National China News

Dte: December 6, 2017
By: Chris Morris

The increasingly tense stand-off between the U.S. and North Korea may have hit a new high this week.

As U.S. and South Korean military units conducted an annual air power exercise over the Korean Peninsula, China’s air force reportedly staged exercises in “routes and areas it has never flown before” over the Yellow and East Seas. The exercise involved reconnaissance planes, fighter jets, an early warning and control aircraft, and a joint operation with surface-to-air missile units.

The South China Morning Post quotes Li Jie, a Beijing-based military expert, as saying the drills were done specifically to send a message to Donald Trump.

“The timing of this high-profile announcement by the [People’s Liberation Army] is also a warning to Washington and Seoul not to provoke Pyongyang any further,” Jie told the Post.

The U.S. and South Korea used over 200 aircraft in their recent drills. North Korea has protested the exercise as an “all out provocation.”    [FULL  STORY]

It seems that China has not actually taken any action to influence this decision, but publishers are still playing it safe.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/11/19
By: Merriden Varrall 

The recent decision by Allen & Unwin to drop Clive Hamilton’s book on Chinese influence illustrates that China need not exert much effort in influencing Australia. We’re doing the job ourselves.

Hamilton’s book Silent Invasion: How China is Turning Australia into a Puppet State was pulled, according to an email from the publishers, because of “potential threats to the book and the company from possible action by Beijing.”

That’s a fair few “potentials” and “possibles.” From the information available, it seems that China has not actually taken any action to influence this particular decision at all. With the heated debate in Australia at the moment about Chinese influence, Allen & Unwin have made an enormously controversial decision, especially given recent events with Cambridge University Press and Springer Nature.

This is an important point — no actual pressure has been exerted by China. Rather, the publisher appears to have chosen to self-censor, just in case.    [FULL  STORY]

The Washington Post
Date: November 16 at 1:28 PM 
By: Adam Taylor 

As Xi Jinping visited Zimbabwe during a tour of Africa in 2015, Robert Mugabe offered the

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, greeted Xi Jinping as the Chinese president arrived in Harare in 2015. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese president a warm welcome and portrayed the two nations as deep allies. “China is Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend,” the Zimbabwean president told reporters.

Now, a little less than two years after that visit, the 93-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly 40 years, is under house arrest in the capital as his own military patrols the streets and rumors circulate that Beijing may have given coup plotters its blessing.

Less than two weeks before political turmoil hit Harare, Zimbabwean army chief Constantino Chiwenga visited Beijing for a meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan. China’s Foreign Ministry has said the Nov. 5 meeting was a “normal military exchange as agreed by the two countries,” but there is speculation that Chiwenga, now a leading figure in the suspected coup, was seeking China’s support for a move against Mugabe.  [FULL  STORY]

Here is a 10-point guide to understanding the rising fear of China.

Zee News
Date: Nov 17, 2017
By: Shyam Balasubra

Most global powers are now openly talking of containing China. This invariably comes with mentions of increasing cooperation with India as a counterbalance in the region. But how did the Asian giant go from an economic fairy tale to being referred to as a threat to the global order? Simply put, it refuses to play by the rules.

Here is a 10-point guide to understanding the rising fear of China:  [CONTINUE 10-POINT GUIDE]

The way in which Xi deals with the age question in the make-up of the PSC will be a good indicator of the nature of his power and the extent of his success.

The News Lens

Date: 2017/09/23
By: Frances Kitt

On Oct. 18 the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will kick off, and the

Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像

new makeup of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) will be revealed. The policy direction and success of President Xi Jinping’s next term depend on who makes the cut.

A mostly informal set of rules govern eligibility for a spot on the PSC. One important convention holds that promotion to or retention on the committee is dictated by the candidate’s age when the National Congress is held. This precedent, started and upheld since 2002, is encapsulated by the catchphrase “seven up, eight down” (七上八下) — if a candidate is 67 at the time of the Congress, they may advance upwards in the ranks. If a candidate is 68 or older, they probably expect to be retired.

In theory, this norm precludes five out of seven members from staying on the PSC this October. According to the age norm, only one member of the PSC (apart from Xi, aged 64) will not be of retirement age come October: China’s second-in-command, Premier Li Keqiang, who is 62.

If the age precedent is upheld, which candidates will fill the remaining five spots in China’s leadership? How will the leadership line-up change? What the age rule means in practice has sparked a flurry of speculation in the run-up to the National Congress — but perhaps a more illuminating question is whether Xi will uphold the “seven up, eight down” convention at all.    [FULL  STORY]

Apart from China’s rhetoric and actions, China’s domestic transition towards a green, low carbon economy will serve as the best explanation for its ambitions in Antarctica.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/08/28
By: Jiliang Chen

Concerns raised by China’s promulgation of the term “use” or “utilization” in its Antarctic diplomacy is causing mistrust in Antarctic governance.

The main cause for concern for some in the international community is China’s status as a “resource hungry nation” that craves fossil fuels and minerals to feed its growing economy. In the context of the Antarctic, China’s long-term interest in the region may be motivated by the fact that the 1998 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the Madrid Protocol) will be up for review in 2048, which will include discussion of mining operations beginning in Antarctica.

Adding to this concern is the ambiguity surrounding China’s Antarctic agenda. China does not have comprehensive legislation or an official strategy for Antarctica. Deng Xiaoping(鄧小平)’s 1980s slogan “contribute to mankind’s peaceful use of Antarctica”(為人類和平利用南極做出貢獻), which the former leader used to capture China’s position on the region, can be widely interpreted. China has so far employed the term “rational use” as a reason to block negotiations on marine protected areas under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). The term “use” in Chinese domestic laws — such as in the Law on the Protection of Wild Life — is controversial and associated with the poor practice.

But does China actually have any ambitions to re-shape the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) into a regime for resource exploitation?

China’s hunger for resources is driven by the need to fuel its rapidly growing economy. China’s economy is export driven, which means part of its demand for raw material originates from the consumption of other countries. Domestic demand for a better living also contributes to growth. But the need for natural resources will stagnate when China’s population peaks in the 2030s as predicted.    [FULL  STORY]

The percentage of people around the world who hold a favorable perception of China declined from 48 per cent in 2007 to 40 per cent in 2016.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/08/18
By: Sacha Cody

Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

Ten years ago, then-Chinese president Hu Jintao announced that China needed to develop its soft power. Progress is not good. The percentage of people around the world who hold a favorable perception of China declined from 48 per cent in 2007 when Hu made his announcement to 40 per cent in 2016.

Even in regions where China invests generously, things have not changed dramatically. Positive sentiment remains stable in most of Latin and Central America, and has dropped slightly across Africa. China fares much worse in Western nations. Over the same period, favorable perceptions dropped from 42 to 37 per cent in the United States and from 39 to 32 per cent in Western Europe. Only Australia has stable impressions of China: 52 per cent held a favorable view in both 2007 and 2016.

But a new ingredient has recently emerged in China’s quest for soft power — Chinese brands and their global influence. A recent study identified 30 Chinese brands that are ‘going global’ (meaning they derive a significant portion of their revenue and positive sentiment from overseas), including businesses in ‘traditional’ industries such as Lenovo and Huawei as well as newer internet and digital businesses like Alibaba and Elex.

Chinese government f66urious over lowered ranking in latest US human trafficking report  

Taiwan News
Date: 2017/06/28
By: Keoni Everingto6n, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The United States downgraded demoted China to “Tier 3,” its lowest

FILE – In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, Liu Xia, the wife of China’s jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, poses with a photo of herself and her husband during an interview at her home in Beijing. The newly arrived U.S. ambassador in Beijing Terry Branstad said Wednesday, June 28, 2017, that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate should be allowed to get treatment outside China after he was diagnosed with cancer while imprisoned for subversion. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

ranking6 in its 2017 human trafficking report on Tuesday.

The downgrading of China now places it in the same category as North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iran, Venezuela and Syria, a move which was a surprise to many this year after the Trump administration had avoided much public criticism of Beijing on any major issue in order to curry its support in pressuring North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapon program.

Standing with Ivanka Trump at his side while making the announcement, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “China was downgraded to Tier 3 status in this year’s report in part because it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced laborers from North Korea that are located in China.”    [FULL  STORY]

European business leader Joerg Wuttke believes leadership is becoming less curious and eager to learn from the West

South China Morning Post
Date: 12 June, 2017
By: Wendy Wu

China has become less curious and keen to learn from and open up to the West despite its growing importance on the world stage, according to a European business leader and veteran China watcher.

Joerg Wuttke, former president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, has seen first-hand the dramatic change in mainland society over the past three decades.

“China is now very different from decades ago. When I first came here in the early 1980s, I noticed huge curiosity and eagerness to learn and to open up. But now China is far more globally engaged but far more closed up,” he told the South China Morning Post.

Wuttke added that today’s leadership was more insecure about opening up to foreign ideas despite increasing wealth on the mainland.

Xi Jinping is biding his time on market reforms, China watcher says

“China’s current leaders are quite different from their predecessors. Even if they look far more secure in office, more powerful and the country is much wealthier, it seems they have a stronger sense of insecurity – lashing out at criticism, cutting off ideas and challenging foreign non-government organisations,” Wuttke said.   [FULL  STORY]
Date: May `10, 2017
By: Sophia Yan

China has rapidly climbed the ranks to become the world’s second-largest economy. Now, the most populous nation on the planet wants to increase its influence by digging further into its pockets — flush with cash after decades of rapid growth — to splash out with its “One Belt, One Road” policy.

The initiative is meant to connect Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa to bolster trade and development. This weekend, hordes of foreign diplomats and business leaders are expected to descend on Beijing for a two-day meeting about the policy.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is “One Belt, One Road?”

President Xi Jinping first announced the policy in 2013; it was later named one of China’s three major national strategies, and morphed into an entire chapter in the current five-year plan, to run through 2020.

The plan aims to connect Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa with a vast logistics and transport network, using roads, ports, railway tracks, pipelines, airports, transnational electric grids and even fiber optic lines. The scheme involves 65 countries, which together account for one-third of global GDP and 60 percent of the world’s population, or 4.5 billion people, according to Oxford Economics.
Why does China want to do this?

This is part of China’s push to increase global clout — building modern infrastructure can attract more investment and trade along the “One Belt, One Road” route. It could be beneficial for western China, which is less developed, as it links up with neighboring countries. And in the long run, it will help China shore up access to energy resources.

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