Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners

China, Demographic

Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners

Ever since the reform and opening-up from 1978, and especially during the last few decades, China has often been portrayed as an economic and a political hybrid: an officially socialist country which has, under the aegis of its Communist Party and its leaders’ continuing declarations of allegiance to Marxism and building socialism, embraced two key components of capitalist systems: private ownership over the means of production and a market economy. For many, this hybridity is also an insoluble contradiction which, similar to the classical liar paradox, involves a range of mutually invalidating opposites lining up with popular understanding of ‘authentically’ Marxist/socialist/communist economic and political values, practices, etc., and respectively ‘authentically’ capitalist/liberal/neoliberal values, practices, etc.

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China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

China, Policies

China’s Quest for Foreign Technology: Beyond Espionage

A 2013 book by Hannas and two other contributors to the present volume focused on the many ways that China gets hold of advanced U.S. technology. Since then, as reported by contributors to this new, deeply researched and sophisticated volume, the Chinese government has vastly increased its technology-acquisition programs, not only in the United States but also in Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Europe.

As before, some Chinese methods are illegal, such as hacking and theft, but many are carried out in the open, including investing in foreign companies, conducting joint research projects with foreign universities and companies, using “talent programs” to bring Chinese and non-Chinese scientists to China, and offering returned scholars venture capital to start businesses. Thousands of university centers, technology-transfer parks, and startup incubators convert the imported technology into products that increase China’s competitiveness, upgrade its military, or strengthen the government’s ability to control society.

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Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860–1960

China, Demographic

Dialect and Nationalism in China, 1860–1960

Chinese nationalists who wanted to create a modern nation in the twentieth century had to contend with the dozens of regional forms of spoken Chinese, which they believed hindered the creation of a unified culture. Tam argues that these speech forms are not just dialects but distinct languages, as different from one another as many of the languages spoken in Europe. To solve the problem, modernizers designed a common language based on the vocabulary and pronunciation found in Beijing and claimed that the regional languages were mere offshoots of this main idiom. Mao Zedong’s regime forced all Han people to learn the common language.

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The Chinese dreamers vs. the U.S. Hegemon

China, Demographic, Economy, Policies

The Chinese dreamers vs. the U.S. Hegemon

Do China and the U.S. have fundamental goals that constitute a contradiction, that is, goals so profoundly at odds with one another that the goals cannot coexist? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Such a contradiction means that one side must abandon its aims if a disastrous conflict is not to ensue. Which country should step back? Is there a moral, ethical or common-sense basis for making that call, a basis on which humankind can readily agree?

What are these contradictory goals?

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Identity Politics With Chinese Characteristics

China, Demographic

Identity Politics With Chinese Characteristics

What is China? The answer is less obvious than it seems. Is the vast territory primarily a country, a civilization, or a political construct? Is it an empire or a nation-state? Is it a region with different languages and cultures or a (mostly) homogeneous people in which the great majority are closely connected by common traditions and ancestors?

For most of the past two millennia, the area known today as China was the center of empires. Some of those empires were large, extending into Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, and the northern Pacific. Others were smaller, containing only parts of present-day China. At times, the area was made up of a number of small states competing for influence, in patterns not unlike what existed in Europe after the fall of Rome. But, in general, empire has been the rule rather than the exception.

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China on the horizon as ‘world’s pharmacy

China, Demographic

China on the horizon as ‘world’s pharmacy

The World Health Organisation’s approval Friday for China’s COVID-19 vaccine known as Sinopharm dramatically transforms the ecosystem of the pandemic. In immediate terms, this has potential to boost global vaccine supply, as China’s overall yearly production capacity is approaching five billion doses.

The western pharmaceutical industry’s monopoly has been breached, as Sinopharm’s is the first COVID-19 vaccine developed by a developing country to be validated by the WHO and only the sixth approved for emergency use globally–in fact, the only non-western vaccine so far. Literally, China has gatecrashed the aggressively-guarded orchard of powerful western pharmaceutical companies. In practical terms, the WHO approval allows China to enter the portals of the COVAX as a qualified supplier.

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What are the real reasons behind the New Cold War?

China, Demographic, Russia, State War, Threats

What are the real reasons behind the New Cold War?

The announcement on April 15 by President Biden that this administration was expelling 10 Kremlin diplomats and imposing new sanctions for alleged Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. elections–to which Russia replied with a tit for tat–came just days after the Pentagon conducted military drills in the South China Sea. These actions were but the latest escalation of aggressive posturing as Washington ramps up its “New Cold War” against Russia and China, pushing the world dangerously towards international political and military conflagration.

Most observers attribute this US-instigated war to rivalry and competition over hegemony and international economic control. These factors are important, but there is a bigger picture that has been largely overlooked of what is driving this process: the crisis of global capitalism.

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China and Russia’s Dangerous Convergence

China, Demographic, Russia

China and Russia’s Dangerous Convergence

On March 23, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, sat down for an auspiciously timed meeting. The high-level talks came just a day after an unusually heated public exchange between senior U.S. and Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska, and in sharp contrast, the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers struck an amicable tone. Together, they rejected Western criticism of their human rights records and issued a joint statement offering an alternative vision for global governance. The U.S.-led international order, Lavrov said, “does not represent the will of the international community.”

The meeting was noteworthy for more than its rhetoric, however. Within days of it, Russia began amassing troops along Ukraine’s border—the largest number since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Simultaneously, China began conducting highly publicized amphibious assault exercises and air incursions into Taiwan’s so-called air defense identification zone at the highest frequency in nearly 25 years. These military moves have reignited concerns in Washington about the potential depth of Chinese-Russian coordination.

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What about China?

China, Demographic

What about China?

China surged past the United States to become the #1 carbon emitter in 2006. Currently (2019 data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy), its CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel burning are over 9,800 million metric tons (“tonnes”) a year. That is nearly double U.S. emissions for the same year, and a staggering 29 percent of total 2019 world CO2 emissions from burning coal, oil and gas. China’s 2019 emissions are nearly triple the level from 20 years earlier (3,294 million tonnes, also from the BP Review)

This is a less upbeat picture than what we portrayed in our most recent post on China, Why China’s Emissions Triumph Surpasses the United States’?, from 2017. That post highlighted four grounds for optimism on China:

1. China’s carbon emissions were well under half of U.S. emissions on a per capita basis. U.S. per capita CO2 emissions of 15.4 metric tons in 2016 were nearly two-and-a-half times as great as China’s 6.4 tonnes per person in the same year, owing to the 4-to-1 population disparity.

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India-China dispute: The border row explained in 400 words

China, Demographic, India

India-China dispute: The border row explained in 400 words

Relations between India and China have been worsening in recent months. The two world powers are facing off against each other along their disputed border in the Himalayan region.

In 400 words, here’s some background to help you understand what’s going on.

What’s the source of tension?

The root cause is an ill-defined, 3,440km (2,100-mile)-long disputed border.Rivers, lakes and snowcaps along the frontier mean the line can shift, bringing soldiers face to face at many points, sparking a confrontation.

The two nations are also competing to build infrastructure along the border, which is also known as the Line of Actual Control. India’s construction of a new road to a high-altitude air base is seen as one of the main triggers for a clash with Chinese troops in June that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.