Wandering China

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

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

Pope urges end to conflicts in Christmas message [BBC]

Relations between the Vatican and China – they broke formal diplomatic ties half a century ago – have recently reached their lowest point in years.

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Pope urges end to conflicts in Christmas message
Analysis by David Willey – BBC News, Rome
Source  – BBC, published December 25, 2010

Pope Benedict said the Christmas message of peace and hope was always new, surprising and daring. It should spur everyone towards a peaceful struggle for justice.

He dived straight into a list of the world’s main trouble spots, singling out the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and China. In the Middle East, the Vatican fears further attacks like the one on a Catholic cathedral in Baghdad in October that killed 52 people.

In China, Communist authorities have been forcing Catholic Bishops to attend events organised by the state-backed “patriotic church” which does not recognise the Pope’s authority. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Culture, Domestic Growth, People, Population, Religion, Social, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, The Economist

The next emperor [The Economist]

There are some poignant issues raised as the People’s Republic of China moves into its fifth generation of leadership – China is not as monolithic as it seems, but they are getting better at presenting themselves that way. Second, that the idea of China’s princelings taking charge will not bode well in engaging the world. Whatever it is, casting warning signs two years ahead of the take-over can also mean we have more time to critically evaluate what this means.

Xi was ranked in the Time 100 list in 2009 and was 4th in British magazine ‘New Statesman’  in their annual survey of ‘The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010’. Reputation he may have, but as the article points out, we do not know much about his character. Will he be the future leader of just China or Greater China? It is time to find out.

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The next emperor
A crown prince is anointed in a vast kingdom facing vaster stresses. China is in a fragile state
Source – The Economost, published Oct 21st 2010

“WITH you in charge, I am at ease,” Mao Zedong is supposed to have told his successor, Hua Guofeng. It proved a disastrous choice. Mr Hua lasted a couple of years before being toppled in 1978. A decade later succession plans once again unravelled spectacularly, against a backdrop of pro-democracy unrest. Only once, eight years ago, has China’s Communist Party managed a smooth transfer of power—to Hu Jintao. Now a new transition is under way. The world should be nervous about it for two reasons: the unknown character of China’s next leader; and the brittle nature of a regime that is far less monolithic and assured than many foreigners assume.

The man ordained to take over Mr Hu’s twin roles as party chief in 2012 and president the following year is hardly a household name. On October 18th Vice-President Xi Jinping was given a new job as vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, which Mr Hu heads. This is a position for leaders-in-waiting. The portly son of one of Communist China’s founders, little known to the outside world until a few years ago, Mr Xi is preparing to take the helm of a country with the world’s second-biggest economy and its biggest armed forces—and which is in the midst of wrenching social change.

Quite how he has risen so high in a party that, for all its growing engagement with the world, remains deeply secretive, is unclear. Mr Xi’s appointment was eerily similar to the recent anointing of Kim Jong Un in North Korea: he too was made vice-chairman of a military commission after a closed-door party conclave, without public explanation. China’s leaders at least offered a sentence on Mr Xi’s appointment, albeit at the end of an arid 4,600-character communiqué after the fifth party congress (see article). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Corruption, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Influence, International Relations, Media, New Leadership, People, Politics, Strategy, The Economist

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