China’s regional trade

Chinese Economy

The celebrated revival of the Silk Road would seem to herald the return of China’s charm offensive, winning over neighbors and other countries in the region through increased trade incentives and transport connectivity. China lives in a tough neighborhood, sharing a long contiguous land border with Russia and India (with which it has unresolved land boundary disputes) and a common sea boundary with Japan (with which it has unresolved territorial and maritime disputes). As such, SREB/MSR could possibly be seen as a strategy to circumvent any encirclement or containment that a hostile power in concert with other states may undertake to harm China’s interests.

The SREB/MSR project with its land and maritime path components promises to better connect China with the Middle East, Africa and Europe through its landlocked neighbors in Central Asia and the littoral states of Southeast and South Asia. It spreads the risk by multiplying access routes, thus reducing China’s vulnerabilities. The system of ports, railways and roads, which have variously been completed, or are under construction or being proposed, will enable China to diversify the routes by which it can secure the transport of oil and gas and other essential goods needed to sustain China’s economy. It enhances the country’s energy and economic security and mitigates the risks attendant to transporting fuel and goods through unstable, unsecured or unfriendly channelsDeveloping pipelines to get oil and gas directly from Russia and Central Asia  to power western China also reduces its reliance on the volatile Middle East. Meanwhile, by linking the economies of Central Asia with western China, Beijing brings further development and stability to restive and relatively underdeveloped Xinjiang and Tibet and cuts off any potential support that Uygur dissident groups may seek from fellow Muslims in Central Asia. Hence, SREB/MSR goes far beyond simply sharing economic prosperity – it has obvious political and security underpinnings. And viewed from this vantage point, its China-centrism is very evident.

China’s interest in Kazakhstan

 

China-Kazakhstan

Chinese policy toward Kazakhstan has been mainly on the development of Xinjian Uygur Autonomous Region through inter-regional cooperation, roads, and railway construction; and second, obtaining access to Kazakhstan’s resources (oil, gas and uranium) and the reliable transit of Turkmen gas to China. In addition, Beijing seeks to expand the presence of Chinese goods in Kazakhstan’s markets, bind Astana economically with financial aid and credits, deepen cultural ties, and influence the new elite generation with soft power activities.At this stage, economic collaboration between China and Kazakhstan is backed by Beijing’s efforts in oil and gas field development, as well as in constructing or renovating the pipeline network to meet China’s demand for resources. China clearly hopes to be a permanent actor in rich pre-Caspian oil projects and to boost its stake in the Kazakhstan oil and gas industry from the current 22-24 percent. The volume of Kazakhstan oil being pumped through the Kazakhstan-China pipeline is meanwhile on the rise.

Chinese companies in Kazakhstan

China’s national strategy of replacing coal with gas is driving it to diversify its gas supply routes. As a consequence, Turkmen gas is being transported through Kazakhstan on its way to China, which will benefit from less air pollution and a reduced burden on its transportation networks. (Currently, coal haulage occupies 50 percent of China’s  railway capacity. However, China is not focusing on oil-gas negotiations alone; it has its eyes on other sectors of the Kazakhstani economy. For instance, China is an important end market for uranium. This has prompted talks between Kazatomprom, CNNC and CGNPC, which have agreed to export 24.2 tons of uranium to China by 2020 from mining joint ventures. Kazakh officials have also agreed to sell China fuel pellets produced by Ulba metallurgical plant. This has given China the resources it needs for its national program of nuclear power development from 2005-2020, which aims to increase the installed nuclear capacity to 42 GW. Moreover, as part of China’s conception of 2011-2015 energy security plan, CNNC was scheduled to invest more than 500 billion yuan ($78 billion) in constructing nuclear plants, taking nuclear power to 5 percent of Chinese energy demand. This efforts have made the Chinese nuclear sector the most dynamic in the world, and a vast market for uranium.

Images by Xinhua

China’s migrant workers

China has so many migrant workers

Main newspapers support Chinese authorities’ plans to give permanent residency rights to migrant workers. The migrant workers have been considered an important part of the Chinese economy prompting the government to help them out. The current residency law makes it mandatory for migrant workers to seek temporary permits before they are allowed to work in another city. Most host cities do not allow such workers any access to social benefits. These benefits are crucial in order to make sure that their well-being is ensured. According to the public security reform plan released on Sunday, migrant workers will be allowed to hold permanent residency permits to help them have access to most benefits enjoyed by local residents, the official Xinhua News Agency reports.There was no exact timeline released by the government for the changes. The state-run news agency quotes observers as saying that the temporary residence registry system has “led to instability and unsettlement and is no longer suitable for today’s situation”.

Workers at Yangtze River

Public policy expert see that these changes would further improve the conditions of labor workers in the country. Peng Xizhe, public policy expert at Fudan University, tells the Global Times that the new system will “optimize the labor force by allowing workers to freely migrate across the country”.”The current system has provided convenience for the police in managing migrant workers. It has also been a source of income for the department. But it has not brought much benefit to the workers,” Hu Xingdou, a social science professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology, adds.The Beijing News notes that the proposed changes have received positive feedback from the public. The editorial adds that the plan is significant because it aims to “bring equal rights for everyone”. However, it suggests that the departments in charge of social security and healthcare benefits need to follow up with welfare reforms for migrant workers.The Xinhua’s Economic Information adds that the reform has been planned to minimize the gap between urban and rural areas.

Images by libcom and Getty

Chinese spies imprisoned

President Xi Jinping targetting spies

President Xi Jinping targetting spies

President Xi Jinping has targeted China’s powerful intelligence-gathering apparatus. The deputy minister at the Chinese State Security apparatus has been detained for a case of corruption. Deputy Minister Ma Jian had been arrested last January 11. It shocked a lot of people due to the fact that China is known to be quite lenient with government officials involved in such things. The arresting of Ma Jian symbolizes the change in the Chinese government. It shows how the government is more serious with regards to its anti-graft campaign. Over the years China’s spy agency is known to be the most politically protected entities in the country. This shows progress of President Xi Jinping and his colleagues over trying to clean up the problems in corruption in the government. They have been trying to plan this action for over 18 months now. Before, Chinese leaders took the work of their intelligence services very seriously. Under Hu Jintao and the pro-stability strategy, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security became influential in the country. In fact last 2007, Zhou Yongkang became influential due to the political support he gained.

Targeting spies

Targeting spies

The intelligence organization had been experiencing multiple problems in the past. It has been poorly managed and the constant waste of resources. It is also where majority of corruption happens. Despite the fact intelligence agencies are known to be a political tool for some, Chinese officials see to it that the institution should change. Throughout the years MSS have seen a domestic industry of intelligence production. Some technical areas, MSS has become even more active, with scientists and those viewed as holding useful information sometimes targeted both inside and outside the country. However, when MSS is becoming over powerful and over confident, Chinese officials felt that there is a necessity to reform China’s spies and to see to it that they stay on budget.

Images by Confucius Institute and Elizabeth Dalziel

China-South Korea Bilateral partnership

Improvement on China-South Korea relations

Improvement on China-South Korea relations

Over the past few months ,we have seen the improvement in relations of China and South Korea. It has been surprising for some because of the differences in the ideology of South Korea and China. In fact it is more apt for South Korea to Japan however this is not the case. The three countries in East Asia had been disputing due to the changing of some historical narratives. China had been siding with South Korea with regards to the atrocities made by Japan during the World War II. This endangers the situation in East Asia because it allows China to establish a stable partnership with South Korea. China however is perfectly playing the act of diplomacy. After fixing its relations with Japan last September when they agreed in principle over the way to improve communication lines, China has further strengthen its relations with South Korea. The two countries decided to move towards launching a free trade area. In the news released by the Xinhua News Agency, the agreement is to “enhance bilateral market connectivity and all-round communication”. It is expected to become into force in the second half of this year.

 

Minister Yang Yihang

Minister Yang Yihang

The talks over the creation of the free trade area started last May 2012. Over the years, both countries have presented their particular needs and then agreed to proposed measures. The talks concluded just last November. Both sides have already reached agreements covering sectors including services, investment, finance and communication according to the Chinese Minister of Commerce, Yang Yihang. According to the minister, when he had conducted talks in a China-South Korea industrial cooperation, the agreements would provide fresh opportunities for bilateral enterprises and market connectivity. Minister Yang proposed to continue promoting bilateral investment in advanced manufacturing, film, and TV production, cultural creativity and medical care. South Korean trade official Hong Chang said how they look forward with this bilateral agreement and believes FTA would boost bilateral investment in tourism, logistics and encourage increased cooperation in renewable energy, environmental protection and the automotive industry.

Images by RFA and Ministry of Commerce

Change for international Internet users

Usage of Internet

Usage of Internet

China just recently hosted the first World Internet Conference wherein they introduced Internet czar Lu Wei to the international community. In the conference, Lu Wei took advantage the situation by introducing his international agenda. Lu Wei has been interested in trying to expand his engagement towards foreign regulators and companies. He has been an established figure in the Internet community of China. He focused on engaging with domestic agencies and online service and information for the first two years. Lu wants to establish a national Internet sovereignty, international adoption of the Chinese regulatory model and continued gate keeping of international online companies. This proposal would be difficult for Hong Kong citizens due to the controlling of international Internet information.

CEO of Alibaba

CEO of Alibaba

It is not going to be difficult for Lu to implement such plan in the Chinese Internet community. He has close ties with President Xi Jinping and the Party. This means that his proposal could represent what the Party wants in the international stage. International community will not be able to write him off due to his influence. Other Chinese online giants such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent are also supporters of the Party for the last two years. They agree with what Lu Wei wants for the future of the online world. It has been easier for the Chinese Internet to develop into something that government’s agenda are aligned with. It poses a threat to foreign companies or regulators who would want to push China to play the online game on their terms.

Lu Wei’s agenda would be trying to establish international recognition for China’s sovereignty over its own cyberspace. It would be difficult for companies and government to endorse China’s right to continue to regulate. The second objective would be taking China’s national sovereignty global. It aims to build credence for the broader global adoption of a Chinese styled regulatory environment. Lu promised that it will make Internet safe for users, government and corporate entities.

Images by CNME and Reuters

Reaction to largest Paraxylene Plant

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Environmentalists protest in China

Environmentalists protest in China

Last time, China has experienced an unprecedented milestone in environmental activism. In fact, the Chinese government has ensured that there were a lot of people participating over resolving the issue in the environment. They have conducted a “decide-announce-defend” mode of public hearings wherein various government officials faced off with the public to provide comments on the actions being done over the problems over the construction of the world’s largest parxylene (PX) petrochemical plant in Xianmen, a city in southern China. The construction of the petrochemical plant could give more than $100 billion boost to Xianmen’s GDP annually. However despite the economic incentives given out by the plant, it could endanger the city of Xianmen due to the poisonous materials used by the plant. Despite the strong case against the construction of the plant, Zhao Yuefen, one of the main advocates of protest of the project, the petition was voted down by the State Environmental Protection Administration.

Chinese should be more involved in the media

Chinese should be more involved in the media

The coverage of Zhao’s petition draws out strong public reaction in Xianmen. In fact, environmental advocates such as Li Yiqian and Wu Xian, who initiated websites that contains information over the health-endangering, organized petitions and arranged protest parade, were persecuted by the municipal government. Despite the state countering public criticisms, this did not halt the local residents from expressing their opposition to the project through different strategic ways such as text-message campaigns, online protests, visual arguments and non-violent marches. They have used fear mongering in order to garner support from different locals. They have likened the PX project to an atomic bomb in Xianmen and cited grave effects of chemical spills. They initially used online websites but after it was taken down, they resorted into sending text messages. They leveled up the type of paraphernalia being distributed by including visual portrayals of the grave consequences of the PX plant. Such strategy of activists  assisted in the improvement of the political discussion in the local settings.

Images by Peter Parks and Climate Institute

Major Changes in China’s Political Communication

 

There were changes on government censor things in media

There were changes on government censor things in media

There have been major changes over the Chinese news media on how they conduct their propaganda. In fact the purpose of the Chinese new media evolved into being a highly competitive industry. There has been a dramatic increase of information and surprisingly free will of media into publishing various articles or information. It transitioned into being a totalitarian propaganda wherein the Chinese officials completely control the discourse that is being publicized in the media. The post-totalitarian state of media has still been able to keep the element of certain control over the information being released in various forms of media.  It even let the government oversee what should be a valuable too.

Media should accommodate dissent

Media should accommodate dissent

Some scholars believe that Chinese political communication has four sets of mechanisms: the state, the market, the profession and the international forces. Some even claim that these four sets have a continuous interplay between each other. It constantly affects the nature of Chinese media but even alter their own nature and dynamics in continuous metamorphosis of the Chinese political communication. Media could be considered heterogeneous already due to the possibility of the existence of political logic in the various articles published. The consumption of various forms of media is no longer a blind following of the audience but it includes the comprehending of the information contained in the articles. It is especially present in the highly politically sensitive news wherein people would want to be involved in the discussion of such issue. State has been able to alter the source of legitimacy, power and organizational structure. In fact, the state has been open towards discussion on how to clearly define the boundaries on various news zones. Before the state is used to national, collective and repressive measures in controlling the media, now the state has relied on local, individual and preventive measures. It could be due to the commercialization of the media thus offering a variety of information.

Images by Stan Honda and CPJ

Discussion of Chinese human rights

Activist can freely criticize the government about human rights

Activist can freely criticize the government about human rights

The understanding of Chinese political communication has been challenging for some. In the application of        Chinese political communication to the case of the discussion of Chinese discourse of human rights, it has been widely influenced by history. Historically, the Chinese have never had the concept of human rights until 1948. They have never interacted with Western countries and it was a strategic call in order to preserve their own culture. They wanted to avoid unnecessary influences that may harm the preservation of culture. They developed a strong sense of nationalism among its people and they have succeeded in doing such thing. However they were forced to open up their country to other nations in 1978 due to globalization. In here the discourse of China human rights became the focus of the nation. It rapidly developed in terms of the way of discourse.

Human rights discussion used to be limited to politicians

Human rights discussion used to be limited to politicians

Discourse on China human rights used to be discussed only by experts on politics and philosophy. The discussion rarely added value in the political discourse. In modern Chinese political communication, the discourse of human rights became multifaceted and a lot more. The transformation was due to the increased number and kinds of speakers and even audience. It improved in numbers due to the reinforced opposition to the cultural repression.

Moreover the change in the political discussion of China human rights has been a way of criticizing China’s past experience. There has been a necessity to balance the past Chinese norm and even the contemporary approach to human rights. Such balancing provided more depth in the concept of China human rights. However it is necessary to point out how Chinese discourse of human rights has been dependent to their culture. It is inherent to Chinese to criticize their Western counterpart. Thus in the political discussion of human rights, it became a response to the American-West-centric discourse.

Images by beyondbrics and Xinhua

Chinese Culture in its Transformation

Cultural Revolution in China

With the closure of the Cultural Revolution and since the monetary change in the early 1980s, China has attained surprising financial achievement and the living standard of Chinese individuals has enhanced radically. The model of “communism with Chinese attributes” appears to work truly well and has been generally acknowledged by Chinese individuals as it is established in the old dictator state also relative flexibility in economy. Despite the fact that political correspondence in the current administration still takes after the Confucian and Mao’s model in a few ways, Chinese society is an a great deal more open society than it was in the recent past. China survived the holocaust of the Cultural Revolution, has bit by bit deal with its national distinguish and ideological emergency. China does not require any of the progressive talk and radicalized activities to pulverize its society, yet a talk of compromise and change and revitalization of its custom. Without a doubt, China may need to do a reversal to it convention to look for political insight and impulse and in addition permitting ideological adaptability and intelligent flexibility. While China has made monetary marvels, the time it now, time to save and aggregate its social capital.

Tu, Weiming, an ethicist and a New Confucian

The soul of Chinese legislative issues may be profoundly established in Chinese attitude and the old political objectives of request and dependability are still the quest for current political correspondence, the Chinese individuals have much get to data, are getting to be more globalized, receptive, discriminating and intelligent. The new financial structure will inevitably push the political change. Change in China has officially occurred as of this minute. This rich flavor and diverse use of language devices to convey profound and complex meanings through Chinese symbols was lost in the political language used during the Cultural Revolution. The form of political discourse was all the same and linguistic devices were all very similar. According to Tu, Weiming, an ethicist and a New Confucian,  “China in transformation is a human drama on the global stage”

 

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