A member of the People's Liberation Army in front of a portrait of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Square ahead of the closing of the Second Session of the 14th National People's Congress in Beijing, China, on 11 March 2024. (Bloomberg)

China’s reform and opening up needs a breakthrough

Commentator Wei Da says that the rise and fall of civilisations across history have demonstrated that the management of the government’s power, the protection of individual property rights and the independent judicial system are the indispensable trinity of modern civilisation. Will China be able to learn these lessons amid its reform and opening up?
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Qiang arrive for the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 5 March 2024. (Pedro Pardo/AFP)

China’s political black box has become even more opaque

Commentator Chen Kuohsiang says that China’s politics have become even more opaque and rigid since the announcement that the premier’s press conference will no longer be held at the end of the National People’s Congress. With no room left to express personal will or position, the Chinese premier has been reduced to the general secretary’s political implementer.
Debris is pictured next to a damaged Buddha statue following fighting between Myanmar's military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Nam Hpat Kar, Kutkai township, in Myanmar's northern Shan State, on 4 February 2024. (AFP)

How China and India are handling Myanmar's crisis three years on

In the three years since the coup in Myanmar, the country’s northern border with China has become an economic and strategic challenge to Beijing’s interests, while India is faced with the biggest humanitarian and security crisis, with refugees entering India posing an immediate security challenge.
Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at Coastal Carolina University ahead of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary in Conway, South Carolina, US, on 10 February 2024. (Sam Wolfe/Reuters)

US presidential election 2024: Unprecedented test of US democracy

Commentator Wei Da notes that a comeback win in the 2024 presidential election for former President Donald Trump would probably mean a threat to US democracy itself. Will Trump’s appeal be enough to bring him back to the White House?
Members of Border Angels and migrants demonstrate at the US-Mexico border as part of International Migrants Day in Playas de Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on 18 December 2023. (Guillermo Arias/AFP)

Populism and anti-immigration fervour surges in the West

Taiwanese commentator Chen Kuohsiang notes that populist fervour and anti-immigration sentiments in the US and Europe embolden each other and form a vicious circle, dominating major political issues. This has led to the potential political comeback of former US President Donald Trump and the rise of opposition parties in Europe.
Migrants look for a way past concertina wire after crossing the US-Mexico border through the Rio Grande River into El Paso, Texas, seen from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on 8 February 2024. (Justin Hamel/Bloomberg)

The fight over what US immigration policy should look like

Commentator He Qinglian notes that Operation Lone Star launched by Texas governor Greg Abbott — who has refused to remove the wire fence at the Mexico border — is a signal to the Biden administration and also the Supreme Court about what the people truly desire in terms of immigration policy.
Supporters at an election night rally outside the Democratic Progressive Party's headquarters during the presidential election in Taipei, Taiwan, on 13 January 2024. (An Rong Xu/Bloomberg)

Do the Chinese need democracy?

Commentator Wei Da notes that democracy seems to be the best system to ensure distribution of power, with the people in charge rather than an individual with total authority. Furthermore, suppressing the rule of law with political motives can end up backfiring.
Taiwan's President-elect William Lai Ching-te during a campaign event in Taipei, Taiwan, on 11 January 2024. (Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg)

Beijing’s dilemma: What to do with President-elect William Lai

Now that the Democratic Progressive Party's William Lai has been elected as Taiwan's next president, cross-strait relationship has entered a period of uncertainty, says US academic Zhu Zhiqun. Beijing is stuck in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation with regard to how it could handle its future relationship with Lai. The US elections in November will also have a key bearing on US-China relations and the prospects for stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Supporters of Islami Andolan Bangladesh party attend a protest rally demanding to abolish what they call a "dummy election" and to reorganise a free and fair election under the caretaker government, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 9 January 2024. (Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

China and India unfazed by Bangladesh's one-sided elections

Bangladesh’s ruling government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was easily returned to power on 7 January. While the US has often criticised Bangladesh's elections as not being free and fair, its close neighbours China and India seem prepared to focus on Bangladesh’s strategic value in increasing their regional influence.