Wandering China

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

The China8 Interviews #6: on international relations with Jonathan Lin #RisingChina #InternationalRelations

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Wandering China is pleased to release the sixth of the China8 series of interviews. China8 is where China’s perceived and presenting selves are discussed. This it hopes to achieve by looking closely at both China’s international and domestic coherence of its harmonious ascent. Ultimately, Wandering China hopes these perspectives will be helpful for anyone making sense of depending on how you see it, the fourth rise of the middle kingdom, or sixty odd years of consciousness of a new nation-state with a coherent identity emergent from a long drawn period of ideological strife.

In this edition with Jonathan Lin of http://threetorches.wordpress.com, we talk about Chinese soft power, the Chinese diaspora, and bilateral ties between the US and China. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Bob's Opinion, Charm Offensive, China8 Interviews, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

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

Wang Leehom | Full Address [Oxford Union/Youtube] #RisingChina #Music #WangLeeHom

Bridging a great divide : American-born Chinese all-round entertainer Wang Leehom 王力宏 at the Oxford Union on  Chinese soft power deficit in pop culture, identity and the East/West cross-pollinaton that is nowhere near potential.

Also – Check out Wang Lee-Hom’s homage to his ethnic heritage  with a cover of  龙的传人 (Descendants of the Dragon).

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Wang Leehom | Full Address
Source – Youtube, published April 21, 2013
Download the mixtape here – : http://www.wangleehom.com/OxfordMixtape

Drawing on the lessons of his experience growing up in the US and then migrating East, Wang Leehom talks about Chinese pop music and the ability of music and pop culture to strengthen the relationship between the East and West.

Filmed on Sunday 21st April 2013

ABOUT WANG LEEHOM: The first Chinese pop star and actor to be invited speak at the Oxford Union, Wang Leehom is the perfect ambassador for Chinese pop music and commentator on the emergence of “World Pop,” not only because he has sold millions of albums and consistently been one of the hottest names in Chinese music since his debut in 1995, but also because of the unique journey he has taken from his childhood home of Rochester, New York, to concert stages and movie sets around the world.

Formally trained at Williams College and the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Leehom has written and recorded songs in a large variety of styles, including pop, rap, hip-hop, jazz and R&B, and is also known for his pioneering infusion of traditional Chinese elements and instrumentation into contemporary music. In addition to his successful solo concert tours, the latest of which will bring him to The O2 in London on April 15, Leehom’s diverse musical talents have seen him perform onstage with everyone from Usher to Kenny G to the Hong Kong Philharmonic, with which he appeared as as a guest conductor and violin soloist.

Additionally, Leehom is an acclaimed actor who has starred in the Golden Lion Award-winning “Lust, Caution” from Ang Lee, “Little Big Soldier” opposite Jackie Chan and the self-written and directed “Love in Disguise”. He is also well known for his philanthropic work and environmental advocacy, which were cited as reasons he was the only Chinese recording artist selected as a torchbearer for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

With over 33 million followers, Leehom is among the most followed personalities on Weibo (a Chinese analogue to Twitter). Source – Oxford Union, 2013

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Entertainment, Ethnicity, Greater China, History, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Music, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Taiwan, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., Youtube

Nearly 20,000 Chinese language schools worldwide [China Daily] #RisingChina #CulturalCapital

Bridging a great divide: knowing the language is half a battle won in decoding the Chinese mind.

The article is really more about the overseas Chinese contingent, however.

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Nearly 20,000 Chinese language schools worldwide
Xinhua
Source – China Daily, published August 3, 2013

BEIJING – There are nearly 20,000 Chinese language schools across the world, educating millions of students, a government official revealed Saturday.

Teachers in these schools number over 100,000, Qiu Yuanping, head of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a ceremony held to welcome 4,000 young Chinese who were born overseas and are visiting Beijing to get in touch with their roots.

The youngsters are from 55 countries and regions and have been convened by the Chinese government to participate in a five-day “root-seeking summer camp,” according to Qiu.

Qiu said there are 50 million overseas Chinese spread over 170 countries and regions, adding that it is they who have helped to establish Chinese language schools and carried Chinese culture forward.

Please click here to read the entire article at China Daily.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Ethnicity, Government & Policy, Greater China, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Chinese bus drivers in Singapore tossed aside after strike [China Labor Bulletin] #RisingChina #Singapore #OverseasChinese

It appears overseas Chinese workers are spared no quarter in a foreign land with a Chinese-majority complemented by a foreign workforce that takes up >20% of the island’s population –

There are at least one million foreign workers in Singapore, making up about one third of the total workforce. They are primarily employed in construction, transport, manufacturing and services, in other words the low-paid and dangerous jobs Singaporean citizens are reluctant to do.

Check out the 2011 CLB research report ‘Hired on Sufferance‘ here.

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Chinese bus drivers in Singapore tossed aside after strike
Source – China Labour Bulleting, published 3 July, 2013

In November 2012, around 180 Chinese bus drivers employed by the state-controlled Singapore Mass Rapid Transit Corp (SMRT) staged a highly publicised strike over pay and living conditions.

The Singapore authorities adopted a zero tolerance approach to what it claimed was a disruption of essential services in the city and arrested five of the alleged strike organizers. They were later sentenced to up to six weeks in jail before being deported back to China. Another 29 drivers were deported without trial almost immediately after the strike.

China Labour Bulletin Director Han Dongfang talked to one of the 29 deported drivers, surnamed Jiang, soon after he returned to China. They discussed the reasons for the strike, the response of the Singaporean government to it and the harsh reality of being a Chinese migrant worker in a city that sees you merely as a resource to be exploited and discarded when no longer useful.

Please click here to read the entire article at the China Labor Bulletin.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Economics, History, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Law, Mapping Feelings, Overseas Chinese, Singapore, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

A troubled exile for Wei Jingsheng [Taipei Times, 2003] #RisingChina #Exiles

Thank you to the heads up from HH for the blast from the past.

Exile or not, the thing is, once you’re out of China you lose your voice and effectiveness within China.

If need be, you can also be systemically wiped out in collective memory.

For instance, none of my Chinese students had seen this photo before they came for a class on investigating the myth of photographic truth.

tiananmen-square-1024x686

Will Chen Guangcheng carve out a different fate from Wei Jingsheng?

For more, see NYU and China Aid Fight Over Cheng Guangcheng And The “Human Rights” Turf (Hidden Harmonies, June 2013)

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A troubled exile for Wei Jingsheng
By Dong Cheng Yu 董成瑜 /
Source – Taipei Times Wed, Jan 22, 2003 – Page 8 published online

Five years ago, 17 years of imprisonment for political dissent finally came to an end for Wei Jingsheng (魏京生), one of the leaders of the Chinese democracy movement, and he was able to go to the democratic paradise that is the US.

The US expected an influential Chinese democratic thinker. But Wei is not highly educated, speaks no English and tends to be uncompromising — and unrealistic. He has had problems with the US government, with money and with life in general, and the Americans have lost patience with him.

Wei is still wielding the same sword with which he used to fight the Chinese dictatorship, but on the streets of the US, a land completely foreign to him. He has looked around and concluded that the enemy is no longer just the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and this has caused him to lose direction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Cheng Guangcheng, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Democracy, Education, Exile, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

8 things about independent Chinese travelers [Affinity China] #RisingChina #OutboundTourism

Affinity China offers a first-hand account that can also be seen as eight resets to update one’s view of the Chine outbound upper crust. As the author states, her time studying in the US was helpful in more than one way during her travels in Europe.

More about Affinity here.

Cue expiring 20th century sepia-toned postcard-themed notions of Chinese travelers?

Bottomline – despite its steady climb the yuan at today’s rates, is still 5-6 yuan to a greenback. It is not hard to quickly extrapolate where Chinese outbound tourists stand in the Chinese food chain. Especially so if they have the means to flaunt it with the Euro.

The luxury market in a way is at the tip of China’s spear to send feelers experimenting with the best the world has to offer. In a positive light, Where they travel, there is a more synergistic transfer of wealth to host country where common language grows to common cultural respect. Over time the good ones too will enculturate the rest of the Chinese demographic.

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8 things you should know about independent Chinese travelers
LIN XU
Source – China Luxury Network, published month n.d, 2013

Tell us how much we are saving when we shop in your store.
Everyone already knows by now that Chinese travelers love shopping for luxury goods when they travel overseas. Everyone also knows by now that this is because retail prices of luxury goods in mainland China are much higher than Europe and North America. Many of my friends from China travel overseas just to shop. They often complain about the complexity and the long wait at the airport to receive tax returns and all the research they have to do on prices in each different market on the globe before they go shop.

It would be a really effective sales tactic if the brand’s sales representatives saved them the trouble of researching and let them learn how smart a purchase they would have made on items in the store – how much lower the prices are, how the styles are exclusive in your store vs. the counterparts in China. Keep the fact sheet handy for the big spenders. I understand that from a global brand perspective this is probably not a standard sales training tactic on how to sell to Chinese travelers, but the fact is they are already going to great lengths to do this research themselves before they walk into your store. From a customer experience perspective, being greeted by friendly sales staff overseas who can share exactly how much the Chinese travelers would be saving by shopping in their store would help generate more short term sales and help create a long term affinity for the brand.

Do you offer a global warranty and customer service in China for products we buy overseas?
If you present yourself as a global brand in China, you need to ensure your customer service is global too. It really becomes an uncomfortable dilemma for the Chinese traveler when they have to choose between a better priced item that is 20% lower overseas but comes with no warranty once they bring it back home or buying the higher priced item in China with a 2-year standard warranty. Again, from a customer standpoint we don’t understand why there should be a difference. Your brand is a global brand to us and therefore the warranty and service you offer should be too. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Advertising, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Europe, Finance, Food, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Internet, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, U.S.

Singapore falls to record-low place in press freedom ranking [YahooNews Singapore] #Singapore #PressFreedom

Charging ahead with a knowledge economy mindset since the 1980s, Singapore today as a result has a relatively small digital divide despite widening income disparity. Media literacy, like most human resource checkboxes is critical to thrive in an island with its one truly viable resource – a well-trained, compliant, union action-free workforce.

Mainstream media unsurprisingly remains under the control of the one-party state. Its traditional media channels digitized as soon as the World Wide Web emerged and today Singapore leads international e-government rankings. It has thus far managed to largely keep public opinion under control – by either engaging alternative voices in public forums and online, or by enforcement of policy, making very public examples of those who cross – moving goalposts, a complex ruling party characteristic of rule. That satire could be punished, as the article reports is indicative.

Recent years have seen growing use of online platforms for public discourse enabled by Web 2.0. Some of described this as a great politicisation of a once ambivalent electorate that felt so threatened or swayed by dominant discourse in the past it was largely inert. Internet penetration was 75% back in June 2012. The island has also seen a growing free wireless network.

This space for public opinion online has been redefining the contours, peripheries and centre of gravity of public discourse in the island state known for its imagined, self-regulating out-of-boundary markers.

Much has changed this year. Depending on who you read, between two to five thousand attended physical public protests organized via social media and political blogs in the first half of 2013.

This had marked a change in course, of former ambivalence – to signs of fledgling activism.

The first strike in living memory caused by inter cultural incomprehension between Singaporean Chinese who identify more with Straits culture, and freshly imported mainland Chinese labour-intensive workers. There is no petition system there like the Chinese do.

Yet, its press rankings remain poor. Perhaps, the rankings disregard and do not give enough respect that Web 2.0 is beginning to democratize public opinion participation in the island state at a significant rate.

That it is an information society already savvy in digital communications is an important consideration. In the last election the ruling party garnered 60% of the popular vote to return more than 90% of the seats. Perhaps caused by such insurmountable odds, what was confined. The odd election fervor and coffee shop talk has transformed many into active citizenry. Could this be an anticipated side effect of its Intelligent Nation 2015 master plan?

In TV talk, Will this be a pilot episode that fizzles out as the dominant narrative attempts to pervade digital communication?

Or, can it build on this momentum demonstrative of an increasingly aware, participative and activist electorate to truly give it real world leverage. An emergence of a public sphere 2.0, in the works.

If this is the case, what does it mean for Chinese public diplomacy? Will its existing means continue to work or will it have it shift its efforts? Additionally, what can China learn from Singapore’s lessons on press control?

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Singapore falls to record-low place in press freedom ranking –
By Shah Salimat
Source – Yahoo! News Singapore, published May 4, 2013

Singapore fell 14 places to a record 149th position in terms of press freedom, according to an annual report by non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders (RWB).

Coming ahead of World Press Freedom Day, which was observed Friday, the report showed this is the city-state’s worst performance since the index was established in 2002.

On the list, Singapore is wedged in between Russia and Iraq, with Myanmar just two places behind. The former junta-led country jumped up 18 spots in this year’s ranking.

Neighbouring Malaysia dropped 23 places to 145th over repeated censorship efforts and a crackdown on the Bersih 3.0 protest in April. Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea stayed at the bottom three, while Finland stayed on top of the list followed by the Netherlands and Norway.

Please click here to read full article at Yahoo.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Education, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity

Escape From China: One-Fifth Of Affluent Chinese Plan To Emigrate [IBT] #RisingChina #Emigration

Third wave of emigration = more agents for Chinese public diplomacy?

To access the International Emigration Report 2012, go here.

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Escape From China: One-Fifth Of Affluent Chinese Plan To Emigrate
By Sophie Song
Source – International Business Times, published May 07 2013

According to China’s International Emigration Report (2012), jointly published by the Center for China & Globalization and the Beijing Institute of Technology School of Law, China is now experiencing a third wave of emigration, one that will take its newly accrued wealth abroad.

20130510-071707.jpg

Photo: REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil Chinese immigrants eat during the Chinese New Year celebrations in Lima.

“The most significant difference between the current group of emigration and previous emigrants is that the masses are now emigrating by investment,” Wang Huiyao, the director of the Center for China & Globalization, said in an interview with China Youth, a Chinese newspaper focused on China’s young people.

The first Chinese citizens to emigrate en masse left at the end of the 1970s, when China first rolled out its economic reforms, according to Wang. Many from China’s coastal provinces emigrated illegally. The second wave came at the end of the 1980s, when the first generation of Chinese with advanced, often technical, degrees emigrated. Now, with the third wave taking place, China’s richest are bringing their newly acquired wealth elsewhere. They will, or at least their destination countries hope they will, create work opportunities for natives by investing in businesses there.

According to the Chinese Affluent Class Wealth White Paper published by Forbes China, 10.26 million Chinese could be considered affluent. Of this group, 2.6 percent have already emigrated, and 21.4 percent plan to do so. Significantly, when asked whether they want to send their kids to attend school outside of China, 74.9 percent answered yes.

Please click here to read the full article at its source.

Recently, the emigration fever has spread from coastal towns to large cities and even, at a slower pace, to smaller cities.

“Previously, most emigrants came from coastal regions,” said Zhang Yuehui, an immigration expert. “Fujian province, for example, even had whole villages that emigrated together. In Fujian, there might not be anyone willing to loan you money if you wanted to go to college, but if you want to illegally emigrate, many people will lend you money, because they can reasonably expect a higher return.”

Traditionally, Chinese emigrants have aimed for highly developed Western countries. The U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with their welcoming environments and open immigration policies, have been especially popular.

“These countries are more welcoming toward talented, skilled immigrants,” Wang said. “Their policies are really meant to attract the best talent from China.”

With the recent debt crisis, many smaller countries in Europe are now hoping to attract investors from abroad. Policies have been relaxed so that it is possible to immigrate to some of these countries merely by purchasing a home.

Traditionally, Chinese living abroad have resided in Chinese communities. With considerable language and cultural barriers as well as less than ideal economic conditions, immigrants often could not or were not willing to partake in their host countries’ political and social life. Now, as recent emigrants’ overall wealth and education levels increase, and as the earliest emigrants settle into their host countries, ethnic Chinese are beginning to take a larger, more active role in their communities, notes China Youth.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Collectivism, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Ethnicity, History, Ideology, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, 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

Growing breed of Chinese moguls Down Under [Straits Times] #RisingChina #OverseasChinese #Australia

Chinese moguls keeping a toe down under.

‘Australia has more links to China’s tycoons than any other country except the United States, according to the compiler of the Hurun list.’

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Growing breed of Chinese moguls Down Under
Based in China, they have big investments in Australia and some have political clout as well
By Jonathan Pearlman, In Sydney
Source – Straits Times, published April 28, 2013

Xu Rongmao. --  PHOTO: by APPLE DAILY

Xu Rongmao. —
PHOTO: by APPLE DAILY

When a rare chance arose to buy a World Heritage-listed resort island in the Great Barrier Reef last year, Australian-Chinese media mogul William Han decided to invest in paradise.

“Aussie Bill”, as he is known, outbid 200 others for the 584ha Lindeman Island off the coast of Queensland from Club Med, shelling out A$12 million (S$15.3 million) for it. He now plans to spend another A$500 million at least to turn it into a high-end resort for Asian holidaymakers.

Mr Han is one of a growing breed of Chinese-Australian moguls, several of whom are on China’s top 1,000 rich list compiled by the Hurun Report magazine.

Shanghai-based property mogul Xu Rongmao was ranked No. 12 last year with an estimated worth of US$4.7 billion (S$5.8 billion). An Australian citizen, he has invested in properties in Sydney and Darwin and educated both his children in Australia.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Channel News Asia, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Economics, Finance, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Australian, The Chinese Identity

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