Wandering China

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

China’s Space Program Accelerates [Space Daily]

Dragon space (That is how Space Daily vividly parks its articles on China) seems to be upon us as perceptions of the credibility gaps of China’s $6b human spaceflight programme are beginning to be put paid with its recent space docking success. Dr Morris Jones takes a close look at the acceleration of China’s space program, a part the Chinese see as one vital cog in developing comprehensive national power.

For more, check out the China National Space Administration here. Also check out their 2003 white paper here

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China’s Space Program Accelerates
by Morris Jones, Sydney, Australia
for SpaceDaily, published June 29, 2012

The success of the first crewed expedition to China’s first space laboratory represents a major step forward for China’s space program. China has made steady advances in spaceflight since its first astronaut was launched in 2003, but its space program has often been downplayed by international observers.

It was easy to point out the gap of several decades between China’s first astronaut launch and those of Russia and the USA. Gaps of years between successive human space missions further added to the perception that China was moving almost too slowly to notice.

The launch of the Tiangong 1 module and its successful operations with astronauts from the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft is more than just another steady step forward. It represents a substantial increase in China’s space capabilities, which are growing far more quickly than even some aerospace analysts are prepared to admit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Influence, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, space, Strategy, Technology, The Chinese Identity, , , , ,

Central govt spent 5.64 trillion yuan last year [Global Times]

The Global Times takes a look at central government spend in 2011.

Total spend = 5.64 trillion yuan

Fiscal reserves = 5.13 trillion yuan

Deficit = 650 billion yuan

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Central govt spent 5.64 trillion yuan last year
By Yang Jingjie
Source – Global Times, published June 28, 2012

The central government spent 5.64 trillion yuan ($886 billion) last year, with sectors directly related to people’s livelihoods seeing the highest growth and the military recording a slightly slower growth in its expenditure.

In a final report on the implementation of the 2011 budget to the ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), Finance Minister Xie Xuren said the central government’s fiscal revenues for 2011 reached 5.13 trillion yuan.

Meanwhile, the central government spent 5.64 trillion yuan last year, resulting in a fiscal deficit of 650 billion yuan. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, global times, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Politics, Social

The China8 Interviews: Pioneering Log with Bennett from China South America

Wandering China is pleased to launch the very first of the China8 series of interviews. China8 is where China’s perceived and presenting selves are discussed. This it hopes to achieve by looking closely at both China’s international and domestic coherence of its harmonious ascent. Ultimately, Wandering China hopes these perspectives will be helpful for anyone making sense of the fourth rise of the middle kingdom.

On close examination it seems the Chinese are finding it increasingly difficult to bide their time.

Laying low may have been the mandate in dealing multilaterally with the world from Deng’s point of view. However, without the superhero-charged idolatry of the monolith of party holding as much currency, legitimacy to rule China has for the first time in a very long while shifted to one that is based on performance indicators and this means that Chinese leaders now have both top-down and bottom-up pressure to perform. Sons of Heaven need not apply as China communicates a resurrection vaunted to be peaceful and harmonious. While Wandering China makes sense of China from afar, China South America is right in the thick of action being based in Shanghai. WC is pleased to glean first hand knowledge from fellow open source commentator Bennett, owner of China South America who is well placed to read between China’s rhetorical lines. We first met witnessing first hand the identity performance of the Shanghai Expo and it is a pleasure to exchange thoughts again.

For this first instalment, we focus on international relations and implications for trade with the world’s factory. Eight questions based on perceptions of China’s peaceful rise are posed to generate a wider range of open source perspectives in making sense of Chinese political rhetoric and intent. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bob's Opinion, Charm Offensive, China8 Interviews, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Peru, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S.

Film review: Dr. Qian Xuesen

“That the government permitted this genius, this scientific genius, to be sent to Communist China to pick his brains is one of the tragedies of this century…” Grant Cooper, CALTECH appointed attorney in defending Qian Xueshen when he was accused of Communist sympathies.

This is a film I managed to catch on a recent flight, and it was coincidentally apt that I got to watch it whilst streaming through the skies high above. That it comes as at a time as China secures its permanent place in space with the success of the Tiangong mission also resonated. The historical biopic of the recently departed Dr. Qian Xuesen 钱学森 (see Encylopedia Brittanica entry on him here) released in March is the latest in Chinese cultural capital to assert its legitimacy for equity on the world stage.

Important to China as the father of Chinese aerospace, his role of establishing China’s long range ballistic defense program after spending years in the US makes him the quintessential Chinese sojourning Huaqiao hero. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Overseas Chinese, Politics, Soft Power, space, Strategy, Technology, The Chinese Identity, U.S.

Made in China: an Austrian village [Toronto Sun]

Yes it is true, the Chinese have brought ‘inspired copying’ to a new level. See it how you like, they have cloned the Austrian village of Hallstatt with a $940m full-scale reproduction in Huizhou, south of China in my ancestral province of Guangdong. The most ambitious attempt at Chinese reproduction yet? Funded by Minmetals Land, the listed real estate development flagship of China Minmentals Corporation the number 6 ranked metal company according to the Forbes Global 500 in 2010. Its paradoxical development philosophy does invite dissonance for me. It reads, “…cherishing limited resources and pursue boundless development.

To find out, I actually made my way to Hallstatt to see with my own eyes, the extent of work needed.


Two hours by train from Salzburg, The 1000 inhabitant village is an impossibly beautiful picture postcard of mountain and lake front. It was not difficult to imagine how it fits the bill of what the Chinese see as uber auspicious.

So. Perhaps it is worth asking if permission was asked. Or is that a foregone conclusion? Eventually it seems, Austrian authorities decided they would just milk the cow.


Known for its production of salt dating back to prehistoric times, I encountered quite a few Chinese tourists, most piqued to see the original amongst many Korean and Japanese tour groups. Chinese tourism there has increased from a mere fifty in 2005 to four thousand or more in recent times, according to a local source.

For more, check out the Hallstatt web presence – note the witty and enlightened tag line in response – ‘Million fold photographed, Once copied, never reached.’ Priceless.

– – –

Made in China: an Austrian village
By Venus Wu
Source – Toronto Sun, published June 7, 2012

HUIZHOU, CHINA – A $940 million Chinese clone of one of Austria’s most picturesque villages, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hallstatt, recently opened its doors to visitors in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong amidst some controversy.

In a nation known for its skill in manufacturing knock-offs ranging iPhones to Hermes Birkins, the replica village is perhaps the most ambitious attempt at Chinese reproduction yet.

The “Made in China” version of the lakeside European village known for tourism and salt includes an exact replica of its church clock tower, European style wooden houses and other properties that will be sold to investors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Influence, The Chinese Identity

Big Chinese firms see US sales doubling [China Daily]

To be perfectly honest, whenever I commute to Melbourne city, the unmistakable stature of the Hisense Arena  greets me. I have even attended more than a few gigs and festivals there. And it never occurred to me. Little did I know Hisense was a multinational Chinese state owned enterprise. How they managed to place such a big stamp of Chineseness is beyond me in an increasingly protectionist Australia. But I digress.

Read on for more succesful Chinese brand exports consumers may increasingly be unaware of that hail from the mainland.

– – –

Big Chinese firms see US sales doubling
By Trevor Williams
Source – China Daily, published June 22, 2012

Chinese companies on the leading edge of a trend toward greater outbound investment are accelerating plans for overseas growth despite headwinds at home and the unsteady global economy.

Some of China’s best-known brands plan to double sales in the United States over the next few years, executives said at a June 14 forum in Atlanta on Chinese investment.

For Sany Heavy Industry Co, a construction-equipment manufacturer from China’s Hunan province, rapid expansion has become the rule rather than the exception. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Daily, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Soft Power, Trade

The start of bottom-up governance [China Daily]

Opinion piece from China’s English language daily exalting a future of bottom-up governance replacing top-down structures. For the most part more liberal than other state owned newspapers; and that this may come from the USA edition which is based in New York, it piques my interest that thoughts as such are getting light of day?

For more, see: Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

– – –

The start of bottom-up governance
By Chen Weihua
Source – China Daily, published June 22, 2012

The media center at Rio+20 – United Nations shorthand for the gigantic sustainable-development parley in Brazil’s most-famous city – has been packed with hundreds of journalists for two days, yet few seem to pay close attention to the pair of giant screens carrying live remarks from 100-plus world leaders.

Mostly they’ve been the kind of warmed-over speeches one has heard countless times. On Friday the leaders, many having come from across oceans, are expected to sign a 49-page document powerfully titled “The Future We Want”. In fact, the text has been watered down to the point that this global pact falls far short of demanding the kind of action that a planet in crisis urgently needs.

It certainly doesn’t represent the kind of future most people want. Heads of state or government, from developed and developing countries alike, aren’t willing to commit to major measures required to make development sustainable for the Earth’s ever-growing population. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Daily, Chinese Model, Culture, Environment, Government & Policy, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Social, The Chinese Identity

Profile: Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut [Global Times]

China’s space program sees its Shenzhou 9 spacecraft complete China’s first manned space docking station with the Tiangong-1 space lab module. The new age for the politics of space have begun as more sovereign bits of shiny objects in our skies demarcate new lines of influence.

In a way, it could read as a master stroke move with China’s first female taiko naut taking away attention from the new battle lines for the days to come but I digress. It just fits the bill for a negotiated reading that Tao guang yang hui, gender equity and great public diplomacy come into play.

While the US programme has been accused of gender discrimination in the past (see story here by The New Scientist which attempts to debunk it), it seems on the surface at least that China did not take long to decide sending having a female taikonaut was a good idea. That said, China was able to learn from the lessons from the US which went through the women’s liberation in the 70s. If China got to space first, would it do what is doing now? I have no answers for that,mand perhaps such hypotheses is not important.

Indeed this isn’t to say that China made it easy for this symbolic act. For more, see Who will be China first female astronaut by China Digital Times and China’s rules for Lady astronauts by The Atlantic Wire.

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Profile: Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut
Source – Global Times, published June 15, 2012

An eloquent speaker and a lover of cooking, Liu Yang is well-poised to be the first Chinese woman in space.

When she watched the news on television of China’s first manned space mission in 2003, the pilot couldn’t help but wonder: What would the Earth look like from outer space?

Nine years later, Liu is getting the opportunity to find out herself as China’s first female astronaut, taking her place among three Chinese chosen to crew the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, global times, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Liu Yang, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, space, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Technology, The Chinese Identity

Shifting power balance sees China, Japan dig deep to save the West [the Australian]

Greetings, am still wandering through Europe getting a feel of the impact (sometimes, the lack of) of China in this region. Internet access has been intermittent as I travel through the countryside. More regular updates to come when I return. In the meantime…

A view from Australia: Shift in the global balance of power tilting east or will this be an Asian century of footing the bill for debts it did not ‘directly’ incur? The way this article is phrased suggests it also means footing the bills with little equivalent exchange in return. Will paying for someone else’s bad habits become the new norm in this new landscape of sharing a boat of interdependence and integration? Perhaps this shift is purely perceptual.

…in a sign that Europe is nearing the end of its tolerance for “helpful” suggestions from outsiders, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso told the G20 that the EU was not the cause of the current crisis and won’t be “lectured” by anyone.

“Frankly, we are not coming here to receive lessons in terms of democracy or in terms of how to handle the economy,” Barroso said.

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Shifting power balance sees China, Japan dig deep to save the West
Source: The Australian, published June 20, 2012

THE arrival of the Asian century has been underscored with news that China will kick in $US43 billion ($42.4bn) to the International Monetary Fund’s global firewall.

China’s commitment, which is the third largest after Japan ($US60bn) and Germany ($US54.7bn), compares with a weighty contribution from the mighty US — zero.

The US is clearly wrestling with its own problems, and a donation to Europe’s begging bowl would be political poison in an election year. Even so, the latest commitments to the new $US430bn fund, which were announced during the G20 summit in Mexico, highlight the anomaly of the US and Europe controlling key global institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, when the centre of economic power is tilting east. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Chen Wenling, Chinese Model, Economics, Europe, European Union, Finance, Foreign aid, IMF, Influence, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, The Australian, The Chinese Identity

U.S. Navy Bets $42 Billion On Carriers In China’s Sights [Bloomberg]

The American military industrial complex does it again with 45 states involved in preserving the symbolism of American force projection. Check out the Aircraft Carrier Base Industrial Coalition here.

Force multiplier or force liability? Giant moving target or otherwise, this seafaring behemoth come will only encourage asymmetrical countermeasures. No lessons learnt from Star Wars mythology I suppose. All it takes is one inspired fighter to down a super star destroyer. China’s DF21 missile with a reported range of 1500km threatens to do just the same preventing the carriers from being deployed at an effective range of 300 nautical miles (Check out this full report from the Congressional Research Service, more on the DF21 on page 7)

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U.S. Navy Bets $42 Billion On Carriers In China’s Sights
By Roxana Tiron
Source – Bloomberg, published June 19, 20

The U.S. Navy is betting $42 billion on a new class of aircraft carriers, the world’s biggest and costliest warships ever, even as the Pentagon budget shrinks and China and Iran arm themselves with weapons to disable or destroy the behemoths.

The Navy says the new carriers — rising 20 stories above the water, 1,092 feet (333 meters) long, moving at 30 knots (35 miles per hour) with almost 5,000 Americans on board — can project U.S. power around the globe.

“A carrier is 4 1/2 acres of sovereign U.S. territory,” Captain Bruce Hay, a Navy pilot who helps set requirements for the new carrier, said in an interview. “An aircraft carrier is a piece of America, and we’re going to do what it takes to keep them relevant because a carrier is presence and American resolve all at one time.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Chinese Model, Influence, International Relations, military, Strategy, U.S., Varyag

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