1. The Prospect of a Russian-Chinese Alliance is Worth Watching
Wang Dan – Apple Daily Special Column – March 2, 2021
As Western countries become gradually more alert to the threat and competition from the People’s Republic of China, the trend of China’s strategic alignment toward Russia is becoming more and more obvious. Vasily Kashin, an expert at the Center for Comprehensive International Studies of the Russian State Research University of Economics, disclosed at an online conference organized by the Russian Academy of Civil Diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific Region and Blagoveshchensk State Pedagogical University that Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a basic document regulating military cooperation between China and foreign countries. This is likely to move Russia and China toward a more advanced bilateral agreement. He believes that China and Russia will expand their military cooperation after the coronavirus threat subsides, and pandemic prevention restrictions are lifted. This is to a large degree an understandable and expected development. After all, the Western backlash against Putin’s intensified crackdown on political opposition and the Biden administration’s adherence to the traditional Russian threat narrative could also lead Putin to abandon his efforts to de-escalate relations with the West, and move further toward an alliance with China.
In addition to the trend of China-Russia military cooperation, which has long been apparent, the economic mutual assistance between the two countries is also further strengthening this alliance. Since last year, the proportion of US dollar-denominated trade between Russia and China has fallen sharply, and the share of ¥ [RMB] in Russia’s foreign exchange reserves has reached 15 percent. It’s increasingly clear that the two countries are moving toward a “de-dollarized” financial union. Alexey Maslov of the Institute of Far Eastern Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences pointed out that the development of banking and financial relations is more important than military cooperation in terms of highlighting and ensuring the sovereign independence of both countries. Once Russia and China successfully “de-dollarize” their trade – although it is unlikely to affect the dominant position of the U.S. dollar in global trade – the economic sanctions used by Western countries will have greatly reduced leverage. This will naturally increase the strength and confidence of the Russian-Chinese alliance in countering Western influence.
Russia and China have started to strengthen their military and economic cooperation, which reminds us of the “Axis Powers” of Germany, Japan and Italy in World War II. When the “Axis Powers” alliance took shape, Britain and France’s policy of appeasement could be said to have played a “helpful” role. Now that China and Russia are gradually strengthening their alliance, if the West does not learn the lessons of history, it runs the risk of repeating the same mistakes. In the latter part of the Trump administration, Washington had already considered a divisive strategy of “bringing Russia in to confront China,” which is an eye-opening new strategic thrust. But Biden’s policy experts are obviously unlikely to pursue such a policy. If the U.S. increases pressure on Russia, the formation of a Russian-Chinese alliance will accelerate, and once Iran joins, the emergence of a new “axis of power” will certainly lead to more tension in the international order.
Of course, China and Russia face many challenges to form a real alliance. After all, the two countries are not without conflicts of interest. Theoretically, the growth of China’s military power poses a threat to Russia. Many Russian military and strategic analysts have long regarded India as an important force to balance and contain China. In the midst of the tension between China and India, Russia sold 21 upgraded MiG-29 fighter jets to India to help solve the plight of India’s shortage of available air force fighters, which of course made the Chinese side angry. In addition, Mongolia is also a point of conflict of interest between China and Russia. Russia has been trying to draw Mongolia into the Russian-led collective security and defense system, which, if successful, could be a threat to China. The “Belt and Road” Initiative [BRI], with which China is courting Central Asian countries, could also be seen by Russia as an attack on its sphere of influence.
In any case, from a realist perspective on international relations, China and Russia have ample motivation to gradually move toward a more substantial alliance. With Russia’s military power and China’s economic power, and considering the strong influence of the two countries on their neighboring countries, the strengthening of the Russian-Chinese alliance will definitely pose a strong challenge to the Western alliance led by the United States. At the same time, such an alliance will also make Russia more confident in realizing its ambitions on the Ukraine issue, and China more aggressive in realizing its ambitions in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait. The development of such an alliance is an ominous sign for the whole world.
2. The Status of Personal Protection for Judges in China and its Improvement
The Ancient Moon is Brighter Every Day – China Law Review – January 13, 2021
Why Read This?
On January 12, 2021, at 7:30 a.m., Senior Judge Zhou Chunmei, Vice President of the First Division of the Hunan Provincial Higher People’s Court, was stabbed to death by a fellow judge, Xiang Mou. When Xiang Mou brought a lawsuit to the court, he wanted to be greeted by Judge Zhou but was refused, so he became resentful and took revenge. The premise of strengthening personal security is that judges should perform their duties adequately and uphold justice and fairness. The article in this issue analyzes the status quo, problems and the way out of the personal security of judges in China with real examples. We pray that tragedies will not happen again.（Read the full text）
3. China and the United States Cannot Return to the Past, but the Two Countries Need to Maintain Relations
Teng Jianqun – Political Science and International Relations Tribune – January 1, 2021
Why Read This?
For the time being, the relationship between China and the United States cannot return to the past. But the relationship between the two countries needs to be maintained. After all, a stable U.S.-China relationship is good not only for both countries, but also for the world. And how should we respond to the challenges from the United States? As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, China will not dance with the U.S., but it will not allow the U.S. to do what it wants.（Read the full text）
4. Can U.S.-China relations improve significantly in six months? These three areas may be the breakthrough
Li Wei – Political Science and International Relations Tribune – January 12, 2021
Why Read This?
Both China and the United States have accumulated a relatively large momentum for cooperation, even if this momentum is short-term. So for China, I’m afraid we need to seize this relatively important window of opportunity in the next three months and six months to come up with a list of our cooperation and put it on the Biden White House table, so that Biden can clearly see what benefits will come from cooperation with China. In addition to the first stage of 9/11, the second stage of the financial crisis, and the relatively good state of 2021, I think it would be a very good thing for the global economy if we can welcome the third stage of U.S.-China cooperation.（Read the full text）
5. Patterns and Trends of U.S.-China Competition in the South China Sea – A Comprehensive Analysis Based on Three Variables: Power, Rules, and Third-Party Factors
Hu Bo – Pangu Think Tank – February 3, 2021
Why Read This?
The U.S.-China rivalry in the South China Sea is intensifying, but some important questions have yet to be clarified. What are China and the United States fighting for? What has led to the friction and controversy between China and the United States over the South China Sea since 2009? In this paper, we analyze the weight and influence mechanisms of three major variables in the Sino-U.S. competition in the South China Sea: third-party factors, differences in maritime rules, and power competition, and explore the relationship between different factors and the basic trends of long-term Sino-U.S. competition in the South China Sea.（Read the full text）
6. China and the United States in the Biden Era: Trends and Responses
CCG – Political Science and International Relations Tribune – January 21, 2021
Why Read This?
The Biden administration will be conducive to restarting globalization and moving to a higher level, while providing new opportunities for China’s globalization. Although the new administration will continue to deal with U.S.-China relations from the perspective of great power competition, its focus will be inward, and the trend of competing with China in a rational manner by improving its own strength and emphasizing diplomacy and soft power will be significantly different from that of the Trump administration. In this context, the common interests of China and the United States in the areas of trade, humanistic exchanges, and global governance will be the favorable factors for the easing of Sino-US relations in the Biden era.（Read the full text）
7. Heilongjiang Epidemic Situation: End of the Year Approaching, Epidemic Prevention Faces “Big Test”?
Ni Feng, Fu Mengzi, Tang Yongsheng – Political Science and International Relations Tribune – January 23, 2021
Why Read This?
After four years of the Trump administration, especially the development of the new pneumonia epidemic, the relationship between the United States and the world, and the relationship between China and the world, has changed significantly, and the strength of China and the United States has also changed relatively significantly. China’s strength has increased significantly, and China has demonstrated its ability to resist, mobilize, and govern in the trade conflict and competition between the U.S. and China, and China now has more confidence to respond to U.S. pressure. In a new environment, China will “shape” the regional and international environment with confidence and openness, including “shaping” U.S. policy toward China and the future direction of U.S.-China relations.（Read the full text）
8. When Entrepreneurs Start Becoming Capitalists: A Public Sentiment to Watch Out For
Zhang Feng – Southern Metropolitan Observer – January 16, 2021
Why Read This?
The news of “sudden death” can easily lead public opinion to hatred of “capital”. If a traditional taxi driver died suddenly, it would be hard for the local media to pay attention to it. People might be more concerned about whether he parked his car safely on the roadside, but if a drop driver died suddenly, it would certainly lead to questions about capital. In reality, both jobs are equally hard, but the public is more likely to blame the new forces that are causing social change. No one seems to be thinking about how to give wage earners their own representation and truly protect their rights, but rather rushing to nail companies to the pillar of shame.（Read the full text）
9. When Economic “Internal Circulation” Becomes a “Problem,” the Tipping Point of Social Tansformation My Have Arrived
Wei Dan – Southern Metropolitan Observer – January 18, 2021
Why Read This?
Although it also implies the meaning of “growth without development,” what really matters is not the effectiveness and transformation of the whole system, but the subjective feeling of the individuals in it: a situation where everyone is suffering, everyone is busy and tired, but life is not getting better. The dilemma is that life is not getting better. Since this dilemma is both holistic and multi-level and multi-faceted, it is inevitable that there are various interpretations of it, and it is loosely used everywhere, because people cannot find other better words to describe such a state of their lives.（Read the full text）
10. Watch Out for Supply Chain Encirclement of China by the U.S. and its Allies
Li Wei – Political Science and International Relations Tribune – January 24, 2021
Why Read This?
The author points out that Biden’s economic policy will focus on three areas during his first six months in office: first, macroeconomic policies to boost the post-epidemic recovery of the U.S. economy; second, technology industry policies to defend the U.S. technological leadership; and third, the adoption of a Green New Deal to address climate change. These three areas will become the three pillars of Biden’s economic policy.（Read the full text）
11. The Basic Posture of the Three U.S. Economic Wars with China in the Biden Era
Li Wei – Political Science and International Relations Tribune – January 17, 2021
Why Read This?
The author considers that the economic and trade relations between China and the United States in the next five years are predicted. He believes that the tariff war between China and the U.S. will not fester further in the future, but the risk of a financial war still exists. Most importantly, the competition between China and the U.S. in the field of technology has been formed, and the U.S. sanctions against Chinese companies will become the most serious risk in the future relationship between the two countries.（Read the full text）