Human rights

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping are seen on a screen during a video conference, in Brussels, Belgium, 30 December 2020. (Johanna Geron/REUTERS)

Why the Chinese public is unenthusiastic about further reforms and opening up

Talks on the China-EU investment deal were concluded on 30 December 2020, lending fresh impetus to China’s further opening up to the world. However, the response so far, both externally and internally, seems to be lukewarm to the idea of what some call China’s third opening up. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong ponders why this is so and analyses where China is likely to go from here.
Chinese President Xi Jinping held a video call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron, 30 December 2020. (Xinhua)

Chinese academic: China-EU investment deal is of great strategic value to China

Talks on the new China-EU investment deal have just concluded. Economics professor Zhu Ying breaks down what this means for China-EU relations, China-US competition and the China-US-EU strategic nexus.
Paramilitary police officers wearing face masks march outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Heritage, CCP traditions & liberalism: Three fundamentals of China's new social contract

Lance Gore firmly believes that the social contract between government and people is seeing a radical upheaval around the world. In China’s case, a new social contract will be shaped by the triumvirate of Chinese culture and heritage, the traditions of the CCP, and the influence of liberal ideals. Only the strengths of each should be retained, while the shortcomings be discarded.
Ethnic Yi women walk past an installation featuring a logo of the Communist Party of China and numerous slogans at the Chengbei Gan’en Community, a residential complex built for a relocation programme as part of China's poverty alleviation effort, in Yuexi county, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province, China, 11 September 2020. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Why East Asia has performed well in containing Covid-19

The liberalist discursive system leaves little room for one to contemplate the possibility that a strong government can also be a good government, much less the positives of the East Asian developmental state or Asian values. In fact, under the East Asian social contract, people are willing to empower the government for greater outcomes for all, and the government works to win the approval of the people as a means to preserve their legitimacy. Now, when the flaws of liberalism are laid bare by Covid-19 and other crises, it may be worth taking a closer look at the merits of the East Asian social contract. 
The Dalai Lama (second from right) and Panchen Lama (second from left) with Mao Zedong, accompanied by Premier Zhou Enlai (first from left) and CCP vice chairman Liu Shaoqi during the Chinese New Year period, 23 February 1955.

[Photo story] Chinese central government and the Dalai Lama: 1950–1956

From the signing of the 17-point agreement, or in full, the Agreement of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, to the inaugural meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet held at Lhasa Hall, Tibet’s first auditorium, historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao offers a glimpse of Tibetan history during the early 1950s.
Democratic US presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during a drive-in campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, US, 30 October 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

America needs to value Southeast Asia for its own sake, and not just as a tool to fight China

Following years of neglect under the Trump administration, the Biden administration will need to get both its words and actions right to rebuild trust in the US in Southeast Asia. And one of the fundamentals of building a good relationship is to genuinely listen and respond to Southeast Asians about their interests and priorities, rather than just treating them as tools to counter China's influence.  
US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens to journalists' questions during a news conference, at a hotel in Mexico City, 30 April 2015. (Henry Romero/File Photo/Reuters)

The Chinese are hopeful about Antony Blinken’s appointment as the US’s top diplomat

Chinese media commentators have thus far been sanguine about incoming US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They hope that his past rhetoric of engaging China and advancing practical cooperation will make a return with him when he assumes his post. But have US-China relations gone down too far a road of no-return?
A man waves a US flag as people celebrate on Black Lives Matter plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC on 7 November 2020, after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. (Eric Baradat/AFP)

Liberalism and globalisation serves the elites; the world needs a return to the nation state

EAI academic Lance Gore finds that the trend of deglobalisation and internal unrest seen in developed countries in recent years can be attributed to the disintegration of the Western liberal social contract, as well as the struggle between various forces that seek to restore or reforge that contract. He says liberalism is only effective for the elites, while globalisation is a grand banquet for capital; the masses at large, unfortunately, fail to benefit. He sees a return to the nation-state as the precondition for repairing the social compact, and Asian countries will have an edge over the West in achieving this. 
President-elect Joe Biden waves to supporters as he leaves the Queen theater after receiving a briefing from the transition COVID-19 advisory board on 9 November 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)

The US is getting old but China is still too green

Zhou Nongjian observes that there was a large slate of older candidates in this year’s US elections including incumbent President Trump who is 74 and President-elect Joe Biden who is 78. It is not an exact science of course, but he notes that this large crop of “oldies” is a metaphor for a greying America, or put bluntly, a country that is fast deteriorating and way past its prime. Notwithstanding, will China be fooled by such a veneer of weakness or stay watchful and humble?