Wandering China

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

Dairy producers must reforge their identity [Global Times] #RisingChina #InfantFormula #Dilemma

A fundamental fix for otherwise China’s fourth rise simply cannot be sustained.

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Dairy producers must reforge their identity
By Wang Xuefeng and Zhang Jixing
Source – Global Times, published April 27, 2013

On April 10, Zheng Yuesheng, spokesman for the General Administration of Customs of China, said that as the importing of milk powder keeps expanding, it has become necessary to restrict and punish the illegal carrying of baby formula into the Chinese mainland. He also stressed that the punishment would be heavier to smugglers who bring in baby formula for trade.

Baby formula smugglers, more often nicknamed “baby formula hand-carriers,” convey baby formula into Chinese mainland not for self-use, but for trade or to earn commissions. From a few tins to vessels or trucks, they have made enormous profits from this under-the-table business.

Partly owing to these carriers, the huge demand for baby formula has even threatened the regulators of international markets. The concern aroused by Chinese buyers has made the purchase restrictions their only choice.

The “hand-carrying” business disturbs the order of the domestic market and the foreign trade. It also puts the domestic dairy market at a higher risk, because the quality of baby formula without an identified source cannot be guaranteed.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chinese Model, Corruption, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Health, Hong Kong, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, The Chinese Identity, Trade

Don’t exaggerate scope of Hong Kong quarrels with mainlanders [Global Times] #RisingChina #HongKong

Global Times Op-Ed on the need for acknowledging changing relative positions between Hong Kong and China.

One urgent priority for us is to quickly adapt to our new relative positions. Hong Kong is no longer an almsgiver and Chinese mainlanders are no longer poor and weak. China’s rise is the outcome of decades of efforts, but the achievements haven’t been so obvious until recent years. Not only foreigners, but also Chinese have to adjust our mentality.

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Don’t exaggerate scope of Hong Kong quarrels with mainlanders
Op-Ed by Shu Meng
Source – Global Times, published April 21, 2013

A video showing a quarrel between the staff of a ferry in Hong Kong and a man from the Chinese mainland has been forwarded by many people recently on social media.

In the video, a man from the Chinese mainland insisted on putting a baby carriage on a sidelined aisle on the ferry because a Hong Kong staff member on that ferry told him it’s all right. However, after a while, another staff member told the mainlander he should move the baby carriage to another place.

The mainlander refused, and a quarrel started. In the fight, the mainlander shouted “Don’t think mainlanders can be easily bullied!” Some Hongkongers yelled back “You mainlanders get out of Hong Kong!”

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, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, global times, Government & Policy, History, Hong Kong, Ideology, Internet, Mapping Feelings, Media, Peaceful Development, People, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity, ,

Sophia Rd cafe cashes in on island dispute #Singapore #Diaoyu #Senkaku [AsiaOne]

AsiaOne: Cafe in Singapore rides the wave of the East Asian island dispute by reaching out through a true-blue Singaporean, if not their primary past-time – food.

Singapore is multicultural by legacy, design and device, and expressed largely through the collective love of diverse foods – the more diverse the better – anyone who visits Singapore can attest to this – it is a global epicentre for cuisine in both high and low places. Peace Centre where this cafe is located is somewhat in the city, but nowhere near the central business district.

There is limited space in Singapore – we are all of 42km wide with barely 20km running north-south. It is the second smallest country in Asia and urban density stands about 12,000/sqkm. 40% of the island is thankfully zoned as a green belt because we cannot do without the rain catchment areas, for now. That also means more than 5+ million (3m citizens, 1m Permanent Residents, the rest imported workers) share a living space of around 400+sqkm. Of course that means if everyone had to stretch out their arms all at once it would be a problem. Most live high-rise, so at any one time the reality of that density is not apparent. Helps that it is a 24-hour city too, makes movement a little bit more spaced out.

Having spent the past three years on travelling cycles of – Australia – Singapore – China documenting and getting a first hand view of China I can almost acutely feel the clear impact population density makes. Australia is at 4/sqkm (in June 2010 it was 2.9), China at 116/sqkm, Singapore – as I mentioned, about 12,000. The difference is clear.

I’ve mentioned a few times over the course of the past two years that population density through a decade of opening floodgates, is becoming a serious problem but I digress. I think the reality that the authorities had no qualms allowing this name to be used for the business as positive. They banned Ministry of Sound from setting up a dance club in Singapore because they felt the Ministry name would resonate negatively with officialdom. They eventually relented after years of deliberation, but case in point.

And that there is a large body of Japanese and Taiwanese working and living in Singapore for decades, I know many of them frequent the area – with no qualms, I think here is where Singapore can be a useful model. Despite the ongoing online vitriol for the past two years, they qualify as growing pains – any host nation can attest to that, as you add more layers to your identity, some meet, other’s don’t, and some just need a bit more fine-tuning, talked over a meal perhaps!

This is a great read by Professor Brenda Yeoh from the National University of Singapore –
Rapid Growth in Singapore’s Immigrant Population Brings Policy Challenge (Migration Information Source, April, 2012) if you’d like a pulse of Singapore’s challenge towards this aspect of globalisation – convergence of movement and with divergence needing attention of consensus, felt made more apparent in confined space.

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Sophia Rd cafe cashes in on island dispute
By Adrian Lim, for myPaper
Source – AsiaOne, published November 6, 2012

Source – AsiaOne, 2012. Photo from myPaper

SINGAPORE – The decor is nostalgically Singaporean while the affordable food served includes casual Chinese-Hong Kong fare like bolo buns.

But this street-facing cafe at Peace Centre in Sophia Road, which opened two weeks ago, bears a moniker which might raise a few eyebrows.

It is called Diao Yu Dao, named after the group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, hotly contested by China and Japan for sovereignty. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese overseas, Culture, Democracy, East China Sea, Government & Policy, Greater China, History, Hong Kong, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Social, Taiwan, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , ,

Hong Kong backs down over Chinese patriotism classes [BBC]

Semi autonomous Hong Kong and democratic deference: the fight against what has been perceived as Beijing’s long-term indoctrination back into the one-party mould has somewhat succeeded.

A day after more than 100,000 protestors rallied against the government (police figures stand at 36,000) compulsory moral and national education classes are now made ‘optional’. It was found 69% of students were against the classes.

Unlike the rest of China, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of freedom, including a free press, the right to assemble and transparent, accountable institutions.

That said, what does optional mean? Will funding carrots in the future influence decision-making to opt in? It may be too early to say. But what is certain is Beijing is making advanced moves to manage the impact Hong Kong’s highly active public sphere on the rest of the population when they are ‘supposed’ to be fully re-integrated at the end of Deng’s promise of fifty years, no change.

Elsewhere –
South China Morning Post: HK backs down on national education

Youtube – 反對國民教育 Protesting National Education with the song ‘Young and Naive’ (with English subs)

Youtube – 反對國民教育 Protesting National Education (9th Day of contintuous protests) 7/9/2012  (with English subs)

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Hong Kong backs down over Chinese patriotism classes
Juliana Liu, Hong Kong correspondent, BBC News
Source – BBC, published September 9, 2012

Protests against the classes brought tens of thousands of people out onto the streets. Photo – Reuters

The Hong Kong government has backed down over plans to make schoolchildren take Chinese patriotism classes, after weeks of protests.

City leader Leung Chun-ying said the classes would be optional for schools.

“The schools are given the authority to decide when and how they would like to introduce the moral and national education,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Crime, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, History, Hong Kong, Human Rights, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , ,

No reason for Hongkongers to fear national education course [Global Times]

The issue may be one on nationality – but it’s a complex and long-drawn cultural divide that needs to be bridged.

Born from a state that was a former British colony I can, on one end sympathize with the view on offer by the Global Times below.

In fact, those who oppose to it are likely to be more “brainwashed” by the Western ideology, as Hong Kong used to be a British colony. That’s why they were so vigilant against the course. They were seeing China from a Western perspective. (Global Times editorial)

That said I would also beg to differ. Having lived in and visited those in the global cosmopolitan cities of Hong Kong and Singapore, the markedly different behaviours expressing ‘Chineseness’ as ethnicity and culture are clear, perhaps more pronounced when compared to one from the mainland. But even then that is not a fair statement as China’s 7% minority of its 55 ethnic minorities suggest there is no easy way to distinguish a homogenous Chinese identity.

I suspect Hong Kongers are as likely to retain their Eastern ideologies in ethnicity and culture but also equally embrace Western ideologies in organising society and progress. In particular, the right to universal suffrage . It is unlikely the majority are wholly brainwashed by Western ideologies, but that is fodder for another story. As such, to posit that they see China from a wholly Western perspective may be a limiting moral ground that obscures the facts.

Digging back in time however, there is a pertinent difference. Singapore was signed away largely voluntarily by a local Malay king for a then handsome price and remained so for about 150 years. This is unlike Hong Kong, which was ceded by the Chinese in a gesture of succumbing to military force and sanctions for a century. In more direct terms, they were bullied out of it by the West with unequal treaties. History sticks.

One country, two systems – the clock is ticking.

Just fifteen years into Fifty years of no change but there’s little I think the Chinese will leave to chance, preferring to sow seeds now to stabilise the big picture of the Beijing Consensus. After all, consensus has to start on its own turf, and to demonstrate this?

Recreate nationalist Chineseness by purging the relics of the colonial intermission of Hong Kong.

Interestingly enough, when the concept of nationalism for the birth of nation-state arrived in China, it was the perceived unfair ceding of Hong Kong that was one of the many instigators for the Chinese revolution.

And, before the current furore the Chinese University of Hong Kong had earlier engaged the question in 2011 – How is the dominant one-sided national education in Hong Kong affecting students’ sense of Chinese identity?

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No reason for Hongkongers to fear national education course
Source – Global Times, published August 2, 2012

Tens of thousands of Hongkongers took to the streets on Sunday to protest the introduction of a national education course that is set to begin in local primary schools this September.

Protestors argued that the course will “brainwash” students from early on. They also said that if the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region insists on introducing the course, a student strike might be launched.

Primary and middle schools in many countries have national education classes. The objection to it by some Hongkongers seems quite exceptional from a global point of view, and somewhat extreme. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asia Pacific, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Education, Ethnicity, global times, Government & Policy, Hong Kong, Human Rights, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Chinese ’Nationalistic’ Education Draws Protesters In Hong Kong [Bloomberg]

90,000 Hong Kongers say no to the imposition of Chinese ‘thought control’ on young ones starting from six years old. Anticipating a few steps ahead of the fifty years no change promise by the mainland?

For more check out

Thousands Protest China’s Plans for Hong Kong Schools (New York Times July 29, 2012)

From AFP TV,

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Chinese ’Nationalistic’ Education Draws Protesters In Hong Kong
By Rachel Evans
Source – Bloomberg, published July 30, 2012

Tens of thousands of parents, students and social activists marched through Hong Kong yesterday to oppose plans for national education lessons that detractors say will stifle independent thinking.

With many clad in black and white to symbolize the contrast between right and wrong and carrying placards stating “We don’t need no thought control,” demonstrators protested government plans to introduce the subject in state-run primary schools from September. The authorities will extend the classes, which aim to foster Chinese identity, to secondary school pupils from 2013 and phase in the lessons over three years.

The rally took place less than a month after pro-Beijing candidate Leung Chun-ying was inaugurated as the city’s chief executive. Government talks with opponents to delay the new curriculum collapsed over the weekend, the South China Morning Post reported in its Sunday edition. Textbooks will give a pro- Communist Party account of China’s history and political system, according to Willy Wo-Lap Lam, an adjunct professor of history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Government & Policy, Greater China, Hong Kong, Human Rights, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, , ,

Anger at HK handover anniversary [Sydney Morning Herald/AFP]

This is Hong Kong’s summer of discontent. Protesters and police clashed yesterday, ahead of Hong Kong’s 15th anniversary of handover to Chinese rule. What seems clear is that many from Hong Kong had a clear and present reminder on the fifty years no change compact for president Hu Jintao as he dropped in for a three-day visit.

Riot control measures had to be employed with giant barricades used for the first time since the reportedly violent protests in 2005 during the WTO meet.

This time round, pepper sprays were also vigorously applied. In my study of greater China, if Taiwan reflects the democratic sensibilities, and Singapore a model of authoritarian capitalism, then Hong Kong really reflects the full extents of Chinese activism. And they are unhappy over quite a few things. New leadership that was not truly and democratically elected by the people, the growing income disparity and the suspicious death of labour activist and thus political dissident Li Wangyang form a triumvirate of instigators under th overarching shadow of the Tiananmen narrative.

To get a truly inside scoop and avoid the standard boilerplate reports like this one below by the Sydney Morning Herald, one should check out Apple Daily’s coverage of the riots here. The report is in Cantonese, but the visuals themselves make the most compelling tale. Not one to be afraid of performing the role of the fourth estate, Apple Daily probably is as investigative a voice as any Greater Chinese media gets. Do note the parent company Next Media is owned by Giordano founder Jimmy Lai, an unflinching advocate for democracy and one of the most vocal critics of the PRC. Interestingly enough it was one of his reporters that sparked the commotion by reminding President Hu about Tiananmen.

Related reading –

From Malaysia, Hong Kong marks handover but chafes under China rule (My SinChew.com! June 27, 2012)

Where are we from? Hong Kong! What do we like? Protests! (Facing China! June 29 2012)

From US based, Falungong-leaning New Tang Dynasty TV, Hu Jintao in Hong Kong for July 1st, protests expected (June 26, 2012)

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Anger at HK handover anniversary
Source – Sydney Morning Herald, published July 1, 2012



POLICE have fired pepper spray on protesters denouncing China President Hu Jintao ahead of today’s 15-year handover anniversary.

Mr Hu is in Hong Kong to mark the 15th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule.

The incident underscored tensions surrounding the anniversary of the financial hub’s handover from British control today, which will also see the inauguration of a new and unpopular leader of the local government.

On the second day of Mr Hu’s three-day visit, hundreds of protesters demanding an investigation into the recent death of a well-known mainland dissident rallied near the Chinese leader’s five-star hotel.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Democracy, Government & Policy, Hong Kong, Human Rights, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Reform, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Uncategorized, , , , ,

Red Riding Hood Protests in Hong Kong [Wall Street Journal]

Is universal suffrage for Hong Kong by 2017 possible? One country, two systems but one election outcome? Leung Chun-Ying’s annointment as new chief executive is not well received.

Up to 15,000 Hong Kongers pay tribute to the Brothers Grimm as Red Riding Hood Protests in Hong Kong highlight pro-democracy movements in the former British colony.

For more – Even China must now realise that it needs a better way to pick Hong Kong’s leader (Economist, March 31, 2012)

TO CALL the process by which Hong Kong’s new chief executive was anointed on March 25th a flawed election is to make a category error. It was not an election at all (see article). Most of those on the “election committee” that chose Leung Chun-ying, known as C.Y. Leung and pictured right, were not really free to exercise any sort of choice. Of the 1,193 committee members who voted (out of Hong Kong’s population of over 7m), many did so under orders from Beijing. Of those not favoured with clear instructions, many were second-guessing what they thought Beijing wanted them to do.

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Red Riding Hood Protests in Hong Kong
by Te-Ping Chen
Source – Wall Street Journal, published April 2, 2012

Pro-democracy protesters march on a street to demonstrate against the Chinese government’s meddling into the Hong Kong’s chief executive election in Hong Kong on April 1, 2012.

In a march themed with fanciful allusions to Little Red Riding Hood, thousands of protestors swarmed Hong Kong’s streets on Sunday in the first large display of protest since the city’s elite tapped a Beijing ally to become the Chinese territory’s next leader.

Leung Chun-ying, who is seen as having close ties to China’s Communist Party, has been nicknamed a “wolf” by local media. Protestors worry that he will weaken Hong Kong’s traditional commitment to civil liberties and freedom of speech, though Mr. Leung has adamantly maintained he will maintain the city’s core values.

On Sunday afternoon, protestors carried a giant replica of a wolfskin, and many of the women wore red scarves, in a nod to the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale. Thousands of protesters surged through the streets, shouting pro-democracy slogans, some of them wearing spray-painted models of tanks fashioned out of cardboard in a reference to the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. Mr. Leung was selected for his post by a majority of the 1,200-member election committee. Beijing has promised the Chinese territory universal suffrage by 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Democracy, Government & Policy, Hong Kong, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Politics, Public Diplomacy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong: China’s ‘hot potato’ election [Straits Times]

Three weeks to go for the race for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive position: Since 1997, we’ve seen three elections pass. Is China going to lose more sleep over the former British colony it ‘pledged’ to not change for fifty years? Can they resist interceding with the ‘one country, two systems’ pledge? Will it be able/or want to draw lessons from Hong Kong’s democracy process to its own democratising effort?

For one, it may not see a winning candidate that does not have its blessings. An expanded election committee (from 800 to 1200) and an already increasingly active citizenry suggest locals may very well take to the streets again if they see high-handedness from Beijing (especially so in the wake of rising social tension between Hong Kongers and mainlanders). The longer-term view of the 2017 elections having ordinary Hong Kongers vote for the first time also requires attention.

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China’s ‘hot potato’ election
Scandal-hit candidates and public sentiment put Beijing in a dilemma
by Chin Cheong
Source – Straits Times, published March 3, 2012

China's 'hot potato' election -- ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

IT USED to be that Hong Kong’s Chief Executive (CE) election was not something Beijing needed to lose much sleep over. No longer.

There had been three such elections since 1997, when Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty after more than 140 years as a British colony.

Each time, the candidate who received Beijing’s ‘blessings’ was later picked to become the city’s top leader by an 800-member Election Committee (EC). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Greater China, Hong Kong, Human Rights, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Wealthy residents favor yuan in 2012 [China Daily]

Greetings readers, I am still off the grid. Getting reconnected onto the internet as I switch service providers in suburban Melbourne has a long waiting period. If all goes well I’ll be back to daily analysis early next week.

In the meantime, here’s a glimpse into how wealthy Hong Kongers rate the yuan for 2012 with a 13% increase of millionaires holding yuan-dominated assets last year.

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Wealthy residents favor yuan in 2012
by Bao Daozu
Source – China Daily, published February 29, 2012

HONG KONG – Wealthy people in Hong Kong favor yuan-denominated assets over property or other investments, according to a survey released by Citibank on Tuesday.

The survey said that 40 percent of the city’s millionaires, defined as individuals with liquid assets exceeding HK$1 million ($128,955), held a positive view of yuan deposits and yuan-denominated investments for the next 12 months, indicating general optimism about the Chinese currency.

The report said 73 percent of the millionaires held yuan-denominated assets last year, up from 60 percent in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Economics, Finance, Greater China, Hong Kong, Soft Power, Yuan

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