Amid revived calls for countries to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing over Xinjiang, academic Peter Chang reflects that the Xinjiang issue has drawn the attention of the West, Muslim populations and others around the world. But the issue, while important, has been further politicised in the wider US-China contest. Moral grandstanding by the West when confronting China does not help the situation either. How much collateral damage will there be in this strategic game?
A bizarre case involving a generous donation from a Chinese Indonesian family that never materialised has brought the spotlight on identity politics in Indonesia. When the fraud was revealed, praise for the Chinese Indonesian community quickly turned into a means for the anti-government (and anti-China and anti-Chinese) social media channels to attack the Indonesian government and ethnic Chinese in Indonesia.
Chinese academic Li Yuehua takes a look at reports on China’s human rights record, and analyses whether it really deserves its negative reputation. Hasn’t China tried to improve the lives of its people, and isn’t the right to survival and development a major part of human rights? He believes that painting China as an aggressor and oppressor only fulfils the interests of a few politicians to the detriment of people-to-people relations between China and the West.
China has made huge strides in poverty alleviation over the last few decades, especially in rural areas. As of the end of 2020, 592 counties, 128,000 villages, and 98.99 million people are no longer tagged as poor. Chinese academic Yao Shujie takes a closer look at the strategies that have gotten China to this point, including relying on big data, mobilising the whole community, and identifying poor individuals. However, he also admits that there are rising challenges in poverty alleviation.
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.
Hong Kong commentator David Ng says that despite the accusations by the West against China of human rights violations in Xinjiang such as forced labour, the region’s economic trajectory and reliance on mechanisation seem to show a quite different truth.
BBC China correspondent John Sudworth's sudden move to Taiwan from Beijing has elicited opposing interpretations from China and the West; in fact, so has his reports on Xinjiang. Was Sudworth creating “false reports” of Uighur factory girls? Or were the Chinese officials coercing young Uighurs to leave their hometowns for work in the cities as asserted by the BBC? Han Yong Hong thinks the contradictory interpretations show a clash in ideological values and views between China and the West.
Associate Professor Wu Guo analyses reactions from the Chinese American community to the recent spike in anti-Asian hate crime. He sees a clear distinction between those who see these acts as racially motivated, and those who feel that they should be taken as crimes against public safety and leave it to the police. Interestingly, the debates show that the Chinese themselves may hold certain prejudices against other ethnic groups in the US. Amid the increasing complexity of ethnic relations in the US, what steps can the Asian community take to protect their rights?
While Western and Chinese governments continue their tit-for-tat one-upmanship, multinational companies and their big brands are running greater risks of stepping on political landmines in the Chinese market. But can they stay out of the fray?