History

Tourists taking photos in front of a statue of Deng Xiaoping in Lianhuashan Park, Shenzhen, China. (iStock)

Was Deng Xiaoping Hakka?

The Hakka people, or “guest people”, are Han Chinese who were mostly northerners that migrated to the south of China to provinces such as Fujian, Guangdong and Sichuan. Some say that a common heritage and language, more than a specific region ties them together. Deng Xiaoping from Guang’an, Sichuan was not known to be one of the Hakka people, but arguable bits of history point otherwise, and some continue to insist on his Hakka ancestry.  
Soldiers take part in a drill in a military base ahead of the Lunar New Year in Hsinchu, Taiwan, 19 January 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Will American soldiers lay down their lives for Taiwan?

History shows that whether it was the Korean or Vietnam War, or the later military campaigns in Iraq or Afghanistan, the US rarely won the war as it was simply not their war to fight. With little real skin in the game, their opponents fighting tooth and nail for their homeland often got the upper hand despite being much weaker. Can the Taiwan case, if ever any skirmishes break out, be any different?
In this file photo taken on 19 January 2021, Taiwan’s tank troops line up for photographs after a drill in Hsinchu military base. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan: Why China-US relations are a zero-sum game

Chinese academic Ni Lexiong says that so long as a country's territorial sovereignty is in conflict with the hegemonic system governing the world, the likelihood of escalation to war is there. That is why despite any of the posturing at the recent Alaska talks, the situation between China and the US remains deadlocked in a zero-sum game.
Souvenirs featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre) and late communist leader Mao Zedong (right) are seen at a store in Beijing on 2 March 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China: A good guy or a bad guy?

In the international arena, anti-communism rhetoric is on the rise and the narrative of China as the bad guy is becoming increasingly mainstream. Not only that, the CCP’s return to Red orthodoxy appears to be at odds with the country’s reform in many areas and is adding to misperceptions of China. To truly take national rejuvenation forward and save China from facing unnecessary confrontations internationally, the Communist Party needs to innovate and mould a brand-new socialist image. Can China become the good guy again? Lance Gore finds the answer.
Makgeolli, usually served in a shallow bowl and downed with gusto. (iStock)

East Asian literati, Korean rice wine and writhing octopus tentacles

Sampling makgeolli or Korean rice wine with friends from the academic community in Seoul, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai is transported back in time to the world of ancient literati in China and Korea — would they also have exchanged a story or two over a bowl of makgeolli?
A general view shows the skyline of Tokyo's Shinjuku area on 22 March 2021. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Chinese academic: Japan is the ‘hidden warrior’ behind China-US competition

Chinese academic Deng Qingbo examines the recent Alaska meeting between China and the US, and concludes that Japan plays a hidden but crucial role in how the China-US relationship is developing. As Japan has much to gain from conflicts and intense competition between China and the US, it may indulge in actions that could worsen such big power competition and land the world in a disastrous situation.
A man rides a bicycle as snow falls in New York's Times Square on 18 February 2021.(Kena Betancur/AFP)

Is America falling apart?

The US is doing a re-evaluation of several problems long embedded in its class system, culture and history. Han Dongping says that amid sharp divides in values and beliefs, every individual has a role to play to help resolve issues in a peaceful manner, so that the US avoids the danger of descending into civil war. But are the two major political parties ready to lead and take on the challenge?
A popular meme in China, showing the 1901 meeting involving Li Hongzhang's group, and the recent meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. (Internet)

Alaska meeting: A historic moment of China standing up to the West?

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan notes the fiery start to the high-level dialogue between China and the US held in Alaska, with both sides trading barbs. However, amid the aggression and the "catharsis" some Chinese netizens felt from China standing up to the West after 120 years, some real communication did take place between the two countries where substantive issues were discussed.
People walk in Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, New York, US, 14 February 2021. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

Has the US walked into China's trap?

Han Dongping calls out the weaknesses in US foreign policy, explaining that its foreign policy missteps have contributed to the deep-seated issues it faces today. If having to learn from the past is not enough, it is as if the US has walked into China’s trap, getting mired in interventions while China watches and waits as the US slowly exhausts its power. If nothing changes, the impact on the US and the rest of the world could be catastrophic.