leading role in the world economic order. Building partnerships with countries like China are just the impetus the EU needs to deepen integration and build better prospects for itself. In this move away from a US-centric view of the economic order, the EU is not alone.