lørdag 24. juni 2017

Kazakhstan: How China's shaping one country's future

China's Belt and Road initiative is ploughing through central Asia. The plan, which aims to expand trade links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond, was unveiled in 2013. What impact has China's grand plan had so far in Kazakhstan? I went to Almaty - the financial capital - to find out. The lyrical strains of Almaty's latest pop song reverberates through the city's main Chinese market, lending a distinctly Kazakh feel to what looks like a scene that could easily be from Beijing or Shanghai. Inside, signs in both Mandarin and Kazakh point out directions in the warren-like maze.

Torbjørn Færøvik: "Vil dere ikke spise, så skal dere. Det er en nasjonal plikt å spise!"

”Vil dere ikke spise, så skal dere. Det er en nasjonal plikt å spise!”

Beskjeden var klar da det kinesiske kommunistpartiet i mai innkalte til massemøte på torget i Hotan. Byen ligger i Kinas vestlige del, i den muslimsk-dominerte Xinjiang-regionen. Ramadan, den årlige fastemåneden, sto for døren. Fra buldrende høyttalere ble tilhørerne, mest offentlig ansatte, befalt å gi avkall på en gammel religiøs tradisjon. 

Be Respectful To China’s National Anthem! Or You Might Face Detention

If the Chinese authorities want to promote something, they’ll simply make a law for it. As China is intensely promoting patriotism nationwide, a new law on the national anthem has been drafted. According to Xinhua, China’s top legislature is now (starting June 22) “deliberating on” the draft law. In actuality, this means the draft law will be approved very soon. Read more

China’s Struggle With Demographic Change

China’s rapid aging process is not only changing the makeup of society, but it is also dramatically impacting China’s future economic growth prospects and putting huge pressure on government finances. In 1987, the early days of China’s economic miracle, 63.8 percent of the population were of working age, and 4.2 percent were aged above 65. That meant a surplus of workers to feed China’s low-cost manufacturing boom, which drove the average 10 percent GDP growth seen between 1987 and 2007.

But increased life expectancy and lower fertility means that by 2025, when the share of the 65-and-over population exceeds 14 percent China will officially become an “aged” society. But unlike France, which took 115 years for its share to rise from 7 percent to 14 percent, China will have taken 23 years, and much less than in the United States (60 years), United Kingdom (45 years), and Germany (40 years), according to research by the World Bank and Standard Chartered.

Xi no evil: Hong Kong bans protest slogans as Chinese president visits

Hong Kong police have launched a crackdown on political banners and images ahead of a visit to the city by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, to avoid “embarrassing” the country’s leaders. Swaths of Hong Kong will be locked down this week and at least 9,000 police officers, nearly a third of the territory’s force, are set to be deployed during Xi’s three-day visit starting on Thursday. Police have been instructed to remove signs calling for remembrance of the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre or advocating for direct elections of the city’s leader, according to local media reports. The aim of restricting the public’s right to freedom of expression is to “prevent leaders from being embarrassed” and signs must not appear on Xi’s routes through the city.

Hong Kong's new chief: detention of booksellers in China not our concern

The kidnapping and detention of a group of Hong Kong booksellers is of no concern to the city’s government, its new leader has said. Five booksellers associated with Hong Kong-based Mighty Current publishing were detained two years ago by Chinese police, with two of the men spirited across borders by plainclothes agents. The case sparked international condemnation and protests in Hong Kong, and added to fears that the city’s autonomy was eroding. But Carrie Lam, who is to be sworn in as Hong Kong’s chief executive on 1 July, said the matter was purely a concern for mainland authorities.

India’s prime minister is not as much of a reformer as he seems

Mr Modi is squandering a golden opportunity. Some apologists claim that he is waiting until he wins a majority in the upper house before taking on bigger reforms. If so, he has given no inkling of what he is planning. In fact, he has not even made clear that economic reform is his priority. Read more

“Cow economics” is killing India’s working class

When prime minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian parliament for the first time in June 2014, his inaugural speech focused on integrating and protecting India’s Muslims. “Even the third generation of Muslim brothers, whom I have seen since my young days, are continuing with their cycle-repairing job,” he said, referring to one of the many menial jobs to which Indian Muslims are often relegated. “Why does such misfortune continue?” But instead of “bring[ing] about change in their lives,” as Modi promised, his government has made life harder for India’s Muslims by cracking down on the leather and beef industries.

The secret negotiations that sealed Hong Kong's future

The two leaders sat several feet apart at a long table covered in green silk. Between them, a tiny twin flagpole bore the standards of the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China. The crowd behind applauded as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang signed large red-bound documents with black fountain pens and then shook hands. With that, on December 19, 1984, the end of more than 150 years of British rule over Hong Kong was sealed and a timeline put in place for China to assume sovereignty over the city on July 1, 1997.

China has a worrying habit of making business leaders disappear

A top executive suddenly dropping off the radar would be alarming for any company. But in China, it's become a disturbingly familiar situation. The latest example is Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of a major insurance company that owns the Waldorf Astoria in New York and recently held talks with the Kushner family over a Manhattan office tower. He is reported to have been detained by authorities on Friday as part of a government investigation. His company, Anbang Insurance Group, said in a short statement that Wu "cannot perform his duties due to personal reasons."

fredag 23. juni 2017

Sinocism China Newsletter, June 22, 2017

Get smarter about China. Read more

In China's far west the 'perfect police state' is emerging

It was Friday, the Islamic day of assembly, but outside Kashgar’s Id Kah mosque on Liberation Avenue it was the growl of diesel engines that filled the air not a muezzin’s wistful cry. One by one armoured personnel carriers, some with machine guns poking from their turrets, rolled towards People’s Square where a 12-metre statue of Mao Zedong was preparing to preside over the latest in a series of tub-thumping “anti-terror” rallies to be held here in the heartlands of China’s Muslim Uighur minority this year. Open-backed lorries packed with heavily-armed troops joined the procession, red and yellow propaganda banners draped from their sides. Read more

China Cancels Military Meeting With Vietnam Over Territorial Dispute

State-run newspapers in Vietnam and China reported in recent days that senior military officials from the two countries would hold a fence-mending gathering along a border where their militaries fought a brief but bloody war in 1979. But Tuesday, the scheduled start of the gathering, came and went without any of the coverage in the state news media that readers in the two countries had expected. The Chinese Defense Ministry later said in a terse statement that it had canceled the event “for reasons related to working arrangements.” Analysts, citing government sources, said that the Chinese delegation had unexpectedly cut short a trip to Vietnam after tempers flared during a closed-door discussion on disputed territories in the South China Sea.

Xi Jinping Is Set for a Big Gamble With China’s Carbon Trading Market

As other countries look to China to take the lead in fighting global warming after President Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate agreement, President Xi Jinping is pushing ahead with an ambitious plan to build the world’s largest market for carbon emissions permits. The start of a national carbon trading market in China by late this year has been years in the making, but is now shaping up as Mr. Xi’s big policy retort to Mr. Trump’s decision to quit the Paris accord. The Chinese government said in a greenhouse gas policy guide released on Wednesday that the 2017 start was on track.

“Carbon trading on a national scale will send a signal to the world that China is serious about this,” said Wang Yi, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing who also belongs to the national legislature and advises the government on climate policy.

Yulin dog meat festival begins despite rumours of ban

A controversial dog meat festival has begun in the Chinese city of Yulin, despite earlier reports it had been cancelled or toned down this year. The Lychee and Dog Meat festival takes place annually in Guangxi province. Earlier this year, US campaigners claimed that vendors had been told by authorities not to sell dog meat. But stall holders had told the BBC they had heard nothing about this from officials. On 15 May, city officials confirmed there was no ban. Read more

Manufacturing the China Dream

President Xi Jinping's grand strategy looks to reconstitute regional and global consensus through the acquisition of ideological consent, writes Amar Diwakar, a writer and research consultant with Global Risk Intelligence. Read more

"Xi's assertive foreign policy - integrating both development and security goals - is a watershed moment in contrast to the Deng Xiaoping era of pragmatism that both Zemin and Jintao observed. Arguably, the tenor of China's 5th generation leadership can be grasped by an attentiveness to a chorus in diplomatic addresses that have so far defined Xi's tenure."

Track What the Trump Administration is Saying about China

In the run-up to and during his race toward the presidency of the United States, Donald Trump made frequent statements about China, its people, and the government in Beijing, in remarks that ranged from effusive praise to outright attack, and which occupied a wide spectrum of factual accuracy. Read more

Destruction at Larung Gar Greater Than Earlier Reported

Chinese authorities destroyed 4,725 monastic dwellings during the last year at Sichuan’s Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, with a total of over 7,000 demolished since efforts to reduce the number of monks and nuns living at the sprawling center began in 2001, a senior abbot at Larung Gar said this week. In a June 20 address to Larung Gar’s remaining residents, the abbot said that more than 4,828 monks and nuns had also been expelled since 2016, with many forced back to their hometowns and deprived of opportunities to pursue religious studies.

“We are discussing ways to help those who have had to leave Larung Gar in their studies and practice,” the abbot said, while praising those who remained for their hard work and “excellent performance” following this year’s final exams.