Wandering China

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

The China8 Interviews #6: on international relations with Jonathan Lin #RisingChina #InternationalRelations

china8-logo

Wandering China is pleased to release the sixth of the China8 series of interviews. China8 is where China’s perceived and presenting selves are discussed. This it hopes to achieve by looking closely at both China’s international and domestic coherence of its harmonious ascent. Ultimately, Wandering China hopes these perspectives will be helpful for anyone making sense of depending on how you see it, the fourth rise of the middle kingdom, or sixty odd years of consciousness of a new nation-state with a coherent identity emergent from a long drawn period of ideological strife.

In this edition with Jonathan Lin of http://threetorches.wordpress.com, we talk about Chinese soft power, the Chinese diaspora, and bilateral ties between the US and China. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Bob's Opinion, Charm Offensive, China8 Interviews, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

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

Wang Leehom | Full Address [Oxford Union/Youtube] #RisingChina #Music #WangLeeHom

Bridging a great divide : American-born Chinese all-round entertainer Wang Leehom 王力宏 at the Oxford Union on  Chinese soft power deficit in pop culture, identity and the East/West cross-pollinaton that is nowhere near potential.

Also – Check out Wang Lee-Hom’s homage to his ethnic heritage  with a cover of  龙的传人 (Descendants of the Dragon).

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Wang Leehom | Full Address
Source – Youtube, published April 21, 2013
Download the mixtape here – : http://www.wangleehom.com/OxfordMixtape

Drawing on the lessons of his experience growing up in the US and then migrating East, Wang Leehom talks about Chinese pop music and the ability of music and pop culture to strengthen the relationship between the East and West.

Filmed on Sunday 21st April 2013

ABOUT WANG LEEHOM: The first Chinese pop star and actor to be invited speak at the Oxford Union, Wang Leehom is the perfect ambassador for Chinese pop music and commentator on the emergence of “World Pop,” not only because he has sold millions of albums and consistently been one of the hottest names in Chinese music since his debut in 1995, but also because of the unique journey he has taken from his childhood home of Rochester, New York, to concert stages and movie sets around the world.

Formally trained at Williams College and the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Leehom has written and recorded songs in a large variety of styles, including pop, rap, hip-hop, jazz and R&B, and is also known for his pioneering infusion of traditional Chinese elements and instrumentation into contemporary music. In addition to his successful solo concert tours, the latest of which will bring him to The O2 in London on April 15, Leehom’s diverse musical talents have seen him perform onstage with everyone from Usher to Kenny G to the Hong Kong Philharmonic, with which he appeared as as a guest conductor and violin soloist.

Additionally, Leehom is an acclaimed actor who has starred in the Golden Lion Award-winning “Lust, Caution” from Ang Lee, “Little Big Soldier” opposite Jackie Chan and the self-written and directed “Love in Disguise”. He is also well known for his philanthropic work and environmental advocacy, which were cited as reasons he was the only Chinese recording artist selected as a torchbearer for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

With over 33 million followers, Leehom is among the most followed personalities on Weibo (a Chinese analogue to Twitter). Source – Oxford Union, 2013

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Entertainment, Ethnicity, Greater China, History, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Music, Overseas Chinese, 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, U.S., Youtube

Being Chinese in South-east Asia [Straits Times] #RisingChina #OverseasChinese

Once overshadowed by ethnic branding and stereotypes…

This book disproves the lie that the Chinese cannot be integrated because of their racial exclusivity, their loyalty by default to China, and the cultural insecurity of indigenous South-east Asian societies.

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Being Chinese in South-east Asia

Ethnic community in this region is as deeply embedded as any other today
By Asad Latif For The Straits Times
Source – ST, published Jul 06, 2013

20130708-072506.jpg
An enactment of a Peranakan wedding at the Peranakan Museum. The book’s value lies in extending its analysis of the contribution of the Baba to Singapore and Malaysia, to ethnic Chinese in South-east Asia. — ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Golden Dragon And Purple Phoenix: The Chinese And Their Multi-ethnic Descendants In Southeast Asia
By Lee Khoon Choy
Singapore: World Scientific, 585 pages

AMONG the more than 60 million ethnic Chinese settled around the world, 33 million live in South- east Asia.

Their identity was once overshadowed by the idea that wherever there are Chinese, there is China. That assertion incorporated them into the Sinic sphere of influence, questioned the possibility of loyalty to the lands of their birth, and undermined their claim to the region.

Ethnic Chinese became targets of a deadly stereotype: To be Chinese meant to be clever, rapacious, inscrutable and suspect. They were envied for their industry and thrift, but their business success was imputed to the clannish networks that cornered commercial power. Perceptions of racial exclusiveness tinged with chauvinism threatened to turn them into eternal outsiders in South-east Asia.

The community paid a terrible price for that ethnic branding. It was the chief victim of the Japanese invasion and occupation of Malaya and Singapore during World War II.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Ethnicity, Greater China, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, People, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Uncategorized

Chinese bus drivers in Singapore tossed aside after strike [China Labor Bulletin] #RisingChina #Singapore #OverseasChinese

It appears overseas Chinese workers are spared no quarter in a foreign land with a Chinese-majority complemented by a foreign workforce that takes up >20% of the island’s population –

There are at least one million foreign workers in Singapore, making up about one third of the total workforce. They are primarily employed in construction, transport, manufacturing and services, in other words the low-paid and dangerous jobs Singaporean citizens are reluctant to do.

Check out the 2011 CLB research report ‘Hired on Sufferance‘ here.

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Chinese bus drivers in Singapore tossed aside after strike
Source – China Labour Bulleting, published 3 July, 2013

In November 2012, around 180 Chinese bus drivers employed by the state-controlled Singapore Mass Rapid Transit Corp (SMRT) staged a highly publicised strike over pay and living conditions.

The Singapore authorities adopted a zero tolerance approach to what it claimed was a disruption of essential services in the city and arrested five of the alleged strike organizers. They were later sentenced to up to six weeks in jail before being deported back to China. Another 29 drivers were deported without trial almost immediately after the strike.

China Labour Bulletin Director Han Dongfang talked to one of the 29 deported drivers, surnamed Jiang, soon after he returned to China. They discussed the reasons for the strike, the response of the Singaporean government to it and the harsh reality of being a Chinese migrant worker in a city that sees you merely as a resource to be exploited and discarded when no longer useful.

Please click here to read the entire article at the China Labor Bulletin.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Economics, History, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Law, Mapping Feelings, Overseas Chinese, Singapore, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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

A troubled exile for Wei Jingsheng [Taipei Times, 2003] #RisingChina #Exiles

Thank you to the heads up from HH for the blast from the past.

Exile or not, the thing is, once you’re out of China you lose your voice and effectiveness within China.

If need be, you can also be systemically wiped out in collective memory.

For instance, none of my Chinese students had seen this photo before they came for a class on investigating the myth of photographic truth.

tiananmen-square-1024x686

Will Chen Guangcheng carve out a different fate from Wei Jingsheng?

For more, see NYU and China Aid Fight Over Cheng Guangcheng And The “Human Rights” Turf (Hidden Harmonies, June 2013)

– – –

A troubled exile for Wei Jingsheng
By Dong Cheng Yu 董成瑜 /
Source – Taipei Times Wed, Jan 22, 2003 – Page 8 published online

Five years ago, 17 years of imprisonment for political dissent finally came to an end for Wei Jingsheng (魏京生), one of the leaders of the Chinese democracy movement, and he was able to go to the democratic paradise that is the US.

The US expected an influential Chinese democratic thinker. But Wei is not highly educated, speaks no English and tends to be uncompromising — and unrealistic. He has had problems with the US government, with money and with life in general, and the Americans have lost patience with him.

Wei is still wielding the same sword with which he used to fight the Chinese dictatorship, but on the streets of the US, a land completely foreign to him. He has looked around and concluded that the enemy is no longer just the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and this has caused him to lose direction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Cheng Guangcheng, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Democracy, Education, Exile, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Human Rights, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, 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.

New policies to boost relations [China Daily] #RisingChina #CrossStraitsTies

Toward a Greater China stance.

– – –

New policies to boost relations
By AN BAIJIE
Source – China Daily, published June 17, 2013

Taiwan delegation members take photos at the fifth Straits Forum in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Sunday. Photo by HU MEIDONG / China Daily

Taiwan delegation members take photos at the fifth Straits Forum in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Sunday. Photo by HU MEIDONG / China Daily

The Chinese mainland will continue its “correct policies” to further consolidate peaceful cross-Straits ties, top political adviser Yu Zhengsheng said on Sunday.

Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the fifth Straits Forum in Xiamen, Fujian province. The forum is scheduled to continue through Friday.

“The new leadership will continue to follow the correct policies and dedicate itself to consolidating the political, economic, cultural and social foundation for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations,” Yu said.

Please click here to read the full article at China Daily.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Democracy, East China Sea, Economics, Ethnicity, Government & Policy, Greater China, Ideology, Influence, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Soft Power, Strategy, Taiwan, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Uncategorized

8 things about independent Chinese travelers [Affinity China] #RisingChina #OutboundTourism

Affinity China offers a first-hand account that can also be seen as eight resets to update one’s view of the Chine outbound upper crust. As the author states, her time studying in the US was helpful in more than one way during her travels in Europe.

More about Affinity here.

Cue expiring 20th century sepia-toned postcard-themed notions of Chinese travelers?

Bottomline – despite its steady climb the yuan at today’s rates, is still 5-6 yuan to a greenback. It is not hard to quickly extrapolate where Chinese outbound tourists stand in the Chinese food chain. Especially so if they have the means to flaunt it with the Euro.

The luxury market in a way is at the tip of China’s spear to send feelers experimenting with the best the world has to offer. In a positive light, Where they travel, there is a more synergistic transfer of wealth to host country where common language grows to common cultural respect. Over time the good ones too will enculturate the rest of the Chinese demographic.

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8 things you should know about independent Chinese travelers
LIN XU
Source – China Luxury Network, published month n.d, 2013

Tell us how much we are saving when we shop in your store.
Everyone already knows by now that Chinese travelers love shopping for luxury goods when they travel overseas. Everyone also knows by now that this is because retail prices of luxury goods in mainland China are much higher than Europe and North America. Many of my friends from China travel overseas just to shop. They often complain about the complexity and the long wait at the airport to receive tax returns and all the research they have to do on prices in each different market on the globe before they go shop.

It would be a really effective sales tactic if the brand’s sales representatives saved them the trouble of researching and let them learn how smart a purchase they would have made on items in the store – how much lower the prices are, how the styles are exclusive in your store vs. the counterparts in China. Keep the fact sheet handy for the big spenders. I understand that from a global brand perspective this is probably not a standard sales training tactic on how to sell to Chinese travelers, but the fact is they are already going to great lengths to do this research themselves before they walk into your store. From a customer experience perspective, being greeted by friendly sales staff overseas who can share exactly how much the Chinese travelers would be saving by shopping in their store would help generate more short term sales and help create a long term affinity for the brand.

Do you offer a global warranty and customer service in China for products we buy overseas?
If you present yourself as a global brand in China, you need to ensure your customer service is global too. It really becomes an uncomfortable dilemma for the Chinese traveler when they have to choose between a better priced item that is 20% lower overseas but comes with no warranty once they bring it back home or buying the higher priced item in China with a 2-year standard warranty. Again, from a customer standpoint we don’t understand why there should be a difference. Your brand is a global brand to us and therefore the warranty and service you offer should be too. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Advertising, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Europe, Finance, Food, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Internet, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, U.S.

Asia will resist U.S. efforts to contain China, says Singapore diplomat [Washington Times] #RisingChina #SinoAmerican #Contaiment

Note – article comes from the Washington Times October 2012…

It remains to be seen how Ashok Kumar Mirpuri is faring in the context of a much clearer Asian pivot already in place stirring up potential pincer proxy conflicts in the East and South China Sea.

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Asia will resist U.S. efforts to contain China, says Singapore diplomat
By Ashish Kumar Sen
Source – The Washington Times Sunday, October 14, 2012

Asian nations will resist any U.S. attempts to block the rise of China, as Washington pursues a new strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Singapore’s former ambassador in Washington.

“I think if the United States re-engages Asia to contain China it won’t work because countries in Asia won’t sign on to containment,” Chan Heng Chee said in a phone interview from Singapore.

“We don’t want another Cold War. The United States should not ask Asian countries to choose. You may not like the results if you ask countries to choose.”

Please click here to read the full article at the Washington Times.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Communications, Culture, East China Sea, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Soft Power, South China Sea, 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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