Wandering China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China announces restructuring phase to world and economic leaders.

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

Already on the cards…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hunting tigers: In cracking down on corrupt officials, Xi Jinping must not forget fundamental reforms [Economist] #RisingChina #Reform #Corruption

Another tiger bites the dust? Jiang Jiemin 蒋洁敏 (here for biography) removed as head state asset regulator.

China sacks head of state asset regulator Jiang Jiemin amid graft probe (SCMP, September 3, 2013)

China Probes State-Assets Head as Anti-Graft Push Widens (Bloomberg, September 2, 2013)

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Hunting tigers- In cracking down on corrupt officials, Xi Jinping must not forget fundamental reforms
Source – Economist, published Sep 7th 2013 | From the print edition

20130908-103610.jpg
photo source -AP

A DRIVE against corruption? Or a political purge? Or a bit of both? Outside China, not many people noticed the dismissal of Jiang Jiemin, the minister overseeing China’s powerful state-owned enterprises (SOEs). His charge—“serious violations of discipline”—is party-speak for corruption. Officials at CNPC, a state-run oil giant which Mr Jiang used to run, have also been charged. But in Beijing it fits a pattern. It follows on from the trial of Bo Xilai, the princeling who ran the huge region of Chongqing and was a notable rival of Xi Jinping, China’s president. Mr Xi now seems to be gunning for an even bigger beast: Zhou Yongkang, Mr Jiang’s mentor, an ally of Mr Bo’s, and until last year the head of internal security whom Mr Bo once hoped to replace (see article).

Mr Xi vows to fight corrupt officials large and small—“tigers” and “flies” as he puts it. He has certainly made as much or more noise about graft as his predecessors. If Mr Zhou is pursued for corruption, it will break an unwritten rule that the standing committee should not go after its own members, past or present. And there are good reasons for Mr Xi to stamp out corruption. He knows that ill-gotten wealth is, to many ordinary people, the chief mark against the party. It also undermines the state’s economic power.

But this corruption drive is also open to another interpretation. To begin with, the tigers being rounded up are Mr Xi’s enemies. Mr Bo had hoped to use Chongqing as the springboard to the Politburo’s standing committee. The verdict on Mr Bo, expected any day, is a foregone conclusion. His sentence will be decided at the highest levels of the Communist Party, and it can only be harsh. Party politics, as seen by its players, is an all-or-nothing game, and the stakes are even higher when family prestige and fortunes are at stake.

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

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Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Corruption, Culture, Domestic Growth, Finance, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The Economist

Australia-China trade no longer just a resources story [Australian Financial Review] #RisingChina #Australia

Australian businesses showing the way to embrace China’s economic rise, can the politicians please catch up? Aussie business demonstrating how to leverage – China’s economic rise during its cruise control mode.

Quick points:
1. China is the largest buyer of Oz minerals and agriculture, fourth biggest customer in manufacturing
2. 35% of all Oz exports in q2 2013

Not since the wool boom of 1950 has Australia been so reliant on a single trade relationship. Even Japan in the early 1970s and late 1980s was not as significant, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics…

…In the second quarter of 2011, China surpassed Japan as the number one destination for Australian rural exports. Meat, oil seeds, cotton and dairy products have seen growth of between 50 per cent and 400 per cent over the past three years. Australian wheat exports could reach 4 million tonnes this season, making China the number one buyer ahead of Indonesia

More official figures from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade on Oz trade with China here.

On the other hand, read this for another perspective from Bloomberg.
Here’s the real crisis in Australia

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Australia-China trade no longer just a resources story
By Angus Grigg and Lisa Murray
Source – Australian Financial Review, published August 21, 2013

20130831-080546.jpg
China is not only the largest buyer of Australian minerals, but also the number one purchaser of agricultural products and has surged past Singapore and South Korea in recent years to be the fourth largest buyer of our manufactured goods.  Photo: Bloomberg

Australia has become more reliant on China as a buyer of its exports than any other trading partner in the past 63 years, surpassing the dependence on Britain after World War II.

In the second quarter of 2013, China bought 35.4 per cent of all Australian exports, a new record high and more than double the level of five years ago.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade

China finding superpower path no cakewalk [CNN GPS] #RisingChina #Superpower

It is doubtable Chinese strategists are overly concerned in being drafted in to compete in this imagined superpower arena – largely a battle of capturing the imagination of the majority of mindshare as to who rules the hegemonic roost.

Deng spoke of this in his address to the UN almost thirty years ago. He had a dim view of the intents of superpowers. Sensing it is more a distraction than destination the Chinese have made plain their strategies to consolidate and spread equitable development, right down to sticking to its independent foreign policy of peace (since 2003) for the next five to ten years. At least the Chinese have a working and efficient plan in place. They make it plain to see meaning it is all up for public scrutiny. In rural villages, they are summarized and inscribed onto street notice walls.

It is not hard to see how problems can arise as one gets rich too quickly. I have met those who turned from sheep farmer to Land Cruiser own within the span of a few years. But lest we forget, they are the first generation of exposure to a new social compact. Perhaps the yardstick is better measured how the next line of inheritors of the Chinese legacy fare against their global peers. More and more Chinese leave the motherland to study foreign ways but tellingly, more often than not, Chinese students I meet here look forward or feel compelled to return home.

Overseas, hotspots across the straits and those in the East and South China Sea are down to legacy issues conventional international diplomacy may not be be able to fix. Their outcomes may be limited in shaping or influencing domestic public opinion in the media saturation especially those with access to the digital revolution.

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China finding superpower path no cakewalk
By Richard Wike, Special to CNN
Source – CNN GPS, published August 6, 2013

20130828-111252.jpg
Editor’s note: Richard Wike is associate director of the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. Follow him on Twitter @RichardWike. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

It’s not easy being a superpower, and that’s something China is learning. A few years back, international headlines featured breathless accounts of China’s economic transformation and rave reviews of the Beijing Olympics. But today, news stories often portray a country battling over disputed territories overseas, while struggling at home with vexing issues such as pollution, corruption, and political dissent. China’s power is growing, but as it assumes a more prominent role on the world stage, its global reputation is beset by a host of challenges. Welcome to the travails of being one of the big boys on the block.

While China’s rise has been the subject of considerable debate among elites in recent years, ordinary citizens around the world have also taken note, and for many it’s a troubling development. Pew Research Center polling has shown that a growing number of people see China as the world’s leading economic power. Moreover, people not only see the economic balance of power shifting; many believe that in the long run, China will surpass the U.S. as the overall leading superpower. Across the 39 countries included in a spring 2013 Pew Research poll, a median of 47 percent say China has already replaced the U.S. as the leading superpower or will eventually do so. Just one third think China will never supplant the United States.

But, as the U.S. has often learned, power does not necessarily generate affection. More typically, it creates anxiety. In regions throughout the world, people worry about how a superpower will use its clout and how it will behave in the international arena. For instance, our polling has consistently found majorities in most countries saying the U.S. ignores their interests when making foreign policy decisions – this was true during the George W. Bush era and it remains largely true today.

Please click here to read the entire article at its CNN GPS.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, CNN, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, East China Sea, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Greater China, Hukou, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, Intellectual Property, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S.

Opinion: Coming to terms with China’s rise [Straits Times] #RisingChina #InternationalRelations

An Australian + Singapore perspective on the concert of nations in the contemporary multipolar status quo.

Asad Latif with a book review of Australia National University Professor Hugh Whites’s The China Choice: Why We Should Share Power.

This is a thought-provoking book by a first-rate strategic intellectual. Still, some of White’s observations are questionable. Referring to the Monroe Doctrine – under which America reserved for itself a pre-eminent role in the Western Hemisphere that excluded sharing power with others – he implies that China could have a comparable doctrine in Asia. Asad Latif

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Coming to terms with China’s rise
America has three choices – resist China’s rise, withdraw from Asia, or agree to share power
By Asad Latif For The Straits Times
Source – Straits Times, published August 17, 2013 (subscription required)

From left: Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at the end of the 5th United States and China Strategic and Economic Dialogue last month. Officials from the two world powers met to discuss their countries’ relationship. — PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The China Choice: Why We Should Share Power
Hugh White
publisher Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 191 pages

WAR between America and China is a clear and sufficient danger, the Australian strategic thinker Hugh White warns in this book. Both countries are formulating their military plans and building their forces specifically with the other in mind.

They are competing to garner support from other Asian countries. Ominously, they are viewing regional disputes such as in the South China Sea as terrains of rivalry.

Since a major Asian war could be the worst in history, the United States – the region’s preponderant power today – should avoid the calamity. So should China, which is fast catching up with America economically and capable of translating this power into military clout.

However, unlike the US, China does not see itself as the only great power in the international system. It does not seek to oust America from Asia, as America seeks to contain it in Asia. Hence, it is up to Washington to make overtures to Beijing that would prevent a catastrophic war.

Please click here to access the entire article at the Straits Times online (subscription required). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Government & Policy, Hard Power, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Soft Power, Straits Times, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

Mao promoted perpetual struggle, Deng saved China from Chaos [Forbes] #RisingChina #Leadership #LeeKuanYew

Coming to the age of 90 this year, Lee Kuan Yew recollects the leadership change that kept China from falling apart – and to great effect.

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Mao promoted perpetual struggle, Deng saved China from Chaos
By Lee Kuan Yew
Source – Forbes Asia print edition, published July edition, 2013

20130812-083009.jpg
this is a scan of the article, please click to expand. Source – Forbes, July 2013

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Deng Xiaoping, Domestic Growth, Economics, Forbes, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Maoism, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

China and the Catholic Church by George Yeo [The Globalist] #RisingChina #Parallels

George Yeo examines the legitimacy of leadership in the digital age. He suggests parallels between China and the Catholic world as both institutions come under increasing scrutiny with the rise of social media.

With the social media revolution, the hierarchical structure of leadership in China and the Catholic Church is under attack. Leaders once protected by ritual and distance and sometimes also by hypocrisy and ignorance are now seen as quite human after all.

George Yeo was once Singapore’s foreign minister.

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China and the Catholic Church
by George Yeo
Source – The Globalist, published Aug 1, 2013

20130802-072027.jpg
: Left: President Xi Jinping. Right: Pope Francis. (Photo Credit: The Globalist. CC BY-NC-SA)

The hierarchical structure of leadership in China and the Catholic Church is under attack. In today’s circumstances, it is crucial to be authentic and close to ordinary people. For China and the Catholic Church, moral leadership is an inseparable part of all leadership. The world needs more of that. It is unfortunate, says George Yeo, that China and the Catholic Church are still estranged from each other, given the similar challenges they face today.

On March 14, 2013, both China and the Catholic Church announced their new leaders to the world — Xi Jinping in Beijing and Francis in the Vatican.

In a different period, their accessions would have been described as coronations. But not in today’s circumstances.

Each has responsibility for about a fifth of humanity. China and the Catholic Church are similar in many ways. Both are ancient. Both are run by Mandarins.

In the case of the Catholic Church, according to Toynbee, it was the clergy which inherited the legacy of the Roman Equestrian Order. Both China and the Church make moral claims to leadership. Each sees in the other a natural competitor.

Neither Xi nor Francis was elected by the entire citizenry or congregation. In both China and the Catholic Church, the idea of direct election to the top leadership would have been thought absurd.

Please click here to read the entire article at the Globalist.
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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Culture, Ideology, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Religion, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

How Mao created China’s capitalist revolution [Straits Times] #RisingChina #Reform #Mao

Reform made of sterner stuff… crossing China’s ideological chasm from the old to new.

One of the most interesting and paradoxical explanations originates with Mao, the very person who had such a destructive effect on China in the last decades of his life. By razing the edifice of old China as relentlessly as he did, Mao may have actually cleared the way for Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s subsequent reforms, thereby playing a role in China’s rebirth that Mao could never have imagined while alive.

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How Mao created China’s capitalist revolution
By razing China’s old value system, he cleared the way for Deng’s reforms
By Orville Schell And John Delury for the Washington Post.
Source – printed in Straits Times, published Jul 27, 2013

20130728-081831.jpg
A statue of Mao Zedong in Shenyang, Liaoning province. No leader in 20th-century China was more totalistic and unrelenting in attacking traditional culture than Mao. By force-marching Chinese society away from its old ways, he presented Deng with a vast construction site on which the demolition of old structures and strictures had been mostly completed, ready for reform and opening up. — PHOTO: REUTERS

IN HIS opening remarks at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, an annual meeting between high- ranking United States and Chinese officials, Vice-President Joseph Biden spoke about his first visit to China in 1976, the year that Chairman Mao Zedong died.

“It was already clear then,” he said last week, “that China stood on the cusp of remarkable change.”

That was 37 years ago, when China was still one of the poorest countries in the world – even after a century of experimentation with one formula after another for making the nation wealthy and powerful again.

It was by no means clear back then whether the incipient changes Mr Biden sensed would really take hold. Few imagined that by the early 21st century, China would be in a position to challenge the US economically, militarily and even in the contest for soft power.

So, after spending so many generations mired in a cycle of failed reform and revolution, how did China finally manage to chin itself up into its present period of prolonged economic dynamism?

Please click here to read the entire article at the Straits Times.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Education, Government & Policy, History, Ideology, Influence, Maoism, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

A Rising China Needs a New National Story [Wall Street Journal] #RisingChina #NationalNarrative

A Rising China Needs a New National Story: The WSJ prescribing a need for China to ‘define itself with a more constructive national story’. In doing so, they identify China’s a potent motivator for its continued rise thus far – a dominant hegemonic us and them narrative that resonates across all strata of Chinese, within and outside China.

Still, it is time for China and the more vociferous propagandists in Beijing to move beyond declarations about China’s “one hundred years of national humiliation.” That period has come to an end. The world has changed, China and the West have changed, and a new narrative is necessary for China to achieve its declared aim of equality and a “new type of great power relationship.”

For more, check out Professor Schell in an assessment of China’s long-term plans back in 2006. [running time about 1.5 hrs]

Orville Schell: China Thinks Long-term from The Long Now Foundation on FORA.tv

Also, see the Hidden Harmonies response to the article here.

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A Rising China Needs a New National Story
To move forward, the country must move on from its emphasis on a century of ‘national humiliation’
By Orville SCHELL and John DELURY
Source – Wall Street Journal, published July 12, 2013

Source - Malcolm Greensmith Collection/The Image Works The capture of a Chinese Imperial Dragon Standard at the Battle of Chusan during the First Opium War. Painting by Malcolm Greensmith.

Source – Malcolm Greensmith Collection/The Image Works
The capture of a Chinese Imperial Dragon Standard at the Battle of Chusan during the First Opium War. Painting by Malcolm Greensmith.

Every July, amid festivities and fireworks, the U.S. and France mark their birth as nations. Accustomed as we are in the West to histories that begin with triumph—the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the storming of the Bastille—it may seem strange that China, the fast-rising dynamo of the East, marks the beginning of its journey to modern nationhood in a very different way: with the shock of unexpected defeat and the loss of national greatness.

Many Chinese date the start of their modern history to Aug. 11, 1842, when the Qing Dynasty, by signing the Treaty of Nanjing, capitulated to Great Britain in order to end the disastrous First Opium War (1839-42). It was from this and many other subsequent defeats that China’s political elites—including the most progressive 20th-century reformers and revolutionaries—wove an entire national narrative of foreign exploitation and victimization. Even today, this fabric of ideas continues to hold powerful sway over China’s relations with the rest of the world.

The artifacts of China’s formative moment can be seen at the Temple of the Tranquil Seas, which sits on a narrow slice of land in the northwest part of Nanjing on the banks of the Yangtze River. It was here, in the oppressive heat of August 1842, that Chinese negotiators were forced to sit with their British counterparts and hammer out the crushing terms of the treaty. The negotiating chamber in the old temple has now been restored to something resembling its original state. A nearby exhibition covers the painful history of “China’s unequal treaties,” which imposed territorial concessions and onerous indemnities that remained in force until the 1940s.

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

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Education, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, 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, U.S.

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