Wandering China

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

Stephen Chan: China appreciates African aspirations in a way the West does not [IQ2 debates]

Intelligence Squared, London: Debating China’s interests, behaviour and role in Africa.

Certainly worth an hour of time to hear two sides slug out in an exchange of rhetoric, numbers, case studies, some revealing of the deep impact mainstream media has in shaping ideologies, not grounded in cross-referenced information nor primary research.

Here is a clip of Stephen Chan, OBE is a member of the Chinese diaspora and Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, questioning the trapdoor of colonial thinking.

On a side note – I disagree with the motion’s description, though possibly provocative by design – We all know that the Chinese are the neo-colonialists of Africa. (see rest of it below), as this is one of the most clumsy, self-assertive statements possible one can make in critical thinking.

For more – check out this review of the debate by Hidden Harmonies.

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Stephen Chan: China appreciates African aspirations in a way the West does not – IQ2 debates

If you look on the world map, Europe and America are far more important to the Chinese future, than Africa is. Africa is important as it will help fuel the Chinese coming of age. But it is not the absolute key end result of Chinese global foreign policy. But what is going on, is a global contest of who is going to be in control of global capitalism ten, twenty years in the future…. Stephen Chan

Stephen Chan was speaking against the motion “Beware of the dragon: Africa should not look to China” at this IQ2 debate at Cadogan Hall in London on 28th November 2011.

Event info:

We all know that the Chinese are the neo-colonialists of Africa. They’ve plundered the continent of its natural resources, tossing aside any concern for human rights and doing deals with some of the world’s most unsavoury regimes. The relentless pursuit of growth is China’s only spur.

But is this picture really fair? In Angola, for example, China’s low-interest loans have been tied to a scheme that has ensured that roads, schools and other infrastructure has been built. China has an impressive track record of lifting its own millions out of poverty and can do the same for Africa. And is the West’s record in Africa as glowing as we like to think? After decades of pouring aid into Africa, how much have we actually achieved in terms of reducing poverty, corruption and war? So which way should Africa look for salvation — to the West, to China, or perhaps to its own people? Come to the debate and decide for yourself. Source – IQ2/Youtube, 2012

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Filed under: Africa, Ai Weiwei, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Economics, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , ,

[North-Korea] Dealing with comrades [Global Times]

The China-North Korea Friendship Bridge, first constructed by the Japanese between 1937 and 1943 has seen trade traffic increase from 50 to 500 trucks in a decade.

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Dealing with comrades
by Feng Shu
Source – Global Times, published August 29, 2012

The China-North Korea Friendship Bridge crosses the Yalu River, linking Dandong, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, and North Korea’s second largest city, Sinuiju. Nearly 80 percent of all bilateral trade goes through Dandong. Photo: CFP

As the only entry point into the North Korean Rason free-trade zone, the 560-meter-long bridge linking Quanhe port, Hunchun in Jilin Province, to the port of Won Jing Ri in North Korea is packed every day.

From North Korea, many trucks fully loaded with seafood, clothes and minerals drive into China while traders take food, oil and other daily necessities the other way to meet Korean needs.

“This country is more open to China today. Ten years ago, only around 50 trucks were allowed to go across the border a day. Ten times more cross daily now,” said Ji Huiqin, chairman of Yunda Knitwear Clothing Co., who started to do business in Rason in 2004. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Communications, Domestic Growth, Economics, Foreign aid, global times, Influence, International Relations, North Korea, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Trade, , , , ,

Analysis: China’s aircraft carrier: in name only [Reuters]

Reuters: Not-yet combat ready aircraft carrier stirs reality check for Chinese military power projection in the East China Sea? Outspoken retired Major General Luo Yuan reconfigures hardline tact by suggesting the naming of China’s new aircraft carrier Diaoyu to demonstrate symbolic sovereignty after the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.

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Analysis: China’s aircraft carrier: in name only
By David Lague
Source – Reuters, published August 28, 2012

(Reuters) – When Japanese activists scrambled ashore on a disputed island chain in the East China Sea this month, one of China’s most hawkish military commentators proposed an uncharacteristically mild response.

Retired Major General Luo Yuan suggested naming China’s new aircraft carrier Diaoyu, after the Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. It would demonstrate China’s sovereignty over the islands known as the Senkakus in Japanese, he said.

For a notable hardliner, it was one of the least bellicose reactions he has advocated throughout a series of territorial rows that have soured China’s ties with its neighbors in recent months. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Diaoyu Fishing Boat Incident 2010, East China Sea, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , , ,

Diaoyu slowly drifting into crosshairs [Global Times]

East China Sea flashpoint: does this Global Times editorial shape or reflect Sino-Japanese tension? The otherisation of  Japan in the us and them narrative has painful etchings in the Chinese mind. Throw into the fray of further US intervention to amplify proxy war intent and the net effect may just be result in a unified Greater China.

For more, check out the Economist – Barren rocks, barren nationalism: Both countries should turn to pragmatism, not stridency, in dealing with island spats (August 25, 2012)

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Diaoyu slowly drifting into crosshairs
Editorial
Source – Global Times, published August 27, 2012

The PLA Nanjing Military Region has been conducting a navy-air force joint exercise in the East China Sea. The drill comes against the backdrop of military exercises between the US and Japan in defending the Diaoyu Islands. Meanwhile, the Japanese government has stressed that Washington will cover Diaoyu as part of the US-Japan Security Treaty. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has repeatedly stated the possibility of deploying Self-Defense Forces in the Diaoyu conflict.

The drill of Nanjing Military Region, whether it is a routine exercise or is considering Diaoyu, has come at the right time.

Japan’s increasingly radical approach over the island disputes is pushing the Diaoyu issue toward a military confrontation. The Japanese government is dangerously fanning the flames in East Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Communications, Diaoyu Fishing Boat Incident 2010, East China Sea, global times, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

China ups lobbying game, but faces key tests in U.S., Canada [Reuters]

China Inc: Lobbying via guanxi over invasion a la tour group – how China is starting to coerce its geopolitical economic strategy a little differently? Reuters takes a close look at Chinese attempts to buy American.

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Insight: China ups lobbying game, but faces key tests in U.S., Canada
By Paul Eckert and Rachelle Younglai and David Ljunggren
Source – Reuters, published Wed Aug 22, 2012 

(Reuters) – Back in the day, before the U.S. Congress tore apart China’s proposed multi-billion dollar deals with Western companies one after the other, Beijing’s lobbying left little to the imagination.

China’s Washington embassy blasted out form letters to every U.S. lawmaker when it was upset with Congress, warning of grave damage to Sino-American relations, congressional aides recall.

One aide to a senator, who was being courted by arch rival Taiwan, was told by visiting Chinese officials “that all trade between your state and China will come to a screeching halt!” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Canada, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Reuters, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , ,

Mining fears of Chinese invasion [The Age]

This problem is not new. On one hand the knee jerk reaction might be – this feels like a relic of the White Australia policy redux decades after its final dismantling in 1973.

But look at it another way. Perhaps China simply hasn’t figured out how to arrive on one’s shores without looking like it’s going to plant a flag and declare permanent settlement with the narrative of communism and collectivism ringing loud in receiving countries.

From antiquity to now, this is what is continuing to do – populating (assimilating?) places with its own culture, people and way of doing business. The ubiquity of Chinatowns is one case in point. Of course a relic of that was the perceived Yellow peril of the 19th century.

Economic xenophobia or as Australian foreign minister Bob Carr puts it… ‘dangerously dumb‘ rhetoric coming from Australia’s opposition leader Tony Abbott? Yes, Australia has reason to be particularly sensitive because of some close calls in the last few years. That said, perhaps this is the point the Australian opposition is missing out on at the moment – that despite its socio-economic capitalist intents, it remains structurally at the core, all about central power. Technically, everything belongs to the state. So it is a matter of ascertaining and hedging and leveraging against just how much of the state’s interests are in play.

In a global village where its participants share economic and resource interdependence across time/space, black and white lines views of Chinese SOEs need updating.

Simply – is there another way to do big business with China outside of their SOE arms? Yes, but hardly. Though just about half of non-agricultural GDP is owned and controlled by the state, 92/116 of Sino-Australian deals in the past six years were with SOEs. By 2010, SOEs held 2.66 trillion yuan in assets outside mainland China, a 50 per cent jump from the previous year.

Perhaps most pragmatically,

”Australia was built on foreign capital; now foreign capital is just coming from a different time zone than in the past … [but] the concept is exactly the same.”  ANZ Bank chief executive Mike Smit

To see how Australia process these cases of state owned investments/foreign investments, check out FIRB, the Foreign Investment Review Board

For more check out An Analysis of State‐owned Enterprises and State Capitalism in China (U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2011)

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Mining fears of Chinese invasion.
By Philip Wen
Source – The Age, published August 25, 2012

‘They’re trying to preserve China’s growth, not conquer Australia.’ Photo: Reuters

TONY Abbott was at his pugilistic best as he worked through a tight schedule of meetings on his visit to Beijing last month.

Shaking hands with Chinese dignitaries with the iron-grip confidence of a man who believes he should be the next prime minister, his eyes bulged and veins popped with the adrenalin of meeting senior officials who will set the course of arguably Australia’s most important trade and diplomatic relationship.

His Chinese counterparts were well briefed on our opinion polls; a more senior than usual line-up of party officials and ministers were summoned to have an audience with the opposition leader. When it came to his keynote speech at the Grand Hyatt in Beijing, Abbott had already raised eyebrows by noting that for all of China’s recent economic strides, its people ”still can’t choose their government”. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Stern Hu - Rio Tinto, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , ,

Photo: 2012 Animation & Comics Beijing kicks off [Xinhua]

Simulacra comes to China: 4-day hyper reality festival kicked off on Thursday in Beijing! Check out the photo gallery link to see the Chinese embrace a vestige of Japanese pop culture.

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2012 Animation & Comics Beijing kicks off
Source – Xinhua, published August 23, 2012

A group of cosplayers attend the 2012 Animation & Comics Beijing, held at the National Agriculture Exhibition Center, in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 23, 2012. The four-day animation and comics festival kicked off Thursday in Beijing. Source – Xinhua: Wang Quanchao

Click here to access the rest of the gallery!

Filed under: Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Influence, japan, Media, Peaceful Development, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, xinhua, , , ,

Language and China’s ‘Practical Creativity’ [International Herald Tribune Rendezvous]]

Food for thought from the International Herald Tribune of the NY Times: Rote learning = conformist attitude? Does learning Chinese lessen deep creativity by furthering practical, but not abstract, thinking?

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Language and China’s ‘Practical Creativity
By Didi Kirsten Tatlow
Source – International Herald Tribune Rendezvous, published August 22, 2012

Every language presents challenges — English pronunciation can be idiosyncratic and Russian grammar is fairly complex, for example — but non-alphabetic writing systems like Chinese pose special challenges.

There is the well-known issue that Chinese characters don’t systematically map to sounds, making both learning and remembering difficult, a point I examine in my latest column. If you don’t know a character, you can’t even say it.

Nor does Chinese group individual characters into bigger “words,” even when a character is part of a compound, or multi-character, word. That makes meanings ambiguous, a rich source of humor for Chinese people. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chinese Model, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Education, History, Influence, Mapping Feelings, New York Times, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , ,

The Chinese Population [Visua.Ly/Chinainfographics.com]

This infographic was recently picked up by Business Insider, and it has been trending in social media. A little dated however, as this was produced in 2010. Data for Chinese cities were from 2007 while western city data was estimated from 2009. Nevertheless, helpful as a visualizer  to see size of Chinese cities relative to each other and some of those in the west.

During the last, and sixth census in 2010 by the National Bureau of Statistics of People’s Republic of China a staggering six million census workers (poignant in itself as this is more than the population for about half of the world’s countries) attempted to visit 400 million households, it was found Shanghai now stands at about 20.8 million while Beijing is about 17.3 million.

Check out a China Daily ‘Factbox’ on the census here.

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The long tail of 60 Chinese cities with an urban area population of more than one million.
Source – Visual.ly (by Chinainfographic), n.d.

Source – Visua.ly, n.d.

If you have ever been to China, you know just how crowded it is with people. However, it may still shock you to see the actual numbers behind the people of China living in its major cities. Here is a look at 60 Chinese cities whose populations are upward of one million people. Blurp from Visual.ly

Filed under: 2010 National Census, Beijing Consensus, China Daily, Chinese Model, Civil Engineering, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Infrastructure, Modernisation, Population, Property, Social, The Chinese Identity, , , , , ,

China Protests Erupt As Japanese Group Lands On Disputed Island [Bloomberg]

East China Sea flashpoint escalates after Japanese group lands on Senkaku/Diaoyu islands just after Chinese activists landed on August 15 to symbolically mark the date Japan surrendered to Allied forces during the second word war.

It is not often Hong Kongers and Chinese are on the same page. But when it comes to a collective sense of injustice over disputed territories they seem to share a combined voice. Perhaps that is the greatest threat to world harmony – stirring the 1.4 billion Chinese to temporarily forget self-serving narratives to regroup into a collective front.

My dad thinks another way to look at this as a problem is how the CCP manages the frustrated citizens (even a frustrated PLA) who might just seize the opportunity to vent under the pretensions of 爱国 (loving the country) without considering the wider picture of economic and strategic interdependence.

Go here for an international Chinese state media perspective (Anger erupts at Japanese landing, China Daily USA edition)

Also – to get a sense of what Chinese opinion leaders are thinking, Global Times offers an important op-ed with perspectives including those of military leaders – Diaoyu impasse calls for new ideas (August 20, 2012)

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China Protests Erupt As Japanese Group Lands On Disputed Island
By Ma Jie and Frederik Balfour
Source – Bloomberg, published Aug 20, 2012

People hold placards and shout slogans as they attend a rally to protest against Japan’s claim of islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province on August 19, 2012. Photograph – STR/AFP/GettyImages

Protests erupted in China and Hong Kong over the weekend as Japanese activists landed on an island in the East China Sea claimed by both countries, intensifying a dispute between Asia’s two biggest economies.

Demonstrations yesterday in more than 10 Chinese cities featured calls for a boycott of Japanese goods, the state-run China Youth Daily said today. Japan asked the Chinese government to protect its citizens living in China, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.

“Japanese moving around China should be aware of their surroundings and demonstrations in their area,” Fujimura told reporters in TokyoChina Daily said the protests of varying size in cities including Beijing, Qingdao, Guangzhou and Shenzhen were mostly peaceful and the newspaper urged people to be “rational” and not violent. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, East China Sea, Economics, Environment, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , ,

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