Democracy

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves at the end of the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can the CCP avoid the Stalin curse under Xi Jinping?

Fatal flaws in the Soviet system, or the Stalin curse, led to the eventual demise of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. These systemic flaws had different manifestations at different levels of the system. The current CCP leadership is aware of these problems and has tried hard to avoid travelling down the same path of the Soviet Union, but tinkering with the same Leninist vanguard party is not going to ensure its survival. Instead, a new model of party building is needed to break the Stalin curse.
A handout picture made available by the Iranian Red Crescent on 19 August 2021, shows a young Afghan refugee at the Iran-Afghanistan border between Afghanistan and the southeastern Iranian Sistan and Baluchestan province, as people fleeing AFghanistan try to enter the Islamic republic following the takeover of their country by the Taliban earlier this week. (Mohammad Javadzadeh/Iranian Red Crescent/AFP)

What China wants to see under a Taliban-led Afghanistan

Chinese academic Fan Hongda says that following the US troop pullout of Afghanistan, the Taliban have much to do to convince the international community that they can lead the country, and that they can rebuild Afghanistan. Will Taliban rule be any different this time round as compared to 20 years ago? How would China react to the new ruling power in Afghanistan?
Pedestrians walk on a street in the Wanchai district of Hong Kong on 6 August 2021. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP)

Beijing’s 'cleansing' of Hong Kong industries: Who will be the next target?

Amid taunts of being a “malignant tumour” by Chinese state media and being effectively blacklisted by Hong Kong’s education bureau, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU) has announced its dissolution. While it is a professional organisation, it has long been associated with being a pro-democracy advocate. Is the HKPTU among the long line of those to fall in Beijing’s efforts to “cleanse“ various Hong Kong sectors? Who will be next? Zaobao’s China Desk finds out more.
Paramilitary police stand outside the Museum of the Communist Party of China, near the Bird’s Nest national stadium in Beijing, China on 25 June 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Tianjin meeting: China-US relations enter 'break-in period'

The recent high-official foreign ministry meetings between the US and China in Tianjin show two sides of a coin. On the one hand, both sides reiterated longstanding positions. On the other, any discussion is a step in the right direction. But as the two continue to test each other before making sudden moves, the road ahead could be a long and trying one.
A boy holds up a US flag as guests attend Independence Day celebrations at the White House in Washington, DC, 4 July 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

Can China hold its own without the US?

Researcher Wei Da notes that China and the US have been moving on increasingly divergent paths, to the point that relations may soon be irrevocably broken. Despite China’s confidence that it can make it without the US, its strong nationalism may be all that keeps it going.
Refrigerated tractor trailers used to store bodies of deceased people are seen at a temporary morgue, with the Statue of Liberty seen in the background, during the Covid-19 outbreak, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, US, 13 May 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

China is not the answer to America's problems

Analyst Zheng Weibin compares the current China-US competition to the Cold War, and notes that much of US domestic policy is in fact targeted at China, which perhaps distracts from the real domestic issues that the US should be tackling.
A visitor carries a Chinese national flag at Xibaipo Memorial Hall, ahead of the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China in Xibaipo, Hebei province, China, 12 May 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China everything: Where has America’s confidence gone?

While the US frames the China threat as a fight between democracy and autocracy, the Chinese see the competition between them about governance, not ideology. As the US’s internal problems escalate, China feels the former is no longer in a position to lecture it. In the midst of the US distracting itself from real troubles on the one hand and China’s inflated confidence on the other, US-China relations may be troubled for some time yet.
A student waves during a rehearsal before celebrations in Beijing, China, on 1 July 2021, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Young Chinese academic: Imagining a future China as the CCP celebrates its centenary

Huang Zhiping points out the irony that in many democracies, the people elect the government, but they often have little direct influence over the decisions that elected officials make. Conversely, in the Chinese system, officials are very sensitive to public opinion on Weibo, and react at lightning speed to correct wrong or bad impressions. Is this the power of the people in the true sense of the word? Could the “Weibo model” of ruling those in power be the true utopia?
G7 leaders attend a working session during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, 12 June 2021. (Leon Neal/Pool via Reuters)

D10 group of democracies: A stronger alliance to contain China?

Chinese PhD candidate Du Zhiyuan notes that the recent G7 summit in the UK involving G7 members and guests was in fact a gathering of a “D10” club of democratic partners, along the lines proposed by British PM Boris Johnson. And the D10, in turn, could ultimately lead to a trans-Atlantic/Indo-Pacific alliance better fit to contain China.