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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

Framework Urgently Required for Regulating Wild Animal Consumption
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Framework Urgently Required for Regulating Wild Animal Consumption

Yang Sanxi, media commentator, in Guancha Syndicate (March 10, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Framework Urgently Required for Regulating Wild Animal Consumption

The Covid-19 outbreak has drawn public attention to the source of the virus: wild animals. Many wild animals carry viruses, bacteria, parasites and other organisms, which could endanger human health. Consumption of wild animals is not only a dangerous habit but can destroy the balance of the ecological environment. Unsurprisingly, the recent complete ban on consumption of wild animals by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has received widespread public support.

The ban, however, has also generated some controversy over exactly which animals can still be farmed and eaten, especially regarding amphibians such as turtles, soft-shelled turtles and frogs, which remain common delicacies across China. The question affects many citizens who are employed in the food sector, as well as millions of farmers. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has provided an official answer to whether bullfrogs and soft-shelled turtles can still be eaten following the banning wild animal consumption. These animals have been included in a list of Protected Economic Aquatic Animals and Plants Resources under State Protection and can therefore be cultured and eaten in accordance with the management of aquatic species. 

This example shows why a framework is urgently needed to identify exactly which wildlife are banned and to ensure that those that are indeed safe to eat will not be mistakenly included in this category. As such, all localities and relevant departments should further clarify the relevant standards and scientific factors needed to determine the scope of the ban. This will help ensure strict compliance to the new regulations as well as preventing any unnecessary loss to economic livelihoods. In addition, it will be necessary to continue strengthening the inspection of the farming bullfrogs, soft-shelled turtles and so on to improve health and safety supervision.



Prevention and Control of Covid-19 Requires Blocking the Import of Cases
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Prevention and Control of Covid-19 Requires Blocking the Import of Cases

Wang Lixiang, Chairman of the Health Culture Committee of the China Health Association, in Global Times (March 6, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Ptrump16)

Prevention and Control of Covid-19 Requires Blocking the Import of Cases

China's handling of the Covid-19 outbreak has already achieved steady results. The situation overseas, however, is indicating a clear and rapid upward trend. Meanwhile, several overseas imported cases are beginning to appear across China. Considering such a severe situation, three key measures should be implemented to win the global fight against the virus.

First, implement a pre-entry health notification system. This would involve visitors providing certificates of good health from the health agency of their country of origin. In addition, all visitors should strengthen their sense of responsibility and self-control by truthfully reporting their health condition honestly to authorities.

Second, screening measures during entry should be enhanced through the implementation of a health review system. Border authorities must perform a complete inspection of health declarations for all people entering and exiting the country, while strictly carrying out temperature monitoring and conducting medical inspections utilizing face-recognition technology. 

Third, an isolation system must be enforced with a strict 14-day centralized quarantine for those from countries with severe epidemics. While guided by scientific principles of prevention and control, this must fully respect the reasonable demands of visitors, while taking account of their religion and customs. Technologies such as mobile applications should be deployed to track the movement of visitors to maximize the protection of vulnerable groups. 

China, alongside other countries, have already taken measures to reduce the frequency of flights between Japan and South Korea. It is necessary to observe closely the epidemic situation in the United States and Europe with timely adjustments made to the measures taken to monitor and control foreign visitors to China.


Tsai Ing-Wen’s Re-election is Just a “Storm in a Teacup”
Friday, January 17, 2020
Tsai Ing-Wen’s Re-election is Just a “Storm in a Teacup”

Wang Heting, Associate Professor in the School of Politics and Public Management at Henan Normal University, in Beijing Daily (14 January 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Tsai Ing-Wen’s Re-election is Just a “Storm in a Teacup”

Tsai Ing-Wen’s successful re-election as Taiwan’s president on January 11, 2020, was inconsistent with the expectations of many people. However, from a long-term perspective, Tsai’s win is nothing but a “storm in a teacup” in the sense that it does not deviate from Taiwan’s political development. Nor will it change the fact that Taiwan is part of China or stop the historical trend towards unification.

Tsai Ing-Wen's re-election was due to several factors, namely, external interference from the United States and lingering influence from Hong Kong’s anti-extradition law movement and its Hong Kong independence figures, which has been subsequently exploited by the Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for political gain. Through these factors, Taiwan’s political environment and electoral campaign have become both hostile and polarised, overlooking the needs of the voters. As a result, the election is only a victory for the DPP and not for Taiwanese compatriots.

However, despite the DPP’s victory, progress towards the motherland’s reunification will not weaken. In recent years, owing to the increasing strength of the mainland’s economy, reunification remains in reach. In addition, Taiwanese society’s view towards cross-strait relations and perception of the mainland have been steadily improving. As such, Taiwanese society now understands the necessity of unification.

Today, the conditions for advancing reunification are unprecedented. However, it will be necessary to continue strengthening international support for the “one China” principle and ensure false signals are not sent to Taiwan pro-independence forces. Even more importantly, the deepening of cross-strait integration will be necessary to expand the path towards peaceful reunification.


The US-Iran Conflict: What Should China Do?
Friday, January 10, 2020
The US-Iran Conflict: What Should China Do?

Zhan Hao, investor and author, in Aigupiao (January 7, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

The US-Iran Conflict: What Should China Do?

Following the assassination of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani on January 3, US-Iran relations have deteriorated. Over the next few years, strategic relations will be confrontational with limited room for improvement. Therefore, in this context, there are two scenarios that China should consider in shaping its response:

1. Direct military conflict between the US and Iran

The odds for this happening are low, as neither the US and Iran can afford to take such a systemic risk. In the small chance that there is a war, the global economy will be severely hit, with trade and commerce, including the crude-oil supply, disrupted. For China, it will be important to strengthen energy-supply guarantees, as well as bolster economic relations with neighboring countries. Furthermore, a US-Iran war may prove to be good time to reunify with Taiwan due to weakening US assistance to Taipei. Ultimately, if direct military conflict does break out, China must take full advantage of the situation and not allow the US to defeat Iran. 

2. An ongoing confrontation

While China should not allow the US to overthrow the regime in Tehran, it also should not fight on behalf of Iran, as China has no core interests in the country. However, China should strategically strengthen its cooperation with all parties in the Middle East, especially as the US is currently in a position where its global hegemony is increasingly difficult to maintain. China, on the contrary, is growing stronger and this is reflected in its increasing global influence, which will continue to expand as China maintains its strategic strength.

Based on these scenarios, China must remain focused and plan accordingly. China will have to maintain strategic flexibility and keep up with the ever-evolving international situation.


In US-China Relations, Time will not Wait – Seize Every Moment
Friday, January 3, 2020
In US-China Relations, Time will not Wait – Seize Every Moment

Guo Jiping (a pen name) in People’s Daily (December 31, 2019)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

In US-China Relations, Time will not Wait – Seize Every Moment

The phase-one trade deal reached between China and the US will be beneficial not only for China and the US but also for peace and prosperity around the world.

In December 2019, China and the US reached a phase-one trade deal on the basis of equality and mutual respect. On both sides of the Pacific Ocean, and the world as a whole, markets responded positively. While challenges are inevitable in international relations, only cooperation and mutual promotion, rather than confrontation and containment, can make relations last.

As economics and technology continue to make the world more integrated, China and the US are seeing their interests increasingly intertwined. While disputes are a normal part of cooperation, supremacy cannot overthrow justice and rationality. As such, cooperation is always the best choice. China, facing the US-initiated trade war, will never surrender to any form of pressure, and remains devoted to safeguarding its core national interests. In addition, China is committed to resolving issues through dialogue, properly handling differences while seeking common ground, and overcoming obstacles with practical solutions.

Improvements in relations between the China and the US over the past 40 years help to demonstrate that working to create opportunities and maximizing common interests between China and the US is the right approach. Furthermore, working towards the common good of the world is the most worthwhile cause. The phase-one trade deal illustrates that, if China and the US remain committed to win-win cooperation while respecting each other’s national dignity, sovereignty and core interests, they can overcome any form of difficulty. Only through the strengthening of relations will both countries and their people be able to benefit.