Wandering China

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

More than minerals | Chinese trade with Africa keeps growing; fears of neocolonialism are overdone [Economist] #RisingChina #Africa

Other powers have had their chance to shine to help the cradle of civilisation stand up. Unfortunately some find it hard to divorce the  imposition of ideology from economics. China seems to be able to do this better and true to form of the lingering narrative of middleman – its focus remains on trade and investment. Also see – China’s independent foreign policy of peace.

Africans are far from being steamrollered. Their governments have shown a surprising assertiveness. The first person to be expelled from Africa’s youngest country, South Sudan, was a Chinese: Liu Yingcai, the local head of Petrodar, a Chinese-Malaysian oil company and the government’s biggest customer, in connection with an alleged $815m oil “theft”. Congo kicked out two rogue commodities traders in the Kivu region. Algerian courts have banned two Chinese firms from participating in a public tender, alleging corruption. Gabonese officials ditched an unfavourable resource deal. Kenyan and South African conservationists are asking China to stop the trade in ivory and rhino horn.

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More than minerals | Chinese trade with Africa keeps growing; fears of neocolonialism are overdone
NAIROBI print edition
Source – The Economist, published Mar 23rd 2013

Source - Eyevine, in the Economist

Source – Eyevine, in the Economist

A GROUP of five tourists from Beijing passes low over Mount Kenya and into the Rift Valley in their private plane before landing on a dusty airstrip surrounded by the yellow trunks and mist-like branches of fever trees. They walk across a grassy opening where zebras and giraffes roam, snapping pictures while keeping an eye out for charging buffaloes. When they sit down at a table, they seem hungry but at ease. “Last year I went to the South Pole with some friends,” says one of two housewives, showing off iPhone pictures of a gaggle of penguins on permafrost.

Source - Africa Research Institute, IMF

Source – Africa Research Institute, IMF

Chinese are coming to Africa in ever greater numbers and finding it a comfortable place to visit, work in and trade. An estimated 1m are now resident in Africa, up from a few thousand a decade ago, and more keep arriving. Chinese are the fourth-most-numerous visitors to South Africa. Among them will be China’s new president, Xi Jinping, who is also going to Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo on his first foreign outing as leader.

The origin of China’s fascination with Africa is easy to see. Between the Sahara and the Kalahari deserts lie many of the raw materials desired by its industries. China recently overtook America as the world’s largest net importer of oil. Almost 80% of Chinese imports from Africa are mineral products. China is Africa’s top business partner, with trade exceeding $166 billion. But it is not all minerals. Exports to Africa are a mixed bag (see chart). Machinery makes up 29%.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Economist. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, BRIC, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Corruption, Crime, Economics, Economist, Education, Ethnicity, Finance, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Migrant Workers, Modernisation, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Population, Poverty, Precious Metals, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, The Economist, Trade

China Granted Access to Arctic Club as Resource Race Heats Up [Business Week] #RisingChina #ArcticResources

China granted observer status by the Arctic Council.

“The Arctic is another Africa for China,” Humpert said in an interview, referring to China’s investment in Africa for its natural resources. “With minimal investment, they can be in a position, twenty, thirty, fifty years down the road, to yield a big return and have a controlling influence.” Malte Humpert, executive director of the Arctic Institute, a Washington policy group

For more, see What Is China’s Arctic Game Plan? (the Atlantic, May 16, 2013)

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China Granted Access to Arctic Club as Resource Race Heats Up
By Nicole Gaouette and Niklas Magnusson
Source – Bloomberg Businessweek, published May 15, 2013

China was granted observer status by the Arctic Council, giving the world’s second-largest economy more influence amid an intensifying search for resources in the globe’s most northern region.

The eight-member council at a summit today in Kiruna, Sweden, also granted observer status to Japan, India, Italy, Singapore, and the Republic of Korea. The European Union application was deferred until members are satisfied that issues of concern — largely Canadian objections about EU restrictions on seal products — have been allayed.

“The symbolic importance for China shouldn’t be understated,” said Malte Humpert, executive director of the Arctic Institute, a Washington policy group. “China has identified the Arctic as a strategically and geopolitically valuable region,” and “having a seat at the table, albeit only as a permanent observer, has long been an essential part of the country’s regional strategy.”

The number of new observers reflects interest in the region’s burgeoning economic opportunities as climate change alters the physical landscape. Rapidly melting ice is opening new shipping routes that will make the trip from Europe to Asia shorter and cheaper during the summer months. The softening of Arctic ice could also bring within reach the 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its undiscovered oil that lie under the Arctic Ocean floor, according to the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Please click here to read the full article at Bloomberg Businessweek

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Arctic, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Climate Change, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Government & Policy, Influence, Infrastructure, International Relations, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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.”

Please click here to read article at its source.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Opinion: China’s positive spin on Africa [CNN] #China #Africa #MediaRepresentation

CNN on the grey lines of good intentions: Does Chinese media present a radical challenge to Western style journalism? Perhaps it simply fills the gaps of Western style newsworthiness?

This discussion on creeping self-reflexive ideologization in agenda shaping by the media and its political economy-  still reeks of imposition however way it is phrased – telling Africa what to do, and how to do it.

Above all, we expect that China will not just continue to reshape Africa in the coming years, but that Africa itself will force the likes of CCTV and Xinhua to participate in more intensive internal and external discussions about freedom of expression, the links between media, human rights and development, and the commercial durability of an artificial good news show.

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Opinion: China’s positive spin on Africa
By Harry Verhoeven and Iginio Gagliardone, Special to CNN
Source – CNN, published December 18, 2012

Editor’s note: Harry Verhoeven is Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics & International Relations and is the Convenor of the Oxford University China-Africa Network (OUCAN). Iginio Gagliardone is Research Fellow at the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford.

(CNN) — Last week, Beijing’s leading English-language newspaper, China Daily, begun publishing a weekly Africa edition, focusing on financial news and targeting Africa’s growing middle class.

Earlier this year, China’s international broadcaster, CCTV, launched an impressive media operation in Africa, producing one hour a day of content from the continent as well as feature programs on African affairs, through a newsroom of more than 40 Chinese and 70 African staff members.

Both initiatives add to the more established activities of China’s news agency, Xinhua, which in recent years has deepened its partnerships with African media outlets and provides them with news from across the world as well as from the dozens of African countries where it has correspondents.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at the source. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, CNN, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, 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

China backs Egypt mediation #China [Global Times]

Global Times: The Chinese are concerned about the Gaza Strip. With new helmsmen, how will China see its independent foreign policy of peace and non-intervention unfold?

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China backs Egypt mediation
by Hao Zhou
Source – Global Times, published November 22, 2012

Israeli police gather after a blast ripped through a bus near the defense ministry in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. At least 21 people were injured, in what an official said was “a terrorist attack.” Text – Global Times, Photo: AFP, 2012

China supports mediation efforts made by Egypt and other Arab nations as well as the League of Arab States (LAS) to ease the current tensions in Gaza, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday.

“China is paying great attention to the situation in the Gaza Strip,” Hua told reporters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi spoke with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr over the phone about the situation there, expressing China’s support for Egypt and other Arab states as well as the LAS, she said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Disaster, Egypt, Foreign aid, global times, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Modernisation, Peacekeeping, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , ,

Martin Jacques – A Point Of View: How China sees a multicultural world [BBC]

Professor Jacques repeats his call for Western strategist and politicians for a change in prism in understanding the Chinese mind with another timely US/China grand narrative comparison on the BBC. Ultimately  I think he asks, where and how do we want to see the Chinese pendulum swing under pressure?

Just as with the US, China will naturally tend to see the world in its own image. An unusual feature of China, in this respect, is that its history is so atypical: a huge population who overwhelmingly consider themselves to share the same identity. This helps to explain why the Chinese have tended to think of Africa as one, just like China, rather than a complex mosaic of different ethnicities and cultures. Martin Jacques, 2012

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A Point Of View: How China sees a multicultural world
by Martin Jacques
Source – BBC, published October 26, 2012

Photo source – Getty Images, n.d.

The vast majority of the Chinese population regard themselves as belonging to the same race, a stark contrast to the multiracial composition of other populous countries. What effect does this have on how China views the world, ask Martin Jacques.

I was on a taxi journey in Shanghai with a very intelligent young Chinese student, who was helping me with interviews and interpreting. She was shortly to study for her doctorate at a top American university. She casually mentioned that some Chinese students who went to the US ended up marrying Americans.

I told her that I had recently seen such a mixed couple in Hong Kong, a Chinese woman with a black American. This was clearly not what she had in mind. Her reaction was a look of revulsion. I was shocked. Why did she react that way to someone black, but not someone white? This was over a decade ago, but I doubt much has changed. What does her response tell us – if anything – about Chinese attitudes towards ethnicity? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Ethnicity, Go West Strategy, Government & Policy, Han, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , , , , ,

Africans in China [Reuters Africa Journal/Youtube]

2009 charm offensive rewind.

Reuters: On CCTV International presenter Vimbayi Kajese and other Africans taking the pioneering leap to compete and leverage on the Chinese model. The same report also highlights the intercultural bridges being formed.

CCTV9 is China’s state-run English-language international news channel.

At a recent summit of Chinese and African leaders, China promised to double aid to Africa. The strong relationship means more and more Africans are moving to China to exploit business opportunities. A Reuters Africa Journal report by Maxim Duncan and Jimmy Guan. Reuters Africa Journal, 2009

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Education, Influence, Internet, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reuters, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , ,

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

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, , , , , , , , ,

China doubles loans to Africa to USD$20 billion [AsiaOne/AFP]

China has been the African continent’s largest investor since 2009 in my mind, for both resource and strategic reasons.  Trade amounted to US$166.3 billion last year and China has just made a pledge of a $20b credit line to Africa at the Beijing forum on China-Africa cooperation.

Despite competing claims – that on one hand, it made too aggressive an inroad causing friction with locals causing anti-Chinese sentiment to rise. And on the other, for politically treating African countries as equals. this means there are two polarised receiving ends to China’s policy of non-interference in its foreign policy.

I believe this is a key opportunity for China to set a clear benchmark on what they mean in being a responsible international leader. On paper, it seems, the ministerial conference seems set to fix existing problems, from inculcating social responsibility to its companies operating there to measures to expand out of the current unequal trade relationship.

If the wealth of the west in the colonial age was built on the back of the exploitation of Africa, will twenty-first century China prove to be different? Will it play the role of a fairer partner in its resource relationship with the second-largest and second-most-populous continent, by engaging in equivalent exchange instead of exploiter?

For more, see

President Hu: China to strive to open up new prospects for China-Africa strategic partnership (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 2012)

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China doubles loans to Africa to $25 billion
AFP
Source – AsiaOne/AFP, published July 19, 2012

BEIJING – China said Thursday it would offer US$20 billion (S$25 billion) in new loans to Africa, underscoring the relationship’s growing importance, as Chinese companies agreed to operate more responsibly on the resource-rich continent.

Beijing has poured money into Africa over the last 15 years, seeking to tap into its vast natural resources, and China became the continent’s largest trading partner in 2009.

But its aggressive move into the continent has at times  -’caused friction with local people, with some complaining Chinese companies import their own workers, flout labour laws and mistreat local employees.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Africa, AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Economics, Europe, Finance, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

Sudan war ‘threatens China energy safety’ [Global Times]

Sudan: China attempts to mediate as war threatens China’s energy safety. China is Sudan’s largest economic partner, with a 40% share in Sudanese oil projects. Diplomatic relations go back to 1959. Today 5% of China’s oil imports come from Sudan.Commentators who subscribe to the label rogue states would find China-Sudan bilateral relations would find theirs an exemplar.

The whole region, before South Sudan seceded was one of China’s most successful overseas investments.

Li Weijian, director at the Center of Western Asian and African Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies said, “China was not only the oil buyer but also invested in the whole oil industry chain as well as many infrastructure programs. Once the conflict intensifies, China will be affected…”

It might be useful to take notice of how China handles this. How will it flex its soft power muscles to get a desirable outcome?

Even when it comes to the matter of energy safety in sustaining comprehensive national power, it seems the Chinese independent foreign policy of peace  rhetoric continues to translate to dialogue and diplomacy, over sanctions. This, on the back of the Sino-Russian double veto during the Syria resolution back in February.

On the other hand, the UN Security Council discussed possible sanctions against Sudan and South Sudan on Tuesday as Sudan loses a third of its crude output at about 40,000 barrels when South Sudan took control of the Heglig border region.

See also – Sudan, South Sudan only one step from full-scale war (Global Times, April 20, 2012)

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Sudan war ‘threatens China energy safety’
by Liu Meng
Source – Global Times, published April 20, 2012

Addressing a rally of members of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum, the Sudanese president declared war on South Sudan on April 18. Photo: Xinhua

The war between Sudan and South Sudan threatens China’s energy security, and Beijing will continue to mediate a peace deal between the two sides, analysts said Thursday.

The comments came as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir vowed Thursday to teach “a lesson by force” to the South Sudanese government over its seizure of the north’s main Heglig oil field.

“America will not invoke sanctions on them, and the (UN) Security Council will not, but the Sudanese people are going to punish them,” Bashir said at a rally of paramilitary troops. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Sudan, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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