Wandering China

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

Travel: Guilin, Guangxi Autonomous Region

guilin-phantom3.jpg

I recently spent 10 days in China’s Guangxi Autonomus Region as well as Hunan Province. Whilst I have travelled to China many times before, this is the first time I’ve visited with an eye in the sky – a flying camera. Here are some aerial panoramas of my travels there.

The first two panos below are of Guilin’s Karst-filled horizons. The bottom two are villages where China’s ethnic minorities are largely, self-determining. Each travel to China reminds me that China is not a monolithic entity. And that their population of close to 1.4 billion means 1.4 billion stories and agendas, all pretty much on the same roller coaster ride emerging from a century of mistakes they’re not keen to repeat.

In this part of China there are hardly any heavy industries and the sheer number of domestic tourists I met suggests to me again a blindspot the rest of the world is not privy to. China’s domestic market is enormous.

guilin 1 DJI_0041-49 Pano.jpg

guilin 17 DJI_0042-50 Pano.jpg

guilin 19 DJI_0036-43 Pano.jpg

guilin 21 DJI_0008-16 Pano.jpg

Filed under: China Dream, Chinese Model, Mapping Feelings, Tourism, , ,

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.

– – –

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

Greater US-China ties can cut both ways [Straits Times]

A greater engagement between the two countries is helpful, but it is a double-edged sword. Certainly, better understanding between leaders reduces the risk of greater distrust. But it could also expect China to deliver more than it is ready to do. And, not least, as the engagement is strengthened, expectations of each other will increase. Historian Wang Gungwu for the Straits Times.

Interesting times indeed. The Xi-Obama summit sees engagement thrown into the US-China mix while both sides build up respective pivots to contain each other – strategic proxy pieces unveiling in this year alone.

– – –

Greater US-China ties can cut both ways
By Wang Gungwu For The Straits Times
Source – Straits Times, published June 10, 2013

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There is rising alarm at the new capacity of the Chinese to buy their way to influence and potential dominance. That was the way many saw the US not long ago. China is now likely to be seen in the same light. — PHOTO: AP

LAST week’s meeting in California between the presidents of China and the United States won the world’s attention. It was convenient for Mr Xi Jinping to stop by after Mexico and it was significant that the meeting was held on American soil. The chance for the two men to get to know each other better is clearly significant for the two countries’ future relationship. The fact that the two have different interests, however, cannot be wished away.

It has been easy for the popular media in each country to portray the other by highlighting what its peoples expect to hear. For example, many Chinese see America as weakening: its liberal capitalist economy is failing, President Barack Obama and his political opponents are fatally divided, and the military planners are determined to contain China in order for America to remain forever dominant in Asia.

At its core, US national interest leads its leaders to think in Cold War terms. Hence the system of alliances from that period is being kept to ensure that ultimately the communist system in China will collapse as it did in the Soviet Union two decades earlier. Most Chinese believe that this factor explains much of what the US is doing in Asia today.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Finance, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, History, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Straits Times, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Technology, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism, Trade, U.S.

[Full text] Li Keqiang’s article published in Swiss newspaper [China.ORG] #RisingChina #LiKeqiang

The Chinese have much to glean from the Swiss model. For instance – they too share the  ambition of mastering topography. The Swiss proved centuries ahead with mass transit across the most heinous terrain  accomplished already in the late years of the Qing dynasty.

Top of the Jungfrau, often marketed to tourists as the top of Europe – is a plague and bit of Chinese cultural capital (see the locks?) that is revealing.

Top of the Jungfrau - Swiss with the foresight of the Chinese tourism wave back in 2004.

Top of the Jungfrau: Swiss with the foresight of the Chinese tourism wave – back in 2004. 

Switzerland is the first European destination on the list of countries I will visit after becoming China’s premier. In Chinese culture, being “first” always carries symbolic meaning. My choice of Switzerland is in no way haphazard: we have got a few important things to do here. They are all landmark events in China’s opening-up, and they all have something to do with Switzerland. Li Keqiang

– – –

[Full text] Li Keqiang’s article published in Swiss newspaper
published in Neue Zuricher Zeitung
Source – Xinhua, published May 24, 2013

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang published on Thursday a signed article titled “Why Switzerland?” in Neue Zuricher Zeitung, a German-language Swiss daily ahead of his visit to the European country.

The following is the full text of the English translation of the article:

Switzerland is the first European destination on the list of countries I will visit after becoming China’s premier. In Chinese culture, being “first” always carries symbolic meaning. My choice of Switzerland is in no way haphazard: we have got a few important things to do here. They are all landmark events in China’s opening-up, and they all have something to do with Switzerland.

The first job is to secure progress in the building of China-Switzerland FTA. It was during my last visit in 2010 that the two countries agreed to speed up preparations for an FTA. Over the past three years and more, the relevant departments and agencies of the two countries have worked energetically in the negotiations, and reached the final conclusion after nine rounds of talks. With the advent of FTA, Switzerland will become the first country in continental Europe and the first of the world’s top 20 economies to reach an FTA with China, the implications of which will be significant. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Culture, Economics, Europe, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Switzerland, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism, Trade

Chinese travelers the world’s biggest spenders [CNN] #RisingChina

Winds of change five years ahead of schedule in UN forecast.

CNN reports China now matters most as top source of global tourism cash having spent US$100b on outbound tourism.

UNWTO says the volume of international trips by Chinese travelers grew from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012, making it the world’s fastest-growing market.

The Great Wall’s floodgates are open.

– – –

Chinese travelers the world’s biggest spenders
By Karla Cripps, CNN
Source – CNN, published April 5, 2013

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By 2015, 100 million Chinese will travel abroad, a benchmark originally forecast for 2020, according to the UNWTO.

(CNN) — Chinese travelers are now the top source of tourism cash in the world, according to a new report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Boosted by a rising Chinese currency, Chinese travelers spent a record US$102 billion on international tourism in 2012, a 40 percent rise from US$73 billion in 2011.

The results fall right in line with China’s outbound tourism growth over the last 10 years.

The UNWTO says the volume of international trips by Chinese travelers grew from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012, making it the world’s fastest-growing market.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Advertising, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, CNN, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Great Wall, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Medicine, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Population, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism, Trade, U.S.

World’s largest building nears completion [Sydney Morning Herald/AFP] #China #Chengdu #NewCenturyGlobalCentre

Ocean City built by man… just because they can?

The scale baffles and excites the mind as China continues to build its interior, at least a thousand of kilometres from any coast.

For one who has visited the Sydney Opera House on multiple occasions, to imagine that the New Century Global Centre would be able to contain twenty of the Opera Houses stretches the contours of the headspace. I will be visiting Chengdu shortly, and will post an update on the mammoth structure that will feature an artificial sun with an artificial 500m long beach.

– – –

World’s largest building nears completion
AFP
Source – Sydney Morning Herald, published December 28, 2012

Source - Sydney Morning Herald 'CHINA CONSTRUCTS WORLD'S BIGGEST BUILDINGThe 100-metre-high New Century Global Centre in Chengdu is a symbol of the spread of China's boom, 500m long and 400m wide, with 1.7 million square metres of floor space, big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses, according to local authorities.'  Photo: AFP

Source – Sydney Morning Herald ‘CHINA CONSTRUCTS WORLD’S BIGGEST BUILDING
The 100-metre-high New Century Global Centre in Chengdu is a symbol of the spread of China’s boom, 500m long and 400m wide, with 1.7 million square metres of floor space, big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses, according to local authorities.’ Photo: AFP

 

A thousand kilometres from the nearest coast, a towering glass wave rolls over the plains of Sichuan, the roof of what Chinese officials say will be the world’s largest standalone structure.

The 100-metre-high New Century Global Centre is a symbol of the spread of China’s boom, 500m long and 400m wide, with 1.7 million square metres of floor space, big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses, according to local authorities.

By comparison the Pentagon in Washington – still one of the world’s largest office buildings – is barely a third of the size with a mere 600,000 sq m of floor space.

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

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Poverty, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism, , , , , , ,

Visa-free policy opens door to wider opportunities [Global Times]

The Great Wall opens in an outward display of affection: Tourism booster or opening of floodgates while the Chinese still find it hard to apply for visas to foreign countries? Catching up with the demands and frequency of transnational movement, Beijing is to offer foreign travelers 72-hour visa-free entry.

Singapore grants a 96-hour visa-free stay for Chinese travelers, and provides free shuttle bus, free subway pass, taxi guides and even free food coupons to invite foreigners to have a taste of local customs and flavors.

In comparison, China’s rigid 24-hour visa-free transit policy, which was adopted back in the 1980s and had been tainted by a planned economy mentality stressing regulation, appears quite incompetent.

– – –

Visa-free policy opens door to wider opportunities
by Chen Chenchen
Source – Global Times, published September 17, 2012

Beijing will soon offer foreign travelers a 72-hour visa-free entry to boost local tourism and further open up the city, vice mayor Ding Xiangyang revealed Saturday.

The new policy has triggered huge controversy within Chinese public opinion. While some applauded the move, others slammed the authorities for opening the door to more foreigners who may seek illegal immigration, residence and employment, against the background of several high-profile cases involving foreigners in China. There are also voices berating the authorities for granting foreigners “supra-national treatment” whereas Chinese citizens face cumbersome procedures when applying for visas to foreign countries.

Such criticisms are not completely unwarranted, but the problem is that they merely focus on potential risks and challenges to judge whether the policy should be adopted or not. Undoubtedly, all countries with visa waiver projects face risks in entry-exit management. In the wake of the 9/11 attack, the US suspended a visa-free transit policy that had been practiced since 1952. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, global times, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism, , , , ,

China Buys Inroads in the Caribbean, Catching U.S. Notice [New York Times]

New York Times: Beijing Consensus and the ‘The New Bank’s in Town’ charm offensive in the Caribbean region is getting U.S. attention.

Showing gratitude for being on China’s ‘One-China’ side, China hands over a brand new $35 million stadium to the Bahamas as a reward for breaking ties with Taiwan back in 1997; two years after laying the first bricks. China’s relations with the commonwealth have been more than taking root…

Welcome to Baha Mar: Work begins on $3.4bn Bahamas resort… with a lot of help from China (Daily Mail, Feb 22, 2011) – Work has begun on an ambitious China-backed £3.4billion megaresort in the Bahamas that is so big it could boost GDP in the group of tiny Caribbean islands by 10 per cent.

China heads to the Bahamas to build massive US$3.4 billion resort (CNNGo, Feb 22, 2011) – A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Nassau, Bahamas, on February 21, and was attended by ministers of the Bahamas and presidents of Chinese enterprises that are funding and helping to build it.

Check out the Baha Mar’s official website here.

 To what end? One might ask? For oil? The Chinese are currently saying no.
Statement from the Economic & Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy (2012/03/16) – “I was approached by some journalists to confirm that 12 Chinese companies were partnering with a Bahamian company in its bid to drill for oil in The Bahamas. Now I’d like to answer as follows: According the my information, up till today, no Chinese company has applied for drilling for oil in The Bahamas to the competent authorities of The Bahamas government. No Chinese company has discussed the matter with local oil companies. And no Chinese company has come to register its activities in the afore-mentioned area in the Chinese Embassy.” Wang Quanhuo, Chief of the Economic & Commercial Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in The Bahamas.

How about having friends who owes it economic favours just 190 miles away from U.S. territory? That seems to be the underlying message.

– – –

China Buys Inroads in the Caribbean, Catching U.S. Notice
By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
Source – New York Times, published April 7, 2012

Tourists and locals enjoying the view at a restaurant and bar in Nassau, a beneficiary of China's largess. Photo - New York Times

NASSAU, the Bahamas — A brand new $35 million stadium opened here in the Bahamas a few weeks ago, a gift from the Chinese government.

The tiny island nation of Dominica has received a grammar school, a renovated hospital and a sports stadium, also courtesy of the Chinese. Antigua and Barbuda got a power plant and a cricket stadium, and a new school is on its way. The prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago can thank Chinese contractors for the craftsmanship in her official residence.

China’s economic might has rolled up to America’s doorstep in the Caribbean, with a flurry of loans from state banks, investments by companies and outright gifts from the government in the form of new stadiums, roads, official buildings, ports and resorts in a region where the United States has long been a prime benefactor. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Caribbean, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Economics, Finance, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, Infrastructure, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, New York Times, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism, Trade, U.S.

‘VIP’ Chinese Pandas arrive for new life in France [AFP]

Chinese public diplomacy: Pandas as agents of diplomacy and proxies for international relations.

And now, the French get a piece of panda action despite repeatedly ‘hurting the feelings’ the Chinese in recent times. Threatening to snub the Beijing Olympics, the disturbance of the Paris leg of the torch relay by pro-Tibetan militants, and the making of the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen come to mind.

Panda diplomacy has existed as far back as the 7th century AD with Tang dynasty Empress Wu Zetian sending a pair to the Japanese emperor. One thing not reported here is that the Pandas are not ‘given’ for an indefinite period. They’re typically on ten year loans with a standard loan fee of $1m and a provision that any offspring during the loan are property of the PRC.

For more, check out Pat Nixon and Panda Diplomacy.

– – –

‘VIP’ Chinese Pandas arrive for new life in France
AFP
Source – Yahoo News, published Jan 16, 2012

PARIS (AFP) – Two Chinese pandas got a red-carpet welcome Sunday when they arrived in Paris for a new life in a country zoo after Beijing put aside its differences with France and extended the hand of bear diplomacy.

The giant black and white bears — dubbed Very Important Pandas by the French media — arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport from Sichuan province in the “Panda Express”, a Boeing 777 specially decorated with a panda motif.

China’s ambassador to Paris, a French member of parliament and zoo staff were on hand to greet them before the pair were whisked off in a truck with a police escort to their new home among the chateaux of the Loire valley. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, European Union, France, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Panda Diplomacy, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism

Chinese delighted to ride rails on a slow train to Gembrook [The Age]

Victoria: It used to be Japanese tourists keeping Australian tourism doing well; and now the Chinese are playing their part as this report by the Age suggests. This is perhaps one of the ‘accidental’ features of China’s people’s diplomacy – in some cases such as this, locals are happy the Chinese arrive to stimulate the economy.

For more, check out CNN Go’s report on the ‘Top 10 dream destinations for Chinese tourists’ (CNNGO, September 6, 2011) where they share that ‘China is now the world’s fourth-largest outbound travel market and a beam of light for many countries’ sluggish travel industry.’

– – –

Chinese delighted to ride rails on a slow train to Gembrook
by Geoff Strong
Source – The Age, published September 15, 2011

Full steam ahead: Puffing Billy leaves Belgrave yesterday. A big cash injection is needed to keep the tourist attraction on track. Photo: Joe Armao

YESTERDAY’S 2.30 service from Belgrave to Gembrook should have been a sight to gladden a tourism minister’s heart. About two-thirds of Puffing Billy’s passengers were Chinese visitors – snapping pictures and giving each other victory salutes.

Yet as the tiny train pulled out in a cloud of steam and smoke, those left at the station who manage one of the world’s oldest and most successful heritage railways fear bureaucracy could railroad it.

On Tuesday, a report to State Parliament warned that the largely volunteer-staffed organisation was at risk unless it received a substantial cash injection. The claim is for $26 million over five years.

Read the rest of the article here.

Filed under: Australia, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Domestic Growth, Economics, Influence, Lifestyle, People, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism

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