Wandering China

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

Will Manmohan Singh become another leader in the Deng Xiaoping mould? [Global Times] #ChinaIndia

Manmohan Singh to continue in public life after crossing 80?

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Will Manmohan Singh become another leader in the Deng Xiaoping mould?
By Rajeev Sharma
Source – Global Times, published March 31, 2013

Indian politics has just received a flash in the pan by an incredibly enigmatic statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a man known for his reticence.

While returning home after attending the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban, Singh was asked by accompanying media at his onboard press conference in Air India One on Thursday evening whether he had the drive, energy and motivation like Deng Xiaoping, one of the most popular and charismatic leaders of China in modern times, to continue in public life even after crossing 80.

Singh, who will turn 81 in six months, bamboozled everybody when he answered: “I have tried my very best to serve this country with all sincerity, with all dedication. Whether I have succeeded or not, it is for the public at large the people of India to judge.”

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Filed under: BRIC, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, global times, India, Influence, International Relations, New Leadership, Politics, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

China will not be passive in sea disputes [Global Times] #China

To be able to give its naval muscle a good stretch close by is probably the goal of this gesture. Might as well deal its cards clearly and make intention transparent.

To top it off, there is widespread public participation across traditional and new media on this issue 24 hours a day. Internal consensus will not be hard to get. This seems one area where people and government meet somewhat dead centre. Every time I broached this topic, a common response, was to dismiss the contending nation and call them 小国 translated, small country but also to mean inferior state. On this the people and government have a common vantage point. And so do an increasing number of overseas Chinese.

However, this is a time where a ticket to zealotry can be facilitated by a prepaid Internet connection. Initial sparks of conflict may come where least expected, wherever it undermines hard power most – inability to act because of international conventions.

Will it then be willing to cross the line unilaterally? Would it have more innovative ways about this

That would then reveal if such talk of not being passive is rhetoric or indicative.

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China will not be passive in sea disputes
Op-Ed
Source – Global Times, published March 29, 2013

Chinese naval fleets recently conducted patrols on the South China Sea, reaching as far as Zengmu Reef, the southernmost part of Chinese territory. In an oath-taking ceremony on board Tuesday, the troops and officials vowed to safeguard China’s sovereignty.

Earlier this month, a Chinese vessel fired two warning signal shells into the sky to prevent illegal fishing operations by Vietnamese fishermen. Both showed China’s firm determination to insist upon its stance amid the South China Sea disputes.

Washington expressed its concerns in both cases, reinforcing its attitude that the US can interfere in the South China Sea issue any time.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Education, global times, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Philippines, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Uncategorized, Vietnam

People’s Daily criticizes Apple for double-standard warranties [Global Times] #China #Apple

Advertising misdirection under scrutiny? Misunderstanding? Or reverse-protectionism – new Chinese leadership style?

At the end of the day, the Chinese Apple users simply feel they are getting the short end of the deal. Above all, it can be hard to shake away the fact they are essentially buying a foreign-branded home-made product.

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People’s Daily criticizes Apple for double-standard warranties
Source – Global Times, published March 28, 2013

Editor’s Note
The world’s most popular cell phone producer, Apple Inc. has come to public attention again as the People’s Daily published consecutive opinion articles for four days since March 25, criticizing its double-standard warranties. China Central Television reported the company has adopted differential policies for guarantees and after-sale services in China on March 15, or the International Day for Protecting Consumers’ Rights.

Latest News
Apple shrugs off China policy bash
Apple Inc said on March 23 that while its after-sale services in China are somewhat different from those in other countries, they comply with Chinese laws, the company’s response to domestic media reports saying that Apple is treating Chinese consumers unfairly. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Advertising, Apple, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Domestic Growth, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Technology, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S.

Inside Story : Russia and China: Cementing ties [Al Jazeera Video] #ChinaRussia

Al Jazeera’s Inside Story on March 23 has a panel talk about Russia and China strengthening ties.

Optimistically speaking – we have two former giants demonstrating how two former foes can be at least in today’s terms, friends. This relationship hasn’t been without cycles of ups and downs. See China and Russia: Best frenemies forever? (Fortunate Magazine, March 28, 2013)

That they do so today whilst they rejuvenate themselves seems on paper, a synergistic pivot necessary for the times. A case for symbiotic realism perhaps.

Both members of BRIC with permanent seats on the UN security council, they share a long border, complement each other economically and it makes a lot of sense to form a tag team. That they largely share consensus on major international issues not beholden to the US, has also stirred into the symbolism of this combined charm offensive.

It is also noteworthy Xi Jinping already made an important visit to US as Vice President last year.

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Inside Story : Russia and China: Cementing ties
Source – Al Jazeera on Youtube, published March 23, 2013

As China’s Xi Jinping chooses Moscow for his inaugural state visit, we look at the ties that bind the two countries. Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses with guests: Victor Gao, the director of China National Association of International Studies. He was former China policy advisor; Dimitry Babich, a political analyst at Russia Profile magazine; and Roderic Wye, a China analyst at Chatham House and senior fellow with the China Policy Institute at Nottingham University.

Filed under: Al Jazeera, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Economics, History, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, SBS, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Xi Jinping

Suntech’s bankruptcy: Beyond Profit [Economist Blogs] #ChinaSolar

The Economist on the harsh environment overarching China’s plans for solar power eminence.

For a strong Chinese view from Xinhua:

Globally speaking, new energy is closely related to the welfare of mankind. China has already become a leader in new energy development and will contribute even more in the future. To that end, it would be prudent for all the world’s countries to refrain from engaging in trade wars and protectionism targeting new energy products.

See: Suntech bankruptcy hurts new energy drive in Xinhua, March 21, 2013

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Suntech’s bankruptcy
Beyond Profit
by V.V.V.
Source – The Economist, published March 21, 2013

Photo source - AFP

Photo source – AFP

BP, an oil giant formerly known as British Petroleum, ran an ill-fated marketing campaign some years ago proclaiming itself “Beyond Petroleum”. The idea was to trumpet its big investments in renewable energy, especially its brief position as one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of solar panels. That effort came to be seen as greenwash as punters realised that the company’s dabbling in greenery did not take away its zeal to produce—and alas, it turned out, recklessly spill—gargantuan quantities of the mucky black goop that has always been the main source of its profits.

Not long after that, Suntech, a Chinese solar-panel manufacturer, skyrocketed to the top of the world solar industry. So stratospheric was the rise in the firm’s valuation after it went public in 2005 that Shi Zhengrong, its founder, was briefly China’s richest man. At the peak of his wealth and his company’s prospects, he grandly even declared his ambition for Suntech to become as big as BP.

As a clean-energy company, Suntech at least had the chance to fulfil BP’s misleading promise of going beyond petroleum. Alas, Suntech has instead ended up beyond profit.

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Filed under: Bankruptcy, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Climate Change, Communications, Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Europe, Government & Policy, Green China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Politics, Resources, Soft Power, Solar, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, Trade, U.S.

Elite in China Face Austerity Under Xi’s Rule [New York Times] #ChinaAusterity

Xi reenacts a grand spectacle by giving the table top a clean wipe much like his predecessors did.

The difference is clear with many visual markers of free spending gone.

I don’t agree with the headline bias saying Xi’s rule. The way the leadership is structured is not as such.

Certainly the symbolism of this act to capture the hearts of the people will help give a boost to consensus, but whether what continues under the table gets fixed requires a new paradigm on building relations in its familial, clan, and organisational hierarchal structures.

That Xi Jinping was formerly in the business of fighting corruption is a plus to his street cred, but with so increasing external matters of concern, how much time and conviction he can devote to following this through is important. Whether corruption Fire Chief Wang Qishan manages to enforce this uniformly throughout the party’s internal power bases will also be critical.

Having seen my city of ancestry half built due to the excesses of free wheeling corruption in the early days of opening up, this is encouraging. No one speaks of Shantou when SEZs are mentioned. That it was, early with Zhuhai, Xiamen and Shenzhen given licence to roam should have resulted in a giant leap forward. It did not – half built roads aplenty and children playing in a canal full of rubbish and plastic bags were the common scene in my travels on foot. Wealthy overseas Chinese Teochews tried revitalizing it but failed.

Equitable growth starts by the top leading by example, at the very least, symbolically.

Deng’s maxim still abides.

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Elite in China Face Austerity Under Xi’s Rule
By Andrew Jacobs
Source – New York Times, published March 27, 2013

20130329-095529.jpg
Photo by Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times
A branch in Beijing of Xiang E Qing, a restaurant chain popular with government officials, was quiet at lunchtime recently.

BEIJING — Life for the almighty Chinese government official has come to this: car pools, domestically made wristwatches and self-serve lunch buffets.

In the four months since he was anointed China’s paramount leader and tastemaker-in-chief, President Xi Jinping has imposed a form of austerity on the nation’s famously free-spending civil servants, military brass and provincial party bosses. Warning that graft and gluttony threaten to bring down the ruling Communists, Mr. Xi has ordered an end to boozy, taxpayer-financed banquets and the bribery that often takes the form of a gift-wrapped Louis Vuitton bag.

While the power of the nation’s elite remains unchallenged, the symbols of that power are slipping from view. Gone, for now, are the freshly cut flowers and red-carpet ceremonies that used to greet visiting dignitaries. This month, military officers who arrived here for the annual National People’s Congress were instructed to share hotel rooms and bring their own toiletries.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, New Leadership, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Xi Jinping

Xi maps out Africa blueprint [Global Times] #ChinaAfrica

This second step of President Xi Jinping’s journey is also crucial. A display on how China treats its friends. Will the Beijing Consensus click smoothly into gear? China cares deeply for a prolonged stable environment for growth. Soothing the still volatile region will demonstrate a model capable of rejuvenating other nations.

The Julius Nyerere International Convention Center is a recipient of China Aid. Completed in September 2012, it is the latest of a growing network of African countries that carried the symbol of Chinese government loans.

China’s desire to be friendly with Africa are manifold. Africa extends China’s reach greatly. From the strategic to economic, the list is long.

Can China do what the West could not do? Harmonize the continent.

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Xi maps out Africa blueprint
By Yang Jingjie
Source – Global Times, published March 26, 2013

20130327-030450.jpg

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) delivers a speech at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 25, 2013. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping Monday vowed to strengthen Sino-African ties and continue providing no-strings-attached aid to the African continent, during a state visit to Tanzania, the second leg of the leader’s first overseas trip.

The thoughts on Sino-African relations laid out in Xi’s speech have been interpreted as a blueprint for China’s Africa policies in the coming decade, as the country has just completed its leadership transition.

Addressing audiences at a new conference hall in Dar es Salaam built by China, the president reviewed the friendly foundations of Sino-African ties over the past six decades, and called the two sides “a community of shared destiny.”

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Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Economics, Finance, Foreign aid, global times, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, Trade

Film buffs multiply in China [The Australian] #ChinaFilm

The Australian is a trusted and valued paper down under, and this would have helped form their impressions of China today.

On to the area of film.

The Chinese have for a long time understood the importance of producing and controlling visual markers to express their place in the world. The time of networked societies offers a radically different challenge as, yet cinemas form part of the last bastion of traditional media channels. Grow all it want, but they still yield foreign content control. But underneath that veneer, what should be noted is its promotion of shaping domestic cultural capital through lavishly state sponsored endeavors.

My travels around China the past three years have brought me to many cinemas. Few have the appeal the cineplexes like back in Singapore. 10 screens a day may sound impressive, yet I feel it is just the tip of the iceberg. The industry is still in its infancy, and still tinkling around for a model to cater to their voluminous market.

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Film buffs multiply in China
By Emily Ford, from The Times
Source – The Australian, published March 26, 2013

AVID cinemagoers have helped China overtake Japan to become the world’s second biggest film market, underlining the country’s rising importance to Hollywood studios.

Ticket sales in China rose 36 per cent last year to $US2.7 billion, making it the fastest growing film market globally and helping to take worldwide box-office revenues to a record $US34.7bn, according to figures released by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Ticket sales are in decline in many countries, falling 1 per cent last year to $US10.7bn in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. China, however, is rapidly becoming a nation of film buffs as rising disposable incomes lead middle-class consumers to spend more on entertainment and leisure.

MPAA chairman and chief executive Christopher Dodd says: “China is building 10 screens a day. There’s a voracious appetite for product and our films have consistently done well.”

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, New Leadership, People, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

‘The Kate effect’: China in grip of first lady fever as Peng steps out [The Age] #China #softpower]

Whatever term one uses, it is simply soft power, Chinese style.

China has a recent history of esteemed First Ladies captured widely in popular culture for years. If she can ignite the imagination of the the women around Greater China the that would boost the Chinese sphere of influence greatly. Their consensus would have mean a more finely tuned Chinese model for growth down this new period.

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‘The Kate effect’: China in grip of first lady fever as Peng steps out
Malcolm Moore in Beijing for the Daily Telegraph
Source – The Age, published March 25, 2013

China’s new president flew out of Moscow on Sunday pronouncing himself “deeply satisfied” with his first official trip overseas. But back home, the only topic of conversation was his elegant wife.
Footage of Peng Liyuan, 49, triggered first lady fever in the Chinese media and on the internet.
Mrs Peng, a Chinese folk singer and major-general in the Chinese army who sings for the People’s Liberation Army, is arguably just as famous in China as her husband, Xi Jinping, who was inaugurated as president two weeks ago.

20130325-091812.jpg

“Graceful”: Peng Liyuan. Photo: AFP

“Now is the end of our quest for a graceful first lady,” wrote the deputy editor of the Hong Kong Commercial Daily newspaper on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Yesterday, the Beijing News ran a full page of stories about Mrs Peng’s itinerary in Moscow, alongside a photograph of her arriving at a speech dressed in an elegant Chinese-style silk tunic and skirt.

“In her role as first lady on this visit abroad, Peng Liyuan is exhibiting China’s soft power,” Wang Fan, head of the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, told the newspaper. The footage of her in Moscow quickly caused something akin to the “Kate Middleton effect”, with copies of a black coat she wore instantly appearing on Taobao, an online shopping site, for 499 yuan ($76.76), and advertised as “in the same style as the first lady’s”.

“Her shoes are really classic, and who designed her bag?” wrote another user on Weibo. In fact, a black leather clutch she carried was made to order by a Chinese firm in the south-western city of Chengdu.

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Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Media, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Telegraph UK, The Age, The Chinese Identity, U.K.

Time to put chopsticks on the chopping block? [Global Times] #China #Culture

China’s rise may have overlooked the importance of upgrading its chopstick culture, one so close to its core identity. Perhaps it is time to catch up.

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Time to put chopsticks on the chopping block?
By Wang Wenwen
Source – Global Times, published March 22, 2013

To foreigners, chopsticks may bring to mind ideas of yummy Chinese food and distinct Chinese identity. Some even see the utensils as graceful extensions of their fingers, but for Chinese, they can mean terrible toxins.

On Sunday, famous actor Huang Bo posted a message on Weibo that caught people’s attention. He said when he was dining at a restaurant and wanted to wash the disposable chopsticks provided by the restaurant, he was astonished to find that after soaking the chopsticks in the cup of hot water, the water turned yellow and gave off a pungent smell.

Following the post, a fresh round of debate emerged over the usage of disposable chopsticks in China.

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Filed under: Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Influence, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, People, Population, Reform, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity

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