Zhou Nongjian

Political commentator and academic

Zhou Nongjian was a social science and philosophy researcher in a research centre in China for over ten years, after which he moved to do research in several US universities. His research areas include value theory, philosophy, comparative studies of Asian and Western culture, political theory, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Chinese ethnic issues.

This photo taken on 31 August 2022 shows an emblem of the USSR, which was removed from Leninsky Avenue after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, displayed at the Modern History Sculpture Museon park in Moscow. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

What China can learn from the missteps of Mikhail Gorbachev

The collapse of the Soviet Union was sudden and shocking, not least for China, with which it once shared a similar ideology. Commentator Zhou Nongjian explores what China can learn from the missteps of the Soviet Union’s last leader Mikhail Gorbachev that ultimately led to the country’s downfall.
A picture taken on 21 March 2022 shows a view of the damage at the Retroville shopping mall, a day after it was shelled by Russian forces in a residential district in the northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. (Fadel Senna/AFP)

Russia-China alliance: 'No limits' does not mean 'no bottom line'

International observers have pushed China’s possible role in the crisis under the spotlight since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war. The previously touted “no limits” in Russia-China relations has raised concerns over China’s support of Russia as the latter continues its aggression against Ukraine. However, US-based academic Zhou Nongjian believes that this friendship is not unconditional, and there are bottom lines that should not be crossed.
Pro-Ukraine demonstrators display placards and Ukrainian flags during a demonstration in support to Ukraine at the Wenceslas Square in Prague, Czech Republic, on 22 February 2022 following Russia's recognition of eastern Ukrainian separatists. (Michal Cizek/AFP)

Can China benefit as a bystander in the Russia-Ukraine crisis?

President Vladimir Putin of Russia declared the start of a “special military operation” in Ukraine on 24 February, saying that he would seek to demilitarise the country. According to reports, Russian troops have attacked Ukraine from Belarus as well as Russia with Belarusian support, and an attack was also being launched from annexed Crimea. Amid the unfolding situation, US-based academic Zhou Nongjian thinks that China needs to maintain a balanced approach towards Russia's military action — while China may benefit as a bystander, a close neighbour that is expanding unreservedly could mean trouble in the future.
Pro-Ukraine demonstrators hold a placard during a demonstration in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany, on 22 February 2022. (John Macdougall/AFP)

Russia-Ukraine crisis: Can Russian aggression bring back the former glory of the Soviet Union?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he considers Russia, Ukraine and Belarus one people, and its recent actions concerning Ukraine are unsettling. Some in China support the strong and aggressive style of Putin and are glad that Russia has created a buffer to divert the West’s attention away from China. Nevertheless, Russia’s aggressive stance has resulted in 40 years of suffering and failure. US-based academic Zhou Nongjian looks into Russia's intentions with Ukraine and why it is adamant on restoring the former glory of the Soviet Union.
People wearing protective masks visit a main shopping area in Shanghai, China, 21 January 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China becoming the biggest economy in ten years is not a given 

Analysts predict that China will overtake the US as the world’s leading economy in the next decade, but external military conflicts and internal struggles could thwart the Asian giant's ambitions. Political commentator Zhou Nongjian has the details.
What can Chinese policymakers do to help returning top talents make even greater contributions to the country? (iStock)

Fudan University's murder case: China must look after returning top talents

US-based academic Zhou Nongjian reminds Chinese policymakers that Chinese talents who have studied abroad and made their way home have much to offer the nation. Alas, their talents are sometimes wasted due to pressures unrelated to their profession. More can be done to alleviate their situation and help them make even greater contributions.
U.S. President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., 13 May 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Can America beat China with Biden’s US$6 trillion stimulus plans?

US-based Chinese researcher Zhou Nongjian takes a close look at Biden’s US$6 trillion stimulus plans to improve the US economy and meet the challenge from China. He asserts that infrastructure-building and poverty assistance plans are stop-gap measures that will not address fundamental problems such as the US’s loss of industries and declining national strength. Is the US president putting the cart before the horse?
President-elect Joe Biden waves to supporters as he leaves the Queen theater after receiving a briefing from the transition COVID-19 advisory board on 9 November 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)

The US is getting old but China is still too green

Zhou Nongjian observes that there was a large slate of older candidates in this year’s US elections including incumbent President Trump who is 74 and President-elect Joe Biden who is 78. It is not an exact science of course, but he notes that this large crop of “oldies” is a metaphor for a greying America, or put bluntly, a country that is fast deteriorating and way past its prime. Notwithstanding, will China be fooled by such a veneer of weakness or stay watchful and humble?