Wandering China

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

Parents learn a costly lesson on homes [China Daily] #RisingChina #Education

The commodification of education meets the Chinese mind.

A 28-sq-m one-bedroom apartment recently sold for 2.35 million yuan – an incredible 83,000 yuan per sq m – in the downtown district of Jing’an. The buyers bought their apartment simply so their child would be eligible to attend a well-respected school, the Shanghai Morning Post reported in June.

To keep up to date on China’s education reforms, please check out the China Daily special here.

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Parents learn a costly lesson on homes
By Wang Ying
Source – China Daily, published July 2, 2013

The battle for a better education goes beyond schools, as Wang Ying reports in Shanghai

University lecturer Jiang Ying is a typical Chinese parent. She has high expectations for her daughter and adheres firmly to the following logic: To be successful in competitive Chinese society, you have to graduate from a prestigious university.

Before that, you must attend a respected middle school, which means, in most cases, you will need quality education at primary school.

Although her daughter is only 3, Jiang has become embroiled in a battle to win admission to a well-respected primary school in southwest Shanghai’s Xuhui district.

“We’ve lived in Minhang district for years. We have a nice apartment and are familiar with everything there, but I have given up a convenient lifestyle for the sake of my child,” said Jiang.
Under China’s nine-year compulsory education system – six years of primary schooling followed by three at middle school – parents are not allowed to choose the public school their children attend. Instead, they can be enrolled only at the school nearest their home.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Finance, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, Lifestyle, Peaceful Development, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, The Chinese Identity

China’s youngest comrades: Communists at college [CNN] #RisingChina #Ideology #CCPYouth

Leveraging a political head start where ideological adherence brings great reward.

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China’s youngest comrades: Communists at college
By Jonathan Levine, for CNN
Source – CNN, published May 1, 2013

20130506-115749.jpg

Source – CNN File image from 2012 shows students graduating in Anhui Province — many students are targeted for recruitment by the party.

Beijing (CNN) — Allan Yang would be a success story in any country.

Originally from China’s impoverished interior, he was the first member of his family to leave his native Anhui province and is now pursuing an MBA at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing.

At 24, Yang is the face of new China: erudite, sophisticated and a card-carrying member of the Communist Party.

“It’s just like applying for university in the United States,” he said of the party. “You give an application letter and submit some reports that test your knowledge of Communist history.”

In fact the process is a bit more complicated. Unlike applying to college, a successful application for membership in the Chinese Communist Party typically takes years. Arduous “observational periods” are required when prospective members are expected to read the classics of Socialism, become steeped in the party ideology and submit an unending series of essays that are little more than long paeans to the party’s greatness.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, CNN, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

Elite in China Face Austerity Under Xi’s Rule [New York Times] #ChinaAusterity

Xi reenacts a grand spectacle by giving the table top a clean wipe much like his predecessors did.

The difference is clear with many visual markers of free spending gone.

I don’t agree with the headline bias saying Xi’s rule. The way the leadership is structured is not as such.

Certainly the symbolism of this act to capture the hearts of the people will help give a boost to consensus, but whether what continues under the table gets fixed requires a new paradigm on building relations in its familial, clan, and organisational hierarchal structures.

That Xi Jinping was formerly in the business of fighting corruption is a plus to his street cred, but with so increasing external matters of concern, how much time and conviction he can devote to following this through is important. Whether corruption Fire Chief Wang Qishan manages to enforce this uniformly throughout the party’s internal power bases will also be critical.

Having seen my city of ancestry half built due to the excesses of free wheeling corruption in the early days of opening up, this is encouraging. No one speaks of Shantou when SEZs are mentioned. That it was, early with Zhuhai, Xiamen and Shenzhen given licence to roam should have resulted in a giant leap forward. It did not – half built roads aplenty and children playing in a canal full of rubbish and plastic bags were the common scene in my travels on foot. Wealthy overseas Chinese Teochews tried revitalizing it but failed.

Equitable growth starts by the top leading by example, at the very least, symbolically.

Deng’s maxim still abides.

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Elite in China Face Austerity Under Xi’s Rule
By Andrew Jacobs
Source – New York Times, published March 27, 2013

20130329-095529.jpg
Photo by Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times
A branch in Beijing of Xiang E Qing, a restaurant chain popular with government officials, was quiet at lunchtime recently.

BEIJING — Life for the almighty Chinese government official has come to this: car pools, domestically made wristwatches and self-serve lunch buffets.

In the four months since he was anointed China’s paramount leader and tastemaker-in-chief, President Xi Jinping has imposed a form of austerity on the nation’s famously free-spending civil servants, military brass and provincial party bosses. Warning that graft and gluttony threaten to bring down the ruling Communists, Mr. Xi has ordered an end to boozy, taxpayer-financed banquets and the bribery that often takes the form of a gift-wrapped Louis Vuitton bag.

While the power of the nation’s elite remains unchallenged, the symbols of that power are slipping from view. Gone, for now, are the freshly cut flowers and red-carpet ceremonies that used to greet visiting dignitaries. This month, military officers who arrived here for the annual National People’s Congress were instructed to share hotel rooms and bring their own toiletries.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, New Leadership, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Xi Jinping

Central Committee elected #China #Leadership[Global Times]

The way forward has been set. Scientific development joins the hallways of contemporary Chinese statecraft.

For the full list of the 205 members of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) elected at the 18th CPC National Congress on Wednesday, please go here.

“In the past, the authorities focused on so-called political, economic, cultural and social development, now they have realized the importance of sustainable development, which is related not only to people’s well-being now, but future generations,” Zhang Yaocan, professor of political science with Central China Normal University.

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Central Committee elected
by Wu Gang
Source – Global Times, November 15, 2012

Delegates raise their hands to show approval for a work report at the closing ceremony of the 18th Party congress held at the Great Hall of the People Wednesday. Photo: IC, 2012

The Constitution of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has enshrined the “Scientific Outlook on Development,” a political guideline that puts people first and calls for balanced and sustainable development, the 18th CPC National Congress announced as the week-long event concluded on Wednesday.

Some 2,270 Party delegates cast votes Wednesday, electing the new CPC Central Committee and the new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Nearly 50 percent of the new Central Committee are newcomers, indicating that the CPC, with 91 years of history and more than 82 million members, has again completed its leadership transition. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Communications, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, global times, Government & Policy, Greater China, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Natural Disasters, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, 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, Trade, Yuan, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Singapore a model for Chinese democracy [Sydney Morning Herald]

Each leader of the People’s Republic is remembered by an overarching, guiding ideology.

Mao Zedong left his legacy with Mao Zedong Thought 毛泽东思想; Deng Xiaoping with the Deng Xiaoping theory 邓小平理论. Then came Jiang Zemin and the Three Represents 三个代表 in 2000; and Hu Jintao with Scientific Development outlook 科学发展观 in 2007 that for the first time, saw public diplomacy and soft power . To be leader of 1.3 billion requires more than just clout, it seems an updated grand narrative as calling card in line with the previously intricately marked out stages of development have to be in place. What will Xi Jinping’s be? The West contends China will become more democratic. Will it, must it?

The Sydney Morning Herald is suggesting, along with some others that the Chinese intend to use Singapore as a model for Chinese democracy. They do share some interwoven characteristics, meritocracy, authoritarian capitalism, one-party rule, and Confucian-value systems indoctrinated through textbooks and norms. But they only extend as far as socio-political constructs and institutions go. Culturally however, they are not the same.

Singapore’s former foreign minister George Yeo puts it best –

On why Singapore, a young nation of just over five million people, is of interest to China, an ancient civilisation with 1.3billion people, he says: “For China, Singapore is sometimes seen as a bonsai, but one with genetic similarities.” S’pore is ‘only one bonsai that China looks at’ in the Straits Times, November 1, 2012

In any case, most Chinese I speak to have an answer for this – Singapore is too small to be a model for the whole of China. While there are bits and pieces the Chinese have been gleaning from the island-state, is the Singapore model scalable upwards to 1.3 billion?

The piece in Study Times explains the attraction for China’s leaders. ”Since 1968, the People’s Action Party has won consecutive elections and held state power for a long time, while ensuring that the party’s high efficiency, incorruptibility and vitality leads Singapore in attaining an economic leap forward,” writes Song Xiongwei, a lecturer at the Chinese Academy of Governance. Sydney Morning Herald, October 30 2012

“The Singapore model has been admired by most Chinese leaders and Xi might see Singapore’s success as the dreamed accomplishments of his rule in coming decade,” said Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University. South China Morning Post, October 23, 2012

See also – a rather engaging religious analysis of the Hartcher article here – Singapore’s “Democracy” – The Lessons for Applying the Gospel?

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Singapore a model for Chinese democracy 
by Peter Hartcher
Source – Sydney Morning Herald, published October 30, 2012

Illustration: John Shakespeare. Source – Sydney Morning Herald, 2012

China’s incoming president, Xi Jinping, will take power formally in three weeks, yet he’s given no public hint of his plans. But he gave an intriguing glimpse to the Westerner he’s spent more time with than any other.

After a total of 10 days together across a year or so, Xi left the US Vice-President, Joe Biden, with one clear impression. He does not think that China’s political system can continue indefinitely, according to people Biden has briefed.

But while the inheritor of the one-party dictatorship does not think it will last in its current form, neither does he have a clear idea of what should replace it, Biden said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Influence, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Xi Jinping, , , , , , , , , ,

Old 100 names: Witnesses of China’s history [BBC]

BBC on 老百姓: A bottom-up look at China from its Lao Bai Xing 老百姓 as the 18th National Congress draws closer. Scientific development was entrenched as guiding ideology for the 17th. What can we expect from the 18th? In Chinese 老百姓 literally means the old hundred clans though it could range in semantic meaning from “ordinary folks“, “honest folk”, “the people“, or “commoners.” Historically, the genesis of the 100 clans in folklore is also an interesting shaper of an identity that has prevailed over the ages.

There is a lot of unresolved history in China, some of it too recent and too painful to address, but not far below the surface. And deep history matters too – the cycles of unity and fragmentation, and the deference punctuated by rebellion that defines the relationship between people and state.

Further reading – A designer’s thoughts – Curiousity Chronicles on Lao Bai Xing

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Old 100 names: Witnesses of China’s history
By Carrie Gracie
Source – BBC News, Shixiaguan, published October 18, 2012

Photo source – BBC, 2012 from Getty Images

Chinese has a word for the people whose names don’t make it into the history books – the Laobaixing or “old 100 names”. They have witnessed history, even if they have only played a bit part. They have also inherited their community’s folk memory and will pass it on to their children.

Mountains behind. Blue sky above. And all around a forest of gold spears. Mei Jingtian is harvesting his maize with a scythe. It’s a scene which can’t have changed much in hundreds of years.

The sweetcorn is fine this year. Heavy summer rains have made the cobs swell. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Government & Policy, History, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Poverty, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , ,

The China8 Interviews: On Singapore and China with Dr Danny Tan

Wandering China is pleased to release the fourth 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. Note – this is an expanded interview (the norm is/was eight questions).

Wandering China catches up with Dr Danny Tan, a vocal contributor to Singapore’s fourth estate forums both in traditional broadsheets and new media. He is also a scholar on Southeast Asian studies. In general, he is interested in cultural flux and how each culture adapts to these changes. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China8 Interviews, Chinese overseas, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , ,

101 East – China: Broken Dreams [Al Jazeera]

Al Jazeera ponders the problem of Chinese social equality in its rising ant tribe class. Running time: 24minutes.

Uniquely Chinese problem or problem with paradigms meeting? Just one generation of growing pains into this new paradigm shift from absolute monolithic collectivism to deliberative authoritarian capitalism, the cross-pollination is far from complete.

Especially so perhaps, when it has to mesh with embedded familial values and long-running notions of state in a hyper compressed time/space of just 30 years of modernisation, reform and breaking out of its Great Wall mentality. Only one generation into this new paradigm shift, China has accelerated into an immensely competitive environment domestically. Paying fees to attend job fairs, and competing with over 9 to 10 million peers for the college examinations yearly. There are explicit teething problems such as the antiquated Hukou (reform under way), but therein perhaps – lies implicit opportunity for a grand redesign.

Perhaps a more useful takeaway is – what will the rise of this ant tribe 蚁族 (click for New York Times report) amount to?

How will they evolve into a new muscle in China’s consciousness? Ant tribes could very well be the foundation for the nucleus of the future Chinese work force.

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101 East – China: Broken Dreams
by Fauziah Ibrahim
Source – Al Jazeera, published August 24, 2012

Many young Chinese are losing faith in China’s economic miracle. Even though the country is poised to overtake the US in the next decade as the world’s largest, fewer Chinese feel they share the prosperity. 101 East explores the disillusionment. Al Jazeera, August 24, 2012

Filed under: Al Jazeera, Ant Tribe, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Reform, Resources, Social, The Chinese Identity, Trade, , , , , , , ,

[Singapore’s Lee Hsien-Loong in dialogue with senior Chinese party officials in Beijing] China ‘faces challenges within itself’ [Straits Times]

Greater China sphere: In China to affirm bilateral ties, Singapore’s prime minister left Beijing Friday September 7th after a six-day official visit. During his stay, he met with China’s top leaders Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Vice Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Wu Bangguo. On top of Beijing he also visited Sichuan Province to the southwest and Tianjin Municipality up north. Of course, the symbolic gesture has been the arrival of pandas from China as token making Singapore the seventh recipient of panda diplomacy.

Here’s a broad sweep of state media coverage on Lee’s visit.

Chinese state media

Xinhua – Chinese vice premier meets Singaporean PM (September 7, 2012)
Xinhua – China’s top legislator [Wu Bangguo] meets Singaporean PM (September 7, 2012)
China Daily – Premier Wen calls for further co-op with Singapore (September 6, 2012)
Global Times – Chinese premier calls for further cooperation with Singapore (September 7, 2012)
People’s Daily – repeated articles from Xinhua

Singapore state media
Straits Times – China ‘faces challenges within itself
Today Online – From economic ties to traffic management: PM Lee highlights how bilateral cooperation between China and Singapore has evolved at end of official visit

Facing west, however – A report by the two million-readership New Yorker (September 7, 2012) featured the headline Singaporean Tells China U.S. Is Not in Decline. It focused on the Singapore prime minister’s speech (first was in 2005) at the Central Party School under the theme “China and the World – Prospering and Progressing Together“.

BEIJING — In an unusual public airing of strategic problems surrounding China’s rise, the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, warned China on Thursday that it should view the United States not as a declining power, but as a nation with the ability to innovate and bounce back.

Is Singapore in a position to ‘warn‘ China? Many years ago, what Lee Kuan Yew had to say, Deng Xiaoping was stirred to listen.

But at best, it represented a scalable model where authoritarian capitalism (with some room for deliberation) could work in, albeit in a very finite space of just 600+km2. For twenty years since official ties were made the Chinese have been sending its mayors to Singapore for training That is probably one of the few valued contributions Singapore can provide in the mind of the Chinese. Further down the road, does the relationship between the younger Lee and China simply carry the same resonance? Perhaps what is lacking is the interpersonal relationship with key figures that his father had.

Indeed, the little red dot requires a myriad of interlocking regional strategic engagements to keep it safe – it has to stay ‘as neutral as possible’ despite its obvious Chinese-majority population and ruling class while providing the US naval support since the 60s.

Here is a link to the full speech here (in Chinese with the English translation)-
I think the NY Times does stir with fourth estate dyslexia by couching the speech as a warning.

A scan of the speech will reveal the overarching theme is interdependence and some pointers Lee Hsien-Loong sees as necessary bilateral Sino-US ingredients for a stable environment for Singapore to continue to thrive. With a minute domestic market dependent on imports for natural resources, Singapore’s ingredient for survival is to avoid and help manage conflict at all cost. So – Warning, it is not.

It hardly makes sense for Singapore to stand up to, for there is little strategic leverage in, ‘warning’ China. It understands China’s position as it shares cultural traits and arguably a lasting one-party model (China’s from 1949, Singapore’s from 1965). However, by tapping on memories of its long history of western education since 1819, the Singaporean perspective can offer useful pointers on keeping an East-West equilibrium for the region.

Thoughtful Americans, both Democrat and Republican, also understand that any attempt to contain China is doomed to fail. US-China relations in the 21st century cannot be compared to ties between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Trade between the US and Soviet Union was negligible, and nuclear deterrence was the primary stabilising factor. Today, China and the US are profoundly intertwined, and their relationship is stabilised by mutual economic dependence. The US cannot hold China back without hurting itself at the same time. Neither would European or Asian countries join such a misguided effort to contain China. My Foreign Minister stated this view clearly in a widely reported speech in Washington earlier this year, a view which many American officials accepted. Ultimately, both China and the US must develop a new modus vivendi that reflects current realities and benefits both sides.  Lee Hsien-Loong, at the Central Party School

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China ‘faces challenges within itself’
This is an excerpt from a transcript of a dialogue Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had with senior Chinese party officials at the Central Party School in Beijing on Thursday.
Source – Straits Times, published September 8, 2012

China and Singapore started the Tianjin Eco-City project in 2007. PM Lee said Singapore would like its cooperation with China ”to develop into new areas which are relevant to both sides as our societies change”. — ST PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG

Bilateral ties between China and Singapore are good, but both countries have differing views on some important regional and global issues. How do you think we can communicate and work better on these issues? How do you see the relationship between Singapore and China going forward?

PM Lee: China is a big country growing rapidly. Singapore is a small country also seeking to prosper in Asia. We wish Asia to be stable, and the region to be open and prosperous together.

Nobody wants to see a conflict in the South China Sea, but our position cannot be the same as China’s position simply because China is a claimant-state. Singapore is not a claimant-state. Therefore Singapore cannot take sides or judge the merits of the different claims to the South China Sea. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Channel News Asia, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, East China Sea, Economics, Environment, Finance, global times, Government & Policy, Greater China, Hu Jintao, Influence, International Relations, Media, New York Times, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Singapore, Soft Power, South China Sea, Straits Times, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S., , , , , , , , , ,

China: Leading the World Again. Dr. Eddie O’Connor [Youtube]

Thoughts of China’s revival from a renewable power industry perspective, with references to the Confucian cog of the Chinese mind.

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Breakfast briefing China: Leading the World Again with Dr. Eddie O’Connor
Source – Youtube, published April 6, 2010

‘Dr. O’Connor discussed the revival of Chinese society amid Chinas remarkable economic growth over the last twenty years. He reflected on what is in store for the next twenty years, including the environmental consequences of this economic growth, sketching also Chinas role in the global response to climate change.’

 

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Politics, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Youtube

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