Wandering China

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

Wealthy residents favor yuan in 2012 [China Daily]

Greetings readers, I am still off the grid. Getting reconnected onto the internet as I switch service providers in suburban Melbourne has a long waiting period. If all goes well I’ll be back to daily analysis early next week.

In the meantime, here’s a glimpse into how wealthy Hong Kongers rate the yuan for 2012 with a 13% increase of millionaires holding yuan-dominated assets last year.

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Wealthy residents favor yuan in 2012
by Bao Daozu
Source – China Daily, published February 29, 2012

HONG KONG – Wealthy people in Hong Kong favor yuan-denominated assets over property or other investments, according to a survey released by Citibank on Tuesday.

The survey said that 40 percent of the city’s millionaires, defined as individuals with liquid assets exceeding HK$1 million ($128,955), held a positive view of yuan deposits and yuan-denominated investments for the next 12 months, indicating general optimism about the Chinese currency.

The report said 73 percent of the millionaires held yuan-denominated assets last year, up from 60 percent in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Economics, Finance, Greater China, Hong Kong, Soft Power, Yuan

China’s ‘most loyal dog’ waits 8 hours everyday for owner [AsiaOne]

Amidst the political coverage… the Chinese celebrate their own version of Hachiko.

For more, check out Chinasmack – China’s “Most Loyal Dog” Waits Outside for Owner for 4 Years (with video)

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China’s ‘most loyal dog’ waits 8 hours everyday for owner
Source – AsiaOne, published February 28, 2012 

Wang Cai has been seen daily for four years waiting for his owner to finish work in the Western interior city of Chongqing.

A Chongqing dog has fascinated Chinese netizens, likening him to the faithful Japanese dog known as Hachiko.

For four years now, the dog, known as Wang Cai, has been seen waiting outside the doors of a local bank from 9am. He moves little, does not accept food, and chases away other dogs from his spot.

This is very similar to the story of Hachiko, the Japanese Akita who waited outside the Shibuya train station in Odate for his dead owner for nearly ten years. His story has since been immortalised in the movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Charm Offensive, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Social, The Chinese Identity

FM slams denial of Nanjing Massacre [China Daily]

Apologies to readers, I’ve not had and will not be having internet access till sometime next week. I will return with regular updates then. As such I have not been able to pay as much attention to Chinese news as I’d like.

One story in particular caught my eye however. For most public diplomacy China has been quite quick to design a harmonious stance. Not for this, however.

People in Nanjing visit Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders. Photo: Xinhua

Central to the deck of cards that hurts China’s feelings is its century of humiliation and the deep lying scar it’s had with Japan for the past two centuries. Economic sense has little utility here. What will this event evoke? Nanjing has suspended relations with sister Nagoya over its mayor’s denial of Chinese versions of the Nanjing Masscare.

Mayor of Nagoya Kawamura Takashi essentially said on February 20 that he believes only “conventional acts of combat” took place there, not the mass murders and rapes cited in history books.

Update on the escalation:

City suspends ties over massacre denial (China Daily, Feb 23, 2012) – As 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties, Hongalso asked the Japanese side to work on the improvement of bilateral relations in light of theprinciples enshrined in the four China-Japan political documents, as well as act in the interestof both peoples based on the spirit of learning from history.

National outrage rips into denial of Nanjing Massacre (Global Times, Feb 22, 2012) – The mayor of Nagoya, Takashi Kawamura, said the Nanjing Massacre “probably never happened” on February 20 while meeting with a delegation from Nanjing, a city that witnessed the mass murder, genocide and rape following the Japanese invasion of the city in 1937.

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FM slams denial of Nanjing Massacre
By Wang Chenyan
Source – China Daily, published Feb 21, 2012

Nagoya mayor’s claim over slaughter is ‘nonsense’, says history expert

BEIJING – China does not accept Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura’s denial of the crime of the Nanjing Massacre, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing on Monday.

Hong emphasized that there is irrefutable evidence regarding the Nanjing Massacre and China hopes Japan “takes history as a mirror”, urging Tokyo to properly deal with historical problems.

Kawamura, head of the Nagoya municipal government, told Liu Zhiwei, a member of the Communist Party of China Nanjing City Standing Committee, that he thought the massacre of civilians by Japanese troops in 1937 never took place. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, History, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Dimming of China’s ‘great red hope’ troubles offspring of the old guard [The Age]

Domestic cohesion under spotlight.

Too easy being blinded by China’s economic miracle: A clash with the old guard as they question the cost of authoritarian capitalism?

”Thirty years of opening and reform have achieved remarkable economic achievements but those brilliant achievements were followed by class polarisation, rampant corruption, a public spiritual vacuum, chaotic thinking, moral decline, prostitution, drugs, triads and so on…”  Ms Hu Muying president of the Children of Yan’an Fellowship.

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Dimming of China’s ‘great red hope’ troubles offspring of the old guard
John Garnaut, Beijing
Source – The Age, published February 13, 2012

THE waning of Bo Xilai’s political star in Chongqing has left the Communist Party’s conservative elders without a potential saviour who can turn around what they see as a deepening internal crisis.

Mr Bo, the Chongqing party boss, announced the sacking of his right-hand man, police chief Wang Lijun, on February 2, leading Mr Wang to later flee the city and spectacularly take refuge in the US consulate in Chengdu.

Days before Mr Wang’s escape, 1200 children of high party cadres gathered for their biggest-ever spring festival gathering at Beijing’s Heaven and Earth Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Corruption, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Maoism, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Chinese leader greeted with US protests [SBS]

At a time where China’s domestic political troubles are surfacing, to-be Chinese leader Xi Jinping continues being introduced to the world with his US visit now in the spotlight.

He arrived in Washington on Monday with an overarching purpose to advance the building of the China-US ties.

How will the man, famous for once uttering (prior to being International Relations-nuanced), “There are some bored foreigners, with full stomachs, who have nothing better to do than point fingers at us [China]. First, China doesn’t export revolution; second, China doesn’t export hunger and poverty; third, China doesn’t come and cause you headaches, what more is there to be said?” fare on this charm offensive of the west?

For more official news, visit China’s daily coverage- Vice-President Xi in US, Ireland and Turkey.

Politics aside, consider checking out a couple of human interest stories below that paint a more synergistic picture.

Town ready to welcome return of special guest (China Daily, February 13, 2012) – ‘It was 27 years ago that Xi visited Muscatine, an agricultural center in the US heartland, when he led a delegation to learn about farming technology. The delegates were all given badges to wear sporting the town’s slogan: “Feeling Great”.’

And – The hog days are over, but Xi still has time for Iowa (The Age, February 16, 2012) that brings up the economic benefits of Xi’s relationship with Iowa. – ‘Iowa’s exports to China have grown to more than $US600 million ($A558 million) a year. The Chinese Vice-President insisted on adding Iowa to his jammed US itinerary to reacquaint himself with the small Midwest town he visited with a posse of Communist Party officials in 1985, ostensibly to study US techniques in agriculture.’

The SBS article comes with a useful and short primer on Xi Jinping’s roots (see video here).

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Chinese leader greeted with US protests
AAP
Source – SBS, published February 14, 2012

Police in Washington arrested activists during a visit by China’s vice president, as a teenage monk set himself on fire to protest China’s rule in the nation’s southwest, exile groups said.

The Washington activists unfurled a banner on a bridge reading “Tibet Will be Free” during the visit of China’s leader-in-waiting, Vice President Xi Jinping.

The activists, from the group Students for a Free Tibet, said they were later released after being issued citations with fines of about $250 each for trespassing and disorderly conduct.

The 19-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk, identified as Lobsang Gyatso, set  himself ablaze on Monday in Sichuan province’s restive Aba county, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and Free Tibet said.

The Washington-based ICT said police violently beat the monk as they extinguished the flames, before taking him into custody. It was not immediately clear whether he survived.

He was a monk at Aba’s Kirti monastery, a leading Tibetan Buddhist institution that has been the scene of repeated protests by Tibetans against what they say is religious and cultural repression by Beijing.

At least 20 Tibetans have set fire to themselves in the past year to protest what they see as a lack of rights under Chinese rule, leading Beijing to impose virtual martial law, according to residents and exiled groups.

Many have been monks from Kirti, which has been under virtual lockdown since a young monk named Phuntsog set light to himself and died last March, sparking mass protests there.

Government and police officials in Aba refused to confirm the latest attempt when contacted by AFP.

The spate of suicide attempts has led Beijing to impose virtual martial law in Tibetan-inhabited areas of China, residents and exiled groups have said.

China has accused overseas groups and Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama of fomenting unrest.

Tibetans have long chafed under China’s rule over the vast Tibetan plateau, accusing Beijing of curbing religious freedoms and eroding their culture and language, and these tensions have intensified over the past year.

But Beijing insists that Tibetans enjoy religious freedom and have benefited from improved living standards brought by China’s economic expansion.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Democracy, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, Infrastructure, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, SBS, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S.

Report: Chinese middle class to reach 40% of the population by 2020

The future looks more challenging for business enterprises hoping to crack the Chinese masses. Having just managed to bridge the urbanization divide at 51.27% year end 2011, we now see a report by China’s Social Sciences Academic Press and Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. It finds that by 2020, businesses will need to be ‘present in 212 cities’ to cover 80% of the middle class. In 2005, the number was 60.

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Report: Chinese middle class to reach 40% of the population by 2020
By Allen Ai
Source – Shanghaiist, published February 10, 2012

China’s middle class is projected to reach 40% of the population in 2020, twice the proportion at the turn of the century, according to the International City Development Report released jointly by the Social Sciences Academic Press and Shanghai Academy of Social Science

According to the report, the next ten years will be a crucial transition period in China’s economic development. China’s urbanization rate was 47% in 2010, and by 2020, it is expected to reach 55%. During this period, some 150 million Chinese people will migrate from the farms to become city dwellers.

Last year, the GDP of Beijing and Shanghai grew 8% and 8.2% respectively. Both cities were, according to Tu Qiyu in Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, laggards in GDP growth compared to other major Chinese cities. This had to do with their high level of openness and internationalisation, he explained. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Influence, Infrastructure, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Shanghaiist

Bo Xilai’s Actions Create Visibility of CCP’s Internal Struggle [NTD/Youtube]

Important for observers looking for clues if the Communist Party were to implode:

Sign of cracks within by threatening the central organisation or rather; signs of ultra-red nationalism?

Am inclined to think both. Threats of corruption seem the standard ruse to distract.

Cheng Xiaonong: “Corruption is only an on-the-table excuse for CCP’s handling of Bo and Wang. The real reason behind it is Bo’s challenging of CCP’s centralization. Bo broke the rules embodied by over-stepping the power line and other improper acts to the CCP.”

For more, see:
Financial Times: The humbling of Bo Xilai (Feb 13, 2012) to find out how Bo Xilai, one of few frontrunners for a seat of the party’s 9-member politburos standing committee got ‘finished’, perhaps by antagonising too many in the past for mooting for a move back to the culture of the Mao-era

And who’s to benefit from this?

On the opposite end of the red factioned Bo Xilai is Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang (despite the recent Wukan incident though open village democratic elections now start from his province). He seems one in the style of Deng, who favours more political reform to advance. See Want China Times: Bo Xilai’s misfortune could be Wang Yang’s opportunity (Feb 13, 2012)

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Transcript below:

Bo Xilai’s Actions Create Visibility of CCP’s Internal Struggle
Source – New Tang Dynasty, Youtube Feb 13, 2012

Chongqing Deputy Mayor Wang Lijun fled to US Consulate offices to seek asylum.

Former Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun’s Feb 8th political asylum claim was rejected by U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. Wang was escorted by seven CCP senior officials to Beijing on the same day. Wang Lijun is reportedly under investigation by the CCP’s Central Discipline Inspection Commission. And CCP Central Committee has decided to make a full investigation on Bo Xilai, based on Wang’s report.

Cornered and desperate, Bo made repeated moves recently. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Chinese Model, Corruption, Domestic Growth, Influence, Maoism, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Soft Power, Straits Times, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Chinese village experiments with democracy [AFP/AsiaOne]

Seemingly stimulated by the Wukan incident: China rolls out an official disclosure of democracy, perhaps a little ahead of time.

They’ve been having elections such as these for a while but the key difference is now the elections are no longer closed-doors.

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Chinese village experiments with democracy
AFP
Source – AsiaOne, published February 12, 2012 

A Chinese man casts his vote as thousands of residents take part in the voting for their first-ever open democratic elections for the village committee in Wukan, in Shanwei city, south China's Guangdong province on February 1, 2012, after they protested for months in autumn in 2011 against their allegedly corrupt leaders. Residents in Wukan won rare concessions after they faced off with authorities for more than a week in December in a row over land and graft, including pledges to hold free village polls. Photo: AFP

SHANGHAI – A Chinese village which staged an extraordinary rebellion against authorities last year has taken a key step in a process to freely elect its own governing committee, residents said Sunday.

Thousands of residents of Wukan in the southern province of Guangdong voted Saturday for more than 100 representatives who will put forward candidates for a seven-member village committee to be elected in March, they said.

The move followed protests by the village last December when they faced off with authorities for more than a week in an uproar over land grabs. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Corruption, Democracy, Government & Policy, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Wukan

China fades as Europe’s saviour [The Age]

From the Guardian, published in Australia’s the Age: January data on Chinese imports seem to compound a gloomy worldwide economy picture with Europe still on the brink and anticipated global oil demand.

Another way to look at it is to hold one’s horses – for China, January has seen an unusually high number of public holidays if one factors in the long spring festival break.

And on the back of that report just two days later we have the BBC reporting that Chinese and European leaders from  are meeting for talks ‘likely to be dominated by Europe’s debt crisis.’ In the report, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the debt issue was “at a critical juncture…We believe that as China’s largest trading partner and the largest economy in the world [collectively], it is important for the European Union to resolve this issue”.

Update: Feb 14 – EU leaders in China for debt crisis talks (BBC News)

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China fades as Europe’s saviour
Katie Allen, London
Guardian
Source – The Age, published February 12, 2012

A SHARP drop in Chinese imports, a gloomy outlook for global oil demand and a burgeoning US trade deficit are fanning growing fears of a deteriorating global economy.

Signs that demand was slowing in China raised concerns for European nations relying on an export-led recovery from their economic crisis.

There was another blow when the International Energy Agency cut its oil demand forecast for a sixth consecutive month, citing a weak global economy. China said its imports fell last month at the fastest annual pace since the low point of the financial crisis in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, European Union, Influence, International Relations, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Trade, U.S., Yuan

Shanghai shipping slump as IMF warns China on euro slump [Telegraph]

An attempt to force China’s hand or affirmation of just how intertwined we all are?

The IMF warns China that it is vulnerable to the “clear and present danger emanating from Europe” which would see Chinese growth halve to roughly 4% if the crisis escalates.

For the actual report by the IMF (prepared by the IMF Resident Representative Office in the PRC, go here.

It states:

‘A storm emanating from Europe would hit China hard
* China’s growth rate would drop abruptly if the Euro area experiences a sharp recession
* But China has room for a countervailing fiscal response, and should use that space
* Unlike 2009–10, any stimulus should be executed through the budget rather than the banking
system’

Further reading – do note that as of the morning of February 7th, China’s national broadsheets have not yet taken notice:

The IMF Issues A Chilling Warning About China’s Vulnerability To Europe (Business Insider, Feb 6, 2012)
Should such a tail risk of financial volatility emanating from Europe be realized, it would drag China’s growth lower. The channels of contagion would be felt mainly through trade, with knock-on effects to domestic demand.

China Risks 4-Point Growth-Rate Cut in Case of Europe Worsening: Economy (Bloomberg, Feb 6 2012)

China’s economic expansion would be cut almost in half if Europe’s debt crisis worsens, a scenario that would warrant “significant” fiscal stimulus from the nation’s government, the International Monetary Fund said.

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Shanghai shipping slump as IMF warns China on euro slump
Shanghai shipping volumes contracted sharply in January as Europe’s debt crisis curbed demand for Asian goods, stoking fresh doubts about the strength of the Chinese economy.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Source – Telegraph, February 6, 2012

The shipping data came as the International Monetary Fund warned that China is vulnerable to the 'clear and present danger emanating from Europe'. Photo: ALAMY

The shipping specialist Lloyd’s List said container traffic through the Port of Shanghai – the world’s largest – fell by 100,000 boxes in January from a year earlier, or 4pc. Volumes fell by over one million tonnes.

The figures may have been distorted by China’s Lunar Year but there has been a relentless slide in the Shanghai transport data for months.

“China’s shipping markets face grievous challenges,” said the Shanghai International Shipping Institute. It acknowledged that the industry in the grip of downturn and likely to face a “worsening situation” in early 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Economics, European Union, Finance, Government & Policy, IMF, Influence, International Relations, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Telegraph UK, Trade

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