Identity

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.
Chen Shih-chung, Taipei's mayoral candidate from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), holds up a cheque in front of an image of him along with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during an election campaign rally in Taipei on 5 November 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

DPP’s anti-China card has failed to work in Taiwan's local elections

Commentator Chen Kuohsiang notes that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s heavy losses in Taiwan’s recent “nine-in-one” local elections show that the people are no longer buying its line of resisting China and protecting Taiwan, as they feel that the DPP has gone too far and attracted trouble with its aggressive stance.
People stand in a queue outside a restaurant along the popular Yaowarat Road in the Chinatown area of Bangkok, Thailand, on 5 September 2022. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

An imagined China and feeling Chinese in Thailand

Thai academic Sittithep Eaksittipong explains how the Thai rulers of the past used emotion as a political tool to assimilate the Chinese overseas in Thailand. Fast forward to today and the Thai Chinese are more confident of their identity, and feeling Chinese has less to do with developments in China. If anything, the latter is used as a means to chastise the Thai government.
A man walks past a mural on a street in Beijing, China, on 28 September 2022. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Being black in China: Loving something that doesn't always love you back

A young black American who has just finished his master’s in Beijing gives a first-hand account of being viewed as the Other in China. Despite some negative encounters, the conversations he has had in the local language and the friendships he has forged have made the experience all worthwhile.
Li-Ning's Fall/Winter collection included some looks reminiscent of WWII Japanese army uniforms. (Li-Ning/Weibo)

Chinese netizens chastise Li-Ning for Japanese military-style fashion

Some outfits at a showcase of Li-Ning’s Fall/Winter collection said to resemble uniforms worn by the Japanese military during their invasion of China have sparked a wave of controversy, and this is made worse by the fact that a member of Li-Ning’s senior management is Japanese-Chinese. Are the Chinese netizens too sensitive or is Li-Ning too insensitive?
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee (second from right) with three former participants of the Hong Kong Space Museum's Young Astronaut Training Camp. (Weibo/李家超)

Hong Kong has a place in China's aerospace future

China recently announced that its space exploration programme will recruit payload specialists from Hong Kong and Macau, sparking excitement for the people of Hong Kong. While the announcement is a recognition of the special administrative region’s R&D capabilities, some believe that it is an effort to win over the people of Hong Kong and boost their sense of belonging and patriotism. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk takes a look at what this opportunity means for Hong Kong.
Students walk on a street during sunset hours in New Taipei City, Taiwan, 14 July 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwan's language programme imparting 'Taiwanese national identity' to US students

Amid the repeated lockdowns due to Covid-19 outbreaks in mainland China, Taiwan has opened its doors to American students learning the Chinese language. However, US academic Wu Guo noticed that the language curriculum for foreign students in Taiwan includes electives on learning about Taiwan's “national identity”. Could this be Taiwan’s way of furthering its political agenda?