Sri Lanka Project

Sri Lanka favored China

Papers analyze Sri Lanka’s decision to suspend a Chinese-funded construction project. According to reports, newly-elected Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to revisit some deals signed with China by his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa. The suspension of the port city project in Colombo and subsequent protests by Sri Lankan workers have gained wide attention in Chinese papers. Mr Sirisena’s government said that the project was launched “without relevant approvals from concerned institutions”. Some papers report that Sri Lankan workers are very angry over the decision, while other news portals quote foreign media reports saying that the incident is a test of Beijing’s “ambitious overseas ventures”.

 

Port City in Sri Lanka

The Xinhua News Agency highlights Mr Rajapaksa’s criticism of the suspension. “Halting of development projects means that the Sri Lankan workers and engineers working on them will lose their jobs and thereby the cash flowing to villagers will stop,” state media quote him as saying. The Colombo port project is part of Beijing’s Maritime Silk Road initiative, which is aimed at connecting China with the Indian Ocean nations and the larger Asia-Pacific region. Observers in international media outlets say the initiative poses a direct challenge to India. Chinese papers, however, dismiss such views, assuring that the project will benefit every country in the region.”The authorities cite regulations and environment issues as reasons for the suspension… but this is only an excuse,” says the Haiwai Net article. The commentary notes that the new Sri Lankan president is “very pro-India” and suspects Colombo may have been “facing pressure from Delhi”. However, it highlights that India is unlikely to have the economic capacity needed to help Sri Lanka, and predicts that Colombo will “still depend on Beijing for infrastructure investment in the long term”. Turning to domestic news, papers assess “judicial fairness” after Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court Zhou Qiang urged the courts to learn from wrongful convictions. His comments come months after a high-profile case involving a wrongly-executed 18-year-old sparked a debate. An article in the Global Times points out that it is “rare” for judicial authorities to use “such strong words”. The admission shows that the authorities “have been reflecting on their flaws” and “proactively responding” to the public’s doubts about judicial fairness in China, it says.

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Economic slowdown

China’s stagnant economy

 

The once extraordinary rate of Chinese economic growth is slowing. In 2014, China’s GDP grew at an official rate of 7.4 percent, slightly less than the stated goal of 7.5 percent. Although more recently monthly data have been more robust, the trend towards slowing growth seems inexorable. A decelerating Chinese economy, coming at a time of global economic uncertainty (especially in the eurozone), could have dramatic economic implications throughout the world. However, the repercussions of a Chinese economic slowdown would not be limited to the economic sphere. Given the incredible importance of economic growth to political stability – both within China itself and East Asia in general – adapting to a dampened Chinese economy will be a pivotal challenge in the Asia-Pacific. While an official GDP growth rate of 7.4 percent would be the envy of most major economies, this figure represents China’s lowest economic growth since 1991. And of course, economic data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics is not completely trusted by all observers. Local officials (and the central government itself) have a vested interest in exaggerating their economic performance. Capital Economics, a London-based research group, monitors the Chinese economy by looking at the five factors of electricity output, freight shipmen, construction, passenger travel, and cargo volume. According to this China Activity Proxy, recent annual growth is closer to 5.7 percent.

Political communication in China

Political communication in China

Regardless of the statistical specifics of the Chinese slowdown, this development poses some degree of political risk for the Chinese state. For more than two decades economic growth has been the major factor in ensuring political stability in China. Many Westerners forget that the massive protests that rocked Beijing and other Chinese cities in 1989 coincided with the biggest economic crisis of the post-Mao era, with annual inflation of 30 percent leading to panic buying throughout the country. Since 1990, China has been governed by a social contract in which the material lives of ordinary citizens improve dramatically while the Party keeps a monopoly on political power. Rising wages and standards of living helped ensure political stability. Historically most revolutions, including the recent upheavals in the Middle East, only reached critical mass when a majority of a country’s people lost hope in the economic capabilities of the governing political structure. Recent initiatives by the Chinese state can be understood in light of these economic concerns. Since coming in to power in 2013, the administration of President Xi Jinping has launched several populist measures. Posters throughout the country combine traditional Chinese themes with Communist Party slogans to promote the “Chinese Dream.” Xi’s campaigns against lavish banquets and other government waste led to a significant drop in the price of high-end liquor soon after his rise to power. Perhaps most important has been a massive anti-corruption campaign, which has netted thousands of corrupt officials, from minor bureaucrats to the massively powerful former head of internal security.

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China-Japan People to people Diplomacy

China-Japan Relations

The way international relations being conducted are when national leaders, government officials and diplomats interact each other. The power of citizen to be a part of the diplomatic talks has always been underestimated. However it has been transforming in recent years when citizens has been slowly being heard by diplomats and high level officials. This method has been complimentary with the traditional and formal diplomacy. It has a significant impact on relations between nations since bilateral relations are not sustainable without solid public support. It is well-known that the “Ping-Pong diplomacy” of 1971 helped pave the way for President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China the following year. Less talked about is the indirect role Japan played in the process. Both Chinese and American Ping-Pong players were attending the 31st World Table Tennis Championship in Nagoya, Japan at the time. When American player Glenn Cowan missed him team’s bus, he was invited to ride with the Chinese players. His conversation and gift exchanges with Chinese player Zhuang Zedong are today household stories. The Ping-Pong diplomacy that began in Japan led to the normalization of U.S.-China relations.

 

Improving China and Japan

The tense political relations between China and Japan has focused the attention on national leaders and how their relationship had been greatly changed. Many blamed the political move of Shinzo Abe to revise historical narratives or President Xi Jinping’s tough style and assertive diplomacy for the deterioration of bilateral relations. The recent diplomatic talks only focused on high level officials and disregarded the influence of people in making diplomacy. China used to be a top destination for Japanese tourists and numerous Japanese companies set up businesses in China. Despite political tensions, Chinese tourists continue to flock to Japan. In 2014, 2.4 million mainland Chinese visited Japan, slightly fewer than the 2.8 million from Taiwan and 2.7 million from South Korea, but mainland Chinese spent more than their counterparts from any other place. With Japan’s relaxation of visas for Chinese visitors, a weaker yen, and tax exemptions for foreign tourists, mainland Chinese could easily become the largest source of foreign visitors to Japan in 2015. During the 2015 Chinese New Year break, busloads of Chinese thronged major malls in Tokyo. Many Japanese businesses have hired Mandarin-speaking staff to better meet the needs of Chinese travelers.

Images by Guardian

 

Super China

South Korea and China relations has been significantly improving

China has been able to develop an unlikely relationship with its neighbor South Korea. The alliance was formed allegedly as a way to prevent South Korea and Japan from being a strategic ally which will endanger the position of China. South Korea and Japan have been disputing over historical claims being done by each other. Newspapers discuss whether the outside world fears China, in response a South Korean documentary series which some Chinese commentators believe overestimates the big neighbor’s potential hegemonic power.

Super China was shown in KBS

Super China, a seven-part series produced by South Korean TV network KBS and broadcast in January, focuses on China’s economic might and the possibility of “Chinese hegemony”, the Chinese language China Daily notes, adding that some South Korean viewers appeared to be both amazed and worried about China’s rising power. However some people see that the documentary was a creation of the Chinese government in order to give out their propaganda. However Chinese internet users dismiss this apparent awe as “exaggeration”, “unbelievable” and based on “a hidden agenda of bias and misunderstanding”. This dismissal is questionable due to the fact that some Chinese internet users protecting the government are hired. There is a governing body solely operates to remove bad commentaries against the government.

But an article on Gucheng Net voices concern that “over-praising” is a sign that many foreigners are fearful of China.”This exaggerated praise is no good for China, no matter whether they are heartfelt or the product of a hidden agenda”, it warns.An article in the Chinese edition of the Global Times seeks to reassure foreigners that a powerful China will not threaten world peace.”Instead, it will be a positive influence,” it says, adding that China’s neighbors would feel “even more threatened by the influx of refugees and migrants if China, with its 1.3 billion people, remains poor and collapses”.

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Chairman of Han Long Group imprisoned

China executes mining tycoon

China has been known for its strict control over the media. They ensure that everyone would be giving out good comments to the state and not going against it. Those who attempt to break the rules are being censored by the state. China also wants to eliminate corrupt officials in order to improve its image to the citizens. China’s state-controlled print media declare that justice has been done after the execution of powerful Sichuan-based mining tycoon Liu Han.The former chairman of the Hanlong Group was sentenced to death in May for “leading mafia-style crime and murder”.He is reported to have had links to disgraced security official Zhou Yongkang, who is currently under investigation for breaching party discipline – often a reference to corruption allegations.Official media reports, however, make no mention of such links, and indeed refrain from any wider comment beyond welcoming news of Liu’s execution.”The dark evil ones face execution, justice has finally arrived,” trumpets the state news agency Xinhua.”This shows the total destruction of the mega-mafia organization, and also fully reflects the belief and determination of the central government to pursue rule of law and clamp down on the evil and illegal forces.”

Citizens await for the decision of the court over Liu Han

Liu Han and his associates were described as the “people’s enemy”. The agency quotes observers see this as a signal that the leadership’s ambitious legal and anti-corruption reforms are gathering pace. “There will be no ‘privileged citizens’ if we continue to strengthen the rule of law and improve the legal system where everyone can enjoy justice.”In contrast to the mainland Chinese media, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post openly connects Liu with Mr Zhou, describing him as an associate of the latter’s son.”While close ties between the business community and party officials are common in China, Liu’s case has exposed in surprising detail large networks of the rich and their uncertain role in political struggles,” daily comments.

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China’s steps in being powerful

Chinese officials has been boasting the country's growth

Chinese officials has been boasting the country’s growth

The international community view China as nonconformist when it comes to the political system and ideology. China only has North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba as its ideological allies. Due to the sudden rise of China, most countries are either openly or secretly considering how to restrain or limit China. However people are quite off with their focus on what to focus on. Instead of thinking about how to restrain China, it is necessary to think about how to deal with China’s behavior after it has risen. China has been growing confident ever since the start of its rise. China’s current leaders always see to it that in their speeches during international forum would contain China’s peaceful rise and promise that China will never seek hegemony. They continuously emphasize this and try to gain the support of the public. It has been a good strategy for trying to assure China’s position in the international community.

Chinese officials needs to focus on improving diplomacy

Chinese officials needs to focus on improving diplomacy

Some critics however think that China will sooner or later dissent. The dissent will be due to the interruption of some sudden crisis. It would hurt China and leave them with no control. This however could be prevented if China will be contained with its changing of behavior. It would be necessary for China to be able to manage its politicians in order to maintain its power. China should not however allow for other countries to bully them. It needs to have proper diplomacy in trying to deal with other countries. It would also be helpful if China continues to strengthen the nationalist sentiments in its country. More than that China needs to obtain the trust of most countries in the world. One of the most important factors in the limitation and use of power is the unique core value system of the country. China needs to approach diplomacy through respecting every kind of political system.

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Maritime Consultative Mechanism

Disputed islands of Senkakou/Diaoyu

Disputed islands of Senkakou/Diaoyu

Representatives of China and Japan would have talks with regards to managing the tensions in the East China Sea. These officials are tying to finalize details regarding the communication line that the leaders would use in case of an emergency. They would also further discuss precautionary measures in avoiding accidents in the sea and air. This step of managing the tensions through coming up of a maritime consultative mechanism eases people’s tension with regards to the East China Sea. The Senkakou/Diayou had been contested by China and Japan due to the potential bemefits it could give to these two countries. They have reached an agreement before to form the maritime consultative mechanism back in 2012. However, the relations between the two had been in the rocks lately ever since Japan started its campaign for nationalism over the Senkakou. China is not the only one who had tense relations with Japan. In fact, until now, Korea still demands for Japan to be responsible over their involvement on Korean comfort women. The last talks about the maritime consultative mechanism were held in May 2012. People fear that there might be a conflict that could arise due to the lack of communication between China and Japan for the last few years and an increase in patrol in the disputed area.

Relations between China and Japan went sour in 2012

Relations between China and Japan went sour in 2012

Communication between the two was renewed last year in September when the Chinese Foreign Minister for Boundary and Ocean Affairs Yi Xianliang and Japanese Foreign Minister for Boundary and Ocean Affairs Makita Shimokawa met and had discussions about the disputed islands. In that meeting the two representatives agreed in principle to resume the talks about maritime communication mechanism. The goal of Japan is to first secure the management mechanism by the end of 2015. The renewed relations allows for a better communication lines through the discussion about the technical details, including what common radio frequency vessels and aircraft from both sides should use in the area surrounding the disputed islands.

Images by AP and Pichi Chuang

Chinese shutting foreign firms

Chinese officials shutting down foreign firms

Chinese officials shutting down foreign firms

The Chinese government is seeking to eliminate foreign tech firms by 2020. They want to let Chinese technologies to prosper in China. They want these domestic companies to have a place in banks, state-owned enterprises, key government agencies and the military. According to the report of Bloomberg China has been campaigning to strengthen domestic companies ever since. This report proves that China was looking to replace foreign technology firms with domestic ones, both for security reasons and as a part of China’s push to ramp up domestic innovation in the high-tech sector. The administration of President Xi Jinping has been seeking to give Chinese Internet users a secure connection. They have started to call for the development of domestic technologies and ensuring cyber security back in February 2014. They think that these two things are crucial parts of China’s cyber strategy moving forward. President Xi believes that China could only best attain cyber power when they develop their own technology.

Chinese users offered with domestic products

Chinese users offered with domestic products

It has been an urgent goal for China ever since Edward Snowden revealed the US cyber espionage on Chinese institutions. It became clear for Chinese to not rely on foreign firms like Microsoft and IBM for its technology needs. It seems that it would not be impossible for China to strengthen its domestic technology due to the past developments. They are confident that the domestic alternatives available could potentially match the needs of Chinese Internet users. Beijing banned the use of Windows 8 on government computers and encouraged Chinese banks to switch away from IBM servers. Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, and other firms came under heavy fire as national security risks. The Chinese government had done this due to the indictment of five PLA officers on charges of economic espionage. Part of China’s plan to strengthen its economy is to not rely on top global brands.

Images by Pang Xinglei

China-Japan Historical Narrative Dispute

China is keen on winning the right interpretation of history

China is keen on winning the right interpretation of history

The Chinese government has been open for discussion on the reviewing of the past events. In fact, they have been trying to correct the misconceptions or even some accusations of false information on their historical accounts. During 1931 to 1945, besides the World War II taking place in Asia, the Imperial Japanese Army waged an aggressive war across the Asia Pacific. Japan back then had a goal in trying to expand their power in the region. It has been known that the Japanese government created an establishment and even forced women from across Asia into sexual slavery. They have been known as comfort women wherein only about a third of the victims survived.

Stories of Chinese comfort women has never been heard off before

Stories of Chinese comfort women has never been heard off before

There have been numerous accounts of survivors on their horrific experience. However, it was rare to read on stories of women who came from Mainland China. According to some researches, nearly 400,000 women were enslaved by the Japanese military. People have never heard their stories until recently wherein the Chinese government has been supportive towards the interpretation of history. The political ties of China and Japan have been turbulent in recent years due to the tensions existing in the recent past. Majority of the time they try to use the anniversary of the end of the World War II as a propaganda in trying to win the battle in the right interpretation of the past. The existence of materials wherein people could found out more on the past experiences of the comfort women has been significant. People are now gaining knowledge on how they have struggled into fitting in to the society once the war has ended. Some scholars have also been studying the effect of Chinese patriarchal sociopolitical ideology before and after the war. Chinese comfort women have suffered persecution from their own countrymen and even banishment to a labor camp in Northeast China during the Cultural Revolution. This has been a remarkable contribution in further winning the supposedly right interpretation of history.

Images by Confucius Institute Online and mochi thinking

Role of Political Communication

Political Communication influences public policy

Political Communication influences public policy

There are two characteristics of the media and politics and those are potency and vulnerability. In an autonomous media system, it is the most important institution of political communication. The autonomous media system is one of the critical institutions for improving and reproducing democracy. Political communication is known in trying to achieve a certain level of democracy. Its role in proving enough information to the public allows a better understanding of what is happening in the political sphere. The ability of the audience to have a say on what he’ll do to that information being disseminated could further improve the status of the political system in the country.

Political Communication has been restrictive

Political Communication has been restrictive

Another role it provides is a way of binding the public. In the dissemination of information, it allows the public to be involved in the discussion. The exchange of ideas in each citizens allows a better formulation of the resolution to the problem. Engaging in a discussion of a certain issue shows the political maturity of the  public it actually forwards the society better due to such people. Lastly, it also creates political legitimacy. The ability of the government to hear out the grievances of people increases public support. At the center, if the network of political communication lies the mass media, the mass media is better accessed due to the improvement in technology. The media could create media power. It allows people to be easily influenced on what should be the main discussion. It sets out trends on what people should know about. However it is important for them not to inhibit people from speaking up. The media should report things that are true and they should not hide anything from the public. The media, however, has the freedom in choosing what information they would deem relevant. In such, the people would only engage on things that are relevant.

Images by bagcrazier and Amazon