Wandering China

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

Central govt spent 5.64 trillion yuan last year [Global Times]

The Global Times takes a look at central government spend in 2011.

Total spend = 5.64 trillion yuan

Fiscal reserves = 5.13 trillion yuan

Deficit = 650 billion yuan

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Central govt spent 5.64 trillion yuan last year
By Yang Jingjie
Source – Global Times, published June 28, 2012

The central government spent 5.64 trillion yuan ($886 billion) last year, with sectors directly related to people’s livelihoods seeing the highest growth and the military recording a slightly slower growth in its expenditure.

In a final report on the implementation of the 2011 budget to the ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), Finance Minister Xie Xuren said the central government’s fiscal revenues for 2011 reached 5.13 trillion yuan.

Meanwhile, the central government spent 5.64 trillion yuan last year, resulting in a fiscal deficit of 650 billion yuan. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, global times, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Politics, Social

Taiwanese vote in key presidential election [BBC]

One of two key political changes that China needs to watch closely whilst its own leadership sees a process of renewal. The US elections follow sometime later in the year but for now, Taiwan has to be in its sights. Threat to China’s notion of stability if the KMT fail to regain power? Very possibly so.

On another note, I do not fully agree with the article’s claims that China seeks unification, at least not right now. It is unlikely China would want to absorb a nation of millions of democracy advocates and a developed free media industry when right now, it has already stated clearly its intent to moderate Westernization in the mainland.

For more, do check out Polls open for Taiwan leadership election (China Daily, Jan 14, 2012)

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Taiwanese vote in key presidential election
Source – BBC, published Jan 14,2012

Mr Ma is seen as having a slight advantage in the polls, but the race is tight. Photo – AP

Voters in Taiwan have been going to the polls to elect a new president, in a contest that will shape the island’s key relationship with China.

The current President, Ma Ying-jeou, is seeking a second term, but is facing a strong challenge from Taiwan’s opposition leader, Tsai Ing-wen.

Mr Ma has greatly improved ties with China, but Ms Tsai says his approach could endanger Taiwan’s sovereignty. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Taiwan, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Foggy weather needs clear understanding [Global Times]

Breakthrough: Another case for a rethink of the allusion of tight-fisted media control? This commentary comes from the English (International) version of the Global Times, tabloid of the official Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.

‘No one can neglect air pollution, but the condition in China is not mature enough to make eliminating air pollution its top goal in social development… It will probably be a main theme of China’s modernization at a higher level.’

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Foggy weather needs clear understanding
Source – Global Times, published October 31, 2011

Nine provinces and cities in northern China, along with Beijing and Tianjin, experienced heavy fog Sunday, and discussions over air pollution were ignited. The air pollution measurement taken by the US Embassy in Beijing was circulated online and became proof of the severity of air pollution in China’s capital.

It is necessary for the media to report the facts accurately and the government should be cooperative in avoiding confusing information and public overreaction.

First, it is a fact that air pollution in most areas with a dense population in China is severe. Solving air pollution is an important part in eliminating environmental pollution. Solving the problem requires time and breakthroughs won’t emerge soon. The public should know and accept this fact. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, global times, Infrastructure, Media, Modernisation, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, New Leadership, People, Politics, Pollution, Public Diplomacy, Quotable quotes, Reform, Resources, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

50 million Chinese left homeless by developers [The Age]

Social divison: Looks like China’s leaders know where the work is cut out if they are to achieve more equitable wealth distribution and social equilibrium. Especially so if 60 million more farmers stand to lose land over the next two decades.

The problem is just going to get bigger as China becomes increasingly urbanised. Backtrack to 1982-86 just a little after opening up, we were looking at 37%. By the end of 2010, we were looking an urban population at almost 50% or 665 million. The target is 75% by 2030 (that’s a staggering 1 billion in urban areas) with 20,000 to 50,000 skyscrapers on the drawing board to support that push.

Arguably this reversal of its core revolutionary value may reveal – there is some way to go before the Chinese sensibilities of its socialist market economy learns how to manage the domestic socio-economic cons of engaging with the wider capitalist free market.

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50 million Chinese left homeless by developers
Bloomberg
Source – The Age, published October 25, 2011

Bulldozers razed Li Liguang’s farmhouse four years ago after officials in the Chinese city of Loudi told him the land was needed for a 30,000-seat stadium.

What Li, 28, says they didn’t tell him is that he would be paid a fraction of what his plot was worth and get stuck living in a cinder-block home, looking on as officials do what he never could: Grow rich off his family’s land.

It’s a reversal of one of the core principles of the Communist Revolution. Mao Zedong won the hearts of the masses by redistributing land from rich landlords to penniless peasants. Now, powerful local officials are snatching it back, sometimes violently, to make way for luxury apartment blocks, malls and sports complexes in a debt-fueled building binge. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Chinese Model, Corruption, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Modernisation, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

90 years, 80 million strong [Straits Times]

As China sets up scaffolding to allow for a stable ascent back into a great power, Wang Gungwu makes a poignant remark here as he ponders on the CCP’s 90th anniversary; and it is a point I fully agree with – ‘China today has returned to the leading position in the world that it enjoyed at the end of the 18th century. But that powerful position did not save the country then from succumbing too quickly to division and ruin.’

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90 years,80 million strong
China’s Communist Party needs fresh ideas to engage the young
by Wang Gungwu
Source – Straits Times, published July 15, 2011

Students painting logos and slogans for the Chinese Communist Party’s 90th anniversary celebrations on a wall along a street in Beijing last month. The party, which has prided itself on the strength of its ideological appeal, will need fresh ideas to bring it into its 10th decade. To do so, it needs to attract and motivate talented young people and induct them into its socialist heritage. Photo – ST

THE Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrated its 90th birthday on July 1. There is joy but also soul-searching in China. Many are incredulous that the party can claim “four generations under one roof” and is 80 million strong.

The party insists that people are its primary concern. It even goes further, in arguing that China’s future and progress depends on the people. Thus, it is the Chinese people who make the country admired or feared. They can make China an advanced country that evokes admiration and respect. Or they can attract attention to themselves as being concerned only for wealth and power, at once self-centred and arrogant.

The emphasis on support from the people was part of the party’s earliest history. The CCP began in 1921 with men of ideas who were inspired by the Russian revolution four years earlier. The Chinese had an earlier revolution in 1912, but that faltered badly, with its ideas criticised for being incoherent and its leaders hobbled by elitist tradition. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communist Party 90th Anniversary, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, Strategy, 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 and America: Rising Dragon, Bleeding Eagle [American Thinker]

A diagrammatic comparison between the ‘bleeding eagle’ and ‘rising dragon’. Such visualizations are becoming commonplace. Indeed, America’s decline seem to be in the forefront of mass media and citizen journalism, but I beg to differ. America still possesses still the largest talent and most diversified pool to get problems fixed, and to think ahead. Whilst China is growing yes, but it is also leaking some of its best once they are exposed to the West’s ‘still-more-appealing’ alternative paradigms of thinking about individuality and statehood.

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China and America: Rising Dragon, Bleeding Eagle
By Anurag Maheshwari
Source – American Thinker, published May 22, 2011

China’s return as a superpower concomitant with rapid American decline is evoking a variety of sentiments around the world. While Latin America, Africa, and Greater Middle-East are largely welcoming this shift in power with varying degrees of enthusiasm, and an aging and dissipated Europe is watching it with bemused anxiety, in America it is causing an epic dilemma.

This dilemma is rooted in the impending demise of America’s reign as the world’s leading economy for last 120 years, the titanic scale and speed of China’s ascendancy, and the vistas and vulnerabilities of Sino-American security and economic intercourse. The international repercussions of this evolving strategic equilibrium are yet to fully unravel until China attains the highest plateau of its power.

To put it in context, consider how rapidly the balance of power between China and America has altered over the last 20 years. At the end of 1991 when Soviet Union had formally dissolved, United States stood as the sole colossus on global stage. Its economy was then 6 times that of China. In 2010, China’s continental economy was 70% that of US, and by 2016 — in 5 years — China (including Hong Kong and Macau) will rush past United States to become the leading economic power. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: American Thinker, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Confucius, Corruption, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Ethnicity, Finance, Greater China, Human Rights, Inflation, Influence, International Relations, Media, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

Political tension high ahead of China congress [Channel News Asia / AFP]

To reform or oppress? That seems to be the two prevailing attitudes in China. The 3,000 strong National People’s Congress is set to gather in a week-long meeting as the government seeks to outline its priorities for the year. Topping the list of concerns? High inflation and perceptions that the income divide is getting wider.

“It’s called ‘red-eye disease’. It’s jealousy – they hate how much money others are making.” China analyst Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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Political tension high ahead of China congress
Source – Channel News Asia, published March 1, 2011

BEIJING: China’s parliament opens its annual session this week in the most tense climate in years, after unrest in the Middle East highlighted a tinder box of social issues that have jangled nerves in Beijing.

The National People’s Congress, which is made up of about 3,000 delegates, has limited power and its week-long meeting serves more as a rally exalting the ruling Communist Party than a forum for real parliamentary debate.

But it is used by the government to outline its priorities for each year via an address by Premier Wen Jiabao at the start of the session on Saturday. Wen gave a preview last weekend — and offered a clear sign of official unease. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Channel News Asia, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Finance, Greater China, Influence, Media, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Egypt and China: the Difference is Leadership and Economic Results [ChinaUSFocus.com]

With reference to the Jasmine Revolution that is reshaping the Middle East, here is another poignant piece on why an Egypt will not occur in China. It focuses by identifying the two key issues that led to the downfall of the Mubarak regime – leadership and money;  a common thread that seems to be cascading throughout the Middle East.

For more, check out these earlier postings – Call me if there’s a revolution (Al Jazeera, February 21, 2011) and Change of Political Weather (Straits Times, February 18, 2011)

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Egypt and China: the Difference is Leadership and Economic Results
Fred S. Teng
Political & Social Development
Source – ChinaUSFocus, published February 25, 2011

The recent eruption of protests and violence in Egypt and the resignation of its President, Hosni Mubarak, lead some pundits to predict that the same movement will happen in China. However, China’s circumstances are entirely different and a similar outcome is unlikely.

Along with India and Greece, Egypt and China are two of the oldest civilizations in the world. However, both the Arab Republic of Egypt and the People’s Republic of China only established their current governments about 60 years ago. How did these two governments conduct their affairs? Why are the events that caused the collapse of the Mubarak regime not likely to happen in China?

The main issues that surrounded the downfall of the Mubarak regime appear to be the leadership and the economy. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, ChinaUS Focus, Chinese Model, Corruption, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Influence, International Relations, Jasmine Revolution, Mapping Feelings, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, New Leadership, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

Premier sets 7% growth target [China Daily]

Judging from my experience at the Shanghai World Expo last year, it is not a surprise that sustainable growth is a key driver for the 12th 5-Year Plan (2011-2015). The war cry is no longer about just ‘recklessly’ getting rich first. Also, the quotes below (orange infographic to the right) offer a poignant glimpse into the heart of Premier Wen Jiabao.

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Premier sets 7% growth target
By Hu Yuanyuan China Daily
Source – China Daily, published February 28, 2011

Environment ‘must not be sacrificed for rapid development’

Premier Wen Jiabao chats with netizens at xinhua.net.cn on Sunday. It is the third consecutive year that the premier has conducted an online talk prior to the annual sessions of the top legislature and advisory body, scheduled for early March. Pang Xinglei / Xinhua

BEIJING – An annual growth target of 7 percent over the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) has been set to ensure sustainable development, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday.

“We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption,” Wen said during an online chat with Internet users.

The target was lower than the 7.5 percent set for the previous five years, when the country’s economy actually grew at an annual rate of around 10 percent from 2006 to 2010.

China’s GDP growth reached 10.3 percent last year. Most economists expect growth to be around 9 percent this year, and slightly less in 2012.

Increased efforts will be made to improve people’s living standards, and the government will adopt new performance evaluations for local governments to hasten economic restructuring.

The criterion for assessing their performance is “whether the public are happy or not … but not by how many high-rise buildings and projects he had been involved in,” Wen said.

He also promised to strengthen efforts to contain increases in prices of food and other commodities, which have stoked inflation. Maintaining price stability has always been a priority as “rapid price rises have affected people’s lives and even social stability”, he said, adding adequate grain supplies and abundant foreign exchange reserves would help curb inflation. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Inflation, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Media, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade

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