In recent years, the focus of international politics has gradually shifted from Europe and the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific region. China’s expansion and military maneuvers in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait have raised the vigilance of the Asia-Pacific countries. The major countries in the Asia-Pacific region – led by Australia, Japan and India – have begun to carry out comprehensive cooperation and alliances. At the urging of the United States, Europe can also send naval vessels into the Asia-Pacific region to show the unity of Western countries. However, in the face of the backlash of the regional and international community, the Chinese Communist Party has not only failed to restrain itself, but also believes that its national strength is great enough to confront the United States-led allies, and its willingness and readiness to prepare for war are becoming increasingly evident.
What should the Asia-Pacific countries do to counteract such a critical development? Australian senior intelligence officer Rory Medcalf – in his new book “Contest for the Indo-Pacific: Why China Won’t Map the Future” – makes four points that I think are pertinent, practical and worthy of attention.
First, the author argues that one of the focal points in preparing for a deteriorating situation is to prepare for rainy days, and that the focus should be on “capacity building.” Japan and Australia are now helping to train other countries’ coastal defense forces, and providing vessels, maritime surveillance, and communications equipment to partner countries, from Vietnam to Indonesia, and from the Solomon Islands to Sri Lanka, as examples of such regional cooperation to strengthen all these countries’ defenses.
Secondly, the author believes that no matter how much Japan, India, and Australia have awakened and started to prepare for war, the support of the United States is still the most important factor. He argues that the United States and all countries that support balance in military strength must build an advantage in traditional military power, as well as in future technological and regional economic resilience. They need to bolster their ability to both resist pressure and to exert it. They need to restore two forms of deterrent power: the ability to not allow the enemy to make gains, and to fight back. This will involve both maintaining military modernization, and investing in new tools of warfare such as networks, artificial intelligence, space, new materials, robots, advanced computing and other modernization efforts. As China continues to increase its military strength, the United States must invest more in this area as well.
Thirdly, the author calls for frequent dialogue among countries in the Asia-Pacific region to exchange views and reach consensus in a spirit of honesty and frankness. Such dialogues should also take place at the political level. The author believes that the dialogues should not stop at one or two meetings a year, but should be followed by the establishment of specific executive working groups responsible for the implementation of the dialogue and the provision of information on issues such as intelligence and logistics to be shared among the countries. For crisis situations, countries also need to discuss and conduct combat drills in advance.
The final point, which I think is most worthy of consideration by outsiders, is also one of the most important arguments put forward by the author. In his view, to counterbalance Chinese power, the Indo-Pacific countries must be willing to pay a price and endure short periods of pain. This requires the political will of the leaders. This is very important because international politics sometimes depends not only on national strength but on the political will of leaders. Also in the Indo-Pacific region, in the face of China’s offensive, Australia and New Zealand’s policies are very different. Australia is willing to pay a price in the face of the economic sanctions imposed by the Chinese Communist Party rather than give up its insistence on its national interests and values. New Zealand, on the other hand, has clearly abandoned some of its principles in order to reap economic dividends from China. Therefore, the attitude of the political leaders of the Indo-Pacific countries is also very important.
Finally, the author tells a short story in the book which I think provides food for thought: When Vietnamese and Chinese naval defense vessels vied and clashed with each other over oil and gas exploration rights in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam, a Vietnamese diplomat was asked a series of questions during a meeting with foreign scholars. If his country goes to war with China tomorrow, who will come to its assistance? “The answer to that is simple,” the diplomat calmly replied, “the Vietnamese people.” I think this is the best way for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to defend themselves.
2. A General Review of the Constitutional Implementation Decisions in Hong Kong
Liu Zhigang – China Law Review – March 11, 2021
Why Read This?
The Constitution is the fundamental law of the country and an important constitutional basis of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It is of great significance to uphold the authority of the Constitution and the Hong Kong Basic Law by facing up to the overlap between the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s power of censorship and the Hong Kong courts’ power of censorship, and by properly addressing and resolving the interface between the two.（Read the full text）
3. The Logic of Cyclical Recurrence of Grassroots Pressure and its Governance
Zhang Yuanyuan, Li Mengxin – Political Scientist – February 15, 2021
Why Read This?
The burden reduction at the grassroots level becomes more and more “negative”. This paradox has become a hot issue in the research of grassroots governance. Why is the function of grassroots government expanding constantly? Why does the dual structure of “central government and local government” become more prominent in the political task of reducing burdens at the grassroots level? Taking Huang Zongxi’s law as the theoretical paradigm, this paper makes a comparative study of the law of “increase-decrease-increase” and the current phenomenon of grassroots burden reduction, trying to analyze the deep logic behind the failure of grassroots burden reduction from this diachronic grand perspective.（Read the full text）
4. Anti-Corruption Achievements: The Logic and Objective of Governing Corruption
Zheng Fanghui – Political Scientist – February 19, 2021
Why Read This?
As a response to the call for theoretical innovation in the new era of clean government construction, anti-corruption achievement studies pay more attention to the target result orientation of anti-corruption. The results of an empirical study in Guangdong Province show that the gap between anti-corruption efforts and government integrity satisfaction is obvious and weak. Why is there such a gap between the goals of corruption governance and actual investment? The article explores this issue from a new conceptual and analytical perspective.（Read the full text）
5. Surveillance in the Countryside: The Logic of National Governance in Extending Surveillance Functions to the Grassroots
Dong Shitao – Political Scientist – February 23, 2021
Why Read This?
The “monitoring of the countryside” is an important part of the modernization of national grassroots governance. In practice, “monitoring the countryside” contains the double logic of “using power to restrain power” and “the right to restrain power.” The extension of monitoring functions to the grassroots is still faced with the dilemma of shortage of power, uneven relationships, unclear responsibilities and insufficient participation.（Read the full text）
6. The Triple Common Ground for the Long-Term Continuity of China’s Political Unity: A Perspective on Long-Term Politics
Xu Yong – Political Scientist – February 1, 2021
Why Read This?
With its vast territory and complex population, China has undergone many dynastic changes throughout its history, yet it has managed to maintain “political unity.” Why, then, has China survived as an integrated national entity for so long? Why, after many dynastic changes, has China entered the modern world as a politically unified state, and met unprecedented challenges with this form? This paper answers these questions from the perspective of long-period politics, which can provide readers with some useful insights and reflections.（Read the full text）
7. Re-Supervision of Supervisory Power: The Rule of Law Approach of Local People’s Congresses to Supervise Local Supervisory Committees
Zhou Youyong – Political Scientist – March 5, 2021
Why Read This?
The reform of the national surveillance system is forging a strong surveillance system — the National Supervisory Committee simultaneously raises two major issues of both theoretical and practical importance: 1. Surveillance itself also needs supervision, that is, the question of “how to supervise the supervisor” [Quis custodiet ipsos custodes – Who watches the watchmen?]; and 2. The constitutional design of our country gives the National People’s Congress system the authority and power to supervise other supervisors. How should the supervisory power of the National People’s Congress be coordinated with that of the Supervisory Committee? This article addresses these two questions.（Read the full text）
8. On the “Two Big Pictures” of the Modernization of National Governance
Ren Jiantao – Political Scientist – March 16, 2021
Why Read This?
There are two opinion tendencies in academic circles in the interpretation of the modernization of national governance: one is to understand the modernization of national governance within the scope of China; the other is to describe the concept of modernization of national governance in terms of specific national values. The article holds that in the process of promoting the modernization of national governance, we should first clarify the position of the country, and then grasp the domestic and international “two big pictures,” so that we can achieve the basic goal of governance modernization and look forward to a higher vision of national governance.（Read the full text）
9. The Aging China behind 250 million Adult Diapers
Shu Bingbing – Sanlian Life Weekly – March 29, 2021
Why Read This?
Even with such a huge production and sales volume, “adult diapers” are still rarely paid attention to in the market. Even when the person in charge of the e-commerce platform paid a return visit to Liu Conghai’s Taobao store, the tone revealed a question about the “¥250 million” figure. Data doubts: “Can you sell such a large volume? Are there really so many people using the product?” （Read the full text）
10. How “Bidenomics” Will Affect U.S.-China Relations
Li Wei, Mu Ruitong – Great Nation Policy Think Tank – March 3, 2021
Why Read This?
President Joseph Biden has formulated a “100-day New Deal” plan for his first 100 days in office, the main elements of which include using macroeconomic policies to help the United States economy “recover after the epidemic,” implementing technology industry policies to defend U.S. global technology leadership, and laying out the domestic and foreign affairs through a “Green New Deal.” These three pillars form the basic backbone of the “Biden Economy,” with the fundamental goal of restoring America’s declining global leadership. The implementation of the Biden Doctrine may bring new challenges to U.S.-China economic relations and new opportunities for cooperation between the two countries, and its impact on the overall relationship between the two countries will be very complex.（Read the full text）
11. Original Equipment Manufacturer Foundries [OEMs] Using Cheap Labor? Your Impression of China’s Foreign Trade is Outdated
Yang Lu – Sanlian Life Weekly – March 17, 2021
Why Read This?
Chinese brands going abroad is a hot topic these days, and there are already examples in this field. Shenzhen-based Anker electrical charging equipment has been at the top of the market for nearly 10 years. Four out of ten people in the United States know this brand. Orolay goose down jackets from Jiaxing in northern Zhejiang Province have become popular through Amazon. They are now the trendsetter of the Upper East Side of New York City. These brands, whose names are remembered by overseas consumers, have their own coincidences and have benefited from the dividends of Amazon and other e-commerce channels and social media development. But there is also the inevitability that the soil in which they were hatched is the evolved Made in China.（Read the full text）