Archive for the ‘Global Outlook’ Category

CTP Podcast: International Perspectives on Bo Xilai Case

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012


Eric & Michael discuss the international media coverage and public perceptions of the Bo Xilai case.


The Bo Xilai scandal and the Western media by ChinaAfricaProject

[AUDIO] CTP Podcast – China’s bin-Laden Aftermath

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

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.




China Talking Points Podcast: China’s post-bin Laden Foreign Policy by ChinaTalkingPoints

[AUDIO] CTP Podcast: China’s Religious Revival

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

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.

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here.

[AUDIO] CTP Podcast – Debt & Dissent

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

China Talking Points Podcast: Debt and Dissent by ChinaTalkingPoints
Who’s telling who what to do?

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.

[AUDIO] CTP Podcast – China’s Impact on Egypt’s Protests

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

China’s rise impacts the economy and political conscience of most countries. The scenes of protest and discontent seen across the Arab world January of 2011 center on a disaffected youth’s desire for a better future – and a say in the crafting of that future.

In this podcast, we debate and discuss the impact of China’s economy on Egypt. We see ramifications of the “China Price” impinging on business interests and China’s wealth creating standing in juxtaposition to what this generation of Egyptians have experienced.

Join us as we sort through perceived and real influences.

China in Africa Podcast: China and the Egyptian Uprising by ChinaTalkingPoints

[AUDIO] CTP Podcast: China’s Military Power Projection

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

In the wake of Secretary Gates’ trip, we thought it would be good to discuss factors to weigh when considering China’s ability to to project military power – now, and in the future.

Take a listen as we debate everything from territorial concerns to submarine range to leadership of UN combat missions. Are you ready for a China that assume the mantle of global leadership?

China Talking Points Podcast: China’s Military Power Projection by ChinaTalkingPoints

China & US Military Comparison

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The below is a great comparison…..  Regardless of your opinion, it is always good to have some facts (though I know some of these are guesstimates).  And, I know, this doesn’t take into account cyberwarfare capabilities or soft power efforts…..

Map of United States of America
United States of America
Map ofChina
Total Population 303,824,640 1,330,044,544
Military Manpower Available 144,354,117 729,323,673
Fit for Military Service 118,600,541 609,273,077
Reaching Military Age Yearly 4,266,128 20,470,412
Active Military Personnel 1,385,122 2,255,000
Active Military Reserves 1,458,500 800,000
Active Paramilitary 453,000 3,969,000
Total Air-Based Weapons 18,169 1,900
Total Land-Based Weapons 29,920 31,300
Total Naval Units 1,559 760
Towed Artillery Systems 5,178 14,000
Merchant Marine Strength 422 1,822
Major Ports and Terminals 10 8
Aircraft Carriers 11 1
Destroyers 50 21
Frigates 92 42
Submarines 75 68
Patrol Coastal Craft 100 368
Mine Warfare Craft 28 39
Amphibious Operations Craft 38 121
Defense Budget / Expenditure $515,400,000,000 $59,000,000,000
Foreign Reserves $70,570,000,000 $1,534,000,000,000
Purchasing Power $13,780,000,000,000 $7,099,000,000,000
Oil Production 7,460,000 bbl 3,725,000 bbl
Oil Consumption 20,800,000 bbl 6,930,000 bbl
Proven Oil Reserves 21,760,000,000 bbl 12,800,000,000 bbl
Total Labor Force 153,100,000 800,700,000
Roadway Coverage 6,465,799 km 1,930,544 km
Railway Coverage 226,612 km 75,438 km
Waterway Coverage 41,009 km 124,000 km
Coastline Coverage 19,924 km 14,500 km
Major Serviceable Airports 14,947 467
Square Land Area 9,826,630 km 9,596,960 km

Stealthy Fighter or Stealth Sensationalism

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

A small rant.

In an article in yesterday’s New York Times, potential testing of a new stealth fighter by the Chinese Military was featured over the Defense Secretary Gates’ visit to Beijing.  Later editions of the article changed the lead to highlight the visit first, but the bulk of the article was about the stealth fighter.

The overall story of Beijing’s military modernization program is certainly important, but I think more print should have been spilled on the high level exchanges – without which the risk of conflict increases.   There will always be more modern weapons in Beijing’s arsenal (and don’t forget we inspire this because our own weapons are so frequently on display).  The point is what is Beijing’s intentions, aspirations, strategies; this is what military exchange is all about.

On one point, the article did a good job of highlighting how ham-fisted the PRC continues to be over discussing it’s modernization efforts.  Transparency breeds trust and if Beijing wants us to believe in a peaceful rise, then we could use some more open dialogue.

[VIDEO] Chinese students in France not making the grade

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

In the United States, overseas Chinese students have a well-deserved reputation for ‘blowing the curve.’  That is, often Chinese students are among the top in the class and, thus, make it difficult for other students to compete academically.  In France, there is an entirely different concern, one that blows away this narrative of overseas Chinese students being such academic powerhouses.  Instead, the fear is that the quality of Chinese university students is so low that it’s potentially weighing down the higher education system.

In this France 2 report (re-broadcast on France 24), French education officials contend that they are attracting only those Chinese students who were unsuccessful in entering the Chinese university system and have chosen to come to France as some sort of back-up choice.  The fact that many of these foreign students do not speak French very well and may be struggling to adapt to France’s notoriously rigid educational system are also of concern.

[VIDEO] China’s Rush to Build Global Media Brands

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Al Jazeera’s excellent international media affairs program “The Listening Post” featured a report this week on China’s ambitions to create a global media brand with this year’s launch of CNC World.  I was featured in the report as one of three experts to share my thoughts on some of the challenges that Beijing and CNC will likely encounter with this endeavor.

One of the big mistakes that many international observers make about the Chinese and their global media ambitions is to frame the issue in purely, Western terms.  That is, if CNC World or CCTV News are not competitive with any of the major American or European media brands than somehow China’s media strategy is a failure.  While the Chinese no doubt have ambitions to create media properties with equal heft of CNN, the BBC and Al Jazeera among others, I do not think that is their only benchmark of success.

There is growing evidence that networks like CNC may not be targeting already competitive markets in North America or Europe but instead focusing their energy on emerging ‘Southern’ markets in Africa, South Asia and elsewhere. So it is critical to look at this issue in considerably broader terms than most Americans and European media watchers are accustomed.

The barriers to entry in the mature media markets in the developed world are simply too high for networks like CNC to viable without billions of dollars to invest in marketing and distribution.  By contrast, it is considerably cheaper for the Chinese to gain traction in less developed markets where it will not only be cheaper to penetrate but their product will likely receive a much better reception.