Wandering China

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

China uses pickle index to track migrant flows [Straits Times/AFP] #RisingChina #InternalMigrantFlows

榨菜 (Zha Cai) literally means pressed vegetables. The now ubiquitous pickle that hails from Sichuan is not only a popular dish amongst migrant workers in China – it’s quite the staple with many Chinese worldwide too.

Also, see

‘Pickle index’ measures changing tide of Chinese migrant workers (South China Morning Post, August 14, 2013)

Sceptical of often unreliable provincial statistical data, China’s chief economic engineers have turned to a large, radish-like mustard tuber to measure the country’s urbanisation rate.

Consumption patterns of the preserved vegetable, a staple dish of migrant workers, helped researchers track labourers’ movement within China, an unnamed staffer of the planning department of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told the Economic Observer.

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China uses pickle index to track migrant flows.
AFP
Source – Straits Times print edition, published Aug 14, 2013

20130815-071012.jpg

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Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Food, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Modernisation, People, Population, Poverty, Reform, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

More than minerals | Chinese trade with Africa keeps growing; fears of neocolonialism are overdone [Economist] #RisingChina #Africa

Other powers have had their chance to shine to help the cradle of civilisation stand up. Unfortunately some find it hard to divorce the  imposition of ideology from economics. China seems to be able to do this better and true to form of the lingering narrative of middleman – its focus remains on trade and investment. Also see – China’s independent foreign policy of peace.

Africans are far from being steamrollered. Their governments have shown a surprising assertiveness. The first person to be expelled from Africa’s youngest country, South Sudan, was a Chinese: Liu Yingcai, the local head of Petrodar, a Chinese-Malaysian oil company and the government’s biggest customer, in connection with an alleged $815m oil “theft”. Congo kicked out two rogue commodities traders in the Kivu region. Algerian courts have banned two Chinese firms from participating in a public tender, alleging corruption. Gabonese officials ditched an unfavourable resource deal. Kenyan and South African conservationists are asking China to stop the trade in ivory and rhino horn.

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More than minerals | Chinese trade with Africa keeps growing; fears of neocolonialism are overdone
NAIROBI print edition
Source – The Economist, published Mar 23rd 2013

Source - Eyevine, in the Economist

Source – Eyevine, in the Economist

A GROUP of five tourists from Beijing passes low over Mount Kenya and into the Rift Valley in their private plane before landing on a dusty airstrip surrounded by the yellow trunks and mist-like branches of fever trees. They walk across a grassy opening where zebras and giraffes roam, snapping pictures while keeping an eye out for charging buffaloes. When they sit down at a table, they seem hungry but at ease. “Last year I went to the South Pole with some friends,” says one of two housewives, showing off iPhone pictures of a gaggle of penguins on permafrost.

Source - Africa Research Institute, IMF

Source – Africa Research Institute, IMF

Chinese are coming to Africa in ever greater numbers and finding it a comfortable place to visit, work in and trade. An estimated 1m are now resident in Africa, up from a few thousand a decade ago, and more keep arriving. Chinese are the fourth-most-numerous visitors to South Africa. Among them will be China’s new president, Xi Jinping, who is also going to Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo on his first foreign outing as leader.

The origin of China’s fascination with Africa is easy to see. Between the Sahara and the Kalahari deserts lie many of the raw materials desired by its industries. China recently overtook America as the world’s largest net importer of oil. Almost 80% of Chinese imports from Africa are mineral products. China is Africa’s top business partner, with trade exceeding $166 billion. But it is not all minerals. Exports to Africa are a mixed bag (see chart). Machinery makes up 29%.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Economist. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, BRIC, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Corruption, Crime, Economics, Economist, Education, Ethnicity, Finance, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Migrant Workers, Modernisation, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Population, Poverty, Precious Metals, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, The Economist, Trade

The Fastest Changing Place On Earth (BBC) #RisingChina #Urbanisation

The BBC with a ground up close up of what it means to ride China’s irresistible wave of land reform.The China model has a lot of mouths and expectations to feed. Much of its interior still requires some work – turning 500 million more rural folk into city folk is a great task at hand.

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This World tells the story of White Horse Village, a tiny farming community deep in rural China. A decade ago, it became part of the biggest urbanisation project in human history, as the Chinese government decided to take half a billion farmers and turn them into city-dwelling consumers.

It is a project with a speed and scale unimaginable anywhere else on Earth. In just ten years, the Chinese Government plan to build thousands of new cities, a new road network to rival that of the USA and 300 of the world’s biggest dams.

Carrie Gracie follows the lives of three local people during this upheaval, filmed over the past six years.

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Technology, The Chinese Identity, Youtube

The largest building in the world: New Century Global Center in Chengdu [GoChengdoo.com/Youtube] #RisingChina #SizeMatters

Because size matters; and indoor river rafting and beaches set new standards to boggle the mind… What has get rich quickly done to the frugality of the Chinese? Actually, probably nothing much to the function though the form may have changed- opulence has been a hallmark of Chinese civilisation and this looks set to continue. In a sense this is another demonstration why the Chinese need peaceful development – to fill these coffers.

Completed in April 2013, the New Century Global Center has 1,760,000 sqm indoor space.

When in Chengdu earlier this year, I had to go see with my own eyes. Despite the intense fog that channels through the winding river system there were moments where it briefly cleared, its stature was well… go see for yourself! It was out of the far extents of my peripheral vision standing at the carpark, and I had to backtrack a fair distance to get this shot.

Also – do check out the gallery below of  awesome under-construction photos.

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Portraits from the Chengdu Global Center: Constructing the world’s biggest building

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Grand playhouse capacity: 2,000
Theater capacity: 1,000
Concert hall capacity: 1,000
International conference center: 10,000 square meters
Showroom: 12,000 square meters
Contemporary art gallery: 30,000 square meters
Artificial beach: 5,000 square meters (400-meter “coastline”
World’s largest LED: 150m x 40m
River rafting: 500 meters
Lobby: 10,000 square meters and 65 meters tall
Number of on-site five-star hotels: 2
Total number of deluxe suites: 1,000
Central business tower: 720,000 square meters
Number of (“international famous brand”) elevators: 244
Number of parking spaces: 15,000

Figures available from – GoChengDoo.com

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Civil Engineering, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade

Closer to China by degrees [Guardian] #RisingChina #Australia

Australia looking to shift its sights – how to milk rising China’s next phase of growth. By becoming a confluence of China’s booming middle class hierarchy of needs, perhaps?

The Aussies have taken big steps to show the world it is possible to grow up and smell the roses. There is good business to be done and they know how to do it. The White Australia policy is still in recent memory yet the Chinese have been here since the gold rush days in the 1800s.  Nevertheless for some perspective – Chinese make up  4% of the Australian population in one of the planet’s sparsest spaces with 2.8 people per km/2.

Fast forward 2013, Australia is smart enough to manage both the US and China without greatly offending the other – yet milking both abundant strategic and economic reward from both.

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Closer to China by degrees
As Chinese growth slows, Australia needs to focus on exports in which it may not always enjoy a natural advantage
by Greg Jericho
Source – Guardian, published Monday 24 June 2013

As China's economy slows, Australia needs to focus on education and tourism to draw spending from the country. Photograph: AAP

As China’s economy slows, Australia needs to focus on education and tourism to draw spending from the country. Photograph: AAP

Recent news from China and America has caused some panic around the world and should reinforce the view that the Australian economy of the early 2000s will not come back, regardless of who is in power after 14 September.

The tremors started in America and flowed to China, and in some ways the news out of both was the same. In essence it boiled down to both nations saying that the government could not carry the economy forever.

The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, let it be known that if the US economy improves and if the unemployment rate goes below 7% it will start to think about easing its monetary policy by cutting back on buying $85bn worth of bonds each month. He also noted that later the Federal Reserve might think about raising interest rates. Much later – like perhaps two years’ time!

That such news resulted in the US dollar appreciating against all currencies gives you an indicator of how skittish markets can be. This was an announcement of things that might happen if things keep going well. So you can imagine how edgy they would get when news comes out about things happening now – bad things.

And this brings us to China.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Ethnicity, Finance, Government & Policy, Hard Power, History, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Migrant Workers, Modernisation, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, The Guardian, Tourism, Trade

This is Shanghai [Rob Whitworth/Vimeo] #RisingChina #Timelapse

0-4000 skyscrapers in three decades: no mean feat.

Timelapse of Shanghai’s skyscrapers from that many angles and vantage points – no mean feat either.

That this was accomplished with local Shanghainese synergy – bonus feat!

A wonderful example of cross-pollination significant in painting the narrative that it’s not all just us and them.

To understand the city, the team carried out rigorous urban exploration. In the words of JT “we walked, walked and walked, the Jane Jacobs way”. Weibo, China’s main social media platform was used to ask local Shanghainese people to share ideas of different vantage points and what they thought were the over-riding characteristics of the city. Stealth and curiosity were required to find and gain access to rooftops and locations. It became addictive for the team discovering breath-taking vantage points of the city. There was always an adrenaline rush upon reaching the top of a different building to see the vast urban jungle of Shanghai….

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This is Shanghai
by Rob Whitworth
Source – Vimeo, published April 2013

In 1980 Shanghai had no skyscrapers. It now has at least 4,000 — more than twice as many as New York. ‘This is Shanghai’ explores the diversities and eccentricities of the metropolis that is Shanghai going beyond the famous skyline.

Photographer Rob Whitworth and urban identity expert JT Singh joined forces combining deep city exploration and pioneering filmmaking. ‘This is Shanghai’ is a roller coaster ride seamlessly weaving between the iconic, sparkling and mismatched buildings of the financial district travelling by boat and taxi touring Shanghai’s impressive infrastructure whilst glimpsing some of the lesser-known aspects of Shanghai life such as the lower stratum areas or the stunning graffiti of Moganshan road. And of course there is the opportunity to try some of the vast variety of street food and Shanghai’s most popular homegrown delicacy, the pan-fried pork dumplings, the shengjian bao. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Civil Engineering, Climate Change, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Nationalism, People, Population, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Video

China’s 20 year plan to pay 8 trillion to urbanize 500 million people by 2034 [Next Big Future] #RisingChina #Urbanisation

For more on the macroeconomics agency of the Chinese State Council, go to the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China’s (中华人民共和国国家发展和改革委员会) English online presence.

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China’s 20 year plan to urbanize 500 million people by 2034
Posted by Brian Wang
Source – Big Next Future, published May 19, 2013

After extensive consultation, co-ordinated by the National Development and Reform Commission, the long-term plan for China’s urbanisation is being finalised. Behind all the complex issues is one fundamental question: how will it be paid for?

Here the ballpark costs of $400 billion per year are suggested to use increased taxes and temporarily increasing the budget deficit from 2% of GDP to 5% and redirecting funds from rural land acquisition.

The costs of urbanization could be reduced by leveraging the factory mass produced skyscraper technology of Broad Group. China’s Broad Group is building the Sky City One using factory mass production. It is to likely completed after 90 days of assembly late in 2013 and the projected cost for the building is RMB 4 billion (US$628 million). Sky City will boast 220 floors, 1 million square meters (11 million square feet) of floor space and 104 elevators, according to the preliminary plans. It will cost $63 per square foot and house 30000 people in 4500 apartments. Five hundred Skycities would cost $314 billion (and costs could go down by having the follow on buildings being learned to be built for less). They would house the 15 million people each year that are urbanized. They would also have all of the schools, offices, hospitals and other facilities that were needed.

Please click here to read the full article at Next Big Future

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Uncategorized

Chinese bus drivers sentenced after going on strike in Singapore [Channel News Asia] #Simgapore #China

It is the first strike in living memory for many Gen X and after Singaporeans… the first in close to three decades. The full force of law was really only going to be the one outcome, whether this was a strike by migrant workers, or by locals despite its long running history as Chinese-majority satellite for cross-pollination. Objectively, industrial action is virtually unheard of in the island state, and it was really until I lived overseas in recent years that i understood and experienced what it meant.

Nevertheless, this evokes questions on the narrative of a cohesive Greater China.

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Chinese bus drivers sentenced after going on strike in Singapore
By Liz Neisloss, CNN
Source – CNN, published February 26, 2013

20130303-083415.jpg
Activists demonstrate against the bid to punish striking drivers at the Singaporean consulate in Hong Kong on December 5, 2012.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Four Chinese nationals are sentenced in Singapore to several weeks in prison
They were protesting low wages and poor living conditions
They did not follow Singapore’s law requiring a 14-day notice before a strike

Singapore (CNN) — In a case that brought to light issues of unfair pay and poor living conditions among foreign workers in Singapore, a court sentenced four Chinese nationals to several weeks in prison for instigating an “illegal” strike in late November.

The four, who had pleaded guilty, were led from court in handcuffs to begin their terms in Changi prison immediately.

In announcing their sentence, Judge See Kee Oon said it was necessary so as “not to embolden others.”

Please click here to read the rest of the article at its source.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Channel News Asia, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Economics, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Migrant Workers, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Int’l shortage sees Chinese nurses in high demand [Global Times] #China #Health #CharmOffensive

Chinese nurses as a next phase in the Chinese public diplomacy toolbox as global interdependence increases.

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Int’l shortage sees Chinese nurses in high demand
By Lin Meilian
Source – Global Times, published February 25, 2012

20130226-083408.jpg
Source – Global Times An instructor inspects nurses’ outfits during a training session at a training base of the PLA General Hospital in Beijing. Photo: CFP

In the near future, maybe as soon as September, elderly people in Germany will be treated by the first batch of foreign nurses sent from China, greeting them in German with a Chinese accent.

German labor authorities and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce signed an agreement at the end of last year to send about 150 Chinese nurses to work in German care homes, aiming to help plug a shortfall of medical personnel in the country.

“It is an exception to our usual recruitment as our partner in such a specific field this time, China, is not a European country,” said Beate Raabe, press officer of the Federal Employment Agency, the largest service provider in the German labor market.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at its source.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Economics, Education, Germany, Health, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Throwing open the doors #GlobalTimes #China #MigrantWorkers #Hukou

In some ways, this is an example of China feeling for the stones to cross the river. The elite are aware it needed to improve its compact with the bedrock of the Chinese revolution, its resilient and often vocal rural peasants. They are after all, a massive part of China’s 180,000 or so mass incidents.

That they are given a direct and growing semblance of contribution toward policy making, is a step forward. How this is enhanced by the new leadership remains to be seen.

Hukou restrictions have become less of a barrier when moving around China for work. Its impact on the wider socio-economic net at popular host cities is also significant though. Access to quality healthcare, welfare is a matter of application; given limited trained human resources, not infrastructure nor intention. I learnt this from a well travelled migrant worker from Yunnan.

Together rapidly growing cities have the propensity to grow out of hand as I saw on my visits. The pollution generated by the sum total of all that growth, has generally not been well managed. Clean water is increasingly hard to find. To compound that, China’s empty forts of ghost cities will be filled soon enough. after all it only just passed the mark of 50% urbanisation. A positive however, is its pervasive use of solar power all around.

The rise of public opinion as agent for change cannot be understated. The alternative voice online is now a rather powerful force. The government is learning to respond. As its consciousness as the fourth estate takes hold, its increasingly self reflexive and critical domestic media, should not be overlooked either.

As China rises it may be rather important to keep an eye on how it rejuvenates itself internally. Standing up rather quickly from a long slumber, what it does to keep its internal qi healthily flowing will make all the difference in its ability to pull off the China Dream.

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Throwing open the doors
By Liu Linlin
Source – Global Times, published January 25, 2013

20130128-090359.jpg

Source – Global Times: Deputies to the Xi’an People’s Congress, Shaanxi Province, raise their hands Wednesday to approve the reports including the work report presented by the city government. Photo: CFP

Cheng Junrong has come a long way since his peers, mostly migrant workers, voted for him into the National People’s Congress (NPC) as a deputy five years ago. Over the last five years he has analyzed amendments to laws and proposals to various government agencies, but at the end of last year he retired, having reached the mandatory five-year limit.As a migrant worker, he has lived through the difficulties imposed by the household registration, or hukou system, and he’s witnessed what it’s like to receive unfair payments caused by problems with labor laws.

When he saw his suggestions included as amendments to the Labor Law, he was encouraged and handed over more proposals to improve the working conditions of migrant workers, one of the most disadvantaged groups in the country.

“The construction of modern society needs a huge amount of migrant labor. But if their welfare or payments can’t be settled, there will be huge crisis in the future,” Cheng said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Environment, Government & Policy, Green China, Human Rights, Influence, Infrastructure, Internet, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity

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