Wandering China

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

China officials slam themselves – on TV [Straits Times] #RisingChina #Self-Cleansing

China: reflexive days ahead?

Also, see Sweating and on the verge of tears: Chinese officials carry out self-criticism on TV

by Zhang Hong (South China Morning Post)

Source - SCMP, September 28, 2013

Source – SCMP, September 28, 2013

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China officials slam themselves – on TV
Criticism session part of CCP’s self-cleansing campaign: Observers
Source – Straits Times, published September 28, 2013

Mr Xi has pledged to clean up the CCP by ridding its ranks of bureaucracy and extravagance. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Mr Xi has pledged to clean up the CCP by ridding its ranks of bureaucracy and extravagance. — PHOTO: REUTERS

IT WAS a made-for-television criticism and self-criticism show.

In an unprecedented move, China’s state broadcaster CCTV showed top officials of Hebei province criticising “impatient” superiors even as they admitted to overspending on things like official cars and lavish dinners.

Observers noted that the programme televised on Wednesday is a first, and shows the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intensifying its “self-cleansing” campaign.

They also said other provinces might follow Hebei’s lead, and that the people would dismiss such “self-criticism” sessions as a mere show, unless errant officials were also taken to task.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Straits Times online.
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Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Corruption, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Ethnicity, Finance, Government & Policy, History, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

Once China catches up – what then? [Straits Times] #RisingChina

Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew on China’s economic prowess, cultural handicaps and the balance of power in the Pacific.

‘I believe that during the next 30 years, the Chinese will have no desire to enter into a conflict with the US. They know they will continue to grow stronger, but they are also aware of how far behind they are technologically. They require continued access to American schools so their students can learn how to reinvent themselves.’ Lee Kuan Yew, 2013

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Once China catches up – what then?
By Lee Kuan Yew
Source – Straits Times, Published Sep 27, 2013

Pedestrians walk past commercial buildings in Shanghai. In 2020, China’s per capita GDP is projected to reach US$10,000, one-fifth that projected for the US. And China’s population will remain four times that of the US. — PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BARRING any major disruption, the speed at which China is growing in terms of total gross domestic product will enable it to catch up with the US by 2020. China will then go on to surpass America.

During the 1978-2011 period, China’s high average rate of growth – about 10 per cent annually – was the result of Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 trip to Singapore and his subsequent decision to implement economic reforms and open the economy to international investment. During that period, the US economy’s annual growth rate was 2 per cent to 3 per cent.

Despite the financial debt crisis in Europe and the turmoil in US markets over the past few years, China’s economy has continued to register strong growth. According to the World Bank, China’s US$8.22 trillion (S$10.3 trillion) economy is now the second largest in the world, compared with the US$15.68 trillion US economy. China is the world’s largest exporter and its second-largest importer. The recent global economic crisis has allowed China to close its economic gap with the world’s top developed nations.

In 2012, China’s per capita GDP was US$9,233, compared with US$49,965 in the US. In 2020, China’s per capita GDP is projected to reach US$10,000, one-fifth that projected for the US. China’s population in 2012 was 1.4 billion, America’s 316.5 million. In 2020, China’s population will remain four times that of the US. China’s economic growth rate will continue to increase at a much higher rate because the base upon which its economy will grow is enormous in comparison.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Straits Times online.
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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Hard Power, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Soft Power, Straits Times, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade, U.S.

China + Gold = 9 Million iPhones Sold [Bloomberg] #RisingChina #Apple #Gold

Apple taps into Chinese mind – mixing their perception of gold with cyclical obsolescence of the mobile phone.

Bringing together China and gold is a recipe for success. A recent decline in the price of the yellow metal has revealed immense pent-up demand for shiny trinkets in Asia. The volume of gold jewelry sold in Hong Kong was up 66 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2013, according to the World Gold Council. Mainland China saw 50 percent growth. Apple did not need to read boring market reports to figure out it needed a gold-colored model for Asia. It would have been enough to walk the streets of Hong Kong and see the crowds in the jewelry stores. Leonid Bershidsky, 2013

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China + Gold = 9 Million iPhones Sold
By Leonid Bershidsky
Source – Bloomberg, published Sep 25, 2013

The gold version of the iPhone 5S is displayed at an Apple store on September 20, 2013 in New York City. Photograph by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The gold version of the iPhone 5S is displayed at an Apple store on September 20, 2013 in New York City. Photograph by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

I have two words for those who still think Apple’s marketing genius died with Steve Jobs: China and gold.

In preparing the debut of its two new iPhone models, the 5s and 5c, Apple made the crucial decision to include China in the product launch, and to offer a gold-colored high-end phone. Voila, a sales record: 9 million iPhones sold in the opening weekend, up from 5 million for the original iPhone 5.

Bringing together China and gold is a recipe for success. A recent decline in the price of the yellow metal has revealed immense pent-up demand for shiny trinkets in Asia. The volume of gold jewelry sold in Hong Kong was up 66 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2013, according to the World Gold Council. Mainland China saw 50 percent growth. Apple did not need to read boring market reports to figure out it needed a gold-colored model for Asia. It would have been enough to walk the streets of Hong Kong and see the crowds in the jewelry stores.

Gold is a well-used marketing tool in the world of mobile devices. “Dumb” phone manufacturers have used the hue, especially in Asian markets and Russia, ever since color handsets came into existence in the early 2000s. Nokia made fun of the gold iPhone 5s, tweeting from its UK corporate account, “Real gangsters don’t use gold phones.” The Finnish company itself, however, has produced a number of gold-colored models, including one that used genuine 18K gold plate.

Please click here to read the entire article at Bloomberg online.

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Filed under: Advertising, Apple, Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, History, Influence, Intellectual Property, Internet, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Technology, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S.

Leader who struck a chord with China [Straits Times] #RisingChina #Singapore

– Lee Kuan Yew is Singapore’s world-class asset at understanding the Chinese mind.

He had once suggested to a Chinese leader in having English as the dominant language. Would China do the same? The answer was no surprise, it was no. It was unrealistic for Lee then made it clear it was a serious handicap. Imagine competing against Chinese competition when fluency in English no longer remains a key advantage.

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Leader who struck a chord with China
Lee Kuan Yew could get China’s attention, but it will be tough for tiny Singapore to find comparable successors to fill his big shoes
By John Wong, For The Straits Times
Source – Straits Times September 18, 2013

20130919-082752.jpg
Mr Lee (on podium, right) with Chinese Premier Li Peng at a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People during his nine-day visit to China in September 1988, when he also met Chinese President Yang Shangkun, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Zhao Ziyang and paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. — PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

CHINA has published many books about former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. One written by Chang Zheng in 1996 bears this interesting title, Lee Kuan Yew: A Great Man In A Small Country (Xiao Guo Wei Ren). In politics and international power relations, does “size” matter at all?

Deng Xiaoping, a “five- footer”, had struck Mr Lee as “a giant among men” when they first met in 1978. Mr Lee has since openly stated that Deng was the most impressive leader he had ever met.

Viewed from a different angle, Singapore is a tiny city-state while China is a huge continental- sized country. The two also have inherent political, economic and social differences. Yet, they have developed strong bilateral relations, thanks to the efforts of both Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Deng.

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

When it comes to China, which side is Germany on? [Guardian] #RisingChina #Germany

China and Germany teach each other lessons on contemporary influence without brandishing hard power.

On the ground, however – In a 25-country poll by the BBC (44-page PDF) published in May 2013, German opinion on China was 13% positive vs 67% negative in 2013, a marked drop – from 42% positive vs 47% negative in 2012.

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When it comes to China, which side is Germany on?
Berlin’s ‘special relationship’ with Beijing means it is not keen for the EU to start a commercial war with the Asian giant
Source – The Guardian, published September 12, 2013

20130915-083945.jpg
Angela Merkel is escorted by President Xi Jinping of China after their meeting at the G20 summit this month. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

A long-running dispute between the EU and China over the prosaic, but economically significant, matter of solar panels has thrown up a fundamental question: which side is Germany on? The trade war concerned billions of pounds of Chinese panels that Europe suspected were being heavily subsidised and then “dumped” on the European market. Germany led the opposition to taking punitive action against the Chinese.

“What is certain is that the Germans have taken up almost word for word the rhetoric of the Chinese trade ministry,” said a European diplomat from one of the countries in favour of imposing sanctions on China.

There’s a paradox at play here: it is German manufacturers who wanted the European commission to look into the solar panel issue. But for the German leadership there are bigger matters to consider, not least the country’s burgeoning “special relationship” with the Asian powerhouse.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Guardian.

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Filed under: Automotive, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Ethnicity, Germany, Government & Policy, High Speed Rail, Ideology, Influence, Intellectual Property, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Soft Power, Solar, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Technology, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, Transport

Li Keqiang: China economy at crucial stage [BBC] #RisingChina #Economy

China announces restructuring phase to world and economic leaders.

The foundation for an economic rebound is still fragile with many uncertainties ahead,” Li Keqiang

Already on the cards…

The government has been undertaking key structural reforms, such as liberalising interest rates, allowing its currency to strengthen, and taking steps to reduce its dependency on exports.

Recent economic data showed a sharp rise in growth of exports and imports, as well as improvement in manufacturing figures. BBC

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Li Keqiang: China economy at crucial stage
Source – BBC, published 11 September 2013

Recent manufacturing data has soothed some fears of a “hard landing” for China’s economy

China’s economy is going through a “crucial” stage of restructuring, says the country’s Premier, Li Keqiang.

At the World Economic Forum in the Chinese port city of Dalian, Mr Li pledged to improve relations with foreign firms.

He stressed that multinationals would get “equal treatment” with state-owned enterprises.

He added that China was well-placed to hit a growth target of 7.5% this year, despite a “complex” economic climate.

Please click here to read the entire article at the BBC online.

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Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade

Was Your Chicken Nugget Made In China? It’ll Soon Be Hard To Know [NPR] #RisingChina #Interdependence #US

Ban on processed chicken imports from China now lifted; furthermore they can be sold in the US without country-of-origin labels

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Was Your Chicken Nugget Made In China? It’ll Soon Be Hard To Know
Here’s a bit of news that might make you drop that chicken nugget midbite.
by Maria GODOY
Source – NPR, published September 05, 2013

20130907-073759.jpg
photo: istockphoto

Just before the start of the long holiday weekend last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that it was ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The kicker: These products can now be sold in the U.S. without a country-of-origin label.

For starters, just four Chinese processing plants will be allowed to export cooked chicken products to the U.S., as first reported by Politico. The plants in question passed USDA inspection in March. Initially, these processors will only be allowed to export chicken products made from birds that were raised in the U.S. and Canada. Because of that, the poultry processors won’t be required to have a USDA inspector on site, as The New York Times notes, adding:

“And because the poultry will be processed, it will not require country-of-origin labeling. Nor will consumers eating chicken noodle soup from a can or chicken nuggets in a fast-food restaurant know if the chicken came from Chinese processing plants.”

That’s a pretty disturbing thought for anyone who’s followed the slew of stories regarding food safety failures in China in recent years. As we’ve previously reported on The Salt, this year alone, thousands of dead pigs turned up in the waters of Shanghai, rat meat was passed off as mutton and — perhaps most disconcerting for U.S. consumers — there was an outbreak of the H7N9 bird flu virus among live fowl in fresh meat markets.

Please click here to read the entire article from the NPR.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Health, Peaceful Development, Resources, Trade, U.S.

The hutong protector Hua Xinmin [Global Times] #RisingChina #QualityOfLife

Global Times on saving Hutong communities as a microcosm of wider quality of life issues when it comes to home ownership.

Credited by some locals for “saving” two hutong communities in the city, Hua said that much of the knowledge used today to help hutong owners fight government-sanctioned development projects looking to rid of old neighborhoods, was learned from experience, when she attempted to prevent her original family home from being demolished in 2005.

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The hutong protector
By Zhang Yiqian
Source – Global Times, published August 30, 2013

Bulldozers blazed through Xidan, Xicheng district in Beijing, digging into the walls of traditional hutong or old courtyard homes, causing their bricks to fall down like rain. It was a shocking sight that had then touched a nerve close to home – hers – though she would not fully realize that for another seven years.

The year was 1997, and the housing preservation advisor born of French and Chinese parents had just returned to China from abroad, where the pale-skinned and blue-eyed Hua had been living in Paris since the age of 22. Surprised at the changing scenes of the city she grew up in, dismayed at the number of demolitions occurring across town, her will to protect Beijing’s old neighborhoods was inspired from all the rubble around her.

“Old homes are the soul of every city, the architecture and culture representative of the city,” she told the Global Times on Wednesday. “If you lose your home, how much longer can you bare (living)?”

Please click here to read the entire article at the Global Times.
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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

China’s quest for world-beating brand held back by regime [Guardian] #RisingChina #Branding

Brand China: Hamstrung by regime or perception divide?

We get these endless things from the government saying there should be more innovation and brand building… But there isn’t anything behind it. The problem is that no one really wants to invest in innovative design. It’s very market-led. So if reports come to the stores that red shirts are selling, they’ll tell their in-house designers to design more red shirts. This means the designers don’t get a chance to do anything… They spent 60 years driving creativity out of the system. To reintroduce it in 10 minutes is a bit hopeful.” Paul French, chief China market strategist at market research firm Mintel.

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China’s quest for world-beating brand held back by regime
Selling Chinese-label goods at home is one thing: but to gain global recognition, the country must rediscover the arts of creativity and risk-taking
Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing
Source – The Observer, Guardian online, published Sunday 1 September 2013

20130903-084625.jpg
Robin Li, the founder and chief executive of leading Chinese search engine Baidu. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

China is the world’s second-largest economy but it has yet to develop the breakthrough global brand that will consolidate its status as a true commercial superpower. The names of Chery, Xiaomi and Baidu are synonymous with cars, mobile phones and internet search in China but they do not resonate abroad in the way that Ford, Samsung and Google straddle the globe. Likewise, there is no Chinese equivalent of Sony, Boeing or Coca-Cola, despite the ambition of the political hierarchy to convert a nation of 1.3bn people into a consumption-driven juggernaut.

That lack of a worldwide champion means that Made in China lacks prestige as a label, despite the country’s importance as the world’s factory floor, making everything from iPads to Topshop garments. And that reputation as a global manufacturing hub is one of the problems, nurturing a perception that China is synonymous with cheap, low-quality goods. Newspaper headlines in the west declaim stories about China’s toxic baby milk, lead-contaminated toys and fake pharmaceuticals.

But this is changing, as China’s leaders force that economic shift from export-based growth to consumer spending. They are pumping money into research and development so that Chinese brands can compete with foreign rivals in a burgeoning domestic market. Furthermore, many of these companies have taken that baton and are running towards foreign markets, with the hope that global success will result. Much of the push comes in the form of state subsidies – according to the state-run China Daily newspaper, the country spent £105bn on research and development last year.

Please click here to read the entire article at the source.

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Filed under: Advertising, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, Media, Modernisation, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade

Singapore Strike: The Full Story [Wall Street Journal] #Singapore #RisingChina

The Chinese bus-driver strike is Singapore’s first real strike in decades.

Push has become pull. Along with China’s rise and more self-assured place in the world, more Chinese are turning to a sojourn from the mainland for a better economic future.  This recent surge in numbers has solidified the overseas Chinese presence overseas, now accounting for easily over fifty million.

Above, Singapore’s historical strike data from 1946 to 2009. In this chart, man-days lost refer to the total number of working days lost annually due to industrial action. It is calculated by multiplying the duration of industrial actions (in days) with the number of workers that were affected. Source - Ministry of Manpower, Singapore

Above, Singapore’s historical strike data from 1946 to 2009. In this chart, man-days lost refer to the total number of working days lost annually due to industrial action. It is calculated by multiplying the duration of industrial actions (in days) with the number of workers that were affected. Source – Ministry of Manpower, Singapore

The contrast with China’s >100,000 mass incidents yearly shows a stark difference in approach.

The Chinese tolerate a certain level of dissent, Wukan is a good example.

In this case, I believe the drivers simply felt they ran out of viable options and decided to go for broke, and go straight to the decision makers just like they would back home.

– – –

Singapore Strike: The Full Story
By WSJ Staff Reporter Chun Han Wong

This story of a strike by Chinese bus drivers in Singapore offers a close-up look at a major issue facing the Southeast Asian city-state today: The growing number of migrant workers who underpin Singapore’s economy and the social tensions that their presence can generate. 

What happened over two days in late November 2012 rattled the foundations of Singapore’s economic success – its business-friendly governance and industrial harmony – and prompted a robust response from the government.

The strike, a rarity in Singapore, resonated across Asia, where other countries are grappling with a growing dependence on foreign labor, too. And it provided a window into ordinary lives seldom-seen: the migrants who fan out from China in search of a fatter paycheck abroad.

How to balance the need for new workers from overseas with the preservation of established ways, presents a major dilemma that policymakers and citizens will wrestle with for years to come.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Wall Street Journal online.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Culture, Economics, Education, Ethnicity, Government & Policy, Greater China, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Wall Street Journal

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