Iran

This UGC image posted on Twitter reportedly on 26 October 2022 shows an unveiled woman standing on top of a vehicle as thousands make their way towards Aichi cemetery in Saqez, Mahsa Amini's home town in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan, to mark 40 days since her death, defying heightened security measures as part of a bloody crackdown on women-led protests. (UGC/AFP)

What China can learn from the Iran protests

The protests in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini seem to have put the authorities on the back foot, worsened by the missteps in its responses. The current protests in China have also clearly taken the Chinese government by surprise. Academic Fan Hongda notes that the Chinese authorities can take the example of Iran to see what moves to avoid.
A newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by Iranian morality police is seen in Tehran, Iran, 18 September 2022. (Majid Asgaripour/West Asia News Agency via Reuters)

Can China stay silent about mass protests in Iran?

Even as the protests in Iran continue after more than a month with no sign of abating, all efforts seem futile as external support is not forthcoming. There looks to be little hope of permanent change as the current regime remains firmly in control. Meanwhile, as China expands its global influence, can it stay silent in dealing with the internal affairs of Iran and other countries? Or remove reports of protests from their state media?
People shop at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, on 13 June 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Iran seeks greater regional role through full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

While some pundits have it that Iran sees gaining full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in terms of geopolitics, Fan Hongda thinks that the more bread-and-butter concern of strengthening economic and trade cooperation is on its mind. But this is not to say that Iran does not harbour ambitions of playing a greater regional role.
People cross a pedestrian crossing in Hong Kong on 16 May 2022. (Peter Parks/AFP)

Why is the Hong Kong government targeting Telegram?

The Hong Kong government has announced that it is considering blocking Telegram in response to doxxing content on the social media platform. The app has also been accused of playing a key role in facilitating social and democratic movements. But if Hong Kong bans Telegram, will that be the city's first step towards conforming with the mainland’s internet censorship rules?
Caution tape is seen near the Chinese embassy as activists hold a demonstration calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping to "allow safe passage to North Koreans detained in China" in Washington, DC on 24 September 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

The war on terrorism has ended. Can the US win the next battle of great power competition?

Twenty years after the historic 9/11 attacks on the US, the threat of terrorism has largely been contained and a new era of great power competition has returned. ISEAS researcher Daljit Singh notes that in the past century, the US has been adamant about not letting any single power dominate East Asia, and will most probably continue to do so. What will this new era be like when the US's competitor is a rising China? And what can Southeast Asian states do about it?
People wearing face masks walk past a mural displaying Iran's national flag in Tehran, Iran on 17 June 2021. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Chinese academic: Can China challenge the US’s standing in the Middle East?

Although China has made inroads into the Middle East as a major investor and economic partner, some are suspicious of its intentions in being all things to all countries in this fractious region. Thus, even if there is much hype about its ability to take over the US’s role in the region, China should remember that it still lacks the power and wherewithal to exert a major influence.
Cyclists and vehicles wait at a traffic signal light in Beijing, China on 21 April 2021. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

No one in the world loves the US as much as the Chinese? Not anymore.

China is no longer as enamoured with the US as it used to be, with its realisation that the US will never allow it to reach to its level and stand on an equal footing. Freed from sentimentality towards the US, China may accelerate its search for new partners to ensure its survival, says Han Dongping.
This handout photograph taken on 2 May 2021 and released by Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense shows US soldiers and Afghan National Army soldiers raising Afghanistan's national flag during a handover ceremony to the Afghan National Army army 215 Maiwand corps at Antonik camp in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Afghanistan Ministry of Defense/AFP)

Could China send peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan?

The US may implicitly have been targeting China when it indicated its plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan completely by 11 September 2021, thereby necessitating regional players to get more involved. If there is a UN peacekeeping mission, China may well join in to guard against spillover security threats to Xinjiang, but its precise involvement may complicate matters.
Iranians drive down a street in the capital Tehran, on 11 April 2021. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

China-Iran deal complements the BRI, but faces Iranian domestic opposition and US sanctions

The recently signed China-Iran Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement will be a linchpin for China’s BRI in the Middle East, says Yu Hong. In the best-case scenario, it will be a win-win arrangement, providing Iran with the foreign investment it needs and China the oil supply and strategic influence it hopes to get. However, a number of challenges stand in the way including US sanctions and domestic opposition within Iran.