Hong Kong: Beyond Chinese Ideology – Yuan Jiang

When Chinese armed personnel carriers rolled through Hong Kong, the majority of Hongkongers and Western media expressed concerns over the outbreak of another 4 June incident. US Vice President Mike Pence noted that the chances of reaching a trade with China will decline if there is clear evidence go human rights violations in Hong Kong. From the perspective of the West, there seems to be a war between democratic values and authoritarianism in Hong Kong. What does this mean for China and why are there a growing amount of Chinese patriots against Hong Kong protestors? Is it possible to say that they are all funded by the Chinese government.

I believe that in China’s perspective, the Hong Kong protests are different to the incident at Tiananmen Square. People may refer to the latter as an ideological battle, but the former is solely focused on China’s quest for unification. China has been ruled by a centralised system since the reign of the Qin Dynasty, with the same characters, language and measure standards. As history has shown, war in China usually leads to a division in identity. Moreover, civil war in China brings unimaginable violence because of the huge division in identity that emerges with such conflict. This might explain the thousands of years of national division in China. There is a general consensus in every Chinese mind: “domains under heaven, after a long period of division, tends to unite; after a long period of union, tends to divide.”

Read the full article at the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

Stepping Up While Stepping Down – The West’s Strategic Dilemma in Afghanistan – Toni Michel

The Taliban are a classic representative of a loosely networked formation successfully challenging one of the planet’s most advanced hierarchies – the West’s combined military power. The ensuing standoff has been quite stable for many years with neither side able to defeat the other’s military forces or basic political commitment to fight on. Many Taliban fighters are by now mobilized into the groups ranks by a nationalistic sense of opposing “foreign invaders” while the world’s great powers and regional stakeholders would rather have some Western troops remain in their backyard than see Afghanistan again reduced to a hotbed of terrorism export, appaling human rights conditions and regional instability.

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Александр Воробьев: Казахстану удалось избежать три основных риска при осуществлении транзита власти

Властям Казахстана на данный момент, пожалуй, удалось избежать три основных риска при осуществлении транзита власти. Во-первых, был преодолен риск форс-мажорной, незапланированной и неподготовленной передачи власти. Практика показывает, что передача власти в условиях форс-мажора далеко не всегда проходит гладко, и может закончиться публичным противостоянием элитарных группировок, перерасти в гражданский конфликт.

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战斗民族”的女娇娃 – 姜源



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Photo Credit: mp.weixin.qq.com

A “Golden Age” No More? What 2019 Will Bring for Turkmenistan – Toni Michel

The name of the official news site of the government of Turkmenistan expresses what might be the closest thing to the sealed-off state’s official ideology: Zolotoi Vek, or Golden Age.

In recent years, Turkmens have been constantly reminded that theirs is a country enjoying unprecedented material and spiritual wealth. The latter is, according to the official narrative, helped along mightily by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the prolific writer of over 40 books, who has, since taking office, regularly made international news by appearing on stage with his grandson to slightly awkwardly perform Turkmen and international songs.


Turkmenistan’s outlook for 2019 is, however, highly uncertain. Yet three broad trends in the Turkmen state, society, and economy are going to influence life over the next 12 months.

Read the article on VoicesOnCentralAsia.com


The Three-Seas-Initiative: Problems, Potential and Prospects for Ukraine – Toni Michel

Ukraine has been forcefully seeking entry into Western economic and military institutions since the ‘Revolution of Dignity’ in 2014. With the doors to full membership shut for the moment, what alternatives are there for Kyiv to pursue its security and economic interests?

In a LockBreakers Policy Paper, Toni Michel analyses the problems, potential and prospects of the Three-Seas-Initiative for Ukraine.

Download the full report here: 2018-12-Three-Seas-Initiative-and-Ukraine

Курс России в Центральной Азии: между Ташкентом и Астаной – Александр Воробьев

Безусловно, Казахстан является ключевым партнером России среди стран СНГ. Республика стояла у истоков евразийской экономической интеграции, Таможенного союза и ЕАЭС. Россия и Казахстан связаны мощным комплексом связей и отношений, взаимных договоренностей — от экономики и межвузовских контактов до военно-технического сотрудничества и картографии. Тем не менее в двустороннем взаимодействии Москвы и Астаны сегодня присутствуют факторы, действие которых снижает темпы дальнейшего сближения двух государств.

Положительная динамика в отношениях Ташкента и Москвы — безусловное благо как для России, так и для Узбекистана. Однако у аналитиков и представителей СМИ возникает вопрос: как прорыв в российско-узбекских отношениях будет влиять на российско-казахские отношения? Нынешняя ситуация — почва для определенных спекуляций на эту тему. Мол, Москва в новых условиях будет меньше опираться на Астану, а сделает ставку на Ташкент в своей центральноазиатской политике. В русле подобных суждений могут звучать и тезисы, противопоставляющие Астану и Ташкент, в которых утверждается наличие определенной конкуренции двух ключевых центральноазиатских государств.

Read the full article here