Wandering China

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

#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.

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., , , , , , , , , , ,

Jaguar Land Rover building factory in China [Guardian]

Guardian: JLR and Chery ramping up for China’s middle class boom? The Guardian’s industrial editor provides details as the famed UK off-road powerhouse now join European counterparts Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz with full-blown local production capability direct in the world’s biggest auto market.

Quite a few of my mainland Chinese peers who now live in Australia love the Land Rover aesthetic. Most do not push (yet) their stately steel horses to the brink, preferring to drive them inland and keeping them spotty clean but I digress.

“China is now our biggest market,” Ralf Speth, chief executive officer of Jaguar Land Rover at press briefing announcing their 10.9b yuan eastern China plant in their 65th year of operations. The plant will also see an R&D component.

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Jaguar Land Rover building factory in China
Car firm to start manufacturing vehicles in world’s largest automotive market from 2014 after agreeing £1.1bn-joint venture
by Dan Milmo, Guardian Industrial Editor
Source – Guardian, published November 18, 2012

Source – Guardian, 2012.
Jaguar Land Rover posted a 58% increase in Chinese sales in the second quarter, boosted by demand for the recently launched Range Rover Evoque, above. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Jaguar Land Rover has signalled the importance of China to its growth prospects by starting the construction of a factory outside Shanghai.

JLR and its Chinese partner, Chery, formally laid the foundation stone for a plant in Changshu, near Shanghai, as part of a 10.9bn yuan (£1.1bn) investment that will include a new research centre and an engine production facility. The firm’s owners, Tata, also own a JLR assembly plant in India but the Chinese venture is the company’s first full-blown sortie into overseas manufacturing, reflecting stellar growth in the car firm’s third largest market.

The business posted a 58% increase in Chinese sales in the second quarter, boosted by demand for the recently launched Range Rover Evoque model. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Automotive, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Relations, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Technology, The Guardian, Trade, Transport, U.K., , , , , , , ,

The Ten Grave Problems Facing China [The China Story]

From the Australian Centre for China in the World.

Back in 1956, confronted with the task of making a new China, Mao in the speech  ‘On the Ten Great Relationships’ 论十大关系 outlined the challenges that faced the CCP’s transformation of China.

Fast forward to 2012, the once-in-a-decade leadership transition sees Deng Yewen, senior editor of the Party mouthpiece Study Times frame a wide spanning ‘The Ten Grave Problems’ as an urgent agenda that demands the attention of the incoming leaders.

This piece by the centre also provides some history into Chinese intelligentsia and their vying to provide intellectual and strategic advice to the contenders for power. Suggestive that the party is not filled with automatons or reinforcing of the idea that the Chinese collective has always been a dynamic process?

China’s Hu and Wen blasted by party paper editor (China Daily Mail, September 4, 2012) provides an interesting perspective on faction and solidarity challenges right at the top.

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The Ten Grave Problems Facing China
by Geremie R Barmé
Source – The China Story by the Australian Centre for China in the World, published September 8, 2012

In April 1956, Mao Zedong gave a speech to the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party titled ‘On the Ten Great Relationships’ 论十大关系. It was a decisive period for New China. The initial surge of nationalisation that saw the country’s industry and agriculture come under state control was building into a tidal wave of radical socialism that would dominate the country for the next two decades. In the build up to this next stage of dirigisme Mao thought it essential to articulate the problems facing the fledgling People’s Republic. He listed ten issues that underlined social, economic, regional and national policy; he was in reality outlining the challenges that faced the Communist Party’s experiment in transforming China.

A popular observation about political uncertainty in Chinese holds that ‘when evil prognosticators appear in all quarters it is a sign of the end of days’ 末世征兆,妖孽四起. Elsewhere we have noted the dire warnings issued by left-leaning critics of China’s Communist Party such as the Children of Yan’an and the latter-day red fundamentalists of the Utopia group. In recent days, an editor with the journal Study Times 学习时报 has published a lengthy article in which he outlines ‘The Ten Grave Problems Facing China’.

During the once-in-a-decade ‘transition year’ of 2012-2013 which will see a change of party-state leadership, Communist Party propagandists have set the tone and require media outlets to celebrate clamorously the ‘ten golden years’ of rule under President/Party General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao (for an example of these hosannas, see People’s Daily, ‘The Reasons for China’s “Glorious Decade” ’, in our China Story Yearbook 2012: Red Rising, Red Eclipse, ‘From Victory to Victory’). It is a time of extreme tension and high stakes, one in which China faces major political decisions that may well determine its direction not only for the next few years, but, as many feel, for long into the future. At this juncture a more lowly Party member than the late Chairman has offered his version of the problems facing the restive and fractured nation. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Chinese Model, Corruption, Crime, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Fu Er Dai 富二代, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Green China, History, Human Rights, Inflation, Influence, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Migration (Internal), military, Modernisation, Nationalism, Natural Disasters, Peaceful Development, Politics, Pollution, Population, Poverty, Property, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[Heilongjiang] High speed rail may need to be rebuilt [Global Times]

Rail safety and the 350km/h benchmark: China considers rebuilding the Harbin-Dalian high speed railroad, its northernmost, 904km long high speed railway. With temperatures dropping to as low as -40 degrees C in the area, Wang Mengshu, the chief engineer of the China Railway Tunnel Group  warned the Global Times certain parts of the railroad were not designed right at the onset. China’s sprawling high speed rail network may be one of the prides of nation-building, but there have been problems, like the Wenzhou crash last year.

China Railway Tunnel Group is member enterprise of the state-owned China Railway Engineering Corporation 中国中铁, the third largest civil construction enterprise in the world with 220,000 employees.

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High speed rail may need to be rebuilt
By Bai Tiantian
Source – Global Times, published September 4, 2012

Part of the newly built Harbin-Dalian high speed railroad connecting Northeast China’s Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces is now facing reconstruction due to roadbed deformation, an expert said on Tuesday.

Wang Mengshu, chief engineer of the China Railway Tunnel Group and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the Global Times that certain parts of the railroad were not initially designed properly.

“In regions where the temperature varies greatly around the year, frost heaving becomes a major problem in construction,” said Wang. “Designers need to pay extra attention to the amount of water in the roadbed. Too little water reduces roadbed strength, while too much water could cause deformation.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Civil Engineering, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, global times, Government & Policy, High Speed Rail, Influence, Infrastructure, Modernisation, Social, Transport, , , ,

Will China Build 82 Unneeded Airports By 2015? You Betcha. [Forbes]

Forbes: Chinese airports – Potential for growth or sinkhole? Gordon Chang on what can be described as binge spending as China ramps up to 230 airports, up from the existing 182. Chinese state media (Small airports to ride construction boom, China Daily, July 21, 2012) points out however, that this is paltry compared to the 19,000 in the U.S and 700 in Brazil. Some criticism is leveled at the losses made by 130 of the current airports as they collectively lost more than 2 billion yuan. It does seem China’s quest for connecting its peripheral frontiers and people through planes, trains and automobiles will continue to be relentless.

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Will China Build 82 Unneeded Airports By 2015? You Betcha.
by Gordon Chang
Source – Forbes, published July 22, 2012

On Friday, Li Jiaxiang, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, announced his country will build 82 new airports and expand 101 existing ones during the current five-year plan, the 12th, which ends in 2015.

By then, China will have 230 airports, up from the current 182, according to Huang Min, director of infrastructure at the National Development and Reform Commission.  Most of the new facilities will be feeder airports in the central and western portions of the country.  About 80% of the population will be within 100 kilometers of an airport by the middle of this decade.  Additional building is projected to increase that percentage nine points by 2020.

Does China need all these new airports?  Beijing justifies the ambitious building program on several grounds.  State media, for instance, points to the aviation industry’s three decades of double-digit growth and suggests that is just the beginning.  China’s aviation market, according to central government officials, has the biggest potential for expansion in the world.  State media notes that, in comparison, the U.S. has 19,000 airports.  Li Jiaxiang on Friday said even Brazil and South Africa have more of them than China.  And China’s airports are a booming industry.  Last year, they earned 4.6 billion yuan according to Mr. Li. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Forbes, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, Modernisation, Social, The Chinese Identity, , ,

China’s Space Program Accelerates [Space Daily]

Dragon space (That is how Space Daily vividly parks its articles on China) seems to be upon us as perceptions of the credibility gaps of China’s $6b human spaceflight programme are beginning to be put paid with its recent space docking success. Dr Morris Jones takes a close look at the acceleration of China’s space program, a part the Chinese see as one vital cog in developing comprehensive national power.

For more, check out the China National Space Administration here. Also check out their 2003 white paper here

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China’s Space Program Accelerates
by Morris Jones, Sydney, Australia
for SpaceDaily, published June 29, 2012

The success of the first crewed expedition to China’s first space laboratory represents a major step forward for China’s space program. China has made steady advances in spaceflight since its first astronaut was launched in 2003, but its space program has often been downplayed by international observers.

It was easy to point out the gap of several decades between China’s first astronaut launch and those of Russia and the USA. Gaps of years between successive human space missions further added to the perception that China was moving almost too slowly to notice.

The launch of the Tiangong 1 module and its successful operations with astronauts from the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft is more than just another steady step forward. It represents a substantial increase in China’s space capabilities, which are growing far more quickly than even some aerospace analysts are prepared to admit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Influence, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, space, Strategy, Technology, The Chinese Identity, , , , ,

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