Wandering China

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

Special Report: China’s military hawks take the offensive #China #Hardpower [Reuters]

The world will need some time to get used to increased expressions of Chinese freedom of speech: If anything, this marks the end of coherent, centralised  propaganda that some may be used to and discounts the fact that China is after smart power today, combining hard and soft power to build comprehensive national leverage. China was always about 1.3 billion narratives and now the multipolarity within are increasingly seeing the light of day.

“There appears to be a discord between this peaceful rise language and the comments from senior PLA officers,” said Li of the U.S. Naval War College. “There is no doubt about that.”

Will it result in unilateral action by these ‘hawkish’ military leaders? Unlikely. The compact between the role chairman of the Central Military Commission and the PLA, set in stone since the Deng days, is too strong to break.

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Special Report: China’s military hawks take the offensive
By David Lague
Source – Reuters Hong Kong, published January 17, 2013

'An aerial photo shows the Chinese marine surveillance ship Haijian No. 51 (L) cruising as a Japan Coast Guard ship Ishigaki sails near Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea in this file photograph by Kyodo September 14, 2012.' Source - Reuters

‘An aerial photo shows the Chinese marine surveillance ship Haijian No. 51 (L) cruising as a Japan Coast Guard ship Ishigaki sails near Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea in this file photograph by Kyodo September 14, 2012.’
Source – Reuters

(Reuters) – It was supposed to be a relaxed evening for a group of senior international military chiefs. Gathered at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, they had changed out of uniform for dinner and discussion.

China’s Lieutenant-General Ren Haiquan took the podium in a room overlooking the Yarra River last October 29 and began diplomatically enough. But as he neared the end of his speech, he went on the offensive.

“Some people” had ignored the outcome of World War Two and were challenging the post-war order, he told counterparts from 15 other nations. It was a pointed reference to Japan’s claim over islands in the East China Sea that Beijing insists are Chinese. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Communications, East China Sea, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, South China Sea, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , ,

Designation of China’s group army no longer secret to public [People’s Daily]

Giant leap ahead in terms of transparency or timely reveal in a period when China feels a need to respond to the threat of containment?

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Designation of China’s group army no longer secret to public
Edited and translated by Li Xiang
Source – People’s Daily Online, published January 16, 2013

Source - Changjiang Daily, Illustration by Global Times

1. the 65th Group Army in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province
2. the 38th Group Army in Baoding, Hebei Province
3. the 27th Group Army in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province
4. the 16th Group Army in Changchun, Jilin Province
5. the 39th Group Army in Liaoyang, Liaoning Province
6. the 40th Group Army in Jinzhou, Liaoning Province
7. the 54th Group Army in Xinxiang, Henan Province
8. the 20th Group Army in Kaifeng, Henan Province
9. the 26th Group Army in Weifang, Shandong Province
10. the 12th Group Army in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province
11. the 1st Group Army in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province
12. the 31st Group Army in Xiamen, Fujian Province
13. the 42nd Group Army in Huizhou, Guangdong Province
14. the 41th Group Army in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
15. the 14th Group Army in Kunming, Yunnan Province
16. the 13rd Group Army in Chongqing
17. the 21st Group Army in Baoji, Shaanxi Province
18. the 47th Group Army in Lintong, Shaanxi Province
Source – Changjiang Daily, Illustration by Global Times

The designation of China’s group army is no longer confidential information to the public as of Jan. 15, 2013, reported by CCTV news Tuesday.

“How do snipers practice shooting with great precision in such severe coldness. The reporter has witnessed snipers from the 39th Group Army in the Shenyang military area having military drill under the severely cold condition”, CTV military news reported. This is the first time that the designation of a group army was exposed to the public.

Last night, CCTV military channel has announced through Weibo that,The designation of group army is unveiled as of today”. According to the information, the designation of PLA group army can be used to the public instead of referred to as “a group army” This act indicates ” more open presentation of Chinese army” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, global times, Government & Policy, Hard Power, Influence, military, Nationalism, People's Daily, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , ,

Xi questions propaganda chief’s handling of censorship row #China #Xi #Censorship #SouthernWeekly [Asahi Shimbum]

Asahi Shimbum: Japanese coverage on the Southern Weekly censorship matter.

Could this really be the case of the manufactured end of media censorship as the comment below suggests?

I think the reality and culture of the Chinese press is that it has been dynamic for a while now. The southerners have been known to be more vocal and discerning of central power – time spent in Guangdong province watching the news there will yield clues for anyone interested. Today it extends further up north – any time spent on Beijing’s local television current affairs programmes will reveal a growing number of self-analytical programmes. It’s even more apparent when one factors in Greater China, with Hong Kong and perhaps contentiously Taiwan in the mix.

If interested, Chinese-language papers such as Nandu 南都 Daily  (translated as Southern Metropolis Daily) for a start are useful to get a pulse of the Chinese fourth estate in action.

For Greater China (Taiwan) coverage on the issue, check out Wen Qian World Weekly’s investigative coverage on youtube here (in Mandarin only without subtitles  – according to the report Southern Weekly has had a reputation of being leading and cutting edge with investigative journalism –  a must watch if you can understand Mandarin:

Screen cap of the only comment left on the online page thus far, by Mark Newham. As of publishing, this article has been tweeted 71 times and shared on Facebook 53 times.

Screen cap of the only comment left on the online page thus far, by Mark Newham. As of publishing, this article has been tweeted 71 times and shared on Facebook 53 times.

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Xi questions propaganda chief’s handling of censorship row
Compiled from reports by Atsushi Okudera, Kenji Minemura and Kentaro Koyama
Source – the Asahi Shimbum, published January 14, 2013

BEIJING–In an apparent attempt to quell the uproar over censorship, Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed displeasure toward the media control division and said he would not punish journalists who disobeyed its latest order, sources said.

Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, appears to have given top priority to preventing the row from expanding further and threatening his new leadership installed in November.

Arguments for free speech erupted after the reform-oriented Southern Weekly based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, was forced to rewrite its New Year edition before it was published on Jan. 3. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Government & Policy, Influence, japan, Mapping Feelings, Media, New Leadership, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Xi Jinping, , , , , , , , ,

Smog solution unlikely without public help #China #Pollution #Consensus [Global Times]

Chinese state media performing the role of fourth estate: The Global Times rallying for a public consensus to take a hard stance on pollution. Despite the semantic gymnastics of late, tossing between words like fog, et al – the Global Times leads the way by calling it just what it is – smog. There probably isn’t an easy solution – so much of the pollution is driven by infrastructure-building on top of production, which in turns drives growth; it really is a question of how to grow in as clean a way as possible that doesn’t cut away jobs and employment downstream. And it’s not like good clean air  isn’t appreciated – many I meet or bring around Australia celebrate with refreshing deep breaths, and eagerly plan return visits because… of the air.

The government needs to increase its sense of urgency and ability to implement its policies. Environmental authorities should enhance their investigation of enterprises and strengthen the punishment of those that cause pollution. Businesses that cannot meet environment protection standards must be eliminated.

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Smog solution unlikely without public help
Op-Ed
Source – Global Times, published January 13, 2013

The toxic smog that has been shrouding the capital is expected to be dispersed by a fresh cold front on Wednesday, according to the weather forecast Monday. Recent days cloaked in choking and acrid smog have caused China to reflect on how clean air can be restored to the country.

The dense fog forced Beijing for the first time to implement an emergency response plan for hazardous pollution. According to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau Monday, 14 inspection teams were organized to oversee pollution reduction in districts and counties of Beijing, and by Sunday night, the production of 58 enterprises had been suspended and 54 businesses had reduced their emissions by 30 percent. The bureau also said relevant authorities are cooperating to the implementation of the regulation that government cars, which make up 30 percent of Beijing’s traffic, will stay in the garages for the moment. Those emergency measures are laudable, but meanwhile, the public is questioning why the strong supervision and decisive attitude to reduce pollution cannot be included into routine work.

The lingering smog sends a warning message. Coal burning, dust and industrial and vehicle emissions are the fundamental causes of the hazardous haze this time. The government bears more responsibility for tackling the problem, but no one should be just an onlooker. Reducing pollution and improving the living environment need the participation of the whole of society. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Climate Change, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, Politics, Pollution, Social, , , ,

Chinese Ambassador on China’s internet policy [BBC] #Video #China #Internet #LiuXiaoMing

BBC: Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming to the UK and Northern Ireland contributing to Chinese public diplomacy by engaging traditional top-down broadcast media.

What is the big picture of internet development in China?

China’s intention is to double GDP by 2020, and with that correspondingly double its GDP per capita. If it succeeds it is merely carrying out its promise of equitable growth – its five-year plans are clear for all who bother to read.

The level of success of course, can be measured in some way by the bridging of its digital divide. Sometimes it is hard for those well intentioned speculators who have never set foot in China to see what that means. The nature of the internet is as such that there is no way to cover it with a blanket. Streamline yes, but there is simply no way to turn off the tap.

Apart from that, the biggest population of the Western sphere is the US… China deals with a population more than four times larger. Compared to the UK, that’s even more significant. With >500m internet users at the moment, one has to bear in mind China is still, only 50% urbanised (just as one indicator), nowhere near solid state in terms of access to the democratisation potential of the internet. How does one manage 500 million self-serving narratives? When it hits 1 billion, what then? In Chinese leadership parlance, 1 billion small problems is a much bigger problem than 1 big problem.

No one has managed a situation that scale before. No one.

Extract from the Interview –
Liu: I think corruption is not a problem for China alone. Once you are in the period of social transformation, it’s unavoidable you’ll have all kinds of problems. Just like Deng Xiaoping once said at the beginning of opening up of China, he said, “When we open the window we’ll let in the fresh air, it’s unavoidable that flies and mosquitoes will be in.” But the important thing is how the party face up to it and adopt measures to deal with this problem. I think the leadership is resolute and determined.

Esler: But our correspondent couldn’t even get on Facebook when he was in China. I mean, you can’t get on Twitter. It’s not quite as you present it.

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Chinese Ambassador on China’s internet policy
Gavin Esler
Source – BBC, published December 22, 2012

Screen capture of Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming On BBC Newsnight, 2012. Please click to head onto the BBC site with the video interview

Screen capture of Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming On BBC Newsnight, 2012. Please click to head onto the BBC site with the video interview

China’s ambassador to the UK Liu Xiao Ming has told BBC’s Newsnight that there is a “misconception” about the internet in China.

He says “every day thousands of people make comments online”, but that the government must “remove unhealthy content”.

In 10 years the number of internet users in China has grown tenfold to more than 500 million. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Cyberattack, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Greater China, Human Rights, Internet, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Technology, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.K., , , , , , , , , ,

#China’s View of the New Type of Relations between Major Powers [China-US Focus]

China-US Focus: Can major power relations detach itself from the construct of the zero sum game? Dr. Chen Xulong, Director of the Department of International and Strategic Studies at the Beijing-based China Institute of International Studies talks about a new type of relations where a common destiny becomes the driving narrative. That said, the oft said most important bilateral ties in the world are hardly simply bilteral ties. They are hardly insular to just the themselves. With their corresponding spheres of influence and proxy actors clashing too, perhaps a much broader view is necessary.

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China’s View of the New Type of Relations between Major Powers
by Chen Xulong
Source – China-US Focus, published October 15, 2012

China’s view of “a new type of relations between major powers” has drawn much attention in the world, especially from people interested in the China-US relationship. A good understanding of this concept is necessary.

China’s Exploration of the “New Type of Relations between Major Countries”
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Chinese leaders have been exploring the way towards a better and more stable China-US relationship. Their exploration is based on the understanding of the importance of the bilateral relationship. The China-US relationship is a bilateral relationship of great importance, vitality and potentiality in the world, and is also highly representative of a rising power and an existing dominant power. The past history of China-US relations has showed us that China and the US both gain from peaceful coexistence, and will lose from confrontations, that the mutual interest serves as the bedrock of cooperation, and that China-US cooperation is conducive to stability in the Asia-Pacific region as well as peace and development in the world.

The Chinese leaders’ exploration is also based on the understanding of the characteristics of this age and the developing trend of the world. They have realized that peace, development and cooperation are irreversible trends of the times. With the development of multilateralization, globalization and informatization, all the countries share a more common destiny with mutual dependency and intertwined interests. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, ChinaUS Focus, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , , ,

China’s Xi leads campaign to cut pomp #China #XiJinPing [South China Morning Post]

South China Morning Post, Hong Kong: No more red carpets as China reportedly becomes more aware of how it projects its national image to both domestic and foreign audiences. Xi Jinping kicks off his fifth-generation take on the core Chinese leadership by urging a collective dispensing of pomp and circumstance, starting at the highest level. Visual aesthetics cannot be discounted in political communication, intentional or otherwise. Of course, a subtle and negotiated consensus within the Chinese core leadership has always been priority – we’ll see if this manages to be pulled off in time and if anyone overtly steps out of line.

– – –

China’s Xi leads campaign to cut pomp
by Christopher Bodeen
Source – AP, in South China Morning Post, December 8, 2012

BEIJING (AP) — New communist leader Xi Jinping is on a mission to soften the image of Chinese officialdom, winning kudos for his breezy personal style and ordering leaders to take a knife to the pomp, formality and waste that have alienated many among the public.

With his silky baritone, glamorous wife and daughter at Harvard, Xi cuts a very different figure from the staid, hyper-private leaders of the past. Even his posture, more like that of a slouchy college professor than a stiff party cadre, has won him plaudits.

Xi took the new informality a step further at a Tuesday meeting of the 25-member Politburo, ordering that arrangements for leaders’ visits and the trappings of power be drastically pared back. Elaborate welcoming ceremonies will be eliminated, traffic disruptions avoided, and staid, often worthless reporting on the doings of the leadership dispensed with. Even red carpets are to go. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Education, Ethnicity, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, 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, U.S., Xi Jinping, , , , , , , , , ,

#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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#China Bashing Bears Fruit: Apple Moves Bring Manufacturing Home [Huffington Post]

Navarro and Autry: ‘You just can’t stay in a deal where only one side is required to follow rules or behave in a civilized manner. It is time for Washington to take off the gloves and fight for American jobs like the 700,000 other ones Apple has left in China.’

In open support of the encirclement and containment of China, alluded when Syria, Iran, and North Korea are propped up in the conversation. This to me, interestingly suggests that the logic of domestic protectionism over global production networks is good business for a global marketplace of cyclical consumption and planned obsolescence.

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China Bashing Bears Fruit: Apple Moves Bring Manufacturing Home
by Greg Autry
Source – Huffington Post, published July 7, 2012

Navarro and Autry in a global call to action against China: looking back when Apple was made in the US.

Navarro and Autry in a global call to action against China: looking back when Apple was made in the US.

2012-12-07-MacUSA-thumb
I’m going to take a little (very little) victory lap here. Several times in this space, I’ve suggested that Apple needs to move manufacturing back home. Each time I’ve gotten comments like “that’s not going to happen” or “they will just move to Vietnam or the next cheapest labor market.” However, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on Thursday that he is going to manufacture a line of Macintosh computers in the U.S. Firstly, good work Tim, and thanks for finally listening to the vocal minority of us who have been complaining about this situation for years.

I still have my first Macintosh, with its anemic 128k of RAM. When that plucky little beige beastie greeted the public it was assembled at a state-of-the-art plant in Fremont, Calif. Yes, that California, the one with the high taxes, tough labor laws and the environmental crazies. To be fair, Apple moved Mac production out of the state within a couple of years and out of the country not long after. Apple production was done in various places including Cork, Ireland, before finally settling in China about a decade ago.

Now, the specifics of the Apple plan were light and the statement that the capital investment will be a mere $100 million suggests this first foray back into American manufacturing won’t be a big deal for a firm that keeps about 1,000 times that in the bank. However, that is a fine start. Frankly, re-shoring can’t happen over night, because America’s manufacturing infrastructure and workforce will need years to recover. When I interviewed executives at Foxconn City a couple years ago, they told me they didn’t think most of what they built in Shenzhen could be built in the U.S. at all. The fact is, that many segments of the electronic product assembly supply chain and production engineers experienced with the latest hardware are hard to find in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Finance, Foxconn Suicides 2010, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, Intellectual Property, International Relations, Media, Migrant Workers, Politics, Population, Soft Power, Strategy, Technology, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S., , , , , , , , , , ,

China backs Egypt mediation #China [Global Times]

Global Times: The Chinese are concerned about the Gaza Strip. With new helmsmen, how will China see its independent foreign policy of peace and non-intervention unfold?

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China backs Egypt mediation
by Hao Zhou
Source – Global Times, published November 22, 2012

Israeli police gather after a blast ripped through a bus near the defense ministry in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. At least 21 people were injured, in what an official said was “a terrorist attack.” Text – Global Times, Photo: AFP, 2012

China supports mediation efforts made by Egypt and other Arab nations as well as the League of Arab States (LAS) to ease the current tensions in Gaza, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday.

“China is paying great attention to the situation in the Gaza Strip,” Hua told reporters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi spoke with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr over the phone about the situation there, expressing China’s support for Egypt and other Arab states as well as the LAS, she said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Disaster, Egypt, Foreign aid, global times, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Modernisation, Peacekeeping, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , ,

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