Wandering China

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

China orders no extravagance during holidays [Xinhua] #China #Corruption #Guanxi

Xinhua: Not leaving the grey areas of corruption to chance prior to the holiday periods – a top-down directive clearly stating how public funds can not be used.

First established in 1927, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection 中国共产党中央纪律检查委员会’s current Secretary is Wang Qishan – China’s current ‘troubleshooter’,  one of the seven in the latest Politburo Standing Committee.

More on the Ministry of Supervision here. It may come as a surprise for those not in the know this is a ministry with a history of female leadership. More on Ma Wen here.

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China orders no extravagance during holidays
Editor – Wang Yuanyuan
Source – Xinhua, published December 27, 2012

BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) — The disciplinary watchdog of the Communist Party of China (CPC), as well as the government’s supervisory authority, have called for efforts to halt extravagance during the upcoming holiday season.

The use of public funds to purchase cigarettes, liquor and gifts for government officials should be strictly prohibited, according to a circular issued by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the Ministry of Supervision on Thursday.

Public spending on extravagant banquets, travel, entertainment or sporting activities will also be prohibited during the New Year holiday, as well as February’s Spring Festival, the circular said.

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

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Corruption, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Ethnicity, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, xinhua, , , , , , ,

Integrity is key to success, not prescription drugs [Global Times] #China #Education #Ratrace

Global Times: on integrity over prescription drugs.

The socio-cultural reality of China is that each student competes against a cohort of about 10 million peers each year, at least at the gaokao level.

That also necessarily means double that number by way of vested interests of parents, but it does not stop there. Multiply that by the attention of grandparents and relatives, and it may be unlikely integrity would be the forefront of their thoughts, nor the trump card these families would hold close to their chest.

The grand narrative of integrity may be a necessary step forward but how will it be en-culturated without losing its competitive edge is another point of contention.

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Integrity is key to success, not prescription drugs
by Yu Jincui
Source – Global Times, published December 22, 2012

Source - Global Times, 2012. Illustration by: Peter C.Espina

Source – Global Times, 2012. Illustration by: Peter C.Espina

Loaded down with heavy stress, Chinese students compete with each other fiercely on various exams and competitions, their parents often anxious to offer help. When exams are approaching, some Chinese parents meticulously prepare balanced diets, a variety of health care products and even prescription drugs that are believed to help supplement the exam-takers’ energy and improve their memory. It seems they never think that their devotion to their children may in fact be poisonous.

Recent media reports on China’s first known case of a teenage athlete taking performance-enhancing drugs have aroused public attention over the issue of teenagers abusing drugs. According to China’s anti-doping agency, Liu Yuxiu, an athlete from a high school in Longkou, Shandong Province, tested positive on a drug test during the national track and field sports meet in August.

If you are shocked at this, thinking that doping scandals, often emerging during major international sports events, could never plague young students and see it merely as an isolated case, think again. A worrying trend here in China is that stimulant drug abuse is gradually becoming a common practice on the nation’s campuses. Not only teenage athletes, but also ordinary students, from primary school to college, are following the trend out of pressure to perform on exams and competitions. In most cases, parents are the drug providers.

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

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Education, Environment, global times, Government & Policy, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , ,

#Chinese Migrant bus driver strike stuns #Singapore [The Australian/AAP]

The Australian: The first real strike in a quarter century involving 5% of critical transport services for an extremely population dense island-nation just over fifty years old, does seem to tell Singapore that leveraging on China’s rise may prove to be an increasingly delicate affair.

Contrary to opinion floating around, strikes are not illegal but rather, one must be extremely in the know and meet multiple conditions to pull one off.

This sure has angered many Chinese on the mainland and Singaporean Chinese too – it is a complex issue with a tremendous back story. It will however, surely do little positives for the projection of national image and public diplomacy between the only two independent Chinese-majority states with Chinese leadership at the helm in the world.

Indeed, Singapore has been a known transnational Chinese social sphere for the good part of three centuries. Sun Yat Sen organised his thoughts and finances in Singapore to trigger the Chinese revolution a century odd back – will this spawn a chapter between the Chinese of Singapore and China?

For more, check out Why Chinese drivers went on strike in Singapore at Xinhua, December 8, 2012. Also, for evidence the Chinese are keeping a pulse on their sojourning workforce and consequent international relations with the host country – see China hopes Singapore secure rights of arrested drivers: ministry at Xinhua on December 7, 2012. J

Just how these events unfolding will impact bilateral ties remains to be seen – more recently more workers went on strike at Singapore’s docks. More on that in a coming article.

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Migrant bus driver strike stuns Singapore
AAP Agency
Source – The Australian, published December 6, 2012

FOUR Chinese immigrant bus drivers accused of inciting Singapore’s first labour strike in 26 years have been granted bail in a case that highlighted growing social friction caused by an influx of foreign labour.

A fifth Chinese driver has already been sentenced to six weeks in prison even though prosecutors said he was not an instigator of the strike, which was called to demand equitable pay.

Walking off the job in protest is almost unheard of in Singapore, and the swift prosecution following the November 26-27 strike was a clear sign the government of this strictly-enforced country will not brook any disobedience from its work force. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Finance, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Australian, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Transport, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Xi Jinping urges to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics #China [Xinhua/China Daily]

State media sowing the seeds of the guiding ideology that will have Xi’s name on it. The long and short of it? No giant leap, but a continuation of winning a new victory for socialism with Chinese characteristics.

He told the Party members to keep in mind that the Party’s overall approach is to promote economic development tuned together with political, cultural, social, and ecological progress, and that its general task is to improve the people’s livelihoods, make the country more prosperous and achieve the great renewal of the Chinese nation. (Xinhua, November 19, 2012)

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Xi Jinping urges to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics
Xinhua
Source – China Daily, published November 19, 2012

BEIJING – Members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee gathered on Saturday to study and exchange opinions on the spirit of the 18th CPC National Congress which concluded on November 14.

The meeting was presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

In his speech at the meeting, Xi called for efforts to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, as it is the theme of the report to the 18th CPC National Congress, which was delivered by Hu Jintao on November 8. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Communications, Corruption, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, xinhua, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Xinhua Insight: China never to copy Western political system #China [#Xinhua]

Not unexpected – Chinese declare they will never copy Western political system (though they have learnt and experimented with it at length for centuries), but are openly acknowledging they may draw from other successes in the region that would work in cohesion with their socialist political system.

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Xinhua Insight: China never to copy Western political system
By Xinhua writers Meng Na and Mou Xu
Source – Xinhua, published November 12, 2012

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — Anyone trying to keep track of the development of China’s political system must have got an unequivocal answer at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Hu Jintao solemnly declared in his report at the opening of the congress that “we will never copy a Western political system.”

“We should place high importance on systemic building, give full play to the strength of the socialist political system and draw on the political achievements of other societies,” Hu said in the report. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, 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, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

John Garnaut: He Di’s Building of China’s enlightenment #China [The Age]

The Age: He Di 何迪 had a hand to play in China’s early financial interactions with the wider world. More recently, he was a major force behind major transactions signaling China’s firm participation into the global marketplace with the successful IPO of COSCO, Bank of China, China Merchants Bank and China Merchants Securities amongst others. The advocate for a worldview shift of Chinese statecraft has his chief concern rooted in that China seems to be returning back down the old road of addiction to the power of central planning.

‘If you test how many Chinese people really want to return to Mao’s period, to become North Korea, I don’t believe it’s 1 per cent of them…’

On challenges of Chinese leadership today ‘…They were educated by the party, the old doctrines of Marxism, they lack growth experiences at the grassroots. They are really engineers who still want to enjoy the dividends from the previous-generation leadership.”

More on the Hong-Kong registered Boyuan Foundation where He Di is Director-General here. Boyuan is an NGO established in 2008 that takes a mid- and long-term view of the Chinese macro-economy, society, and international relations.

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Building China’s enlightenment
He Di wants Chinese people to live in a world of liberty, democracy and free markets.
by John Garnaut
Source – The Age, published November 12, 2012

Middle row, second from left: Taken on April 20, 1960, He Di’s father, He Kang, sits next to then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, on right. He Di is directly below his father. Source – The Age, 2012

TWO years ago China’s most successful investment banker broke away from his meetings in Berlin to explore a special exhibition that caught his eye: Hitler and the Germans: Nation and Crime.

In the basement of the German History Museum He Di watched crowds uneasily coming to terms with how their ancestors had embraced what the curators had described as the Nazi promise of ”advancement, prosperity and the reinstatement of former national grandeur”.

The UBS banker found the exhibition so enthralling, and so disturbing for the parallels he saw developing back home, that he spent three days absorbing everything on Nazi history that he could find. On returning to China he sharpened the mission statement at his think tank and redoubled its ideological crusade. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Finance, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade, Xi Jinping, , , , , , , , , , ,

Election methods of 18th CPC National Congress approved #China [Xinhua]

Xinhua: A peep into how Chinese leadership refreshes itself as 247 members at the 18th CPC 中国共产党全国代表大会 will rubber stamp China’s leadership transition and its calling card for the next ten years. What next after scientific development?

Also, see World party, political leaders congratulate China on CPC congress (People’s Daily/Xinhua, November 10, 2012)

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Election methods of 18th CPC National Congress approved
Xinhua
Source – Xinhua, published November 10, 2012

Hu Jintao presides over the second meeting of the presidium of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 10, 2012. Photo from Xinhua, Lan Hongguang

BEIJING, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Election methods of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) were approved at a presidium meeting held here Saturday afternoon.

The presidium of the 18th CPC National Congress held its second meeting in the Great Hall of the People. The meeting was presided over by Hu Jintao.

The presidium decided to submit the draft resolutions on the report of the 17th CPC Central Committee, the work report of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and the amendment to the Constitution of the CPC to delegations to the congress for discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, History, Hu Jintao, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, Xi Jinping, xinhua, , , , , , , ,

China’s mystery man faces struggle at home and abroad [CNN]

So, Obama will be at the helm of the US again. Now attention naturally turns to China.

Sometimes it is what seems apparent.

China’s obaque system will be intensely under scrutiny. But it’s always been apparent what the outcome of the Chinese leadership transition would look like – with Xi arguably at the helm. The Chinese will soon gather for their interpretation of a ‘democratic’ vote at the highest level to install the cogs in the wheel with an outlook of ten years in their sights.

Depending on how one is informed, the role of media in shaping opinion and worldviews continues to hold substance today.

Here we know to also understand what the Chinese think.

What is apparent to the average Chinese media consumer, on a traditional diet of top-down state media, to provocative provincial media, to fact that the humble village outcry that could prompt government intervention numbers close to 200,000 recorded mass incidents annually.

Add on the fact that by numbers they are the world’s biggest virtual network, with a technological equivalence of dominant western network technology. Yet beyond the obvious ‘parallelling’, the Chinese are known for their diligence to copying and modelling, for anyone who investigates Chinese art, thought, or training. They have the world’s largest and most participative public sphere online and that means the world’s largest workforce is also the most socially networked, an important skill for the twenty-first century. A place where cultural differences are less apparent, nor important. This is something perhaps a wider body of the rest of the world should learn too –

I am fortunate for this analysis by my father. He is one who has well-experienced the ups and downs of fledgling free market of China by doing business across the east coast of China for a period of five years. He maintains an extensive network of business contacts in China who keep him in tune with how China is from within.

He starts by simply stating, everything is already decided before Nov 8, 2012.

To the Chinese, he unflinchingly feels, domestic outcry is their biggest concern.

The loss of markets – meaning loss of jobs will be the real reason for the bigger outcry (quite similar to the U.S. at the present moment – where employment in a time of massive economic restructuring are overarching).

So they will toe the line, the goal is simply not to lose markets and making customers uncomfortable. People need to remember China itself is huge customer with 1.3 billion domestic market. Anyone who has travelled to China as a tourist can see the overwhelming (not all) domestic tourists at first hand would see this. Therefore, economic downturn or not, so under adverse economic conditions, all will come to terms (i think).

He goes on to talk about its social structure, fast reconfiguring to the twenty-first century, but not quite there yet. A good fit is still some way away.

He feels they would not mind losing thousands of unhappy well-informed middle-class every now and then. That said, they definitely do not want to have millions of those who lack means to get out to wreck havoc from within. Simply put, their main task: making sure majority of 1.4bln have the basic needs, continue to sell hope and they continue to rule.

So, for a further glimpse into catches a glimpse of the amount of pubic sphere discourse on the US elections on Chinese TV… Here’s a top five list of great Chinese current affairs programmes for a peek into their abundant, internal discourse.

1. 文茜的世界週报 http://www.ctitv.com.tw/newchina_video_c134v103030.html – ‘Wen Qian: the purpose of her show is to help taiwanese & chinese speaking audience keeping up with china’

2. 一虎一席谈 http://phtv.ifeng.com/program/yhyxt/ – ‘usual phoenix tv mission of reaching worldwide chinese, the show always show different views’
3. 解码陈文茜 http://phtv.ifeng.com/program/jmcwq/ ‘quite similar to Wen Qian’s taiwan show’
4. 风云对话 http://phtv.ifeng.com/program/fydh/ – Yuan Feng: 阮 is very well respected by international political watchers’

5. 社会能见度 http://phtv.ifeng.com/program/shnjd/– ‘going in depth into china social ills’

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China’s mystery man faces struggle at home and abroad
By Stan Grant
Source – CNN, published November 6, 2012

Beijing (CNN) — Xi Jinping is a mystery. So much so that the presumed leader-in-waiting of the world’s most populous nation could vanish for more than a week without any explanation being given.

In September this year, Xi disappeared. It sparked a flurry of rumors: he’d had a heart attack, suffered a stroke, was injured swimming, and had even gone on strike.

Xi eventually re-appeared and normal transmission was resumed. But should we be so surprised? Barely an analyst I’ve spoken to can say they really know him, or what type of leader he would be. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, CNN, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wary of Future, Professionals Leave China in Record Numbers [New York Times]

Headlines and titles may inadvertently seem skewed as it frames thought. Like a mental snapshot, it can oversimplify or at its worst, misdirect (in the wider ecosystem of political rhetoric, this looks part of the inadvertent Sino-US leadership transitional exchange of shaping mind-share). I think if one reads on, this article can be taken rather positively.

The recent movement of these professional, educated Chinese across the world can further help build bridges where mass media glosses over. In others ways, it is not a bad thing it is an educated, professional group that carries Chinese thought extending outwards. Where most of all the previous batches who left largely by push factors or war, the case now is markedly different.

In Singapore’s case, the overarching narrative, its Chinese are largely descended from craftsmen and coolies. As Lee Kuan Yew once pointed out – in response to Deng’s question if China would ever succeed looking at how Singapore successful hybridization of central power with Confucian meritocracy at the forefront and free market capitalism with its socio-cultural tradeoffs.

Indeed, on closer examination, the numbers today who move due to socio-economic pull factors are still small in percentage terms. As reported by this article, even fewer (perhaps few would admit) regard political reasons as the chief factor.

Over millennia of movement the number of overseas Chinese number at 55million . That cumulative number makes it as large as most medium sized countries so they are not insignificant either. Change your lenses change your sight.

Perhaps looking at the bright side can be a decent point of view. I know a few Chinese aged between 19 and 35 now residing in Australia. We have been on camping trips far out in the bush carrying our own water without much fuss, Others I know, by competing against in futsal teams  in the local leagues, many others love dressing up for the Melbourne Cup day.

Some may find it hard to empathize the competition in China because they may not have set foot in China, or met the Chinese on the ground. 9 to 10 million compete for a spot in university a the college examinations each year. Those who don’t make the grade fight for very little. A 2 to 3000RMB monthly salary, hardly enough to cover rent for a decent sized rental home is norm for those striking out.

Have personally known a few bright hardworking of China’s digital natives who just couldn’t make the grade despite sometimes seemingly overboard preparations. Such is their reality. Many have integrated well here, Melbourne thrives with a former mayor who is Chinese, and many live just like the Aussies do adding to the multicultural social fabric down under.

In monetary terms, they automatically make six times the amount due to the strong Aussie dollar with far less working hours with plenty of time for family and other pursuits. Many of them make efficient workers who get things done so promptly it is hard for work to keep up. This is not representative across the board of course. For every one that excels there potentially is another who just wants to get by. But I digress.

In return as well, for those who work with or live in communities with Aussies, they become a real life conduit for Aussies to understand China in its own terms too. Its cuisine has proven immensely popular here with all 8 major branches of Chinese cooking represented those from all corners of China proving extremely popular – right down to Sichuan hotpot, a regular in winter for many. It then moves onto the locally adapted local favorite the dim sim (does not exist in real Chinese culinary palates I think), to the classy Beijing Hutong themed Xiao long bao restaurants.

I meet many of them at vineyards, organic farms, strawberry farms and fishing spots. About half happily drive the Aussie-made Holden because it feels right to drive a locally made car in Australia. Just the tip of the iceberg. I think it is a great thing. Overseas Chinese who mingle well with host environments naturally make vehicles of the wider Chinese culture and national identity. It also shows like that others, there are those who seek out a balanced life too where work doesn’t dominate all their headspace.

More importantly, they help others see we can all get along, share other ideals and worldviews. Interestingly too, in the field of diasporic identities, that overseas Chinese end up being all too aware of their own Chineseness is common across most other diaporic groups too – from the Greeks and Italians I know here – they celebrate their identity with zeal and vigour.

Not all assimilate or adapt of course. It would oversimplify to say all enjoy life here. Many of them feel the pace of life is a little too slow. I have also known a fair few who can’t wait to return, but do so at least, with a broadened outlook and first hand experience of another way of living.

They return with a first hand glimpse of a rather liberal, western society where the channels to exercise one’s right to voice, its deferences shows other paradigms exist successfully elsewhere. When they enter the work force, they are valued for their more globalised outlook, with a practical experience of using English in school and at work, the culture, history, norms and processes. And this is celebrated in the mass media there in game shows – this comes with Chinese subtitles only.

And 非你莫属 is just one of many state funded shows out there. It features distinctly American style sports commentary and a debate that involves mentors, employers, the host and the job seeker. They reserve the right to say no at the end of their final round offers, and negotiate outside the show. And its the wide range of jobseekers on offer, from the clerk to driver, to partner or director raking in six figure RMB a month.

Cultural capital has been identified as a pillar industry and the production values are apparent, it has taken care to weed out what was deemed low culture reality tv and today the focus on more productive shows like this is ramping up. This employment-seeking show emphasises the need for more internationally minded employees in their midst. This episode talks about it is unavoidable now China has risen that it needs an upgrade in a globalised mindset. It actively advertises for Haigui 海归; pinyin: hǎiguī on foreign television. A fair few of them seem genuinely proud in returning to contribute.

This is highly recommended and it gives a glimpse of how the Chinese are democratising on their own terms, in their unique own way. The adaptations from American and European game shows are obvious at the onset, but their process are far more intricate and involve far more depth of discourse) that see many returning candidates have the right to take questions, present competently, then proceed into the final rounds where they exercise the right to eliminate and haggle salary with interested employers.

As a student of media, it is important to discern the agenda setting potential of media. Although the political economy of the mass media no longer dominate the spectrum of messages as they used to, transnational media corporations remain nevertheless powerful.

As such, we consume, at best, selected, well-informed, well intended, rationalized textual and visual constructions of the macro, but never of the real thing until all five senses are fed. Even then, sometimes the right messages don’t go right through. A lover’s tiff for example, where misreading of body language triggers a chain of cascading misunderstandings is one most can relate with. The primacy of first hand experience is equally,  important to get a full picture – to try to make the best of the information available, to more accurately inform opinion.

The movement is not all one way. With economies stagnant in the West and job opportunities limited, the number of students returning to China was up 40 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year. The government has also established high-profile programs to lure back Chinese scientists and academics by temporarily offering various perks and privileges. Professor Cao from Nottingham, however, says these programs have achieved less than advertised.

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Wary of Future, Professionals Leave China in Record Numbers
by Ian Johnson
Source – New York Times, published October 31, 2012

Lee Yangang and his wife, Wang Lu, emigrated to Sydney, Australia, from Beijing last year, saying they felt insecure in China. Source – New York Times, 2012

BEIJING — At 30, Chen Kuo had what many Chinese dream of: her own apartment and a well-paying job at a multinational corporation. But in mid-October, Ms. Chen boarded a midnight flight for Australia to begin a new life with no sure prospects.

Like hundreds of thousands of Chinese who leave each year, she was driven by an overriding sense that she could do better outside China. Despite China’s tremendous economic successes in recent years, she was lured by Australia’s healthier environment, robust social services and the freedom to start a family in a country that guarantees religious freedoms.

“It’s very stressful in China — sometimes I was working 128 hours a week for my auditing company,” Ms. Chen said in her Beijing apartment a few hours before leaving. “And it will be easier raising my children as Christians abroad. It is more free in Australia.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, New York Times, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade, Yuan, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Singapore a model for Chinese democracy [Sydney Morning Herald]

Each leader of the People’s Republic is remembered by an overarching, guiding ideology.

Mao Zedong left his legacy with Mao Zedong Thought 毛泽东思想; Deng Xiaoping with the Deng Xiaoping theory 邓小平理论. Then came Jiang Zemin and the Three Represents 三个代表 in 2000; and Hu Jintao with Scientific Development outlook 科学发展观 in 2007 that for the first time, saw public diplomacy and soft power . To be leader of 1.3 billion requires more than just clout, it seems an updated grand narrative as calling card in line with the previously intricately marked out stages of development have to be in place. What will Xi Jinping’s be? The West contends China will become more democratic. Will it, must it?

The Sydney Morning Herald is suggesting, along with some others that the Chinese intend to use Singapore as a model for Chinese democracy. They do share some interwoven characteristics, meritocracy, authoritarian capitalism, one-party rule, and Confucian-value systems indoctrinated through textbooks and norms. But they only extend as far as socio-political constructs and institutions go. Culturally however, they are not the same.

Singapore’s former foreign minister George Yeo puts it best –

On why Singapore, a young nation of just over five million people, is of interest to China, an ancient civilisation with 1.3billion people, he says: “For China, Singapore is sometimes seen as a bonsai, but one with genetic similarities.” S’pore is ‘only one bonsai that China looks at’ in the Straits Times, November 1, 2012

In any case, most Chinese I speak to have an answer for this – Singapore is too small to be a model for the whole of China. While there are bits and pieces the Chinese have been gleaning from the island-state, is the Singapore model scalable upwards to 1.3 billion?

The piece in Study Times explains the attraction for China’s leaders. ”Since 1968, the People’s Action Party has won consecutive elections and held state power for a long time, while ensuring that the party’s high efficiency, incorruptibility and vitality leads Singapore in attaining an economic leap forward,” writes Song Xiongwei, a lecturer at the Chinese Academy of Governance. Sydney Morning Herald, October 30 2012

“The Singapore model has been admired by most Chinese leaders and Xi might see Singapore’s success as the dreamed accomplishments of his rule in coming decade,” said Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University. South China Morning Post, October 23, 2012

See also – a rather engaging religious analysis of the Hartcher article here – Singapore’s “Democracy” – The Lessons for Applying the Gospel?

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Singapore a model for Chinese democracy 
by Peter Hartcher
Source – Sydney Morning Herald, published October 30, 2012

Illustration: John Shakespeare. Source – Sydney Morning Herald, 2012

China’s incoming president, Xi Jinping, will take power formally in three weeks, yet he’s given no public hint of his plans. But he gave an intriguing glimpse to the Westerner he’s spent more time with than any other.

After a total of 10 days together across a year or so, Xi left the US Vice-President, Joe Biden, with one clear impression. He does not think that China’s political system can continue indefinitely, according to people Biden has briefed.

But while the inheritor of the one-party dictatorship does not think it will last in its current form, neither does he have a clear idea of what should replace it, Biden said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Influence, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Xi Jinping, , , , , , , , , ,

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Wandering China: Facing west

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Travels in China's northwest and southwest

Wandering Taiwan

Wandering Taiwan: reflections of my travels in the democratic Republic of China

Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Click here to view the Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Slideshow reflection on Deng Xiaoping's UN General Assembly speech in 1974. Based on photos of my travels in China 2011.

East Asia Geographic Timelapse

Click here to view the East Asia Geographic Timelapse

A collaboration with my brother: Comparing East Asia's rural and urban landscapes through time-lapse photography.

Wandering Planets

Creative Commons License
Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at Wanderingchina.org. Thank you for visiting //
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