Eric & Michael discuss the international media coverage and public perceptions of the Bo Xilai case.
Almost no one is focusing on this huge story over how the Chinese are taking advantage of the rift in U.S.-Pakistan ties in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s killing to increase their influence in Afghanistan/Pakistan. We had a great discussion in our latest CTP Podcast. Let us know what you think.
The yawning gap between the rich and poor in China is now taking center stage at a central policy challenge for the government. Beijing’s recent decision to ban certain forms of luxury goods marketing is just the latest effort to contain a growing unease over the divisons that between’s society’s haves and have-nots. In this edition of the China Talking Points podcast, Michael explains three key points on what to look out for in this sensitive political debate.
In this three part series on China’s surging international reach, the BBC’s Justin Rowland travels across a slice of Africa to explore the impact that the Chinese are having on the continent. He does an excellent job conveying the complexities of Sino-African ties, particularly at the grassroots level.
With over 60% of the world’s future nuclear power plants destined to be built in the PRC, their decisions on technology, safety, and international cooperation will have in impact well beyond the nation’s borders.
Join us as we discuss China’s response and likely next steps in the nuclear energy game.
The Chinese government stepped up its criticism on Thursday of US and European air strikes on Libya. “We believe that the objective of enforcing the U.N. Security Council resolution is to protect humanitarian (objectives) and not to create an even bigger humanitarian disaster,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
Jiang’s comments are just the latest in a series critical signals to come from Beijing over how the coalition is implementing United Nations resolution 1973 that authorised the creation of a no-fly zone over Libya and the bombing of ground targets.
Although China abstained from the vote, Beijing has been very clear in its position that the coalition air attacks risk killing civilians and should be halted immediately.
Chinese society has changed so much over the past three decades that it has been difficult for peoples’ emotions, spiritual and moral beliefs to keep up. Throughout much of the economic reform period of the late 20th century, the focus was squarely on economic development. Now, as China has reached a milestone of becoming the world’s second largest economy and on its way to becoming the first, a growing number of Chinese are seeking more than just economic advancement.
Spiritual and religious activity is on the rise. This brings up a number of extremely sensitive issues as the Communist Party regards all unofficial religious activity as a direct challenge to its authority. Hundreds of under-ground churches have been closed, dissident priests, imams and all variety of spiritual leaders have been jailed in recent years.
Yet despite the government’s unwavering insistence to assert control over Chinese religious institutions, there has been a surge of interest in recent years, particularly among young people, to engage with different religions. In this week’s edition of the China Talking Points podcast, Eric suggests that the new interest in spirituality, morality and religion may be born from the excesses of materialism that have come to dominate so much of contemporary Chinese popular culture. In fact, Eric contends, that large swathes of Chinese society are encountering something of a “morality crisis.” The basic premise, he explains, is that as the CCP replaced Confucianism (among other beliefs) with Communism in the period from the 1950s to the 1980s, when communism made way for capitalism, there was no spiritual companion. Instead, people began to invest their faith in to money and achievement. The only problem, he argues, is that is ultimately unfulfilling prompting millions to now look to elsewhere for spiritual development.
Michael, in contrast, disagrees with this assessment. In his opinion, Chinese religious beliefs never really disappeared. They may have receded for a period of time but they were always there. Now, we are witnessing a resurgence of those deeply held religious values that have been central to Chinese life for centuries. Michael clearly rejects Eric’s proposition of a morality crisis in China.
Listen to the podcast and tell us what you think. Do you agree with either Michael or Eric’s perspective? Let us know.
Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei is 0-2 in its bid to acquire American technology companies that begin with the letter “3.” Their first attempt was back in 2008 when Huawei moved to acquire the struggling networking company “3com.” That $2.2 billion deal was scuttled by U.S. legislators on the grounds it presented a security threat if a Chinese company that once had (or may still have) ties to the PLA and an opaque relationship with the central government in Beijing would acquire sophisticated American networking technology. Roll the clock forward to 2011 and it’s “deja vu all over again.” Huawei’s latest efforts to build a foundation in the US market was rejected by the US government on similar grounds. Huawei sought to buy the California-based cloud computing company 3Leaf yet once again the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) determined that it would be too risky for 3Leaf’s technology to be acquired by a Chinese company that allegedly has ties to the PLA.
Can the US still assert any authority? Is China powerful enough to hold sway on any topic? The duel topics of debt and dissent seem oddly in parallel as Eric and I discuss what external influences may play a role within China.