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MERICS researchers discuss and analyze developments and current affairs in China: What is behind the Belt and Road Initiative? What kind of leader is Xi Jinping? How should we assess China’s climate change policies? How does the Chinese government use social media to its own ends?
The podcasts are approximately 10 to 15 minutes long. In addition to MERICS’s own staff, other experts on China and guest speakers at MERICS also take part in the interviews.
David Shambaugh and Willy Lam on the 19th Party Congress and China under Xi Jinping (Merics Experts #46, September 28, 2017)
The 19th Party Congress is a “Xi Jinping Show” and China’s political system, under Xi’s rule, has lost much of its flexibility. That’s the rather blunt assessment of David Shambaugh of George Washington University in Washington D.C. Shortly before the start of the 19th Party Congress, Shambaugh visited Berlin and discussed China under Xi Jinping with Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who was equally sober in his assessment of the state of the People’s Republic. The exchange between the two renowned China experts was jointly organized by the Robert Bosch Foundation and Merics and was moderated by Merics researcher Kristin Shi-Kupfer. You can listen to an edited version of the public event in our new Merics Experts podcast.
Willy Lam: "Xi Jinping has benefitted tremendously from the leadership vacuum left by Trump“ (MERICS Experts, # 45 / October 17, 2017)
The 19th Congress of the Communist Party kicks off in Beijing this week with the focus mainly on elite politics and personnel decisions in the top leadership. But the gathering of some 2300 delegates is also an opportunity to take stock of five years of Xi Jinping rule. Internationally, China plays a much more active and assertive role on the international stage. “Xi Jinping has benefitted tremendously from the world leadership vacuum left by US President Donald Trump”, says Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. But, he warns, China’s power projection won’t go very far unless Beijing addresses its “soft power deficit” and starts to respect international rules and laws.
Shazeda Ahmed on China’s Social Credit System (MERICS Experts, # 41 / September 15, 2017)
In setting up the so called Social Credit System, China plans to monitor, rate and regulate the behavior of citizens and companies with the help of big data, rewarding those who obey the rules and punishing those who cheat or don’t conform. “Social Credit is seen as a means of making people, companies, entire industrial sectors and the government more honest by monitoring behaviors,” says Shazeda Ahmed, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley, and former Visiting Academic Fellow at MERICS. The digital mechanism the system is based on will collect data on every single person in China by 2020. What motivates the government? What are the biggest challenges in setting up the system? And: how do people in China think about this system? Listen to our latest MERICS experts podcast.
Carsten Holz: Challenges of Chinese investment in Tibetan areas (MERICS Experts #40 / August 2, 2017)
The Chinese government spends millions to develop the Tibetan areas of China. But what can investment achieve in these remote regions? Can it create sustainable jobs and change people’s lives? The economist Carsten Holz of Hongkong University of Science and Technology has spent many months on the Tibetan plateau in Western Sichuan to study how Beijing’s policies affect local people’s lives. Roads have improved and access to education has increased, he says. But restrictions on travel, unequal pay and a heavy security presence fuel resentment. The central government hasn’t managed to buy the hearts and minds of the Tibetans. Listen to Holz’s observations in the new Merics Experts podcast.
Karsten Sach: „Climate policy needs to be at the heart of economic and fiscal policies“ (MERICS Experts #39 / Juli 14, 2017)
The announcement by US President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a setback for international climate policy but “it will not derail the process,” says Karsten Sach, Germany’s top climate negotiator. At a conference in Berlin, jointly organized by MERICS, the European Climate Foundation and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) he called on the international community to place climate policy “at the heart of economic, development and fiscal policies” to reach the Paris target of limiting global warming to 2C. He talked to Björn Conrad, MERICS Vice President Research, about climate policy in the Trump era, China’s new attitude and new perspectives for cooperation.
Barbara Finamore on US climate policy: „Trump’s power isn’t as strong as you may think“(MERICS Experts #38 / July 10, 2017)
Despite US President Trump’s planned withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, many American citizens, city mayors and companies still want to move ahead with transitioning to a low carbon economy. „Trump’s power isn’t as strong as you may think,“ said Barbara Finamore, Asia Director of the American environmental organization Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) recently in Berlin. Still, Trump’s announcement has damaged America’s international standing, she said and called on China and Germany to now take leading roles in the fight against global warming. Finamore was talking to MERICS Communications Director Claudia Wessling at a conference jointly organized by MERICS, the European Climate Foundation and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC).