Wandering China

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

Russia, China veto U.N. draft backing Arab plan for Syria [Reuters]

Russia and China in a concert of power deeming the U.N. Arab-European draft resolution for Syria inappropriate to promote peace in the Middle East country.

Employing a double veto, the two permanent members of the Security Council managed to prevent any substantive measure being taken.

Wider question: Indicators are pointing that high prices and scarcity are what is driving Syrians to revolt as the civil war gets bloodier with 350 deaths to date. Who and what is driving the regime change? Russia ( a strong ally to the Syrian government) and China (perhaps reflective of their Independent Foreign Policy of Peace whenever/wherever it applies) argue that more consultations are needed. China’s stand is clear – they’re not in agreement of forced regime changes citing the ensuing complexity of the Libyan example. They are reportedly of the belief that changes of regime have to be decided by the local people, not external powers.

See Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin explanation in the People’s Daily here. (update on Feb 7, 2011)

In response, US envoy Susan Rice has declared this act as ‘unforgiveable‘ (see Al Jazeera report).

For one, this is another example of a post-US-led unipolar world where power is more widely distributed.

For more on how the Chinese represented this event, see Russia, China use double veto to block UN draft on Syria by Xinhua, Feb 5 2011.

China's Ambassador Li Baodong (front) votes during a UN Security Council meeting on an Arab-European draft resolution on Syria backing an Arab League plan which demands a regime change in the Middle East country, New York February 4, 2012. Photo: China Daily / Agencies

Against this backdrop it may also be useful to consider this report – China: Rise of Asia signals greater balance (China Daily, Feb 5 2011) China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun at the 48th Conference on Security Policy in Munich February 4, 2012 argues that  ‘the rise of Asia represents greater balance in the international power structure’. He further reinforced the idea that the development of East and West is not a zero-sum game in his speech titled “Working Together for Peace, Stability and Development of Asia.”

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Russia, China veto U.N. draft backing Arab plan for Syria
By Louis Charbonneau and Patrick Worsnip
Source – Reuters, published Sat Feb 4, 2012

(Reuters) – Russia and China vetoed on Saturday a U.N. resolution that backed an Arab plan calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to quit, stalling global efforts to end his bloody crackdown on unrest after hundreds were reported killed in the city of Homs.

The high-level diplomatic setback came after world leaders and Syrian opposition activists accused Assad’s forces of a massacre in a sustained shelling of Homs, the bloodiest episode in 11 months of upheaval in the pivotal Arab country.

Russia and China joined in a double veto of a Western- and Arab-driven resolution at the U.N. Security Council endorsing the Arab League plan for Assad to hand power to a deputy to make way for a transition towards democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Jasmine Revolution, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reuters, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity

Mao namesake believes China will be set free [The Age]

Seeds of change from within? Rightist Mao Yushi under scrutiny here reveals the diverging Chinese mind from the centralised regime. Labelled a ”slave of the West”, a ‘‘race traitor”, and ”running dog” by leftist websites and netizens, Mao is one intellectual convinced China is on the brink of democratic change, his expectation is that ”we will witness reform in the next five to 10 years.”

For a glimpse of Mao Yushi in a video interview, check out Dialogue: Cities on the low-carbon road (China Daily). For the article in question that sparked the outrage, check out the Economist’s coverage – Boundlessly loyal to the great monster (May 26, 2011)

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Mao namesake believes China will be set free
John Garnaut, Beijing
Source – The Age, published November 12, 2011

Liberal intellectual Mao Yushi is relentless in his pursuit of greater freedoms for the Chinese people. Photo: Sanghee Liu

You might think that after enduring a mass hate campaign, including threats of blackmail and brutality, it would be time for an 82-year-old intellectual to consider taking a backward step.

But that would underestimate the fortitude of Mao Yushi, an important mentor for several leading liberal economists, as well as the conviction he shares with thousands of other active Chinese liberals that history is on his side.

”I feel human history keeps progressing,” said Mr Mao, in an interview in his apartment in West Beijing. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Environment, Influence, International Relations, Internet, Jasmine Revolution, Media, Nationalism, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Libya: Litmus Test in China’s Foreign Policy Shift [Alarabiya]

Litmus test indeed; this article is a month old but useful to juxtapose against what’s transpiring today. A failed Libyan state is not a scenario in the interest of China as it is one of China’s major sources of oil (150,000 barrels a day last year, a tenth of Libyan crude exports). It will be interesting to see how Beijing plays around with its non-interventionist soft power principles in foreign affairs to keep this resource and deployment stream alive and kicking. 

In more recent news –China on Tuesday urged Libya to protect its investments and said their oil trade benefited both countries, after a Libyan rebel warned that Chinese oil companies could lose out after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi’ (Reuters, August 23, 2011). Certainly, the matter is compounded by ‘partnering rogue state’ reports such as when ‘China broke UN embargo to sell arms to Gaddafi‘.

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Libya: Litmus Test in China’s Foreign Policy Shift
By TERESITA CRUZ-DEL ROSARIO AND WANG RUNFEI PHILLIE
Source – Alabrabiya, published July 26, 2011

The Libyan case does provide Beijing a momentum to review its foreign policy.

On Mar 17th, Beijing made the unusual decision not to utilize its veto power to let the military strikes move forward. This authorized the establishment of a “no fly zone” over Libya and the use of “all necessary measures” to prevent civilians from being attacked by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi at the United Nations Security Council vote on resolution 1973. Unusual because this marks the first time that China chose not to block Security Council-backed military measures against another government for human rights or humanitarian causes.

Quickly, Chinese newspapers responded critically to what it considered as western military intervention. The People’s Daily and the China Daily, for example, both launched op-eds stating that the intervention further worsened the “humanitarian crisis” in Libya. Yang Jiechi, China’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said China is “deeply concerned” about civilian casualties and called for an immediate ceasefire in Libya on Mar 24th. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Environment, Foreign aid, Influence, International Relations, Jasmine Revolution, Libya, Media, military, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, Trade

China broke UN embargo to sell arms to Gaddafi [Independent]

The title sounds absolute enough, but there seems little by way of actual evidence in this report to suggest so. Huge distortion between the true event and media representation – ‘State-controlled Chinese companies apparently sought to sell arms…according to official documents found in a bin in Tripoli… It was unclear whether these weapons had been paid for or delivered.’ 

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China broke UN embargo to sell arms to Gaddafi
By Portia Walker in Tripoli
Source – Independent, published Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Rebel fighters with arms concealed by regime loyalists in a Tripoli furniture factory. Photo – Independent

State-controlled Chinese companies apparently sought to sell arms to the Gaddafi regime for use against the rebel army despite a UN embargo against such sales, according to official documents found in a bin in Tripoli.

The documents, uncovered by a Canadian reporter, show that members of the former Libyan government visited Beijing in July, when the war against the rebels and Nato was in full swing, and met representatives from arms companies in a bid to buy weapons from the Eastern superpower.

An invoice recovered from Libyan government files revealed lists of $200m (£124m) worth of military equipment, including pistols, weapons and rocket launchers. It was unclear whether these weapons had been paid for or delivered. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Foreign aid, Independent UK, Influence, International Relations, Jasmine Revolution, Libya, Media, military, Politics, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Ten Reasons Why China is Different [Project Syndicate]

Addressing the China doubters: 10 reasons why China is different from what we may commonly assume.

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Ten Reasons Why China is Different
Stephen S. Roach
Source – Project Syndicate, published May 27, 2011

Photo – Project Syndicate

NEW HAVEN – The China doubters are back in force. They seem to come in waves – every few years, or so. Yet, year in and year out, China has defied the naysayers and stayed the course, perpetuating the most spectacular development miracle of modern times. That seems likely to continue.

Today’s feverish hand-wringing reflects a confluence of worries – especially concerns about inflation, excess investment, soaring wages, and bad bank loans. Prominent academics warn that China could fall victim to the dreaded “middle-income trap,” which has derailed many a developing nation.

There is a kernel of truth to many of the concerns cited above, especially with respect to the current inflation problem. But they stem largely from misplaced generalizations. Here are ten reasons why it doesn’t pay to diagnose the Chinese economy by drawing inferences from the experiences of others: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Finance, Foreign aid, History, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Internet, Jasmine Revolution, Media, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, People, Politics, Population, Project Syndicate, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Transport

China must avoid force in Mongolia: Amnesty [AsiaOne]

Find the report here – MONGOLIA: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT 2011 (published May 13, 2011)

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China must avoid force in Mongolia: Amnesty
AFP
Source – AsiaOne, published Sat, May 28, 2011

Photo – Reuters

BEIJING – Leading rights group Amnesty urged China Saturday to avoid a violent crackdown on ethnic Mongolian protesters, who have engaged in five days of protests against Chinese rule in Inner Mongolia.

Chinese authorities have ordered martial law in some areas in Inner Mongolia, in the nation’s north, where thousands have taken to the streets during five days of protests until Friday, the group said in a statement.

The unrest was sparked by the May 10 death of a Mongol herder, allegedly run over by a truck driven by a member of China’s dominant Han ethnic group. Amnesty said the truck driver had been arrested and charged. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Ethnicity, Human Rights, Inner Mongolia, Jasmine Revolution, Media, military, Nationalism, People, Politics, Population, Social, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

China can’t halt history: Clinton [The Age/AFP]

US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue 2011: There seems little the U.S. can do to make China fidgety about its human rights record aymore – ‘deplorable’ and ‘fool’s errand’ have been used, and China’s response seems to be standard these days – Beijing will move at its own speed.

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China can’t halt history: Clinton
Simon Mann, Washington
Source – The Age, published May 12, 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as China’s Vice Premier Wang Qishan looks on during closing remarks during the 2011 US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. Photo: MANDEL NGAN

HILLARY Clinton has described China’s human rights record as ”deplorable” and accused its leadership of engaging in a ”fool’s errand” in trying to thwart the march of history.

The US Secretary of State, in a long interview with Atlantic magazine, touched on whether Beijing feared that pro-democracy protests sweeping the Middle East could reach Tiananmen Square.

”They’re worried,” she said. ”They’re trying to stop history, which is a fool’s errand. They cannot do it, but they’re going to hold off as long as possible.”

Her comments were published as the US and China ended their at times ”testy” talks on a range of economic and strategic initiatives, during which the world’s two biggest economies pledged new co-operation on trade and monetary matters.

Mrs Clinton praised the outcome of the talks. ”We discussed everything, whether it was something that was sensitive to us or sensitive to them, all these difficult issues including human rights,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Jasmine Revolution, Mapping Feelings, Media, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategic Economic Dialogue, Strategy, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

Australia: China warns PM on rights [The Age]

A report according to China’s Global Times states Geoff Raby, Canberra’s top envoy to Beijing saying last month that ‘no country could ever replace China in its importance for Australia’s economy.’  – Australia’s Julia Gillard begins first China visit (Global Times, April 26, 2011) To a large extent, that is true, China is providing Australia’s economic ballast for the more it grows, the more of Australia’s resources it needs. This is probably indicative of China’s self-concept of the weight it now carries around. Pre-Beijing Olympics, an announcement as such would have been rare-r.

For more – check out Redefining Australia-China ties (Global Times, April 22, 2011)

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China warns PM on rights
John Garnaut
Source – The Age, published April 26, 2011

BEIJING has warned Julia Gillard not to press too hard on human rights as she begins her first visit to China as Prime Minister.

Ahead of her arrival last night, an editorial appeared in the state-owned Global Times saying ”the Australian government should at least show basic respect to China”.

It called for Ms Gillard to distance her China policy from that of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, who it said had allowed ideology to ”blow it into a mess”. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Education, Environment, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Jasmine Revolution, Media, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade

UN chief silent on China arrests [AFP/The Age]

With the recent spate of disappearances in China, Ban Ki Moon, who recently failed to ‘raise the case of jailed Nobel Peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo when he met China’s President Hu Jintao in November‘ comes under flak for not making any motion this time. ‘The former South Korean foreign minister has, through his first term as UN secretary general, stressed the role of “quiet diplomacy” for some prickly cases.’ Quiet diplomacy in dealing with China seems to be raising quite a bit of noise – for more on the definition and application quiet diplomacy in conflict resolution, go here.

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UN chief silent on China arrests
Pierre-Antoine Donnet
AFP
Source- The Age, published April 18, 2011

UN chief Ban Ki-moon came out all diplomatic and political guns blazing to defend protesters in the Arab world and civilians in Ivory Coast, but on a new wave of arrests in China: silence.

The former South Korean foreign minister has, through his first term as UN secretary general, stressed the role of “quiet diplomacy” for some prickly cases. But the disappearance of dozens of artists, intellectuals and dissidents in China in recent weeks comes as Ban prepares to announce whether he will seek another five years.

Even if there is no clear rival for the post, Ban knows that he must have the support of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, along with Britain, France, Russia and the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Ai Weiwei, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Communications, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Jasmine Revolution, Media, Nationalism, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Toeing the line [The Age]

A focus on the overseas Chinese as vehicles of Chinese public diplomacy: ‘Australia is home to an astonishing array of locally run Chinese-language media, as well as a seemingly endless stream of content direct from China. Imported People’s Republic of China (PRC) media is gaining penetration and the locally generated content is increasingly converging with it.’ This article highlights that the ethnic Chinese population in Australia tripled to 670,000 tripled in the 20 years to 2006 and how Chinese-language media in Australia is becoming increasingly pro-PRC

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Toeing the line
John Garnaut
Source – The Age, published April 13, 2011

Unidentified men surround a foreign journalist in a Beijing shopping street in February in the aftermath of calls for a jasmine protest, organised through the internet. Photo - The Age

ON FEBRUARY 19, a Chinese-language news portal, the American-registered Boxun, published an anonymous letter calling for protesters to gather in 12 Chinese cities to join the ”jasmine revolution” protests sweeping the Middle East. That website has hardly functioned since.

”Two hours after we published that letter, we received a very serious ‘denial of service’ cyber attack,” says the proprietor of Boxun, who goes by the pen name Wei Shi.

”It’s still happening,” says Wei. ”We have no evidence on who is behind it, but I was told it was by the national security section of the Ministry of Public Security.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese New Year, Communications, Culture, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Internet, Jasmine Revolution, Media, Nationalism, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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