Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Climate change mechanism set up with EU [China Daily]

On one hand there is a greater sense of a shared responsibility in keeping climate change in check. On the other, a cycle of dialogue over action may lead to ellipses of rhetoric, as Zhang Jianyu, China program manager of the US Environmental Defense Fund claimed, “What we need is not dialogue, but action. There are already a lot of dialogue opportunities among state leaders and environment ministers.”

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Climate change mechanism set up
By Zhang Haizhou and Fu Jing
Source – China Daily, published April 30, 2010

China-EU move positive sign for Cancun summit.

BEIJING – A ministerial-level dialogue mechanism on climate change has been set up between China and the European Union, a move analysts believe will help the United Nations climate summit to be held in Mexico in December bear fruit.

The two sides will hold talks regularly to strengthen collaboration and deepen understanding, according to a joint statement issued after China’s climate change envoy Xie Zhenhua held talks with Connie Hedegaard, the EU commissioner for climate action, on Thursday.

The two sides will also set up a hotline, the statement said.

“China and the EU appreciate each other’s efforts to combat climate change, and would like to restate support for the Copenhagen Accord and promote the political consensus reached in the accord,” it said.

The two sides pledge to work closely under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol to achieve positive results and meaningful progress at the climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, it said.

China already has a similar mechanism in place for dialogue with the United States.

“The latest mechanism signals that China and the EU, both major participants at the Cancun summit, are making joint moves on addressing climate change,” said Zhang Haibin, a professor on climate change at Peking University.

Zhang said the dialogue will help China and the EU get rid of “misperceptions” after last year’s Copenhagen summit.

Hedegaard is accompanying European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who is in China to attend the opening ceremony of the World Expo in Shanghai on Friday.

Before leaving for Shanghai, Barroso is scheduled to inaugurate the Europe-China Clean Energy Center at Tsinghua University in the morning, and address students on issues including climate change.

“I think we (China and the EU) have close contacts, but we are at the beginning of a real partnership,” Gunther Oettinger, the EU commissioner for energy, said on Thursday when commenting on China-EU cooperation to fight global warming.

“We have much to do, in research, science, in cooperation for new generations of energy power stations. Maybe in combining targets, interests, intentions more and more,” he told China Daily.

But Zhang Jianyu, China program manager of the US Environmental Defense Fund, played down the significance of the dialogue with the EU.

“What we need is not dialogue, but action. There are already a lot of dialogue opportunities among state leaders and environment ministers,” Zhang said.

In mid April, Xie, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, met his counterparts from European countries in Washington at the Major Economies’ Meeting and Climate Change Initiative led by the US.

Xie also held several rounds of direct talks with, or made telephone calls to, his US counterpart Todd Stern last year.

“To some degree, whether the US Congress passes a bill on clean energy and climate change will determine the outcome of the Cancun summit,” Zhang added.

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Filed under: Charm Offensive, China Daily, Climate Change, European Union, Influence, International Relations, Politics

‘Thank you, Singapore’ – Outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Zhang Xiaokang [Today Online]

Another compelling reason why understanding Singapore helps in understanding China – “Most of these people have a much deeper understanding of Chinese culture and it’s easier to understand China. That constitutes a unique basis for China-Singapore relations. This carries much historical weight.” In some ways, Singapore (in a Chinese cultural sense) is an English-educated model, formerly colonized or otherwise, of China.

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‘Thank you, Singapore’ – Outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Zhang Xiaokang
by Teo Xuanwei
Source – Today Online, published April 27, 2010

Just days before the end of her three-year term as the highest ranking diplomatic representative of the People’s Republic of China to Singapore, Ambassador Zhang Xiaokang (picture), spoke to Teo Xuan Wei (xuanwei@mediacorp.com.sg) and other members of the media. During the interview, she described bilateral relations as “developing rapidly”. She also praised bilateral people-to-people exchanges and trade ties between the countries.

What is unique about the relationship between Singapore and China?

Ambassador Zhang Xiaokang: The striking difference is (that) … about 75 per cent of Singapore’s population is of Chinese origin. Most of these people have a much deeper understanding of Chinese culture and it’s easier to understand China. That constitutes a unique basis for China-Singapore relations. This carries much historical weight.

The Singapore-China relationship has occupied a very unique place in China’s external relations. Singapore is a very important hub with multi-ethnic groups. Many MNC (multi-national corporation) headquarters are also based here. This means Singapore is a meeting place between Western and Eastern cultures.

In this way, Singapore can play a very good bridging role between China and other countries in this region as well as China and other countries in the world. And through the unique window of Singapore, perspectives to understand China.

Singapore is the last Asean country to establish diplomatic relations with China, however, Singapore is the first to sign a free trade agreement with China.

Some Singaporeans are not as tolerant towards Chinese nationals. How can we improve the understanding on the ground?

Ambassador: There can never be too much people-to-people engagement. Although we have done quite a bit, there’s always room to do more and our officials at the Embassy are always working hard towards that end. It’s not unusual that some Singaporeans may not be used to the ways of China nationals who come here. But I feel that it’s nothing much.

China is so big, even Shanghainese working in Beijing may not be used to how the people there speak or act. The living conditions, habits and cultures even within China are very different. So it’s something quite natural. People-to-people engagement, the more the better.

What has left the deepest impression during your posting here?

Ambassador: It is the harmony in Singapore. That between man and environment, between ethnicities, between religions, as well as between the Government and its people.

This is the 20th anniversary of China-Singapore diplomatic relations. What hopes do you have for relations going forward?

Ambassador: Over the years, bilateral relations, in general, have been healthy and developing rapidly.

In the next 20 years, how will relations develop? First, we’ll have to examine why bilateral relations have developed in this way. I think there are some underlying key factors that have played significant roles to sustain such this very healthy, fast-developing cooperation.

One, China-Singapore relations have received broad support. Whether it’s top-down, the grassroots level or the different quarters of each country, there’s deep commitment and support for cooperation and development.

Two, both sides have deep respect for the other. We are closely linked in terms of our strategies for development. One example is the Tianjin Eco-City. Both sides feel this is a win-win collaboration. These will remain unchanged. We will continue cooperating.

Going forward, our people have to interact more; the younger generation leaders, and the community. Our communities and schools should also organise more cultural exchange programs. To that end, the Chinese Cultural Centre here will be a very good platform to further boost understanding between the two countries. There are many things we can learn from Singapore, for instance, in modern urbanisation. How to develop an energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly city. Singapore’s experience in these areas is very relevant for us.

In 2008, China was devastated by the Sichuan earthquake, delighted by the Beijing Olympics, dismayed by the milk incident, and at the end of the year, all of us were plunged into the recession. As the most senior official representing China here, what were your experiences here?

Ambassador: I’d like to say one word to sum up my experience and feelings for the year 2008, and that is “Thanks”.

Thanks for the sincere support from Singapore’s people for our Olympic games in Beijing, and also for your very generous donations and your deep sympathy for the earthquake-striken Sichuan.

During that period, myself and my colleagues at the embassy here, worked from early in the morning until late at night. To do what? To receive donations from Singapore’s people. Ordinary Singaporeans coming here to contribute their bit to support our people in Sichuan.

We are, we were, and we have been deeply touched and moved by this generous support. All of us said to each other. This kind of moving situation can only be found in Singapore because Singapore’s people, 75 per cent of the population, their ancestors are from China. I think that explains why.

Once again, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Singapore’s people for their warm-hearted support for everything they offered during the year 2008. Thank you.

What will you miss about Singapore when you return to China?

Ambassador: I will miss the weather, the greenery, but most of all, I’ll miss my friends here. During my time here, I’ve met the best minds of Singapore. I’ve had many thought-provoking conversations with them.

Filed under: Chinese overseas, Culture, Influence, International Relations, Politics, Singapore, Today Online

Singapore PM on nuclear threat, China and the yuan [Straits Times]

It is not uncommon that much of the western world’s perspectives on China are formed from what Singapore has to say.  More specifically – Lee Kuan Yew and the current Prime Minister (his son) Lee Hsien Loong are the conduits that inform the larger population how China works. These are perspectives of overseas-born Chinese educated and cultured within a primarily British outlook. The key point the world has to note when considering China – “What worries Chinese leaders? Instability.”

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PM on nuclear threat, China and the yuan
By Charlie Rose
Source – Straits Times, published 22 April 2010

ON APRIL 14, the day after leaders of 47 nations gathered for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, I talked with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong about the threat of nuclear proliferation, currency revaluation (Singapore revalued on the same day), and China’s state of mind.

  • What was accomplished at this summit?
    Nuclear security is not something you can solve overnight, but it’s a real problem, and if you don’t do something about it, sometime, someplace, something disastrous will happen. President (Barack) Obama managed to get many leaders together, focus their minds on securing nuclear materials, and (persuade them to) commit to further steps to make the world a safer place.
  • How much of the talk was about Iran?
    We didn’t explicitly discuss Iran, but obviously Iran is one of the concerns.
  • What can be done about North Korea and nuclear weapons?
    You have the six-party talks. You have to keep on talking and engaging them. The saving grace is that the Chinese do not want the North Koreans to have nuclear weapons.They already have them.

    But the Chinese disapprove, and this is something which the Koreans have to take into account. For the (North Korean) regime, it’s an existential thing. So the regime is not going to give up lightly because this is the way they make sure nobody is going to cause regime change.

  • Now, everybody wants China to let its currency rise. Are you prepared to urge Beijing to do that?
    The (Chinese) are running a trade surplus. Their exports are booming. If they allow the currency to rise, it may raise costs some, but it will at the same time diminish some inflationary pressures. And it’s part of the adjustment as they become more productive and as their standard of living goes up. I think they should revert to where they were before the financial crisis and allow the yuan to go up gently again.
  • You know the Chinese mind. People say they do not want the West, especially, to pressure them.
    I don’t think it’s just the Chinese. No country wants to be pressured. Ask (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu or any other leader; you have to have a certain courtesy and respect and restraint.
  • Did the US hurt its relationship with China because of aircraft sales to Taiwan and receiving the Dalai Lama?
    Well, you have to do what you have to do and make your own calculations. But these are not issues that you could expect to be received with acclaim in Beijing. If you want to cross them, do not do so without thinking about it.
  • People were pleased China came to this summit because there was a feeling it was being more aggressive towards the US.
    I think they are trying to calibrate their position as they become economically much more powerful. You have to decide how to trade off your interests, maximising for yourself, versus the interest of the whole system and your long-term requirement to be a constructive player in the world system, which is what America has done since World War II. After 60, 70 years in Asia, people still say America plays an indispensable role to this day. It would be quite something if the Chinese could achieve that.
  • How is the upcoming generation of Chinese leaders different from those they succeeded?
    The current generation of leaders experienced the Cultural Revolution. They know what a mess China can be if it is mismanaged and how important it is for China to grow and improve the lives of its people. The next, or maybe the next-next group of leaders will be post-Cultural Revolution. They will have grown up in 30 years of reform and opening up. They will have lived in a China that is connected through the Internet with people who are much better informed about what’s going on in the world. And they will have to run this whole system not as a central system but with a market economy and a coherent political framework on top of that. I think they will have a big challenge.
  • What worries Chinese leaders?
    Instability.
  • They’ve seen Tiananmen, and they saw the Falungong.
    (Members of the Falungong) appeared as a flash mob one day in front of the inner sanctum. That was the first (the leadership) ever heard of Falungong, and it scared the daylights out of them. And when they discovered who was in the Falungong and how many senior officials had joined this secret group, they were really shaken.
  • Could China have become what it has without the system it had?
    There is a phrase in China that the mountains are high and the emperor is far away. You can give any orders you like out of Shanghai (or) Beijing, but far away in the provinces your governor does what he wants. So for them to have gotten the whole country moving in this way, not micromanaged and centrally directed but with all of its own centres of growth and dynamism, that’s remarkable.
  • Do they want to be part of the existing international system?
    Yes, but they would like to have their share of the sunshine. They will tell you that they have 1.3 billion people, and each one is entitled to so many kilograms of carbon dioxide.Emmy Award-winning journalist Charlie Rose is the host of Charlie Rose, the nightly PBS programme.

    BUSINESSWEEK

  • Filed under: Chinese Model, Culture, Influence, International Relations, Media, Overseas Chinese, Singapore, Straits Times

    Why China is right on the renminbi [Straits Times]

    One of few essays that sees China as doing the right thing regarding the Yuan, this is certainly worth a read. The Chinese are a pragmatic and patient bunch – “In fact, both sets of critics have it wrong. China was right to wait in adjusting its exchange rate, and it is now right to move gradually rather than discontinuously.”

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    Why China is right on the renminbi
    By Barry Eichengreen
    Source – Straits Times, published Apr 24, 2010

    Source - Straits Times

    AFTER a period of high tension between the United States and China, culminating earlier this month in rumblings of an all-out trade war, it is now evident that a change in Chinese exchange-rate policy is coming. Beijing is finally prepared to let the renminbi resume its slow but steady upward march. We can now expect the renminbi to begin appreciating again, very gradually, against the dollar, as it did between 2005 and 2007.

    Some observers, including those most fearful of a trade war, will be relieved. Others, who see a substantially undervalued renminbi as a significant factor in US unemployment, will be disappointed by gradual adjustment. They would have preferred a sharp revaluation of perhaps 20 per cent in order to make a noticeable dent in the US unemployment rate.

    Still others dismiss the change in Chinese exchange-rate policy as being beside the point. For them, the Chinese current account surplus and its mirror image, the US current account deficit, are the central problem.

    They argue that current account balances reflect national savings and investment rates. China is running external surpluses because its savings exceeds its investment. The US is running external deficits because of a national savings shortfall, which once reflected spendthrift households but now is the fault of a feckless government.

    There is no reason, they conclude, why a change in the renminbi-dollar exchange rate should have a first-order impact on savings or investment in China, much less in the US. There is no reason, therefore, why it should have a first-order impact on the bilateral current account balance – or, for that matter, on unemployment, which depends on the same savings and investment behaviour.

    In fact, both sets of critics have it wrong. China was right to wait in adjusting its exchange rate, and it is now right to move gradually rather than discontinuously. The Chinese economy is growing at potential: Forecasts put the prospective rate for this year at 10 per cent; the first-quarter flash numbers, at 11.9 per cent, show it expanding as fast as any economy can safely grow.

    China successfully navigated the crisis, avoiding a significant slowdown, by ramping up public spending. But as a result, it now has no further scope for increasing public consumption or investment.

    To be sure, building a social safety net, developing financial markets, and strengthening corporate governance to encourage state enterprises to pay out more of what they earn would encourage Chinese households to consume. But such reforms take years to complete. In the meantime, the rate of spending growth in China will not change dramatically.

    As a result, Chinese policymakers have been waiting to see whether the recovery in the US is real. If it is, China’s exports will grow more rapidly. And if its exports grow more rapidly, they can allow the renminbi to rise.

    Without that exchange-rate adjustment, faster export growth would expose the Chinese economy to the risk of overheating. But with the adjustment, Chinese consumers will spend more on imports and less on domestic goods. Overheating having been avoided, the Chinese economy can keep motoring ahead at its customary 10 per cent annual pace.

    Evidence that the US recovery will be sustained is mounting. As always, there is no guarantee. But the latest data on the sales of light vehicles, as well as the Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index and the Bureau of Labour Statistics employment report, all point in this direction.

    Because the increase in US spending on Chinese exports will be gradual, it is also appropriate for the adjustment in the renminbi-dollar exchange rate to be gradual. If China recklessly revalues its exchange rate by 20 per cent, as certain foreigners recommend, the result could be a sharp fall in spending on its goods, which would undermine growth.

    Moreover, gradual adjustment in the bilateral exchange rate is needed to prevent global imbalances from blowing out. US growth will be driven by the recovery of investment, which fell precipitously during the crisis. But as investment now rises relative to savings, there is a danger that the US current account deficit, which fell from 6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006 to barely 2.5 per cent of GDP last year, will widen again.

    Renminbi appreciation that switches Chinese spending towards foreign goods, including US exports, will work against this tendency. By giving American firms more earnings, it will increase corporate savings in the US. And it will reconcile recovery in the US with the need to prevent global imbalances from again threatening financial stability.

    Chinese officials have been on the receiving end of a lot of gratuitous advice. They have been wise to disregard it. In managing their exchange rate, they have got things exactly right.

    The writer is Professor of Economics and Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

    PROJECT SYNDICATE

    Filed under: Economics, Finance, Influence, International Relations, Politics, Straits Times, U.S., Yuan

    Why PM Wen praised late CCP chief Hu [Straits Times]

    “Mr Wen’s eulogy to Hu also contained interesting anecdotes about how the late leader connected with the people and steered himself clear of corruption. This might be read as a forceful though oblique attack on particular princelings with extravagant lifestyles and who have been suspected of corrupt dealings.”

    For more, go here Wen’s eulogy to late reformist ignites debate (Straits Times, April 18 2010)

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    Why PM Wen praised late CCP chief Hu
    By Ching Cheong, Senior Writer
    Source – Straits Times, published April 23, 2010

    Mr Wen's eulogy to Hu (second picture) contained interesting anecdotes about how the late leader connected with the people and steered himself clear of corruption. The eulogy was published on the 21st anniversary of Hu's death on April 15, 1989. -- PHOTOS: ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

    CHINESE Premier Wen Jiabao’s emotional eulogy to Hu Yaobang, published on the 21st anniversary of his death on April 15, 1989, has sparked a frenzy of speculation on its political implications.

    Hu was removed as general secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1987 after then patriarch Deng Xiaoping found him too lax in his handling of those who had called for political reform.

    His death two years later sparked widespread student demonstrations that culminated in the bloody June 4 military crackdown at Tiananmen Square.

    Since then, anyone and anything even remotely connected to the crackdown became political taboo.

    Although Hu was indirectly ‘rehabilitated’ in 2005, it was still unusual to find Mr Wen’s essay played up prominently in the People’s Daily, the CCP’s official mouthpiece.

    China remains a country whose political process is opaque, but strong groups or factions do struggle for power behind the scenes.

    At the moment, two groups stand out in China. On one side are the taizidang, the so-called princelings, who owe their political status and power to their fathers.

    On the other are the tuanpai, comprising those who rose through the ranks from the Communist Youth League (CYL), which has been long seen as an incubator of future leaders.

    To those from the CYL, Hu left behind an immense political legacy. Laying claim to his legacy could help the tuanpai consolidate their position.

    Hu’s most important legacy to them is institutional legitimacy, for he was the first CYL leader to rise to the top. By evoking his name, the tuanpai are reminding the people that they are meant to hold the reins of power.

    Hu also played a major role in rehabilitating tens of thousands of senior cadres who had been persecuted in the first 30 years of communist rule under Mao Zedong.

    These senior cadres included the fathers of prominent princelings and political stars – from Vice-President Xi Jinping to Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai and Shanghai party secretary Yu Zhengshen.

    In upholding Hu’s legacy, the tuanpai are in fact reminding the taizidang that they owe their current power and position to the late reformist leader.

    Also not to be lightly dismissed is the widespread public support that Hu enjoyed. The fact that his death sparked mass mourning and protests in Beijing testifies to his popularity.

    Mr Wen’s eulogy to Hu also contained interesting anecdotes about how the late leader connected with the people and steered himself clear of corruption. This might be read as a forceful though oblique attack on particular princelings with extravagant lifestyles and who have been suspected of corrupt dealings.

    Mr Wen’s own thrifty lifestyle, amiable approach and deep grassroots ties have made him ‘the people’s premier’.

    All these legacies could strengthen the tuanpai’s position vis-a-vis that of the princelings. In fact, this is not the first time that the tuanpai have invoked Hu’s name.

    In 2005, President Hu Jintao, whose power base is the CYL, planned a big ceremony to commemorate Hu’s 90th birthday. But his plan was strongly resisted by the princelings, who argued that it might imply a reversal of the party’s verdict on the Tiananmen crackdown.

    As a result, the ceremony was both downsized (only 500 attended instead of the planned 2,000) and downgraded (a low-ranking CCP leader presided over it). President Hu is not related to the late CCP chief.

    Mr Wen’s eulogy might have been prompted by a sense of urgency among the tuanpai to reassert their position ahead of the 18th Party Congress in 2012, when a new generation of leaders is expected to emerge.

    The princelings seemed to have been gaining political ground in recent years. Apart from Mr Xi, Mr Bo has been strengthening his political credentials in recent months through his crime-busting, anti-black and glorify-the-revolution campaigns in Chongqing.

    Conservative netizens have been calling for him to be promoted at the 2012 party congress.

    Read against this background, Mr Wen’s essay in praise of Hu Yaobang falls in place.

    chingcheong@gmail.com

    Filed under: Chinese Model, Influence, Politics, Straits Times

    A clash over a China deal [Today Online]

    A clash over a China deal
    AFP
    Source – Today Online, published April 26, 2010

    TAIPEI – Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou and the leader of the island’s main opposition party yesterday held their first televised debate on a proposed trade pact with mainland China.

    Mr Ma told Ms Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), that Taiwan was obliged to form an alliance with its giant neighbour in order to compete with other countries in its region.

    “Could you please tell me if Taiwan has any other option when the other countries in the Asian region are forming alliances with each other?” Mr Ma asked during a debate televised nationwide by the island’s public TV system.

    Mr Ma, head of the China-friendly Kuomintang party, warned that Taiwan could be marginalised without the pact, known as the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which he has said could be signed in June.

    Ms Tsai, whose DPP favours the island’s independence, said the pact could alarm South Korea and Japan and make Taiwan more dependent on China, which considers the island part of its territory. AFP

    Filed under: International Relations, Politics, Taiwan, Today Online

    China’s influence grows at World Bank [China Daily]

    “We were just pleased that we are getting close to reflecting China’s increasing share in world economy, and that is reflected in edited voting share,” World Bank President Robert Zoellick

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    China’s influence grows at World Bank
    Xinhua
    Source – China Daily, published April 26, 2010

    WASHINGTON – World Bank member countries reached an agreement on Sunday to shift more power to emerging and developing nations, under which China’s votes increased to 4.42 percent from 2.77 percent, making it the third largest voting power holder in the Washington-based international institution.

    In total, the World Bank approved a 3.13-percentage-point increase in the voting power of the Developing and Transition Countries (DTCs), making it 47.19 percent now and representing a total increase of 4.59 percentage points for the DTCs since 2008.

    “This increase fulfills the Development Committee commitment in Istanbul in October 2009 to generate a significant increase of at least 3 percentage points in DTC voting power,” said the World Bank in a statement.

    After a first phase of reforms agreed in 2008, developing countries have an around-44-percent share in the World Bank.

    At the Pittsburgh G20 summit in September 2009 and the Istanbul Development Committee meeting in October 2009, the bank’s shareholders agreed to raise the voting rights to at least 47 percent for developing and transition countries.

    “We were just pleased that we are getting close to reflecting China’s increasing share in world economy, and that is reflected in edited voting share,” World Bank President Robert Zoellick told Xinhua after the Development Committee meeting.

    “Today was a good day for multilateralism,” said Zoellick. ” This shift of shares is agreed by our shareholders. They try to recognize the change in the world economy and include the contribution to the development in the methods, which can encourage developing countries in transition.”

    “The bank has a very proud and successful relationship with China and this year is our 30th anniversary. I look forward to going to China later this year and helping celebrate it,” said the World Bank chief.

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said earlier Sunday that the change in voting power would reflect the growing shift in power away from established nations.

    “The new formula will better reflect the weight of the developing and transition countries in the global economy, while protecting the voice of the smallest and poorest countries,” he said in a statement.

    “Because we believe this overall outcome merits our strong endorsement, the United States agreed not to take up its full shareholding in this new arrangement,” he said.

    The United States currently still holds a 16.4-percent voting share in the World Bank, and Japan 7.9-percent.

    Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren welcomed the shift.

    Consensus reached on the voice reform package “represents an important step towards equitable voting power between developing and developed members,” said Xie in a statement.

    “This also demonstrates that Development Committee can play a pivotal role in improving the World Bank’s governance and promoting global development,” he stressed.

    But he also said the achievement is “only part of the ongoing process,” noting China supports periodic review of International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) shareholding in future.

    The IBRD is the original institution of the World Bank Group and normally represents the group.

    “The future shareholding principles should continue to be based on economic weight, give full consideration of developing countries’ contribution to IBRD as development partners, and aim to achieve the ultimate goal of equitable voting power between developing countries and developed countries,” he added.

    “We call for continuous close collaboration from all shareholders on IBRD’s Voice and Participation Reform,” said the minister.

    Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Daily, Chinese Model, Economics, Finance, Influence, International Relations, xinhua

    Denmark’s ‘Little Mermaid’ surfaces at Shanghai Expo [AsiaOne]

    The Little Mermaid has finally arrived in Shanghai, a month after leaving the safe harbour of Cophenhangen for the first time ever. “The idea of bring a national icon just came to us and we knew this was the idea we wanted to do. It is a strong signal of openness not only to China but the entire world,” Mike Lippert, Denmark pavilion’s creative director.

    – – –

    Denmark’s ‘Little Mermaid’ surfaces at Shanghai Expo
    AFP
    Source – AsiaOne, Apr 25, 2010

    SHANGHAI – Denmark’s Little Mermaid sculpture resurfaced to music and fanfare Sunday in the middle of Shanghai’s World Expo, a month after leaving her perch in Copenhagen harbour for the first time ever.

    The statue is considered a national treasure in Denmark and the decision to send it to Shanghai for the six-month World Expo, which starts Saturday, was contentious. It has been a major tourist attraction since 1913.

    “She has since then sat quietly on her rock on Copenhagen Harbour in Copenhagen until today,” Christopher Bo Bramsen, the commissioner general of Denmark’s Expo pavilion said at an unveiling ceremony.

    “From today the stature of the Little Mermaid will be the centre of the Danish Pavilion at Expo 2010,” he said.

    Hundreds of Chinese Expo preview ticket holders gathered to watch as a red velvet cover was lifted of the statue to reveal her sitting in a pool of water bathed in sunlight at the heart of Denmark’s spiralling white pavilion.

    “Millions of tourists will be mesmerised by her beauty,” Shanghai deputy mayor Tu Guangshao said at the unveiling.

    Up to 100 million people – 95 percent of them Chinese – are expected the attend the Expo and Danish officials estimate the statue will help attract 200,000 visitors a day to the pavilion and three million over six months.

    “We wanted to do something really extraordinary,” said Mike Lippert, the pavilion’s creative director.

    “The idea of bring a national icon just came to us and we knew this was the idea we wanted to do. It is a strong signal of openness not only to China but the entire world,” he said.

    The 175-kilogram (385-pound) statue by Edvard Eriksen was inspired by a character created by Hans Christian Andersen in an 1837 fairytale and known as the “old lady of the sea”.

    The decision to let the statue go was the subject of heated debate in Denmark, especially in Copenhagen, where a majority of residents were opposed to the idea up until the end of last year, according to polls.

    But the city of Copenhagen, which owns the sculpture, nonetheless decided to send her to the Shanghai World Expo to represent Denmark.

    The move has made the Danish pavilion one of the Expo’s most talked-about attractions in China, where every schoolchild reads Andersen’s stories.

    A temporary video installation by Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most famous artists and an outspoken social critic, will be unveiled in Copenhagen in May, in the mermaid’s former perch.

    It will project live images of the mermaid and her visitors at the Expo.

    Filed under: AsiaOne, Charm Offensive, Influence, International Relations, Shanghai World Expo

    China builds sub fleet [The Age]

    China builds sub fleet
    YALONG BAY, CHINA
    New York Times
    Source – The Age, April 25, 2010

    THE Chinese military is seeking to project naval power well beyond the Chinese coast, military officials say.

    China calls the new strategy far sea defence, but the speed with which it is building long-range capabilities has surprised foreign and regional military officials.

    After years of denials, Chinese officials have confirmed that they intend to deploy an aircraft carrier group within a few years.

    China is also developing a sophisticated submarine fleet.

    Now, Chinese admirals say they want warships to escort commercial vessels that are crucial to the country’s economy, from as far as the Persian Gulf to the Straits of Malacca, in south-east Asia, and to help secure Chinese interests in the resource-rich South and East China seas.

    In late March, two Chinese warships docked in Abu Dhabi, the first time the modern Chinese navy has made a port visit in the Middle East.

    A new underground base at Yalong Bay allows submarines to reach deep water within 20 minutes and roam the South China Sea.

    The region has some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and areas rich in oil and natural gas that are the focus of territorial disputes between China and other Asian nations.

    NEW YORK TIMES

    Filed under: Greater China, International Relations, military, The Age

    Global poll shows uptick on China’s image [China Daily]

    China’s public diplomacy (or charm offensive according to some quarters) seems to be having another quantifiable shift. The last major sense China got about their role in the world was last considered during the 2008 Olympics – opinions were quite torn, in fact it raised many historical areas of friction with its neighbours. I believe it is doing well in great part to its endorsement of using film and the media to shape perception – the nobility of Confucius in film and the world-wide Confucius Institutes to the honour of Red Cliff, the list is getting quite long, and quite effective.

    – – –

    Global poll shows uptick on China’s image
    By Ma Liyao and Wang Chenyan
    Source – China Daily, published April 21, 2010

    BEIJING — China’s image has seen an upswing after hitting a low last year, a BBC sponsored poll said on Monday.

    Of the 27 countries polled on China, 41 percent see the nation as having a positive influence on the world, two points up from the previous year, while 38 percent hold a negative view, two points down.

    A total of 29,000 adults were polled in 28 countries with citizens of each country asked for an opinion of the other nations.

    Analysts are confident that China’s image, dented to some extent last year by isolated incidents such as the Lhasa riots in the previous year, will continue to rise, thanks to the key role the country has played in helping to pull the world out of economic recession.

    In last year’s findings, negative opinions outnumbered the positive for the first time since the first results were released in 2005. In the first fours years, China’s image was relatively positive, at around 45 percent.

    Source - China Daily

    The survey was conducted by GlobeScan, a Toronto-based international opinion research consultancy, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

    Gong Li, an international strategy studies scholar at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said the country’s increasingly important role in global development and peace “will be recognized by people around the world”.

    China has sent the largest number of peacekeeping forces overseas among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Gong said.

    Besides, the country’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions has been well received globally, he said.

    A breakdown of the latest poll shows 12 countries have a favorable opinion of China, while 12 are negative. The other three are divided.

    China’s image improved considerably in such countries as the Philippines, where 55 percent hold a positive view; in the previous poll, 52 percent had a negative view.

    Japan’s attitude witnessed a remarkable change, with those holding a negative view dropping from 59 percent to 38 percent, while those holding a positive view soared from 8 to 18 percent.

    The US’ attitude toward China remains roughly unchanged, with 51 percent holding a negative view. The report did not give a figure for those holding a positive view.

    Europe remains the most negative toward China. For example, in Germany, 71 percent of people hold a negative view of China, while in France, the figure was 64 percent, slightly down from the previous year.

    Feng Zhongping, a European studies expert at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, attributed the low rating of China among Europeans to some of the media that tend to lead the people toward the perception of China being “a potential threat”.

    Gong said such prejudice is unlikely to be erased soon. However, “as long as China remains a responsible country, the world is going to judge it fairly in time”.

    The true picture in China is not just fast development, but also a “huge development challenge”, according to British Ambassador to China Sebastian Wood, who visited eight cities across the country within 88 days of taking office three months ago.

    “China combines amazing modernity with real development challenges,” Wood said in Beijing on Tuesday, adding 500 million Chinese still live on less than $2 a day.

    China ranks 11th in the 28 countries or regions mentioned in the poll, behind Germany, Canada, the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Brazil, the United States, South Africa and India.

    Positive views toward the United States for the first time exceeded the negative, with 46 percent holding positive views compared to 34 percent holding negative views.

    Attitudes toward Russia were still predominantly negative, though softened, with 37 percent being negative and 30 percent positive.

    Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Culture, Influence, International Relations, Public Diplomacy

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