History

An ancient town in Suzhou, China. (iStock)

Cultural historian: Could we have eaten this elusive perch of Lake Tai?

Gathering with contemporaries in Nan Shi Pi Ji, a Chinese garden in Suzhou, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai is reminded of a rare perch found in the east side of Lake Tai called lugui (鲈鳜). This was the fish that Western Jin dynasty poet Zhang Han and other ancient literati craved when they were away from home. Served raw or in its modern rendition steamed, the delicacy is almost too good to eat. Did Cheng get a chance to taste it?
Chinese President Xi Jinping waves at the end of the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can the CCP avoid the Stalin curse under Xi Jinping?

Fatal flaws in the Soviet system, or the Stalin curse, led to the eventual demise of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. These systemic flaws had different manifestations at different levels of the system. The current CCP leadership is aware of these problems and has tried hard to avoid travelling down the same path of the Soviet Union, but tinkering with the same Leninist vanguard party is not going to ensure its survival. Instead, a new model of party building is needed to break the Stalin curse.
People queue to board a tourist bus before a display showing a US flag in Times Square in New York City, US on 30 July 2021. (Ed Jones/AFP)

Chinese academic: It’s time to make the US safe for the world

The US has said that withdrawing from Afghanistan will give it more bandwidth to deal with Russia and its “serious competitor” China. The latter in particular, has become a key target. Chinese academic Wang Zhengxu asserts that the US should learn from its Afghanistan experience that the military option should only be used in self-defence. If it gets involved in China’s core concerns and insists on building an anti-China alliance, China will bristle and regional instability can only increase.
A worker stands in front of Mao Zedong sculpture at Dandong station at the border city of Dandong, in China's northeast Liaoning province on 11 August 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China's growing north-south gap: Can the north catch up?

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan notes the growing gap between northern and southern China in terms of economic and population growth, as businesses and people become more concentrated in the south. How will the central government tackle this imbalance?
People carry umbrellas as they visit Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, 15 August 2021. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

Yasukuni Shrine visits: A mirror reflecting Sino-Japanese relations

Some Japanese politicians have the practice of marking the anniversary of the end of WWII for Japan by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine to pay tribute to the war dead. Even after more than 75 years, emotions run deep especially in China, which has registered its unhappiness at these visits. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima examines how Yasukuni Shrine visits can be used to gauge the state of Japan-China relations.
People walk over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan in New York City, US on 19 August 2021. (Angela Weiss/AFP)

China-US competition: Letting the enemy self-destruct

Based on the experience of the Cold War, the US can see merit in letting the enemy undo itself in its strategy against China. For the Soviet Union, it was the ills of Stalinist socialism and the failure of the command economy. For China, will its inherent contradictions lead to its own unravelling?
Pedestrians cross a traffic intersection near commercial buildings in Beijing, China, 25 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Why China is setting up the Beijing Stock Exchange

With President Xi Jinping’s announcement of a new Beijing Stock Exchange, innovation-oriented SMEs will benefit and Beijing’s stock as a credible financial centre will also rise. Not only that, it is hoped that this will show China’s resolve to continue pursuing the market economy as it continues its push for “common prosperity”.
This aerial photo taken on 1 September 2021 shows students attending the opening ceremony on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. (STR/AFP)

A new Cultural Revolution? Why some Chinese are shocked by the CCP's relentless pursuit of 'common prosperity'

The Chinese authorities’ recent moves to regulate industries from internet platforms to tutoring to gaming have prompted fears of a new Cultural Revolution. Despite benign intentions expressed and a clear line drawn in the sand on history, what are people so afraid of? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong ponders the question.
Students wave flags of China and the Communist Party of China before celebrations in Beijing, China, on 1 July 2021, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Self-assessment: How will the Chinese Communist Party evaluate the Xi Jinping era thus far?

The sixth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the penultimate one before the end of the current term, will be held this November. The CPC has historically focused on issues of ideology and party building during such plenary sessions. Analysts believe the meeting will summarise the achievements of the CPC particularly during President Xi Jinping's era and point the way to future development. However, will there be reflections of previous mistakes and lessons, including a reassessment of the June Fourth incident?