Wandering China

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

The changing face of Asian regional governance [The Conversation] #Asia #CMIM #SinoJapanCompetition

The dominant narrative for Asian primacy requires an update – regional regulatory networks are the new chess board.

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The changing face of Asian regional governance
By Shahar Hameiri, Murdoch University
Source – The Conversation, published April 17, 2013

The growing competition between Japan and China over regional primacy is changing the face of Asian regional governance — but not necessarily in predictable ways.

While observers have focused on Asia’s baffling array of regional institutions to discern which regional power is dominant, the real story in Asia is one of emerging regulatory networks.

These regional regulatory networks (unlike Asia’s largely ineffectual multilateral institutions) are issue-specific, problem-solving mechanisms that involve national, subnational and regional agencies, even private firms.

Read the full article at its source here.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Asia Pacific, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, 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, Trade

Commentary: U.S. needs to behave itself over South China Sea [Xinhua]

Strong words are the order of the day as China responds to US concerns over the establishment of Sansha city and garrison . It looks past the point of mincing words as this state media commentary sees China chiding the US for provocation and stoking antagonism. Perhaps strategically, proxy war at doorstep 2.0 a la Taiwan  is not a scenario the Chinese understandably want repeated.

The other narrative is China simply reasserting its history. Whether this is the result of misdirection or otherwise, it is hard to tell. Despite contention over its own interpretation of historical maps as  a self serving narrative (see China and the map if the nine dotted lines), its unwavering tone reinforces its disdain to those who disrupt what it sees as a domestic, regional affair in the resource and trade wind flashpoint.

What is the subtext here? ‘When an outsider attempts to make bigger waves, he is probably already on the beach waiting to pick up what will wash to shore.’

Official foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang 秦刚:

The U.S. side should follow the trend of the times, respect the common aspiration of countries in the region to maintain peace and stability and promote development, respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and make more contributions to the peace and prosperity of the Asia Pacific. Source – China strongly opposes U.S. State Department’s statement on South China Sea: FM spokesman (Xinhua, August 4, 2012)

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Commentary: U.S. needs to behave itself over South China Sea
Editor: Mo Hong’e
Source – Xinhua, published August 4, 2012

BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — The United States on Friday voiced concerns about rising tensions over South China Sea, and cited China’s establishment of Sansha city and garrison to single Beijing out for criticism.

As South China Sea is of strategic importance to global trade, any increase of instability in this body of water naturally triggers worldwide attention.

But it is pure common sense that volatile situations demand caution and discretion. When an outsider attempts to make bigger waves, he is probably already on the beach waiting to pick up what will wash ashore. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asia Pacific, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, South China Sea, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , ,

No reason for Hongkongers to fear national education course [Global Times]

The issue may be one on nationality – but it’s a complex and long-drawn cultural divide that needs to be bridged.

Born from a state that was a former British colony I can, on one end sympathize with the view on offer by the Global Times below.

In fact, those who oppose to it are likely to be more “brainwashed” by the Western ideology, as Hong Kong used to be a British colony. That’s why they were so vigilant against the course. They were seeing China from a Western perspective. (Global Times editorial)

That said I would also beg to differ. Having lived in and visited those in the global cosmopolitan cities of Hong Kong and Singapore, the markedly different behaviours expressing ‘Chineseness’ as ethnicity and culture are clear, perhaps more pronounced when compared to one from the mainland. But even then that is not a fair statement as China’s 7% minority of its 55 ethnic minorities suggest there is no easy way to distinguish a homogenous Chinese identity.

I suspect Hong Kongers are as likely to retain their Eastern ideologies in ethnicity and culture but also equally embrace Western ideologies in organising society and progress. In particular, the right to universal suffrage . It is unlikely the majority are wholly brainwashed by Western ideologies, but that is fodder for another story. As such, to posit that they see China from a wholly Western perspective may be a limiting moral ground that obscures the facts.

Digging back in time however, there is a pertinent difference. Singapore was signed away largely voluntarily by a local Malay king for a then handsome price and remained so for about 150 years. This is unlike Hong Kong, which was ceded by the Chinese in a gesture of succumbing to military force and sanctions for a century. In more direct terms, they were bullied out of it by the West with unequal treaties. History sticks.

One country, two systems – the clock is ticking.

Just fifteen years into Fifty years of no change but there’s little I think the Chinese will leave to chance, preferring to sow seeds now to stabilise the big picture of the Beijing Consensus. After all, consensus has to start on its own turf, and to demonstrate this?

Recreate nationalist Chineseness by purging the relics of the colonial intermission of Hong Kong.

Interestingly enough, when the concept of nationalism for the birth of nation-state arrived in China, it was the perceived unfair ceding of Hong Kong that was one of the many instigators for the Chinese revolution.

And, before the current furore the Chinese University of Hong Kong had earlier engaged the question in 2011 – How is the dominant one-sided national education in Hong Kong affecting students’ sense of Chinese identity?

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No reason for Hongkongers to fear national education course
Editorial
Source – Global Times, published August 2, 2012

Tens of thousands of Hongkongers took to the streets on Sunday to protest the introduction of a national education course that is set to begin in local primary schools this September.

Protestors argued that the course will “brainwash” students from early on. They also said that if the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region insists on introducing the course, a student strike might be launched.

Primary and middle schools in many countries have national education classes. The objection to it by some Hongkongers seems quite exceptional from a global point of view, and somewhat extreme. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asia Pacific, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Education, Ethnicity, global times, Government & Policy, Hong Kong, Human Rights, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

US Asia-Pacific strategy ‘not about China’ [China Daily]

Where will the mind games take us?

The US strategic ‘Return to Asia‘ rebalancing of the region is seen by the China Institute of International studies as one ‘ tak[ing] advantage of instable factors in the region to forcefully intervene in regional affairs, strengthen its alliance in the region, and draw China’s neighboring countries over to its side. See – New Changes in U.S. Asia-Pacific Strategy and China’s Countermeasures (CIIS, 2012)

Further reading:

From the perspective of Hillary Clinton:
America’s Pacific Century: The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.(Foreign Policy, November 2011) –

On strategic challenges largely emanating out of Pacific region:
Analysis: US’ Asia-Pacific strategy provokes mixed response from China
(IHS Jane’s Jan 13, 2012)

Carter Describes Asia-Pacific Strategy in New Delhi
(US Department of Defence, July 23, 2012)

For an analysis based on Australia’s global interests:
Darwin’s Importance to US Asia-Pacific Strategy (Future Directions International, April 12, 2012)

Research project by the China Institute of International Studies on China’s countermeasures (ongoing):
New Changes in U.S. Asia-Pacific Strategy and China’s Countermeasures (July 26, 2012)

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US Asia-Pacific strategy ‘not about China’
By Chen Weihua in New York and Zhao Shengnan in Beijing
Source – China Daily, published August 3, 2012

Fresh from a visit with allies in Asia, a top Pentagon official on Wednesday dismissed concerns that the US’ strategic rebalance of the Asia-Pacific region is intended to counter a rising China.

“This rebalance is not about any single country or group of countries. It is not about China or the United States. It’s about a peaceful Asia-Pacific region, where sovereign states can enjoy the benefit of security and continue to prosper,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told a crowd at the Asia Society in New York.

“We seek to strengthen our very important relationship with China, and believe that China is key to developing a peaceful, prosperous and secure Asia-Pacific region,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asia Pacific, Australia, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Communications, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S., , , ,

US bid for multibillion-dollar nuclear aircraft carrier strike group in Perth [Sydney Morning Herald]

The Western Australia state Premier says it will never happen – “I don’t think there’s any possibility of that happening… I don’t think you could squeeze a nuclear aircraft carrier into Cockburn Sound.” Economically it seems potentially unfeasibleBut it might not be a state decision for this one.

To access the report titled U.S. Force Posture Strategy in the Asia Pacific Region, go here. Interestingly 57% of 16,000 odd online respondents in a recently closed poll (updated August 3, 2012) defer to Australian’s obligation to the ANZUS treaty.

The study postures the strategic history of the two “is one of a close alignment with a ‘great and powerful friend‘” which in many respects, causes an Australian dilemma. She needs to refine and groom two presenting selves (one that tugs at strategic legacy versus the other, economic pillar) for being caught between two great and powerful friends who are starting to assert and exert the fact they do not see eye to eye.

And one comment that constrasted sentiment by a MW stood out – Give them an inch (of Darwin) and they take a mile of Perth. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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US bid for multibillion-dollar nuclear aircraft carrier strike group in Perth
by Nick O’Malley
Source – Sydney Morning Herald, August 1, 2012

A report for the US military contains a recommendation to expand America’s defence presence in Australia by massively expanding a base in Perth for a US aircraft carrier and supporting fleet.

The plan is included as part of one of four options set out in a report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), commissioned by the Department of Defence.

The report’s authors will give testimony before Congress’s Armed Services Committee on Wednesday in the US. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asia Pacific, Australia, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, U.S.

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