On July 4 Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, will turn 84 and he is expected to celebrate his birthday outside his motherland once again. Tibet is an open wound that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is still working to erase from history, together with the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 and Taiwan, the “three Ts” on which authorities willingly turn a blind eye.
A few weeks ago official celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement (or simply “Wusi”, five-four, in Chinese) took place across China amidst the Party/state growing anxiety and concerns about potential threats to regime stability.
Different from liberal democracies, China’s national security focuses primarily on maintaining the stability of the socialist regime and the one-party rule. To quote the current National Security Law of the People's Republic of China, “this Law is developed in accordance with the Constitution” with the tasks of safeguarding “the leadership of the Communist Party of China […] the socialist system with Chinese characteristics”, as well as “the people's democratic dictatorship”.
Thirty years after student protests flooded Tiananmen Square in 1989, political contestation ramified into three interconnected threats identified by the country’s political leadership as “three evils” – that is, terrorism, separatism and religious extremism. Despite assuming different forms, the three evils are eradicated in the common element of defiance of the Communist ruling over the country.
The current trade war between the US and China looks like a small piece in a much larger puzzle over world leadership in which China plays the part of the ascending challenger seeking to upset the existing balance of power. Technology and innovation seem to be Beijing’s weapons of choice in its frontal assault on Washington in sectors traditionally led by the US.
While the “decline of the West” is now almost taken for granted, China’s impressive economic performance and the political influence of an assertive Russia in the international arena are combining to make Eurasia a key hub of political and economic power. That, certainly, is the story which Beijing and Moscow have been telling for years. Are the times ripe for a “Eurasian world order”? What exactly does the supposed Sino-Russian challenge to the liberal world entail? Are the two countries’ worsening clashes with the West drawing them closer together?
The “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP) is a foreign policy dictum presented by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2016 with the aim of offering an alternative to China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI). On the one hand, the FOIP promotes connectivity, free trade and infrastructure development across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. On the other, the policy renews Japan’s efforts to uphold a rule-based order.
Many uncertainties exist surrounding the courses that the world’s two top economic powerhouses, the US and China, could take in the future. These uncertainties are significant, for they have the power to influence and shape both the foreign policy pursued by East Asian countries and universal international norms. Of the two, it is China’s future course, which is perennially difficult to predict.
Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) policy is at the centre of Tokyo’s economic and security strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region. Although Japanese policymakers do not admit to that in public, the FOIP is not only aimed at enabling Tokyo to economically compete with China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) but is also – and indeed equally importantly – ‘about China’, so to speak. Next to what is referred to as ‘Quality Infrastructure’, i.e.
The expansion of Tokyo’s security and defence ties in East, Southeast and South Asia inspired Washington – together with India and Australia – to get on board Tokyo’s strategy to deter or indeed contain China. Japanese policymakers and the pro-defence government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continue to invest enormous political capital and resources into seeking to keep China’s economic, territorial and security ambitions in the region in check.