Wandering China

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

A step back to move forward. Hello again!

Dear reader, it’s been a number of years but I’m back.

I’ve taken time off to work on my book on China’s rise and it seems timely that I return to the blogosphere to continue sharing my thoughts now that the book’s probably a year away from completion. I was in Guilin with a flying camera in the Guangxi Automous Region recently. The objective was twofold –  to get an updated first hand impression of what China’s periphery has been thinking about and doing, and second to document China from the sky. I returned with a number of aerial photos and look forward to sharing them here.

guilin 5 DJI_0014-29 Pano.jpg

So, hello again!

Wandering China

Advertisements

Filed under: Back to China, Uncategorized,

Taiwan regulators, feet to the fire, talk tough on China-linked media deals [Reuters] #China #Media

As two Chinas draw closer, the jostle for voice will be dramatic one. Though they share an eye on the economic imperative, cross-straits media ownership ideals do not match.

– – –

Taiwan regulators, feet to the fire, talk tough on China-linked media deals
By Clare Jim and Yimou Lee
Source – Reuters, published March 10, 2013

(Reuters) – Taiwan regulators, under pressure from a public worried that Beijing may meddle in their media, have begun talking tough on TV and newspaper deals by Taiwanese businessmen with strong ties to the mainland.

The island’s media watchdog has proposed new anti-monopoly rules that could scuttle the $601 million sale of Next Media Ltd’s (0282.HK) Taiwan operations to a Taiwanese group including Want Want Holdings (0151.HK) owner Tsai Eng-meng, who runs a multibillion dollar snacks-to-property empire in China.

Academics and media professionals, as well as the political opposition, fear Tsai and others who make their fortunes on the mainland will push a pro-Beijing bias on Taiwan’s free-wheeling media. Tsai, who already owns a top-four Taiwan daily, has denied any pro-China agenda but has attracted controversy as a vocal proponent of Taiwan unification with the mainland.

Please click here to read article at its source.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Finance, Government & Policy, Greater China, History, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Taiwan, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity

Wary of Future, Professionals Leave China in Record Numbers [New York Times]

Headlines and titles may inadvertently seem skewed as it frames thought. Like a mental snapshot, it can oversimplify or at its worst, misdirect (in the wider ecosystem of political rhetoric, this looks part of the inadvertent Sino-US leadership transitional exchange of shaping mind-share). I think if one reads on, this article can be taken rather positively.

The recent movement of these professional, educated Chinese across the world can further help build bridges where mass media glosses over. In others ways, it is not a bad thing it is an educated, professional group that carries Chinese thought extending outwards. Where most of all the previous batches who left largely by push factors or war, the case now is markedly different.

In Singapore’s case, the overarching narrative, its Chinese are largely descended from craftsmen and coolies. As Lee Kuan Yew once pointed out – in response to Deng’s question if China would ever succeed looking at how Singapore successful hybridization of central power with Confucian meritocracy at the forefront and free market capitalism with its socio-cultural tradeoffs.

Indeed, on closer examination, the numbers today who move due to socio-economic pull factors are still small in percentage terms. As reported by this article, even fewer (perhaps few would admit) regard political reasons as the chief factor.

Over millennia of movement the number of overseas Chinese number at 55million . That cumulative number makes it as large as most medium sized countries so they are not insignificant either. Change your lenses change your sight.

Perhaps looking at the bright side can be a decent point of view. I know a few Chinese aged between 19 and 35 now residing in Australia. We have been on camping trips far out in the bush carrying our own water without much fuss, Others I know, by competing against in futsal teams  in the local leagues, many others love dressing up for the Melbourne Cup day.

Some may find it hard to empathize the competition in China because they may not have set foot in China, or met the Chinese on the ground. 9 to 10 million compete for a spot in university a the college examinations each year. Those who don’t make the grade fight for very little. A 2 to 3000RMB monthly salary, hardly enough to cover rent for a decent sized rental home is norm for those striking out.

Have personally known a few bright hardworking of China’s digital natives who just couldn’t make the grade despite sometimes seemingly overboard preparations. Such is their reality. Many have integrated well here, Melbourne thrives with a former mayor who is Chinese, and many live just like the Aussies do adding to the multicultural social fabric down under.

In monetary terms, they automatically make six times the amount due to the strong Aussie dollar with far less working hours with plenty of time for family and other pursuits. Many of them make efficient workers who get things done so promptly it is hard for work to keep up. This is not representative across the board of course. For every one that excels there potentially is another who just wants to get by. But I digress.

In return as well, for those who work with or live in communities with Aussies, they become a real life conduit for Aussies to understand China in its own terms too. Its cuisine has proven immensely popular here with all 8 major branches of Chinese cooking represented those from all corners of China proving extremely popular – right down to Sichuan hotpot, a regular in winter for many. It then moves onto the locally adapted local favorite the dim sim (does not exist in real Chinese culinary palates I think), to the classy Beijing Hutong themed Xiao long bao restaurants.

I meet many of them at vineyards, organic farms, strawberry farms and fishing spots. About half happily drive the Aussie-made Holden because it feels right to drive a locally made car in Australia. Just the tip of the iceberg. I think it is a great thing. Overseas Chinese who mingle well with host environments naturally make vehicles of the wider Chinese culture and national identity. It also shows like that others, there are those who seek out a balanced life too where work doesn’t dominate all their headspace.

More importantly, they help others see we can all get along, share other ideals and worldviews. Interestingly too, in the field of diasporic identities, that overseas Chinese end up being all too aware of their own Chineseness is common across most other diaporic groups too – from the Greeks and Italians I know here – they celebrate their identity with zeal and vigour.

Not all assimilate or adapt of course. It would oversimplify to say all enjoy life here. Many of them feel the pace of life is a little too slow. I have also known a fair few who can’t wait to return, but do so at least, with a broadened outlook and first hand experience of another way of living.

They return with a first hand glimpse of a rather liberal, western society where the channels to exercise one’s right to voice, its deferences shows other paradigms exist successfully elsewhere. When they enter the work force, they are valued for their more globalised outlook, with a practical experience of using English in school and at work, the culture, history, norms and processes. And this is celebrated in the mass media there in game shows – this comes with Chinese subtitles only.

And 非你莫属 is just one of many state funded shows out there. It features distinctly American style sports commentary and a debate that involves mentors, employers, the host and the job seeker. They reserve the right to say no at the end of their final round offers, and negotiate outside the show. And its the wide range of jobseekers on offer, from the clerk to driver, to partner or director raking in six figure RMB a month.

Cultural capital has been identified as a pillar industry and the production values are apparent, it has taken care to weed out what was deemed low culture reality tv and today the focus on more productive shows like this is ramping up. This employment-seeking show emphasises the need for more internationally minded employees in their midst. This episode talks about it is unavoidable now China has risen that it needs an upgrade in a globalised mindset. It actively advertises for Haigui 海归; pinyin: hǎiguī on foreign television. A fair few of them seem genuinely proud in returning to contribute.

This is highly recommended and it gives a glimpse of how the Chinese are democratising on their own terms, in their unique own way. The adaptations from American and European game shows are obvious at the onset, but their process are far more intricate and involve far more depth of discourse) that see many returning candidates have the right to take questions, present competently, then proceed into the final rounds where they exercise the right to eliminate and haggle salary with interested employers.

As a student of media, it is important to discern the agenda setting potential of media. Although the political economy of the mass media no longer dominate the spectrum of messages as they used to, transnational media corporations remain nevertheless powerful.

As such, we consume, at best, selected, well-informed, well intended, rationalized textual and visual constructions of the macro, but never of the real thing until all five senses are fed. Even then, sometimes the right messages don’t go right through. A lover’s tiff for example, where misreading of body language triggers a chain of cascading misunderstandings is one most can relate with. The primacy of first hand experience is equally,  important to get a full picture – to try to make the best of the information available, to more accurately inform opinion.

The movement is not all one way. With economies stagnant in the West and job opportunities limited, the number of students returning to China was up 40 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year. The government has also established high-profile programs to lure back Chinese scientists and academics by temporarily offering various perks and privileges. Professor Cao from Nottingham, however, says these programs have achieved less than advertised.

– – –

Wary of Future, Professionals Leave China in Record Numbers
by Ian Johnson
Source – New York Times, published October 31, 2012

Lee Yangang and his wife, Wang Lu, emigrated to Sydney, Australia, from Beijing last year, saying they felt insecure in China. Source – New York Times, 2012

BEIJING — At 30, Chen Kuo had what many Chinese dream of: her own apartment and a well-paying job at a multinational corporation. But in mid-October, Ms. Chen boarded a midnight flight for Australia to begin a new life with no sure prospects.

Like hundreds of thousands of Chinese who leave each year, she was driven by an overriding sense that she could do better outside China. Despite China’s tremendous economic successes in recent years, she was lured by Australia’s healthier environment, robust social services and the freedom to start a family in a country that guarantees religious freedoms.

“It’s very stressful in China — sometimes I was working 128 hours a week for my auditing company,” Ms. Chen said in her Beijing apartment a few hours before leaving. “And it will be easier raising my children as Christians abroad. It is more free in Australia.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, New York Times, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade, Yuan, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kublai Khan: China’s favourite barbarian [BBC]

A most interesting piece from the BBC on China’s love-hate relationships with things foreign – indeed they spent millennia building a string of walls Ripley’s Believe it or Not claimed could be seen from outer space  (yes that is the genesis of the fantastical notion that became part of some school textbooks). The study of Kublai Khan provides unique insights into what it takes for the Chinese mind to subsume a different paradigm of thinking into their collective identity.

For those who are fans of Star Trek, the Chinese, in my mind, are not unlike the Borg – they learn, assimilate making it their own.

The very last emperor of all loved bicycles, by the way. He is said to have removed doorstops in the Forbidden City so that he could cycle around, but that is another story. The point I want to make is that there is complicated history around what is Chinese… and what is not. Carrie Gracie

– – –

Kublai Khan: China’s favourite barbarian
By Carrie Gracie
Source – BBC News Beijing, published October 11, 2012

Kublai Khan who demolished 1,000 years of more or less united Chinese rule by setting up the Yuan Dynasty, a feature of which saw a Chinese civil service – “For the Song, it would been absolutely inconceivable that the Mongols could take over the whole of China,” says John Man, author of a biography of Kublai Khan.
Source – BBC, 2012

China has a love-hate relationship with what is foreign. Traditionally all people beyond the Great Wall were barbarians – only part human. But invaders have sometimes been welcomed, in time, into the Chinese family. One was Kublai Khan.

In the 13th Century, no-one knew how big the world was so it was not so wild for the Mongols to set off from the grassland with the idea that they were going to conquer all of it.

When the mighty Genghis Khan died in 1227, he had already claimed an empire stretching from the Pacific to Europe. His grandson Kublai set out to finish the job, and started by moving south to attack China’s Song dynasty. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Back to China, BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Collectivism, Culture, Domestic Growth, Education, Great Wall, Greater China, High Speed Rail, Influence, Inner Mongolia, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , ,

The Inconvenient Truth Behind the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands [New York Times]

From the New York Times: putting the knee jerk to rest?

The right to know is the bedrock of every democracy. The Japanese public deserves to know the other side of the story. It is the politicians who flame public sentiments under the name of national interests who pose the greatest risk, not the islands themselves. Han-yi Shaw

– – –

The Inconvenient Truth Behind the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands
Comment by Nicholas Kristof
Article By Han-yi Shaw
Source – New York Times, published September 19, 2012

Source – Han-yi Shaw 2012
Diaoyu Island is recorded under Kavalan, Taiwan in Revised Gazetteer of Fujian Province (1871).

I’ve had a longstanding interest in the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, the subject of a dangerous territorial dispute  between Japan and China. The United States claims to be neutral but in effect is siding with Japan, and we could be drawn in if a war ever arose. Let me clear that I deplore the violence in the recent anti-Japan protests in China:  the violence is reprehensible and makes China look like an irrational bully. China’s government should reign in this volatile nationalism rather than feed it. This is a dispute that both sides should refer to the International Court of Justice, rather than allow to boil over in the streets. That said, when I look at the underlying question of who has the best claim, I’m sympathetic to China’s position. I don’t think it is 100 percent clear, partly because China seemed to acquiesce to Japanese sovereignty between 1945 and 1970, but on balance I find the evidence for Chinese sovereignty quite compelling. The most interesting evidence is emerging from old Japanese government documents and suggests that Japan in effect stole the islands from China in 1895 as booty of war. This article by Han-Yi Shaw, a scholar from Taiwan, explores those documents. I invite any Japanese scholars to make the contrary legal case. Nicholas Kristof Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Diaoyu Fishing Boat Incident 2010, East China Sea, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, Media, military, Nationalism, New York Times, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Taiwan, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , , ,

Exile Now Even Lonelier: Chinese Poet Says London Book Fair Excludes Dissident Voices [Asia Society]

Chinese soft power and its economic reach: No room for dissident writers at London Book Fair highlighting Chinese market. This gives exiled Chinese poet Bei Ling feelings of even further, exile in his own diasporic node of London. Detained in April 2000 at Qinghe Detention Center for ‘illegal publication’ Bei was deported and fined $24,000 after an international protest.

“I understand and am in agreement with you that the marketing of the works of literature is indisputably important… However, one wonders if this should take precedence over thoughts as well as ideas concerned with freedom?” – Bei Ling in a follow-up letter written to London Book fair organizers.

For more, see Two unforgettable summer weeks in a Beijing prison (HRIC). Additionally, an earlier 2009 interview with Bei Ling is available on Youtube.

– – –

Exile Now Even Lonelier: Chinese Poet Says London Book Fair Excludes Dissident Voices
by Alex Ortolani
Source – Asia Society, published April 12, 2012

Exiled Chinese poet Bei Ling at the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair. (Ekko)

(Update, April 13, 2012: This post now includes an official response from the London Book Fair and British Council to Bei Ling’s charges.)

Next week, the London Book Fair will be highlighting the Chinese market by hosting famous writers and big Chinese publishing houses. To set up the program the fair’s organizers worked closely with China’s General Administration of Press and Publication, the administrative body that issues licenses for books, magazines and newspapers.

What they didn’t do, according to exiled poet Bei Ling, was invite Chinese writers who are not sponsored by the state — writers who live in democratic cities like, well, London. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asia Society, Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Democracy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Reform, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

When China drives the world [Straits Times]

Is the world turning its back on the West?

The seeds of the shifting from Pax Americana to Sinica seem to be sown, and this article asks, ‘How would China’s global influence manifest itself? How would Chinese hegemony differ from the American variety?’

Are we witnessing the emergence of Fishman’s Chinese century and the Beijing Consensus? If so, how did that happen? How will China drive the world forward if this unipolar scenario unfolds?

I found this article interesting on two fronts.

First, it identifies the pattern that the Chinese have not tried to change the world, but adjusting and finding the middle path to prosper seems the norm. This suggests that the peaceful development aspect of China’s ascension may not be remote.

Second, China’s current success can be partially attributed to lessons from its 40 million strong diaspora which only twenty years ago made as much money as China’s entire internal population. Its comparison of the US as a nation of immigrants and not emigrates does drive home a useful point – maybe the Chinese are not so insular after all. Outright domination may not be the name of their game, but gaining through assimilation seems to fit the description.

– – –

When China drives the world
By Ivan Krastev
Source – Straits Times, published December 30, 2011

FOR a European these days, thinking about the future is disturbing. America is militarily overstretched, politically polarized, and financially indebted. The European Union seems on the brink of collapse, and many non-Europeans view the old continent as a retired power that can still impress the world with its good manners, but not with nerve or ambition.

Global opinion surveys over the last three years consistently indicate that many are turning their backs on the West and – with hope, fear, or both – see China as moving to centre stage. As the old joke goes, optimists are learning to speak Chinese; pessimists are learning to use a Kalashnikov.

While a small army of experts argue that China’s rise to power should not be assumed, and that its economic, political, and demographic foundations are fragile, the conventional wisdom is that China’s power is growing. Many wonder what a global Pax Sinica might look like: How would China’s global influence manifest itself? How would Chinese hegemony differ from the American variety? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Nationalism, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

Wandering China, Resounding Deng

Greetings friends, and a happy new year to you and family! 2012 seems an exciting year already. Do allow me to share my latest project.

Resounding Deng is the work of my brother and myself, two overseas-born Chinese rediscovering the imagination of China through first-hand experience.

Based on Deng Xiaoping’s UN General Assembly Speech, this journey reflects on Deng’s poignant earlier views of capitalism and how he eventually changed his mind for China to work its way back to great power status today.

Wandering China, Resounding Deng from Wandering China on Vimeo.

Filed under: Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Bob's Opinion, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Maoism, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Repost and update: China’s Ghost Cities [Youtube/SBS]

Repost and update: Australia’s public service broadcaster SBS tackles the question of China’s overheated domestic economy.

Do these ghost cities hint at domestic growth or domestic waste? Do they allude to a paradigm sift in the Chinese mind? This is probably uncharacteristically ‘not’ frugal. Have they taken the ‘capitalist road’ too far and learnt to be comfortable with excess?

Professor Zhou Xiao Sheng, prominent Chinese sociologist sends a reminder in the video – ‘If it leads to polarisation, then reform has failed…’.

An honest question has to be asked here as it is now well known that China is unable to continue relying on infrastructure investments to spur its economy. It knows its previously lax approach to housing did not work. Genuine Chinese home buyers were quickly priced out of the market in a rapid property bubble upswing. With requirements of up to 50% deposits, genuine buyers sure had a lot to put at stake.

Tie that to the reality of overambitious construction forecasts and we have a strange situation.

64 million (correct as of April 2011) apartments empty while many Chinese youth can’t afford to buy a home (admitted here in state media), something some of them argue as a basic human right. Surely this is a sign of a growing social divide, as forewarned.

This is staggeringly, a number that easily dwarves the number of empty homes in the US (though not by ratio) at 16.8m  (Reuters data in 2009 revealed 1 in 9 homes then were unoccupied).

Unguided zeal more than a veneer of a booming consumer culture? Probably. All eyes on China to learn to make things better.
– – –

Filed under: Australia, Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Modernisation, Population, Property, SBS, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Singapore: Team of MPs to promote Chinese language, culture [Straits Times]

What a name – Bicultural Taskforce for the promotion of Chinese language and culture. Pertinent question – Why does ethnically Chinese-majority Singapore, the only place outside of China and Taiwan to feature a Chinese-majority in the world require more cultural Chinese-ness? What is this in response to? Further – Coverage from Channel News Asia – Bicultural Taskforce formed (July 4, 2011)

– – –

Team of MPs to promote Chinese language, culture
By Cai Haoxiang
Source – Straits Times, published July 5, 2011

A team of eight effectively bilingual first-term MPs will spearhead the Government’s drive to connect better with the Chinese community and promote Chinese language and culture. The group is led by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Sim Ann. — ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

A TEAM of eight effectively bilingual first-term MPs will spearhead the Government’s drive to connect better with the Chinese community and promote Chinese language and culture.

Called the Bicultural Taskforce, the group is led by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Sim Ann.

Other than Ms Sim, an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, the others are: Ms Low Yen Ling (Chua Chu Kang GRC), Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC), Ms Tin Pei Ling (Marine Parade GRC), Mr Alex Yam (Chua Chu Kang GRC), Mr Sitoh Yih Pin (Potong Pasir) and Dr Chia Shi-Lu (Tanjong Pagar GRC). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Culture, Education, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Follow me on Twitter

Archives

Calendar

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,577 other followers

East/West headlines of Rising China

East/West headlines of Rising China

About Wandering China

Click to find out more about this project

Support //WC

Support Wandering China now - buy a Tee Shirt!

Be a champ - Support Wandering China - buy a Tee Shirt!

The East Wind Wave

China in images and infographics, by Wandering China

China in images and Infographics, by Wandering China

Wandering China: Facing west

Please click to access video

Travels in China's northwest and southwest

Wandering Taiwan

Wandering Taiwan: reflections of my travels in the democratic Republic of China

Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Click here to view the Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Slideshow reflection on Deng Xiaoping's UN General Assembly speech in 1974. Based on photos of my travels in China 2011.

East Asia Geographic Timelapse

Click here to view the East Asia Geographic Timelapse

A collaboration with my brother: Comparing East Asia's rural and urban landscapes through time-lapse photography.

Wandering Planets

Creative Commons License
Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at Wanderingchina.org. Thank you for visiting //
web stats

Flag Counter

free counters
Online Marketing
Add blog to our directory.