Confucius Institutes – A Chinese tool for soft power or a scapegoat for the West?
Confucius Institutes have been discussed in Western media in varying degrees of intensity over the last couple of decades. They have been subject to criticism for being tools of Chinese soft power and have been labeled as a threat to academic and individual freedom in different countries. But what are Confucius Institutes exactly, and how should we address them?
Having the cake and eating it too – China’s balancing act following the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine are reverberating around the world. Sanctions are mounting and logistics chains have been disrupted. Countries are re-evaluating their security policies and diplomatic positions as they try to navigate the new reality. The Russian invasion has put China in a serious diplomatic and economic predicament, from which it has little chance to escape without suffering a diplomatic blow.
Two years of opposing the system: An overview of the Thai political protests 2020-2022
Since February 2020 Thailand has seen continued protests led by Thai Youth. With demands reaching from reforms of the educational system to demanding reform of the monarchy, the protests have shooked Thailand's politics and society at its core. This article gives an overview of what has happened in the country over the last two years.
China in space: lone ranger or cooperative power?
“To explore the vast cosmos, develop the space industry and build China into a space power is our eternal dream”. This declaration from President Xi Jinping reflects the outlines of China’s strategy in outer space. While the country shares various similarities with fellow space powers, one can wonder about China’s space strategy considering its tense situation within the international community. Are they playing the lone wolf, or are they willing to contribute to mankind’s biggest challenges?
￼Party-state Capitalism: China's way of dealing with political conflicts
Party-state capitalism has emerged as a new term to describe China's political-economic dynamics as the Chinese Communist Party expands its institutional control over the economic sector and reduces its autonomy. While Western observers criticize the growing politicization of the economy, party-state capitalism is a necessary tool to reduce conflicts arising from the transition from one development stage to another.
If winter comes, can spring be far behind?--Interview with the Chinese Embassy in Sweden
Topics: Cross-Strait Relations, China-Sweden relationship, China exploration, mutual understanding
Interview with the Ambassador of Taiwan - Ambassador Yao
Geopolitics, US-Taiwan relations under the Biden administration, the pandemic and security concerns are all topics covered in this interview with Taiwan's Ambassador Yao to Sweden by Sarah Nygård.
Legalism and Rule of Law
In recent years there has been a surge of legal reform in China. The heavy promotion on “Xi Jinping’s thought on the rule of law” have reignited the discussion on China’s historical legal traditions and practices. Amidst these discussions Legalism has sometimes been deemed the “Chinese version of rule of law” by scholars such as Fu Zhengyuan. In this article I will lay out some of the similarities and differences between these two legal traditions and explain why Legalism is not rule of law but rather rule by law.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in brief
After many discussions on the fate of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan decided to open its borders to athletes, journalists, and other participants, and held a decidedly unique Olympic Games, thanks to strong anti-Covid-19 measures. The Olympics promise potential economic benefits and international glory to the country and the city organising them. This year, however, pandemic intervened. Moreover, scandals involving misogynistic comments from the (now former) head of the Japanese Olympic committee, and the indecision about holding the Games had already tainted Japan’s reputation prior to the event. Now that the Olympics have ended, what can be brought to light?
Yoshihide Suga, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Tokyo Olympic Games
At the end of last year, Yoshihide Suga went from being Shinzo Abe’s right hand man to Japan’s new prime minister. How is Suga coping as leader of the world’s third largest economy during a world pandemic—with the Tokyo Olympics right around the corner?
The “Family Resilience Bill” will force people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community to go through rehabilitation.
During these tough times of the pandemic, the LGBTQ+ community in Indonesia has provided a lot of help and support to the people. But have the people and the government shown much support or acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community in turn?
That time of the year: Christmas 2020 Special
Keeping up with the Kims
The Democratic Republic of Korea is a relatively obscure country that little reveals itself to the external world. Despite that, the international community yet succeeds in finding comedy in the imaginative ideology and in the extravagant laws regulating the country, often disregarding the incredible survivability of a regime that has been withstanding for over 70 years. A question thus needs to be begged: where does lay the success of the Kim dynasty and their dictatorial state?
A Diplomatic Roller Coaster Ride
President Donald Trump’s approach to North Korea, and especially its leader Kim Jong Un, has been revolutionary. During Trump’s four-year presidency, US-North Korea relations have seen unprecedented ups and downs in what can best be described as a diplomatic roller coaster ride. We have witnessed escalating tensions during an intense war of words and two never-before-seen summits. Meanwhile, Trump and Kim’s relationship has gone from “rocket man” to “fall in love”. Even though Trump’s North Korea policy has been ground-breaking, we might just be back where we started this ride.
The double plight of suicide and sexual harassment in South Korea– a prominent case
Torn by spiking suicide rates and ever-increasing gender tensions, Korean society is facing deep-seated challenges. For many years, the Democratic Party of Korea has pledged to repair the social fabric and stand on women's side. But evidence would suggest otherwise.
Former Malaysian prime minister faces jail time due to political scandal
Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak kept claiming his innocence for several years. He had not stolen any money, and the allegations against him were just ”vile” and ”malicious”. But in July this year the final verdict was made, Razak was found guilty and he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Behind the East Asian ‘history wars’
The dogs of Beijing
What started as a silly game among exchange students revealed a political and social issue in the city of Beijing. Since 2003 “dangerous” dog breeds and those reaching a height of more than 35 centimeters are banned from the capital’s inner districts. Interestingly, it took the city’s authorities 10 years until the law was strictly enforced. Since then regulations got more stringent. The article sums up the events and aims to incorporate the issue into the broader historical background of dog keeping in China.
China Establishes New Law in Hong Kong
At the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, in may this year, a preliminary decision to create and improve the legal framework and enforcement mechanism for protecting national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was submitted for deliberation.
All quiet on the Eastern front - The North Korean Abduction Issue
Few certainties, many unknowns. Over 40 years have passed since the first abduction, but little has been accomplished. As abductees’ families inexorably age, prospects for a settlement remain grim.