Identity

People listen to Ko Wen-je, Taiwan presidential candidate from the opposition Taiwan People's Party (TPP), in front of Ko and his running mate Cynthia Wu’s advertisement at the Jhong Yi Taoist temple in New Taipei City on 10 January 2024. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan's elections heading towards new era of intergenerational rivalry

As Taiwan’s presidential election nears, young people's concerns about domestic social issues is becoming a significant voting factor. NUS academic Lu Xi notes that Ko Wen-Je’s popularity among youths and the change in political discourse since Tsai Ing-wen’s “four commitments” has shown that the dilemma over reunification and independence has taken a backseat and could thus pose a challenge to mainland China’s reunification strategy.
Children playing among two giant panda lanterns at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Singapore, in celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, on 28 August 2023. (SPH Media)

Chinese language: The ‘one language, two systems’ road ahead

Given its pluralistic nature, the Chinese language has taken many shapes over the course of history, with its written form and the associated dialects dictated by time and place. Meanwhile, the rise of China and its growing national power have led to the emergence of Chinese as an international language that transcends national borders. Eddie Kuo, Emeritus Professor at NTU, delves into the evolution of the language in the different Chinese-speaking regions.
Chinese paramilitary police walk on the Bund promenade along the Huangpu river in the Huangpu district in Shanghai, China, on 15 June 2023. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Can China maintain a hard line against the US?

In this key period of China’s rise, it can either choose to adopt a hard line or to cool down. History tells us that the hard line is likely to prevail, but China should be aware that this may lead to one overestimating its own strength, challenging the existing hegemon too soon, and ultimately meeting failure. The crucial question is whether the hard line is backed by wisdom. What China is going to do with the strength it has gained remains a puzzle to most countries, and this is the root of the perception of the Chinese threat.
“Pavel Korchatie” (left) and "Russia Nana" have been accused of using deepkfake AI to pass off as foreigners. (Weibo)

Why are Chinese internet stars pretending to be Russian?

​Finding online fame in China could be as simple as being a foreigner praising Chinese culture and food, as some would believe. This has led to a number of Chinese impersonators using deepfake AI to gain views on social media platforms. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk tells us more about this phenomenon.
A young Chinese opera performer puts on makeup, 7 August 2022. Chinese Singaporeans are still searching for their identity. (SPH Media)

Prof Eddie Kuo: Singapore’s ethnic Chinese have never been a unified collective

In the 200 years of Singapore’s history from 1819, the ethnic Chinese in Singapore have lived with diversity, both among themselves and within the larger Singapore community. Eddie Kuo, Emeritus Professor at NTU, traces the evolution of the Chinese Singaporean identity. This is a concept that has seen many iterations, from “guests in a foreign land” to the “overseas Chinese”, "ethnic Chinese" and “Chinese Singaporeans”.
People cross a street in front of a large propaganda poster in Shanghai, China, 10 April 2023. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why is China struggling with identity politics both within and outside the nation?

Currently, deglobalisation and efforts to decouple from China benefit no one. Not only that, identity politics, with ideology at its core, fuels Western nations’ foolish ways of achieving a pyrrhic victory. To deal with this, the CCP’s utmost priority is to avoid being constrained by others’ definitions and to present a new image of socialism with Chinese characteristics. But is China ready to do this?
A dragon dance show during the Chap Goh Meh festival at Singkawang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. (iStock)

Chinese roots in Borneo, deep and strong

Malaysian academic Goh Chun Sheng gives his impressions of the Chinese in Borneo, scattered in different communities and integrated into the locales where they live. Identity politics still rears its head, but perhaps we can look forward to the day when new narratives of diversity and integration will be told.
Members of Taiwan's armed forces participate in a two-day routine drill to show combat readiness, at a military base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 12 January 2023. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Living in the dragon’s shadow: Taiwan’s identity dilemma and a view from Southeast Asia

Worsening cross-strait relations in recent times have generated anxiety about imminent conflict across the Taiwan Straits. During a three-month stint in Taiwan as the recipient of a Taiwan fellowship, RSIS academic Benjamin Ho observed that what is at stake for Taipei is not so much the threat from China per se but how domestic cleavages relating to Taiwan’s political identity complicate efforts to arrive at a modus vivendi with Beijing.
People gather as they hold candles and white sheets of paper to support protests in China regarding Covid-19 restrictions at National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan, 30 November 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Why did the Taiwanese support China's A4 revolution?

Taiwanese academic Ho Ming-sho asserts that Taiwan’s show of solidarity with protestors in China’s A4 revolution is better understood under the lens of the history of the island’s pursuit of its own identity. He explains why Taiwan’s civil-society actors chose to react to the protests on universal values, rather than national sentiment.