Wandering China

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

China’s former President Jiang Zemin makes rare public appearance [Telegraph]

Anniversary at the Great Hall of People: 100 years since the pivotal Xinhai Revolution (辛亥革命) which ended millennia of dynastic rule, third-generation leader 85-year-old Jiang Zemin makes rare public appearance to dispel rumours from Japan and Hong Kong he has passed on.

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China’s former President Jiang Zemin makes rare public appearance
Jiang Zemin, China’s former president attended celebrations commemoration the 100th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the emperor, his first public appearance since rumours emerged that he had died.
Source – Telegraph, published October 9, 2011 

Chinese president Hu Jintao (L) and former president Jiang Zemin attend the Commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution Photo: GETTY

Mr Jiang, 85, was seen sitting with other top Communist Party officials at a ceremony hosted by current President Hu Jintao in Beijing and broadcast live on state television. He looked frail and was once shown nodding off.

Rumours of Mr Jiang’s death began circulating in July after he failed to appear at a meeting celebrating the party’s 90th birthday.

They gathered momentum and culminated with Hong Kong and Japanese media saying his death had been confirmed.

The state-run Xinhua news agency was eventually forced to publish a rare denial, quoting “authoritative sources” as saying the reports were “pure rumour”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Communist Party 90th Anniversary, Culture, Domestic Growth, History, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Telegraph UK, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Xinhai

Bo can do! One man does his bit to be the great will of China [The Age]

The Age reports on the poster-boy for China’s resurgent New Left, Bo Xilai, one of China’s emerging fifth generation leaders. Famous for attempting to re-invigorate China’s red movement – Red songs ring out in Chinese city’s new cultural revolution (Guardian, April 22, 2011), here’s a background brief on the Bo Xilai 薄熙来’s Chongqing Model from the East Asia Institute, Singapore. Download it here.

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Bo can do! One man does his bit to be the great will of China
John Garnaut
Source – The Age, published August 7, 2011

Chinese politician Bo Xilai. Photo: AFP

WANG Li started feeling edgy when her mother was not home by tea time. She called her mobile phone, the voice on the other end sounded calm and reassuring, but even so, she jumped in her car and sped through the winding Chongqing streets to find her.

Ms Wang’s mother, Chen Meirong had swapped her bus conductor’s job for a taxi, then a clothes shop and a restaurant. Now she had taken the leap into real estate.

Ms Wang parked at the Daisi Hotel and strode through the revolving doors, where she found her mother surrounded by 30 muscular men dressed in black. They sported shaven heads or crew cuts, and addressed each other as Big Brother. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 60th Anniversary, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communist Party 90th Anniversary, Culture, Domestic Growth, Environment, Influence, Maoism, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Population, Reform, Social, Strategy, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

100 km of frustration on Beijing-Tibet Highway [China Daily]

100 km of frustration on Beijing-Tibet Highway
Source – China Daily, published July 20, 2011

A traffic jam caused by road works stretches nearly 100 km on a section of the Beijing-Tibet Highway in Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, on July 19, 2011. Photo - Xinhua

Two drivers trapped by a traffic jam have to eat instant noodles for their supper, on July 19, 2011. A traffic jam caused by road works since July 10 stretches nearly 100 km on a section of the Beijing-Tibet Highway in Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Photo - Xinhua

Filed under: Automotive, Beijing Consensus, China Daily, Chinese Model, Civil Engineering, Communications, Communist Party 90th Anniversary, Domestic Growth, Infrastructure, Population, Social, Tibet, Transport

90 years, 80 million strong [Straits Times]

As China sets up scaffolding to allow for a stable ascent back into a great power, Wang Gungwu makes a poignant remark here as he ponders on the CCP’s 90th anniversary; and it is a point I fully agree with – ‘China today has returned to the leading position in the world that it enjoyed at the end of the 18th century. But that powerful position did not save the country then from succumbing too quickly to division and ruin.’

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90 years,80 million strong
China’s Communist Party needs fresh ideas to engage the young
by Wang Gungwu
Source – Straits Times, published July 15, 2011

Students painting logos and slogans for the Chinese Communist Party’s 90th anniversary celebrations on a wall along a street in Beijing last month. The party, which has prided itself on the strength of its ideological appeal, will need fresh ideas to bring it into its 10th decade. To do so, it needs to attract and motivate talented young people and induct them into its socialist heritage. Photo – ST

THE Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrated its 90th birthday on July 1. There is joy but also soul-searching in China. Many are incredulous that the party can claim “four generations under one roof” and is 80 million strong.

The party insists that people are its primary concern. It even goes further, in arguing that China’s future and progress depends on the people. Thus, it is the Chinese people who make the country admired or feared. They can make China an advanced country that evokes admiration and respect. Or they can attract attention to themselves as being concerned only for wealth and power, at once self-centred and arrogant.

The emphasis on support from the people was part of the party’s earliest history. The CCP began in 1921 with men of ideas who were inspired by the Russian revolution four years earlier. The Chinese had an earlier revolution in 1912, but that faltered badly, with its ideas criticised for being incoherent and its leaders hobbled by elitist tradition. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communist Party 90th Anniversary, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

China’s New Parochialism [Time]

Fareed Zakaria makes some useful observations here about a China propaganda machine that only allows 20 foreign movies into its 6,200 cinemas each year. He argues that China has reached a point it may be starting to narrow its course first where there is an ‘internal struggle over whether it needs to borrow more ideas from the West or follow its own particular course.’ Second, that movies such as Transformers and the latest instalment of Harry Potter would have to wait in the wings (though I’m sure most Chinese will have no problems sourcing for these films off the web) as ‘no foreign movie would be allowed into China until the Chinese film Beginning of the Great Revival made 800 million yuan, or $124 million, which would be an all-time record for a Chinese movie.’ 

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China’s New Parochialism
By FAREED ZAKARIA
Source – Time, published July 14, 2011

Illustration by Oliver Munday for TIME

On any particularly hot day this month, people around the world will do what they have done for decades: go to an air-conditioned movie theater and watch a summertime blockbuster. The latest, biggest movie is Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which has broken box-office records in the U.S. and in many of the 110 other countries in which it has been released. Except in the world’s fastest-growing economy and movie market — China. The Chinese people will not get to see Transformers, nor the eagerly awaited new Harry Potter movie, nor any other Hollywood production. At least not yet. Gao Jun, the deputy general manager of Beijing’s New Film Association, explained that no foreign movie would be allowed into China until the Chinese film Beginning of the Great Revival made 800 million yuan, or $124 million, which would be an all-time record for a Chinese movie.

Beginning of the Great Revival is a two-hour tale of the rise of China’s Communist Party — released on the occasion of its 90th anniversary — and its heroic leader, Mao Zedong, who is played by a young Chinese heartthrob. The movie features a cast of hundreds of major Chinese actors, including Chow Yun Fat, with impressive sets and design, all at record cost. It has been released in 6,000 theaters across the country. But it doesn’t seem to be winning hearts and minds. Despite many mass ticket giveaways, cinema houses are reported to be empty. A barrage of negative reviews on the Internet have been censored. On VeryCD, a pirated-film website, more than 90% of users described the film as “trash.”

On one level, this is just a crude propaganda effort by a Chinese regime seeking legitimacy. But there is another aspect to this story. China is going through an internal struggle over whether it needs to borrow more ideas from the West or follow its own particular course. The question of how to handle Western films is becoming part of a much larger debate. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Communist Party 90th Anniversary, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Influence, Media, Nationalism, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Time Magazine

High-speed train breaks down again [China Daily]

China’s high speed rail’s pride and joy, the newly opened Beijing-Shanghai line starts to show operational and expectational cracks. The USD$33 billion dollar line halves the rail journey time between China’s political and financial hubs to just five hours, and was celebrated as a milestone but perhaps a lesson can be learnt as seen in the quote below –  ‘rationality should have been fostered from the very beginning…’

“If the railway department pre-warned that high-speed trains could be disrupted by thunderstorms and gales, or that problems are inevitable in the initial stages, I would not have such high expectations … Rationality should be fostered from the very beginning.” Zhang Quanling, anchor with China Central Television

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High-speed train breaks down again
By Xin Dingding
Source – China Daily, published July 14, 2011

BEIJING – A northbound train on the newly opened Beijing-Shanghai high-speed line broke down on Wednesday, the third such incident since Sunday when services were disrupted by power outages.

The Beijing railway bureau said on its official micro blog that the train encountered “a sudden malfunction and could not operate normally”.

Passengers had to take a back-up train, which arrived at Beijing South Railway Station at about 5 pm, two and a half hours behind schedule, the bureau said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Automotive, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Civil Engineering, Communications, Communist Party 90th Anniversary, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, High Speed Rail, Infrastructure, Modernisation, Nationalism, Transport

China’s Hu warns corruption will cost Communist Party [Channel News Asia]

2011 and the birthday ‘dragon’ celebrates with a double edged sword of pomp and humility: the winner of the 20th century Chinese civil war re-asserts its position and vision celebrating its 90th birthday.

Humility and legitimacy rhetoric – In a keynote address (Hu: CPC must serve the people – China Daily, July 1, 2011) at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, three key points were made as Hu Jintao reminded Chinese leaders that alienation from the people (like how all previous dynasties fell since time immemorial, losing the mandate of ‘heaven’ (one can say the mandate of consent today) means the people always feel empowered to fight back).

Acknowledging the party is confronted with growing pains in the rapidly interconnected and glocalised landscape – he warned that incompetence lead to a divorce from the people and that corruption had to be seriously addressed and that democracy with Chinese characteristics was essential for the way forward.

1. Biggest political asset – Maintaining close ties with the people

2. Democracy vital – Without it there can be no socialism and socialist modernization

3. Young people – They represent the future and hope of the Party

The Pomp as I have highlighted in several posts building up to this day – ‘China, which likes to mark official anniversaries with pomp, has already released a star-studded patriotic film, launched a flagship high-speed rail link, and opened the world’s longest cross-sea bridge ahead of the party fete.’

President Hu Jintao (C), Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo (R), and Premier Wen Jiabao are photographed with outstanding Party members and workers at the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, July 1, 2011. Photo by Xu Jingxing / China Daily

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China’s Hu warns corruption will cost Communist Party
AFP
Source – Channel News Asia, published July 1, 2011

BEIJING: Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday warned on the 90th birthday of the ruling Communist Party that it still faced “growing pains” and that rampant corruption could lead to a loss in public confidence.

Hu made the comments in a keynote address at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to party leaders and members gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the CCP’s founding in 1921.

“The whole party is confronted with growing pains,” Hu said, telling the thousands-strong audience that “incompetence” on the part of some members and their “being divorced from the people” had created problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Channel News Asia, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communist Party 90th Anniversary, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Democracy, Economics, Environment, Government & Policy, Greater China, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Media, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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