Democracy

In this photo illustration, the social media application logo, TikTok is displayed on the screen of an iPhone on an American flag background on 3 August 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. (Olivier Douliery/AFP)

Will TikTok and China continue to embrace the world despite US pressure?

That TikTok founder Zhang Yiming did not immediately beat a hasty retreat to the safety of China’s huge domestic market and is still looking for ways for his company to be truly global is a lesson for China in general. How does it want to present itself to the world from now on? Will it retreat back into its shell and allow itself to be painted as a pariah, or choose to engage its detractors and navigate troubled waters with grace?
In this file photo former Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao Zedong (L) welcomes former US President Richard Nixon at his house in the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 February 1972. (Handout/AFP)

Was Nixon’s policy of engaging China a failure?

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo made a key speech on China at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum recently. The venue could not have been more symbolic, given former President Nixon’s role in the US’s rapprochement with China in the 1970s, and the current Trump administration’s belief that a new approach to China is necessary as the US’s engagement strategy “has not brought the kind of change inside China that President Nixon hoped to induce”. Analyst and writer Zheng Weibin weighs up the costs and benefits of this new approach.
The TikTok logo is displayed in the app store in this photograph in view of a video feed of US President Donald Trump, 3 Aug 2020. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

US wants it banned while the Chinese calls it a traitor. Is this the end of TikTok?

As TikTok edges towards its deadline of 15 September to either be sold to a US buyer or banned in the US, it is ironic to think that Bytedance, its parent company, is getting bruised from all sides. Some of its harshest critics, in fact, are intensely patriotic Chinese citizens who think that it has not gone far enough in pushing back on unreasonable US demands. Can ByteDance appease the gods and the hoards before the deadline is up?
A People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy soldier stands in front of a backdrop featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping during an open day of Stonecutters Island naval base, in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2019. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Why is the West ganging up to fight the Chinese ruling party?

“The new Cold War” is becoming a catchphrase for the state of relations between China and the US. But the China of today and the web of connections it shares with the US is very different from the former Soviet Union. Is calling the conflict a clash of ideologies oversimplifying the issue? Even further, is it in the US’s interest to do so to corral support for its actions against China at home and abroad? Zhu Ying examines the issue.
A man crosses the street at Times Square amid the Covid-19 pandemic on 30 April 2020 in New York City. (Johannes Eisele/AFP)

Why did the US fail to contain Covid-19?

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, commentators posited that democracies saw lower mortality rates during epidemics than non-democracies. Months later, escalating death rates in countries such as the US have called such a thesis into question. Political scientist Zheng Yongnian says it is not so much whether you are a democratic country or not, but what kind of system and values you espouse. The US and Germany, for instance, both democracies, have fared very differently. He takes a closer look at the issues.
A demonstrator wearing a protective mask holds a “Follow The Money” sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, 9 July 2020. The court cleared a New York grand jury to get President Donald Trump's financial records while blocking for now House subpoenas that might have led to their public release before the election. (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg)

Chinese academic: The US is where money rules behind the facade of democracy

Chinese academic Qiao Xinsheng notes that despite its image of being democratic, the US is driven by capitalism and an individualism enjoyed only by a small number of elites. Such pre-existing conditions lead to a fragmented society made worse by the actions of President Donald Trump.
Paramilitary police officers stand guard in front of a poster of late communist leader Mao Zedong on a street south of the Great Hall of the People during the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing on May 22, 2020.  (Greg Baker/AFP)

Tackling ills of bureaucracy? China can pick up a few tips from Singapore

From Mao to Deng to Xi, generations of Chinese leaders have made great and consistent efforts to tackle bureaucracy in the Chinese system. The ills of functional bureaucratisation include rigidness, imprudence and over-staffing, among others, while the ills of structural bureaucratisation lead to unchecked power and its abuse. It is important that one recognises the type of bureaucratisation that one is dealing with and provide the right remedy, says Chen Kang, but the real solution lies in building a system that is predicated on empowerment by the people. In that regard, China can pick up a few tips from observing how the Singapore system works. 
In this file photo a teacher and her students pose with Communist Party emblems during a class about the history of the Communist Party at a school in Lianyungang, in China's eastern Jiangsu province, 28 June 2020. (STR/AFP)

Chinese academic: Banning all CCP members from the US is to give up hope on China

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members and their families may soon be banned from travelling to the US, while there are other indications that the CCP is becoming a target for the US in a new global competition of ideology. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the signs of worsening US-China relations.
Demonstrators gesture the "Five demands, not one less" protest motto during a protest in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, 1 July 2020. Hong Kong woke up to a new reality on Wednesday, after China began enforcing a sweeping security law that could reshape the financial hub’s character 23 years after it took control of the former British colony. (Roy Liu/Bloomberg)

Why Carrie Lam will never understand Hong Kong's youths

Hong Kong political columnist Chip Tsao makes his observations on an emerging group of people who lack sufficient job security and face a sense of uncertainty and precariousness — the precariat. This group is plugged in to social media, which means they have quick access to information, but are also able to make comparisons that might lead to dissatisfaction. Will the civil servants running Hong Kong be able to empathise with this increasingly marginalised group in society?