Human rights

Ferdinand Marcos Jr (left) with Mao Zedong (centre) and Imelda Marcos, on a visit to China in September 1957. (Twitter)

Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr, the president-elect who kissed Mao Zedong

With Ferdinand Marcos Jr achieving a landslide win in the Philippine presidential election, how will the Philippines’ China policy change? In particular, given the legacy of the Marcos family’s good relations with China as well as former President Duterte’s pro-China stance, how will the incoming president handle relations with the US?
Ukrainian soldiers stand next to the grave of a civilian, who according to residents was killed by Russian soldiers, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Bucha, Kyiv region, Ukraine, 6 April 2022. (Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters)

Will China condemn Russia over reports of war crimes in Ukraine?

In the Ukraine conflict, China has stuck to its awkward stance of condemning the war but not the aggressor. As Europe loses patience and draws closer to the US, and international vitriol mounts hard and fast, will China be forced to change tack?
An undated handout photo released on 29 March 2022 by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) shows China Police Liason Team officers training local RSIPF officers. (Handout/RSIPF/AFP)

Will China-Solomon Islands security cooperation bring new tensions to the South Pacific?

The new policing and security agreements between China and the Solomon Islands have neighbouring countries such as Australia and New Zealand anxious about the potential militarisation of the region. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong warns that small island nations in the South Pacific must be careful about choosing sides so as not to become pawns in great power competition.
This file photo taken on 25 April 2021 shows a medical staff member taking care of a newborn baby in the paediatric ward of a hospital in Fuyang in China's eastern Anhui province. (AFP)

China wants to reverse its high abortion rate with pro-birth policies, and young women are not happy

As a result of the country’s now-abolished one-child policy and other factors, abortion has gained wide acceptance among women in China. A recent work plan by the national family planning unit stated its intention to “intervene” in abortions for unmarried women has sparked backlash that women would lose their reproductive autonomy. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong speaks with researchers and Chinese women to understand the policy implications on women’s rights and how the issue will impact China’s shrinking birth rate.
Attendees at the Two Sessions meeting in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, 8 March 2022. (CNS)

Elephants in the room: Why China's Two Sessions are a tad dull this year

While the annual Two Sessions are supposed to be a major event in China’s calendar, Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that this year’s meetings seem even more staid than usual because of the elephants in the room, not least Ukraine. Coupled with delegates delivering public lines, China’s deliberative process remains more than a little opaque despite the media attention.
Based on the photo in this marriage certificate, the appearance and age of the woman the authorities initially identified as 'surnamed Yang' did not match the footage of the chained woman circulated online. (Weibo)

‘The world has abandoned me’: Chinese women married into slavery?

Chinese academic Lorna Wei says that the authorities’ determination to root out human trafficking may waver, but netizens’ voices speaking up for the victims — often women married off into other counties — will not be silenced. This may be the only comfort that countless women suffering alone can take solace in.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gesticulates during a joint press conference with Danish Prime Minister following talks at the Chancellery on 9 February 2022 in Berlin, Germany. (Michele Tantussi/Pool/AFP)

Will Germany's new government be tougher on China?

After 16 years in office, Angela Merkel handed over the German chancellery to Olaf Scholz in December. How should we evaluate her legacy regarding China and, with the new German government almost two months in, what can be said about the future of Germany’s China policy?
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.
People walk on the pedestrian bridge at the Bluewaters Island in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 8 December 2021. (Satish Kumar/Reuters)

US-China competition in the UAE: A tussle in the desert

Unlike the Soviet Union, China has an arsenal of economic tools at its disposal in wooing US allies. This is plainly seen in the UAE-China relationship, in which bilateral trade in 2021 was more than double that of UAE-US trade for the same period. Security and defence ties are also strengthening. As dictated by the laws of the free market, the one who offers the best deal wins. As such, the US will have to do better than just rely on coercive tactics.