Wandering China

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

Chinese cities dim lights in environmental initiative [Xinhua]

Symbolism: 124 Chinese cities join in a global concert of nations in the Earth Hour ‘symphony’ to raise climate change awareness. Interesting enough, it’s interesting how Taiwan is ‘kind of’ claimed in the same breath as a Chinese city in this article.

:Taipei also joined cities worldwide Saturday in marking “Earth Hour” by turning off non-essential lights on landmark buildings for one hour… Lights were dimmed on the Taipei 101 skyscraper, the Grand Hotel and the Taipei Arena, among other buildings and public venues, from 8:30 p.m. local time.” 

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Chinese cities dim lights in environmental initiative
Editor: Mu Xuequan
Source – Global Times, published March 31, 2012

People attend an event to mark the "Earth Hour" in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, March 31, 2012. Main buildings and areas in many cities of China participated in the Earth Hour campaign on Saturday evening. "Earth Hour" is the world's largest environmental movement which encourages individuals, businesses and communities around the world to turn off their lights for one hour on the last Saturday of March in a bid to raise awareness on climate change. Source - Xinhua - Hao Tongqian

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) — A total of 124 Chinese cities joined urban centers around the world in turning off the lights of their landmark buildings on Saturday night, as part of an environmental initiative of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Initiated by the WWF in 2007, the “Earth Hour” project calls on all the people in the world to turn off their lights for a spell on the evening of the last Saturday of March every year, to promote energy-saving and sustainable development.

At 8:30 p.m., the lights were turned out at major sites in Beijing, like the Great Wall at Badaling, the Water Cube and the National Stadium, placing the city among 5,000 urban centers in more than 140 countries to take part in Earth Hour. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Education, Environment, global times, Government & Policy, Greater China, Media, Peaceful Development, Taiwan, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

BRICS seek unity, influence at New Delhi summit [Global Times]

BRICS Meet: China and its collective of rising powers on consensus building toward the “Delhi Declaration”.

And…from the India Express (March 30, 2012) Delhi declaration: Talks only solution to resolve India, Syria issues “Concerned about the situation in West Asia due to Iran’s nuclear programme and Syria’s internal affairs, India, China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa on Thursday agreed that the issues in these countries should be resolved only through dialogue.”

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BRICS seek unity, influence at New Delhi summit
Xinhua, AFP
Source – Global Times, published March 28, 2012

The leaders of BRICS countries gather in New Delhi Thursday for their fourth summit, and they will also hold private talks, with the emerging market bloc struggling to convert its growing economic strength into collective diplomatic clout.

These will conclude with a “Delhi Declaration,” which will summarize the consensus of their views and could include a statement on the bloodshed in Syria, the Iranian nuclear crisis or Europe’s debt problems.

Zhang Yan, Chinese Ambassador to India, said the leaders of China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa would have in-depth discussions on global economic management, sustainable development and cooperation among the five BRICS countries with the theme “Partnership for Stability, Security and Prosperity.”

China regards this summit as a new opportunity for BRICS countries to reach consensus and deepen cooperation among BRICS countries to deliver a message of confidence to the world economy, provide dynamics to strengthen global economic management, and contribute more to the global economic recovery, Zhang said.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Brazil, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, global times, Government & Policy, India, Influence, International Relations, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Russia, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Chinese students upset over compatriot’s blog [Straits Times]

Chinese from the mainland not getting along with Singaporeans: A Chinese undergraduate scholar  Sun Xu studying in Singapore makes derogatory comments on his blog there are ‘more dogs than humans’ in Singapore, raising the ire of locals.

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Chinese students upset over compatriot’s blog
By Leonard Lim & Tham Yuen-C
Source – Straits Times, published March 28, 2012

CHINESE students at the National University of Singapore have expressed anger at the recent derogatory comments made by one of their compatriots.

They say Mr Sun Xu has tarnished their community’s reputation, and caused tensions between them and their Singapore friends.

The final-year engineering undergraduate wrote in a blog post last month about unpleasant encounters with ‘uncles’, and commented that there are ‘more dogs than humans’ in Singapore. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Charm Offensive, Chinese overseas, Culture, Education, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, People, Social, Straits Times, Sun Xu, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Bo Xilai purge: Briton’s death adds to intrigue [The Age]

More intrigue to the Bo Xilai purge: how is the increasingly dramatic narrative of the downfall of China’s ‘mafia-fighter’ going to pan out?

”I was mentally prepared that attacking organised crime and expunging evil would affect some people’s interests, and there would be different views…’‘ Bo Xilai

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Briton’s death adds to intrigue
John Garnaut
Source – The Age, published March 27, 2012

THE death of a British citizen in Chongqing has added new intrigue to the downfall of the city’s ambitious Communist Party boss, Bo Xilai, which has rocked China’s political landscape.

Little is known about Neil Heywood, who died suddenly in the city on the Yangtze River in November last year, other than Chinese blog posts and other sources that claim he had provided assistance to Mr Bo’s family.

London has now asked Beijing to investigate ”suspicions and rumours surrounding the death”, a British Foreign Office spokesman told The Age. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Chinese Model, Corruption, Crime, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Mapping Feelings, Media, New Leadership, Politics, Reform, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Qantas to launch joint venture with China Eastern to form Asian budget carrier [The Age]

More Australia-China synergy – good for business? Jet Star Hong Kong emerges from joint venture with China Eastern (中国东方), a Shanghai-based carrier with a  64.93 million domestic and international passenger load in 2010.

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Qantas to launch Asian budget carrier
by Matt O’Sullivan
Source – The Age, published March 26, 2012

Qantas is set to unveil a joint venture with China Eastern today which will create a new budget airline to be called Jetstar Hong Kong.

In a significant breakthrough into the northern Asian region, Qantas announced the Hong Kong joint venture with the Shanghai-based airline this morning. The new airline will use short-haul Airbus A320 aircraft, serving routes in Asia including China, starting next year.

Qantas said the maximum exposure for both it and China Eastern will be $US99 million ($96 million) over a three-year period. The carriers plan the new venture to expand from an initial three aircraft to 18 by 2015, China Eastern said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Aviation, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Economics, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Peaceful Development, Social, Soft Power, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Transport

Jiangsu Village Gives Every Villager Gold and Silver Bars [ChinaSmack]

China’s collectivism – when and ‘where’ it works it works well as Jiangsu village party chief Li Liangbao’s promise in 2009 is made good.

In some areas entire villages, counties do well. In others, corruption is so intense the entire province does badly. (Further reading – is China’s sense collectivism under threat?) Will the rest of China’s village party chiefs get inspired?

From my travels around the province of Jiangsu and witnessing farmers owning multi-storied mansions as homes, this is not the most surprising piece of news for me.

Gold, silver and even a safe provided for each villager’s stash of 100 grams of silver and 100 grams of gold last week. That’s no small amount – 100 grams of gold makes more than 3 ounces of it. With gold prices peaking at almost $2000/oz last year, it would be a desirable thought to have working collectivism such as this working throughout China.

For more, see the Jiangsu Xing Chang Jiang Group Co.

For cross-referencing, see below:

Free gold for villagers (People’s Daily, March 23, 2012)
Golden day for villagers
(Shanghai Daily, March 24, 2012)
Chinese Villagers Get Free Gold and Silver Bars (Inquisitr, March 25, 2012)
Villagers in Golden Globe City given 100-gram bars of gold and silver (China Money Report, March 24, 2012)

Check out the video here (in Mandarin)-

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Jiangsu Village Gives Every Villager Gold and Silver Bars
by Joel
Source – ChinaSmack, published March 24, 2012

Source - China Smack

Netizens are enviously eying the spoils of Changjiang village in Jiangsu after every one of the village’s 3,000 residents received 100 grams of silver and 100 grams of gold last week. Delivering on a promise made in 2009, the village’s party chief brought in over 600 kilograms of gold and silver via the Yangtze River for distribution.

Changjiang village and its residents are the collective owners of the Jiangsu Xinchangjiang Group, a top 500 company in China, and have raked in benefits in the past including private villas for every family, stock dividends, and a previous silver and gold giveaway in 2010. Last week’s giveaway fulfills the promise made by party chief Li Liangbao to get gold into the hands of every villager. Gold was specifically requested by the villagers given its investment purposes and reputation.

At around 400 RMB ($62.50) per gram of gold at today’s market price, each resident received a windfall of roughly 40,000 RMB ($6,250). The largest amount given to a single household was 700 grams, or roughly 280,000 RMB ($43,750). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Smack, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, People, Population, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity

An Astounding Article in ‘Global Times’ [The Atlantic]

Interesting view from the Atlantic, an American literary and cultural commentary magazine: is Chinese state media capable of journalistic integrity aware of the power inequalities or is this just a play on foreign sensibilities? The usually ultra (dare I say?)-nationalistic Global Times uncovers car crash hush-up in Beijing.

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An Astounding Article in ‘Global Times’
James Fellows
Source – The Atlantic, published March 19, 2012

(See update below.) As soon as you can, try this link to an article on the site of the state-run and usually very nationalist Global Times newspaper in China. It is hard to believe that the story will stay up very long. (And if it does, that will say something surprising in itself.) Here is the way it looks as of around 9am Tuesday, March 20 China time – although I see from the dateline that it’s been up for a while already:

Here’s the reason this matters: it concerns a spectacularly horrible fatal car crash over the weekend in Beijing. At around 4 in the morning, a Ferrari driven at high speed along the Fourth Ring Road crashed and burned, killing its driver and seriously injuring two women in the car. The Chinese social-media-sphere has been full of speculation about who was in the car, how “connected” they might be, what kind of people (top officials’ children?) end up with Ferraris, whether the story will be hushed up, and so on. In short, every exposed raw nerve created by the gaping economic and power inequalities of today’s China was touched by this episode.

And for Global Times to say that the story is being hushed up! It is like Fox News undertaking an expose of Bush v. Gore or the business interests of Clarence Thomas’s wife. This is at face value brave, possibly reckless, and without doubt extremely interesting. Here is a screen shot of the end of the story as of right now.  After the jump, a text version of what the story says. Thanks to BB in Beijing for spotting it. And I say, with none of the usual sarcasm, that I am very impressed by what this part of the Chinese state media has done in this case. (Seriously, read this story! It’s amazing.)

UPDATE: Some of my China-sophisticate friends say I am overreacting to this, and that an English-language story like this is meant strictly to play to foreign sensibilities. Perhaps, and perhaps I am quickly misreading these events. But — if that is so, why are English-language broadcasts on CNN or BBC blacked out whenever they mention “sensitive” topics? Why do the English-language China Daily and Global Times usually present such a chipper “harmonious society” face? I don’t know — I’m just saying that this is different from what I am used to seeing as the for-foreign-consumption face of Chinese news, from the state-run media.

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Beijing OIympics, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Democracy, global times, Government & Policy, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Atlantic, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

Regions covet impoverished status for govt relief funding [Global Times]

China makes plans to allocate more money to help the poor its economic machine leaves behind.

In terms of poverty relief this year, we’ll see a 20% increase from the 27.2 billion yuan ($4.31 billion) in 2011.

This is on top of a “trans-provincial trial scheme for poverty relief in the Wuling Mountain region, which covers 71 underdeveloped counties in the provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou and Chongqing.”

This report by the officially sanctioned Global Times outlines the Chinese dilemmas and dramas (now uncommon, perhaps?) while revealing the numbers.

A county draws the public’s attention after it “put up huge messages on an electronic board in town to celebrate being deemed poor by the State government“. There is outrage because some poverty-stricken areas ‘scramble for the title of “impoverished county” to gain access to large amounts of fiscal support (Du Xiaoshan, researcher at the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences). We also have the worry that ‘easy money’ means corruption also rears its ugly head. “Problems like fund appropriation and misuse are not uncommon,” Du arguing that “the problem can only be solved with a transparent operation mechanism.”

For more –

State Council Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development (in Chinese)

and here is the entire lost of counties (in Chinese).

Highest concentration is in Yunnan with a total of 73 identified.

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Regions covet impoverished status for govt relief funding
by Guo Kai
Source – Global Times, published March 23, 2012

Source – Global Times

Earlier this week, the State Council published an updated list of 592 key impoverished counties that will become the central locations for national poverty relief efforts.

However, all eyes are still on Xinshao, a county in Hunan Province that is missing from this list. The county drew the public’s attention earlier this year after it put up huge messages on an electronic board in town to celebrate being deemed poor by the State government.

“Congratulations to Xinshao for its successful bid to be included in the national clusters of extreme poor areas, as it is becoming one of the major battlefields for the country’s poverty relief efforts,” the billboard reads on pictures wildly circulated online. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, global times, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Poverty, Public Diplomacy, Resources, The Chinese Identity, Uncategorized

Letter from China: A collage of Chinese values [New Yorker]

From Evan Osnos, a New Yorker staff writer living in Beijing: an interview with British photographer Adrian Fisk as he maps out a collage of Chinese values with his iSpeakChina project. What an endeavour traversing China’s peripheries with visual sociology – it has certainly sown some seeds in my head. I agree to a large extent that it will keep getting harder – this act of defining Chinese values as the divides of China’s peripheries just seem getting wider and wider; or, better represented.

For more on iSpeakChina, go here.

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Letter from China: A collage of Chinese values
Posted by Evan Osnos
Source – New Yorker, published March 21, 2012

Avril Lu. Photo: Adrian Fisk

I’ve been spending time with young Chinese people recently, talking about their beliefs and priorities (more on that soon), which has reminded me just how difficult a task it is to define Chinese values these days. So I was struck when I came upon these photos by the British photographer Adrian Fisk. The project, iSpeakChina, evolved, as he puts it, from a twelve-thousand-five-hundred kilometer journey through China, meeting people aged sixteen to thirty and giving them a paper on which they could write anything they chose. Fisk told me it has inspired his next project, iSpeakGlobal, which is supported by the United Nations Population Fund. I asked him some questions:

Which picture from the China project stays with you most? How did you meet?

It is hard to pin down the one image that made the deepest impression on me—as many of them did. But if I had to pick one, I would say the photograph of Avril Lui (above) taken in Guangxi Province. Avril had recently graduated from university in Hunan Province, and I met her when my translator and I went to a place teaching English as a summer course. Her statement was: “We are the lost generation. I’m confused about the world.” This photograph seems to have struck a chord with many of the young Chinese who have viewed it. I think the pace of change has been so rapid in China in these last two decades that many of the young are in a spin which has left them somewhat confused. Their parents’ generation had a clear idea of what their identity was and the better life they were struggling for. Now that that better world has arrived it can be argued that life for the Chinese youth might have more opportunity but has in turn become more complicated with difficult career decisions, an increasingly materialistic society, and a complex relationship with the West. All this contributes to a sense of confusion. Avril is also referring to the fact that her parents generation rarely talks about or acknowledges the Cultural Revolution that had so much impact on Chinese society at the time—or for that matter any history, particularly, of more recent times. There is a sense amongst some young Chinese that they have arrived; but, where from, and has it been worth it? I also like this photograph because of the classic building in the background and the traditionally dressed man in blue on the bicycle. These visual keys are a nod to the world from which China has so recently arrived from. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Mapping Feelings, Media, New Yorker, People, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Blow for China’s leftists [Straits Times]

The myth of a monolithic communist party comes under scrutiny here. Factionalism rears its head and challenges perceptions of China’s institutional stablility as China’s ‘red revival’neo-conservatives ‘lose their kingpin’ in Bo Xilai.

Going too far (and too publicly, perhaps?) to nip a problem in  the bud?

It is also pertinent to consider that China’s current crop of leaders have all gone through the Cultural Revolution (something Bo and the red revival has been argued to want). Can many blame them for not wanting that to happen again?

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Blow for China’s leftists
With ouster of Bo Xilai, the neo-conservatives have lost their kingpin
By Peh Shing Huei, China Bureau Chief
Source – Straits Times, published March 21, 2012

A Chinese woman carrying a portrait of Mr Bo Xilai in June last year. Until his sacking last week, the former Chongqing party secretary and his vice-mayor Wang Lijun, who fled to the US consulate on Feb 6, had been poster boys of the country's leftists. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BEIJING: Their spiritual godfather Bo Xilai has fallen from favour, their websites blocked and some microblog accounts have even been unplugged.

All is not well for China’s leftists – a neo-conservative group of officials, intellectuals and retired cadres who yearn for a return to the Maoist days of stronger government control of society.

Their major websites, such as Utopia, Redchina and Maoflag, were inaccessible for days after the ouster of Mr Bo, 62, as Chongqing party secretary last Thursday. Even after being restored on Monday, many links remained erratic. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Chinese Model, Corruption, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity

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