As the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover draws near, Hong Konger Thomas Chan reflects on the changes that have taken place over the last few years and the real and pressing issue of residents, especially the young, drifting away. Most are seeking better prospects abroad in a wry turn of events from a time when the city was viewed as the land of opportunity. Now, amid dreary skies and Telegram alerts announcing yet another citizen-police chase, the city stands forlorn as it watches its people leave.
Chinese academic Sun Peisong notes that renowned financier George Soros has always been critical of China’s social system. While "the man who broke the Bank of England" has a keen eye for finance, Sun feels that Soros’s criticism of China’s “closed society” sheds light on his penchant for globalisation and dated means of making the wealthy wealthier.
The US has defined major global events such as the war in Ukraine and its competition with China under the ideological framework of a fight between democracy and autocracy. But is the 21st century world just black and white? Lim Jim Koon, former editor-in-chief of Chinese Media Group, SPH Media, suggests that before we criticise others and demand them to change, maybe we should start by examining ourselves.
At the Boao Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forth the Global Security Initiative which has the concept of “indivisible security” at its core. Is this China’s answer to breaking up “small cliques” in international relations and seeking to build a community of common destiny for mankind?
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?
The political environment in Asia has been marked with upheavals and instability. While each country has their own system of democratic elections in the modern sense, they appear to share a number of common themes that resembles the backward political practices of 19th century Europe. Academic Chen Liujun assesses the regional developments.
New South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has a tough balancing act to pull off in his foreign policy as South Korea remains wary of greater US-China rivalry and China’s rise. The Yoon administration will likely continue to deepen its economic relations with ASEAN, and place more emphasis on security cooperation and a greater alignment with the US's values-based diplomacy.
Domestic and external pressures compel China to face the issue of democracy. With growing affluence and diversity in the population, the government needs to find a way to incorporate various views that goes beyond the Mao-era “mass line”. In forging a new path, the Chinese Communist Party is feeling its way around bringing about a socialist neo-democracy, or what has been verbalised as “whole-process people’s democracy”. But what stands in the way of putting thought into action?
Researcher Wei Da notes that the end of the Cold War left many questions unanswered, including the role of ideological tussles and the clash of civilisations. Among other things, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine shows that a truly strong state is one with a limited government and a developed civil society. The international community has been jolted into action, and it is time to recognise that there is still some way to go to achieve modernisation.