Obituary for Abe + Confusion over vaccine mandate in Beijing + Baidu car
It was a noble gesture that China's President Xi Jinping so quickly and openly condoled with Japan after the fatal assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. After all, Abe's backward-looking policy sought to close the book on Japan's responsibility for crimes committed during World War II. With this, he rightly outraged many Chinese. But that was only one side of the conservative right-wing former Prime Minister's story.
Abe is also responsible for the fact that the relationship between Japan and China, which has been tense for decades, has eased, at least economically, analyzes Michael Radunski in his obituary of the pragmatist Abe. And this at a time of increasingly intense rivalry between the superpowers China and the United States. Abe managed to expand the security alliance with the United States on the one hand, while strengthening trade with the People's Republic on the other – a balancing act that other Western governments are on the verge of failing at. While Xi may not fully appreciate this policy, he does have respect for Abe.
Much harder to understand is the vaccination policy of the Beijing municipal government. First, it announced a vaccine mandate for certain population groups, then it retracted this announcement again – apparently due to massive backlash on social media. Is authoritarian China more citizen-friendly than it seems, and may it even listen to the concerns of the population? Finn Mayer-Kuckuk explores this question in his analysis.