24 April 2018

Simon Shen

Associate professor and director of Global Studies Programme, Faculty of Social Science, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Lead Writer (Global) at the Hong Kong Economic Journal
  • President Xi Jinping is warmly greeted by Mark Zuckerberg in Seattle. People should not read too much into their meeting, says a China watcher. Photo: HKEJ

    Why Facebook is so eager to re-enter China

    - Oct 20, 2015 2:43pm
    On the first leg of his official state visit to the US in September, President Xi Jinping met with Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in Seattle. Zuckerberg spoke with him in fluent Mandarin during...
  • Allegations of eavesdropping by US intelligence agencies on European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel have posed a major obstacle to the conclusion of the TTIP between the US and Europe. Photo: HKEJ

    Why Europe is skeptical about the TTIP

    - Oct 15, 2015 3:22pm
    Last week, the US government announced it had reached a framework agreement with a dozen other countries on a Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP). Washington has been trying to negotiate a similar trade agreement with Europe...
  • Investment bankers are actively searching for countries that are good to invest in amid the economic slowdown in BRICS. Photo: HKEJ

    How fragile is the “Fragile Five”?

    - Sep 24, 2015 3:05pm
    The investment banking sector often likes to categorize countries according to certain specific conditions and then give them a catchy name. Among these names, the best-known is probably “BRIC”, a name coined in 2001 by Jim...
  • Academics have pointed out Eastern Orthodox countries, including Greece, are often “free riders” in the EU, and never regard themselves as responsible members wholeheartedly. Photo: Xinhua

    Why Iceland’s recovery model won’t work in Greece

    - Sep 14, 2015 12:24pm
    Apart from such structural factors as the restrictions posed by its membership of the eurozone, there are also some other factors that make it hard for Greece to copy the “Iceland model”. For example, most debts...
  • Greece's debt crisis will probably keep haunting the country for years to come. Photo: AFP

    The ‘Iceland model’ – is it the way out for Greece?

    - Sep 11, 2015 4:41pm
    To many, the Greek debt crisis is becoming more like a chronic disease than a crisis, because it seems it just won’t end and is going to haunt the country for many years to come. So,...
  • It is said the “bagua”, or “eight trigrams” design of the one dollar coin was adopted to reverse the bad luck brought about by the construction of Singapore's underground rail system in the 1980s. Photo: Internet

    How superstition influences Southeast Asian politics

    - Sep 9, 2015 4:47pm
    Nearly a month after the deadly explosion at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok, the official investigation is still under way. At the same time, reports have emerged about supernatural forces being behind the tragedy. In...
  • Once our difference with the rest of China disappears, our independent identity disappears too. Photo: Bloomberg

    Why HKSAR may become less special after 2047

    - Sep 2, 2015 2:05pm
    In recent years more and more people are beginning to forecast the future of Hong Kong after 2047. While most people try to find answers to this question from a Hong Kong perspective, I find that...
  • Kim Jong-il (left), the father of Kim Jong-un (right), was a master of 'madman diplomacy'. Photo: Kyodo

    The secret behind Kim Jong-un’s periodic madness

    - Aug 26, 2015 12:59pm
    The North Korean army recently shelled South Korea again, and the North’s paramount leader, Kim Jong-un, declared a state of war. Some commentators described the military standoff on the peninsula as the “worst crisis” since the...
  • The US Red Cross has faced flak for failing to deliver on its promises for post-quake relief efforts in Haiti.

    Why int’l NGOs may become obsolete in the internet era

    - Aug 19, 2015 11:17am
    In recent years many nations around the world have witnessed a boom in the development of civil society, posing enormous challenge to the existence of old-school non-governmental organizations (NGOs), whose bloated bureaucracy and high administrative costs...
  • Malaysian PM Najib Razak (bottom, 2nd L) and his wife are seated near Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Iskandar (2nd row, R) and Johor Crown Prince Ismail Ibrahim (2nd row, 2nd R) during Singapore's Golden Jubilee celebrations on Aug 9. Photo: Reuters

    Sultan of Johor and the ‘Greater Singapore’ dream

    - Aug 13, 2015 11:40am
    Singapore celebrated its 50th anniversary a few days ago. Even those who have misgivings about the city-state cannot deny the fact that this tiny nation has achieved an economic miracle far out of proportion to its...
  • Pope Francis and President Xi Jinping are leaders who are prepared to effect change, which bodes well for Sino-Vatican relations. Photos: AFP

    Are the Vatican and China getting closer?

    - Jul 13, 2015 10:49am
    Pope Francis recently wrote on climate change in a letter to Catholics around the world. It is clear that he is the kind of leader who wants to bring about change, so it will be fascinating...
  • The campaign for a new design of the New Zealand flag seeks to get rid of a symbol of country's colonial history. Photo: Wikipedia

    Why New Zealanders don’t want a new national flag

    - Jul 7, 2015 5:00pm
    New Zealand is calling for a new design of the national flag. Although the campaign is turning into a farce, it probably makes a good case for us to learn more about vexillology. Last March, Prime...
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese government, formally ending World War II. Credit:

    What if Japan had been carved up after World War II?

    - Jun 30, 2015 4:38pm
    On a recent visit to Hokkaido, I saw many exhibitions on the “final battles” of World War II, such the one for the Kuril Islands. The accounts reflect Japan’s own version of history. Meanwhile, I couldn’t...
  • A Mongolian honor guard performs during the opening ceremony of Khaan Quest, an annual multilateral military exercise near the capital Ulan Bator. Photo: Reuters

    What’s behind the Mongolians’ hostility toward mainlanders

    - Jun 22, 2015 2:18pm
    A recent attack on Chinese tourists in Mongolia has caused a diplomatic ruckus. The Chinese consulate in Mongolia complained to the government in Ulan Bator which later apologized, but the Chinese media accused Mongolia of being...
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Kremlin in April. Photo: Reuters

    Why Russia and Greece are cozying up to each other

    - Jun 15, 2015 4:37pm
    While the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is hogging the headlines, there’s also news coming from Russia’s BRICS New Development Bank. When Russian leader Vladimir Putin invited debt-laden Greece to join the BRICS bank, Jim O’Neill,...
  • Officials pose for a picture during an India- China Business Cooperation Conference in New Delhi in November 2014. The two Asian giants have vowed to boost economic links, but much of the potential remains unfulfilled. Photo: Bloomberg

    ‘Chindia’ dream: Challenges and opportunities

    - Jun 8, 2015 2:26pm
    In a previous column, I had outlined how China and India can gain from working as a team under “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Now, I want to point out several issues that need to be...
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take advantage of the huge opportunities in further improving their countries' relations. Photo: Bloomberg

    Chindia: Why the two Asian giants should join hands

    - Jun 1, 2015 11:21am
    It seems like China and India are going to put down historical conflicts and join hands in the future. What kinds of opportunities will the so-called “Chindia” bring to China and India? This subject has been...
  • A Thai canal project, if it goes through, will help cargo ships bypass the congested Malacca Straits and provide faster trade links for the Asian region. Photo: Bloomberg

    Big infrastructure projects could alter Asia trade dynamics

    - May 27, 2015 4:45pm
    After the China-Pakistan Railway– the first huge infrastructure proposal in “One Belt, One Road”, the Kra Canal program in Thailand is the next major potential project that is drawing huge attention. If the Kra Isthmus can...
  • Self-proclaimed president of the "Free Republic of Liberland" Vit Jedlicka (seated, C) gives out free citizenship in the village Backi Monostor in Serbia earlier this month. Photo: Reuters

    Will Liberland become a real country?

    - May 20, 2015 8:11am
    On the Western bank of Danube River, near the border between Serbia and Croatia, a new micronation called Liberland was founded on April 13. Czech scholar Vit Jedlicka established the country on a tiny 7-square-kilometer patch...
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on his people to remain vigilant against threats posed by foreign powers. Photo: AFP

    How crisis helps Putin cement his power

    - May 11, 2015 2:25pm
    The reason why Russian President Vladimir Putin has been able to maintain his high popularity lies in how he successfully uses nationalism to construct a sense of threat from foreign powers. His national security adviser, Nikolai...

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