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, , , , , , ,

President Xi’s Singapore Lessons #China [Project Syndicate]

Nobel laureate Michael Spence on a crucial point of China’s development – and how long after Deng Xiaoping’s and Lee Kuan Yew’s friendship that helped sparked the opening of China, Singapore’s lesson of one-party rule remains poignant.

As a one-party system with a somewhat similar ethnic complexion it continues to maintain popular legitimacy despite a high media literacy rate by design. Despite recent challenges, it still largely calls the shots on policy while transitioning to first world status with a knowledge economy that shifted from too, manufacturing.

Like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan in their first few decades of modern growth, China has been ruled by a single party. Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP) remains dominant, though that appears to be changing. The others evolved into multi-party democracies during the middle-income transition. China, too, has now reached this critical last leg of the long march to advanced-country status in terms of economic structure and income levels.

That said, it is most probable it is a case study of the many others they would consult in taking care to cross the river in highly turbulent times. Singapore is not definitive, but a series of stones the Chinese will feel around for before updating or reconfiguring their own socialist system to fit those needs.

From financial crises to violent revolution, what reason would China have to look that way for inspiration? Only for lessons on how not to do it I believe.

China has 1.3 billion mouths to feed. Singapore has 5.3 million. The official reported population density of about 7,257sq km from Singstats in 2011 this official stat does not consider the fact that Singapore has zoned out a 40% nature green sponge if you will, for water catchment, so true habitable space = 60% of 715sqkm).

Both cannot afford to make mistakes in their use of large scale systems.

That is where the lesson will be drawn. How it seldom makes mistakes, and when it does – it knows how to handle it in both foreign while giving domestic and alternative press some leeway for discourse.

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President Xi’s Singapore Lessons
by Michael Spence
Source – Project Syndicate, published November 19, 2012

NEW YORK – China is at a crucial point today, as it was in 1978, when the market reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping opened its economy to the world – and as it was again in the early 1990’s, when Deng’s famous “southern tour” reaffirmed the country’s development path.

Throughout this time, examples and lessons from other countries have been important. Deng was reportedly substantially influenced by an early visit to Singapore, where accelerated growth and prosperity had come decades earlier. Understanding other developing countries’ successes and shortcomings has been – and remains – an important part of China’s approach to formulating its growth strategy.

Like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan in their first few decades of modern growth, China has been ruled by a single party. Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP) remains dominant, though that appears to be changing. The others evolved into multi-party democracies during the middle-income transition. China, too, has now reached this critical last leg of the long march to advanced-country status in terms of economic structure and income levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Great Wall, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, New Leadership, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Project Syndicate, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Singapore, 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, , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Central Committee elected #China #Leadership[Global Times]

The way forward has been set. Scientific development joins the hallways of contemporary Chinese statecraft.

For the full list of the 205 members of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) elected at the 18th CPC National Congress on Wednesday, please go here.

“In the past, the authorities focused on so-called political, economic, cultural and social development, now they have realized the importance of sustainable development, which is related not only to people’s well-being now, but future generations,” Zhang Yaocan, professor of political science with Central China Normal University.

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Central Committee elected
by Wu Gang
Source – Global Times, November 15, 2012

Delegates raise their hands to show approval for a work report at the closing ceremony of the 18th Party congress held at the Great Hall of the People Wednesday. Photo: IC, 2012

The Constitution of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has enshrined the “Scientific Outlook on Development,” a political guideline that puts people first and calls for balanced and sustainable development, the 18th CPC National Congress announced as the week-long event concluded on Wednesday.

Some 2,270 Party delegates cast votes Wednesday, electing the new CPC Central Committee and the new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Nearly 50 percent of the new Central Committee are newcomers, indicating that the CPC, with 91 years of history and more than 82 million members, has again completed its leadership transition. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Communications, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, global times, Government & Policy, Greater China, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Natural Disasters, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, Yuan, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CCP moves away from Maoism [Straits Times]

Straits Times: No more Mao Zedong thought as guiding ideological principle?

The Bo crisis shows this way of “saying Mao” while “doing Deng” is potentially unstable… Finally, by deleting Maoism, it might usher in a Xi-era of political reform, now that the biggest ideological obstacle is removed. Cheong Ching, Straits Times, 2012

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CCP moves away from Maoism
Revised Chinese Communist Party charter will usher in political reforms
By Ching Cheong Senior Writer
Source – Straits Times, published November 1, 2012

HONG KONG – The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) convenes it seventh plenum today with a bold move to take Maoism out of the party’s Constitution.

The meeting’s main agenda is to iron out the details of the leadership changes which had in the past year been the focus of international attention.

An equally important task is to revise the party’s charter: One possible change is that communist China’s founding father Mao Zedong’s thought may no longer be a guiding principle of the party. This would be an extremely important change for China. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Influence, Media, Modernisation, New Leadership, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Religion, Social, Straits Times, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, Xi Jinping, , , , , , , , , , ,

Old 100 names: Witnesses of China’s history [BBC]

BBC on 老百姓: A bottom-up look at China from its Lao Bai Xing 老百姓 as the 18th National Congress draws closer. Scientific development was entrenched as guiding ideology for the 17th. What can we expect from the 18th? In Chinese 老百姓 literally means the old hundred clans though it could range in semantic meaning from “ordinary folks“, “honest folk”, “the people“, or “commoners.” Historically, the genesis of the 100 clans in folklore is also an interesting shaper of an identity that has prevailed over the ages.

There is a lot of unresolved history in China, some of it too recent and too painful to address, but not far below the surface. And deep history matters too – the cycles of unity and fragmentation, and the deference punctuated by rebellion that defines the relationship between people and state.

Further reading – A designer’s thoughts – Curiousity Chronicles on Lao Bai Xing

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Old 100 names: Witnesses of China’s history
By Carrie Gracie
Source – BBC News, Shixiaguan, published October 18, 2012

Photo source – BBC, 2012 from Getty Images

Chinese has a word for the people whose names don’t make it into the history books – the Laobaixing or “old 100 names”. They have witnessed history, even if they have only played a bit part. They have also inherited their community’s folk memory and will pass it on to their children.

Mountains behind. Blue sky above. And all around a forest of gold spears. Mei Jingtian is harvesting his maize with a scythe. It’s a scene which can’t have changed much in hundreds of years.

The sweetcorn is fine this year. Heavy summer rains have made the cobs swell. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Government & Policy, History, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Poverty, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , ,

Viewpoint: Fear and loneliness in China [BBC]

From 26% in 1990 to 51.3% urbanised by end 2011, but at what cost? A British sociologist known for researching the urban and housing policy sums up his field work on the fragmentation of collective community in China.

..[t]his way of life is disappearing, in the cities and in the countryside. For many in China isolation is a new experience brought on by economic transformation. In the neighbourhoods where I worked in Chongqing and Beijing, loneliness was spreading like pollution.

Gerard Lemos was a visiting professor at Chongqing Technology and Business University from 2006 to 2010 and author of The End of the Chinese Dream: Why Chinese People fear the Future. Whilst he makes many pertinent observations, his book has a rather polarizing title I must say. It is not in the method of academic inquiry to apply one’s results as self-assertive blanket, in this case, over the entire Chinese spectrum.

Perhaps this study also completely discounts the transition where community, like in many places in developing Asia, is shifting quickly, in other cases, augmented from public to virtual space. In a way, it really is a decade in, figuring out how to balance the two, in the midst of the reality of intense domestic and foreign competition.

An Op-Ed titled What Keeps the Chinese up at Night for the New York Times on his book can be found here.

Here’s a WSJ review of his book with a further interview here. Further check out reviews from  America: The National Catholic Weekly or the Financial Times here.

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Viewpoint: Fear and loneliness in China
by Gerard Lemos
Source – BBC, published October 16, 2012 

Source – Getty Images

What kind of society will China’s new leaders inherit? China has developed at unimaginable pace, lifting millions out of poverty. But as part of a series of viewpoints on challenges for China’s new leadership, Gerard Lemos, who conducted research in the mega-city of Chongqing, says it is easy to overlook its lonely underbelly.

An old man was hanging upside down in the public square. His feet in traditional cloth shoes were over the parallel bars from which he had suspended himself, for what were presumably his morning exercises. He was fully clothed and in a padded overcoat to combat the spring chill.

I saw this when visiting a factory community in Beijing in 2008. On the face of it, this was a peculiar act to perform in a public space, but people walked past taking no notice. In such traditional Chinese communities, this public square served as a communal living room; most of the people around are friends and neighbours. Not being surprised by the unusual behaviour of your neighbours is an aspect of intimate community life. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Pollution, Population, Poverty, Reform, Social, The Chinese Identity, , , , , , , , , ,

101 East – China: Broken Dreams [Al Jazeera]

Al Jazeera ponders the problem of Chinese social equality in its rising ant tribe class. Running time: 24minutes.

Uniquely Chinese problem or problem with paradigms meeting? Just one generation of growing pains into this new paradigm shift from absolute monolithic collectivism to deliberative authoritarian capitalism, the cross-pollination is far from complete.

Especially so perhaps, when it has to mesh with embedded familial values and long-running notions of state in a hyper compressed time/space of just 30 years of modernisation, reform and breaking out of its Great Wall mentality. Only one generation into this new paradigm shift, China has accelerated into an immensely competitive environment domestically. Paying fees to attend job fairs, and competing with over 9 to 10 million peers for the college examinations yearly. There are explicit teething problems such as the antiquated Hukou (reform under way), but therein perhaps – lies implicit opportunity for a grand redesign.

Perhaps a more useful takeaway is – what will the rise of this ant tribe 蚁族 (click for New York Times report) amount to?

How will they evolve into a new muscle in China’s consciousness? Ant tribes could very well be the foundation for the nucleus of the future Chinese work force.

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101 East – China: Broken Dreams
by Fauziah Ibrahim
Source – Al Jazeera, published August 24, 2012

Many young Chinese are losing faith in China’s economic miracle. Even though the country is poised to overtake the US in the next decade as the world’s largest, fewer Chinese feel they share the prosperity. 101 East explores the disillusionment. Al Jazeera, August 24, 2012

Filed under: Al Jazeera, Ant Tribe, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Reform, Resources, Social, The Chinese Identity, Trade, , , , , , , ,

Confucius in church [Global Times]

On the Global Times front page: Cross-pollinating two cultures by bridging church and Confucianism.

Not everyone’s in favour and the lessons have a class currently 14 strong. The Christian population is certainly growing in China, and I see it here in Melbourne as well – I see Chinese students  convert to Christianity on a weekly basis. China Daily reported in 2010 the findings of a survey by the Institute of World Religions at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. It revealed 23.05 million followers then, where

“Nearly 69 percent of believers said they converted to Christianity after either they or members of their family fell ill…About 15 percent of believers said they are Christian because of the influence of family traditions.” Li Lin, in the Blue Book on China Religions, a book that lists facts on religion in China.

The last official census saw 4 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants expressing their faith outright.
What does one make out of this – nip in the bud, social engineering, or genuine story of hybridization?

“Many Christians are ignorant of traditional culture, and some are even against learning it because they believe the Bible is the only book they need and that Confucianism and other schools of thought might interfere with their beliefs,” Shi Hengtan, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who leads the class of 14 people in Beijing.

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Confucius in church
by Xuyang Jingjing
Source – Global Times, published October 9, 2012

A Christian church situated in Jiangbeizui, Chongqing Photo: CFP

It’s a Sunday afternoon, and a group of Christians are meeting in a regular gathering. They start to sing hymns, raising their hands in praise. After concluding grace with “Amen,” they sit down and start to study, not the Bible, but the Confucian classic Lun Yu, or the Analects.This is part of a quiet grass-roots campaign among a small number of Chinese Christians to learn about traditional Chinese culture. Organizers say they simply want to help promote dialogue and better understanding between the two cultures by reading the Analects and the Bible side by side, but their efforts have met with criticism from both Christians and Confucian scholars.Shi Hengtan, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, leads the class of 14 people in Beijing. Since September they have been meeting once a week to study the Analects. The class read the text, and Shi offers an explanation, and then quotes a verse from the Bible with a similar meaning. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, global times, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, People, Population, Religion, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , ,

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