https://www.merics.org/cn/rss zh-hans The social credit system: China’s tool for moral education https://www.merics.org/en/blog/social-credit-system-chinas-tool-moral-education <span>The social credit system: China’s tool for moral education</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/646" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jheller</span></span> <span>周一, 08/20/2018 - 11:58</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-21T12:00:00Z">21/08/18</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Interview with Rogier Creemers (via <a href="http://www.youngchinawatchers.com/voices-on-china-dr-rogier-creemers-postdoctoral-scholar-at-university-of-leiden/">Young China Watchers</a>)</p> <p><strong>The aim of China's social credit system, as Rogier Creemer of Leiden University sees it, is "to ensure that people who behave in a sincere and trustworthy way in society are incentivized to do so." In this interview, the </strong> <strong>postdoctoral scholar in the Law and Governance of China describes the current state of the social credit system and its intended uses for government oversight and moral education.</strong></p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="image" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3ed40893-d34a-4375-89ea-cec975d8c829" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/rogier-high-qual-square.jpg" width="200" /></p> <p><strong>Young China Watchers (YCW): What are some common misnomers about how China’s social credit system works?   </strong> </p> <p><strong>Rogier Creemers (RC): </strong>There are several areas of sloppiness generally in reporting on the social credit system. Firstly, conflating Ant Financial’s Sesame Credit system with that of the government’s social credit system. The Sesame Credit system is a combination of a loyalty scheme and user-rating system on a private-trading platform. No one is mandated to have a Sesame Credit account and the Sesame Credit system is actually not punitive. Whilst it does generate a score and having a higher score does entitle you to some rewards, there is not necessarily a mechanism of punishment there that institutes sanctions for people with lower scores. The only thing they don’t get is access to the higher-tiered rewards in the same way that if I don’t have a Gold card with my airline, I can’t get into the airport lounge.</p> <p>Then there is the whole idea of scoring, which is a key part of the Sesame Credit system. As far as I’ve been able to ascertain, at the national level there is no scoring dynamic. The elements of the social credit system at the moment that are working are in essence, binary mechanisms. There are by now numerous blacklists, for quite a few major policy areas, the most important of which is the Supreme People’s Court blacklist for people who don’t comply with legal judgments and fines against them. So either you are on a blacklist or you are not.</p> <p><strong>YCW: In the media, China’s social credit system has been routinely condemned as “Orwellian.” But is the system all negative or are there positive sides to a state-run social credit system?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC:</strong> The fact is that this system has been designed to solve actual problems confronting many individual Chinese people. The beginnings of the system originate at a time when the government is starting to pay increasing attention to problems of legal compliance that originated when China made its transition from a controlled economy to a market economy. It was found that the existing legal system did not have the wherewithal to provide a sufficient deterrent against these issues.</p> <p>So the social credit system is in many ways a sort of moralistic, paternalistic system that essentially acts as an amplifier on existing laws and regulations to ensure that people who behave in a sincere and trustworthy way in society are incentivized to do so and people who do not are disincentivised from doing so.</p> <p><strong>YCW: In your paper, <a href="https://t.co/f8KAyYcir0">“China’s Social Credit System: An Evolving Practice of Control”</a>, you argued that the concept of a social credit system in China aligns well with Chinese historical concepts of law and governance. Can you elaborate on this?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC:</strong> The most important element is that morality is an essential part of governance. The idea that government has a key role to play in the moral education in a rather paternalistic sense of the Chinese individual has been part and parcel of Chinese politics for the last two millennia or so.</p> <p>We find that the social credit system slots very well in that tradition. It is not just about doing things that are lawful or unlawful. It is about doing things that are <em>right</em> and incentivising things that are right. But <em>right</em> is not something that people get to sort out for themselves. It doesn’t call upon individual moral autonomy, rather it calls upon obeisance to, and compliance with, a certain state-defined version of the good.</p> <p><strong>YCW: How would you describe the relationship between China’s state-backed social credit initiatives and those of private companies, such as Sesame Credit?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC: </strong>This operates on a couple of levels. On one level, to what extent is there collaboration? To what extent is there data-sharing? The extent to which Ant Financial shares data with the government is really an empirical question that you cannot satisfactorily answer without having your own intelligence service, or without very significant disclosure from Ant Financial, which so far we don’t have.</p> <p>If it is assumed that wholesale data-sharing is taking place, one question which I always would have from a skeptical point of view is: to what end? Governments everywhere around the world, even in China, need to be strategic about the use of scarce resources. And maybe tracking <em>everything </em>on mass raw data about what everyone is doing all the time might turn out to not be very useful.</p> <p>What we do know however is that there’s a lot of data that does go in the other direction. We know that if you’re on a number of blacklists, for example the Supreme People’s Court blacklist, you can’t engage in luxury consumption. The rationale behind that is, if you default on a judgment, particularly a financial judgment— how could you pay for expensive plane tickets or hotels? A similar agreement between government and private companies exists for Alibaba’s platform and for DiDi’s recruitment of DiDi drivers.</p> <p><strong>YCW: Is there a role to play for social credit systems in regulating the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) state bureaucracy and their public service?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC: </strong>The Chinese government’s answer to that question is absolutely. If you look at the first section of the key 2014 document, <a href="https://chinacopyrightandmedia.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/planning-outline-for-the-construction-of-a-social-credit-system-2014-2020/">“Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System 2014-2020”,</a> it’s about using social credit mechanisms to provide oversight on government. I do think this is part of a bigger trend where we’re seeing the birth of a strategic nexus between the central government and China’s large technology companies. One big part of what they’re trying to do is bring in more effective means for local government oversight.</p> <p>The central leadership seems to believe that technology will allow it to overcome the old problems of “the mountains being high and the emperor being far away” that have plagued Chinese administrations for 2,000 years. So I think the use of social credit systems for government oversight is something we’re very much going to see.</p> <p><strong>YCW:</strong><strong> Your research area is relatively new in academia. As China continues to make advances in technology and governance, what kind of new research disciplines will be needed in China studies/Sinology? And what advice do you have for students or young professionals seeking to focus on those disciplines?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC: </strong>There are a couple of Sinological skills that I think are essential in trying to figure out what the Chinese government is doing. One of them is the simple art of reading documents. We’ve come to a point where China studies has been incredibly social-scientised; it’s become about quantitative data, fieldwork, and so on. I believe it needs to be complemented by reading documents. Very often we don’t want to believe what documents say because we believe they are mere propaganda or they’re never candid, but I simply don’t think that’s true.</p> <p>The CCP is an organization of nearly 90 million people. The way that the Party communicates to its own membership tell us enormously important things about what they’re on about. You also need to spend the time and effort to conduct a full post-mortem on the document. Where does it come from? Who’s written it? Where does terminology come from? Where did it originate? When was it picked up at senior levels? Has it morphed? It’s perhaps not a very sexy way of China-watching, but I do believe it’s essential. One example of a very interesting young scholar doing this is <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/team/samantha-hoffman">Samantha Hoffman</a>, who looks at the social credit system as part of a bid to automate social management, building on a diligent study of decades of government documents, reports and studies. </p> <p>Together with that there is great work to be done in some of the most innovative computer-based forms of research. For example, <a href="https://www.ischool.berkeley.edu/people/shazeda-ahmed">Shazeda Ahmed</a>, who is doing a doctorate on social credit at Berkeley, has been using very innovative digital methods to get more interesting information on the functioning of the social credit system.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Interview by Jacinta Keast</strong></p></div> </div> </div> Mon, 20 Aug 2018 09:58:45 +0000 jheller 7981 at https://www.merics.org The social credit system: China’s tool for moral education https://www.merics.org/en/blog/social-credit-system-chinas-tool-moral-education <span>The social credit system: China’s tool for moral education</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/646" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jheller</span></span> <span>周一, 08/20/2018 - 11:58</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-21T12:00:00Z">21/08/18</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Interview with Rogier Creemers (via <a href="http://www.youngchinawatchers.com/voices-on-china-dr-rogier-creemers-postdoctoral-scholar-at-university-of-leiden/">Young China Watchers</a>)</p> <p><strong>The aim of China's social credit system, as Rogier Creemer of Leiden University sees it, is "to ensure that people who behave in a sincere and trustworthy way in society are incentivized to do so." In this interview, the </strong> <strong>postdoctoral scholar in the Law and Governance of China describes the current state of the social credit system and its intended uses for government oversight and moral education.</strong></p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="image" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3ed40893-d34a-4375-89ea-cec975d8c829" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/rogier-high-qual-square.jpg" width="200" /></p> <p><strong>Young China Watchers (YCW): What are some common misnomers about how China’s social credit system works?   </strong> </p> <p><strong>Rogier Creemers (RC): </strong>There are several areas of sloppiness generally in reporting on the social credit system. Firstly, conflating Ant Financial’s Sesame Credit system with that of the government’s social credit system. The Sesame Credit system is a combination of a loyalty scheme and user-rating system on a private-trading platform. No one is mandated to have a Sesame Credit account and the Sesame Credit system is actually not punitive. Whilst it does generate a score and having a higher score does entitle you to some rewards, there is not necessarily a mechanism of punishment there that institutes sanctions for people with lower scores. The only thing they don’t get is access to the higher-tiered rewards in the same way that if I don’t have a Gold card with my airline, I can’t get into the airport lounge.</p> <p>Then there is the whole idea of scoring, which is a key part of the Sesame Credit system. As far as I’ve been able to ascertain, at the national level there is no scoring dynamic. The elements of the social credit system at the moment that are working are in essence, binary mechanisms. There are by now numerous blacklists, for quite a few major policy areas, the most important of which is the Supreme People’s Court blacklist for people who don’t comply with legal judgments and fines against them. So either you are on a blacklist or you are not.</p> <p><strong>YCW: In the media, China’s social credit system has been routinely condemned as “Orwellian.” But is the system all negative or are there positive sides to a state-run social credit system?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC:</strong> The fact is that this system has been designed to solve actual problems confronting many individual Chinese people. The beginnings of the system originate at a time when the government is starting to pay increasing attention to problems of legal compliance that originated when China made its transition from a controlled economy to a market economy. It was found that the existing legal system did not have the wherewithal to provide a sufficient deterrent against these issues.</p> <p>So the social credit system is in many ways a sort of moralistic, paternalistic system that essentially acts as an amplifier on existing laws and regulations to ensure that people who behave in a sincere and trustworthy way in society are incentivized to do so and people who do not are disincentivised from doing so.</p> <p><strong>YCW: In your paper, <a href="https://t.co/f8KAyYcir0">“China’s Social Credit System: An Evolving Practice of Control”</a>, you argued that the concept of a social credit system in China aligns well with Chinese historical concepts of law and governance. Can you elaborate on this?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC:</strong> The most important element is that morality is an essential part of governance. The idea that government has a key role to play in the moral education in a rather paternalistic sense of the Chinese individual has been part and parcel of Chinese politics for the last two millennia or so.</p> <p>We find that the social credit system slots very well in that tradition. It is not just about doing things that are lawful or unlawful. It is about doing things that are <em>right</em> and incentivising things that are right. But <em>right</em> is not something that people get to sort out for themselves. It doesn’t call upon individual moral autonomy, rather it calls upon obeisance to, and compliance with, a certain state-defined version of the good.</p> <p><strong>YCW: How would you describe the relationship between China’s state-backed social credit initiatives and those of private companies, such as Sesame Credit?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC: </strong>This operates on a couple of levels. On one level, to what extent is there collaboration? To what extent is there data-sharing? The extent to which Ant Financial shares data with the government is really an empirical question that you cannot satisfactorily answer without having your own intelligence service, or without very significant disclosure from Ant Financial, which so far we don’t have.</p> <p>If it is assumed that wholesale data-sharing is taking place, one question which I always would have from a skeptical point of view is: to what end? Governments everywhere around the world, even in China, need to be strategic about the use of scarce resources. And maybe tracking <em>everything </em>on mass raw data about what everyone is doing all the time might turn out to not be very useful.</p> <p>What we do know however is that there’s a lot of data that does go in the other direction. We know that if you’re on a number of blacklists, for example the Supreme People’s Court blacklist, you can’t engage in luxury consumption. The rationale behind that is, if you default on a judgment, particularly a financial judgment— how could you pay for expensive plane tickets or hotels? A similar agreement between government and private companies exists for Alibaba’s platform and for DiDi’s recruitment of DiDi drivers.</p> <p><strong>YCW: Is there a role to play for social credit systems in regulating the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) state bureaucracy and their public service?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC: </strong>The Chinese government’s answer to that question is absolutely. If you look at the first section of the key 2014 document, <a href="https://chinacopyrightandmedia.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/planning-outline-for-the-construction-of-a-social-credit-system-2014-2020/">“Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System 2014-2020”,</a> it’s about using social credit mechanisms to provide oversight on government. I do think this is part of a bigger trend where we’re seeing the birth of a strategic nexus between the central government and China’s large technology companies. One big part of what they’re trying to do is bring in more effective means for local government oversight.</p> <p>The central leadership seems to believe that technology will allow it to overcome the old problems of “the mountains being high and the emperor being far away” that have plagued Chinese administrations for 2,000 years. So I think the use of social credit systems for government oversight is something we’re very much going to see.</p> <p><strong>YCW:</strong><strong> Your research area is relatively new in academia. As China continues to make advances in technology and governance, what kind of new research disciplines will be needed in China studies/Sinology? And what advice do you have for students or young professionals seeking to focus on those disciplines?</strong></p> <p><strong>RC: </strong>There are a couple of Sinological skills that I think are essential in trying to figure out what the Chinese government is doing. One of them is the simple art of reading documents. We’ve come to a point where China studies has been incredibly social-scientised; it’s become about quantitative data, fieldwork, and so on. I believe it needs to be complemented by reading documents. Very often we don’t want to believe what documents say because we believe they are mere propaganda or they’re never candid, but I simply don’t think that’s true.</p> <p>The CCP is an organization of nearly 90 million people. The way that the Party communicates to its own membership tell us enormously important things about what they’re on about. You also need to spend the time and effort to conduct a full post-mortem on the document. Where does it come from? Who’s written it? Where does terminology come from? Where did it originate? When was it picked up at senior levels? Has it morphed? It’s perhaps not a very sexy way of China-watching, but I do believe it’s essential. One example of a very interesting young scholar doing this is <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/team/samantha-hoffman">Samantha Hoffman</a>, who looks at the social credit system as part of a bid to automate social management, building on a diligent study of decades of government documents, reports and studies. </p> <p>Together with that there is great work to be done in some of the most innovative computer-based forms of research. For example, <a href="https://www.ischool.berkeley.edu/people/shazeda-ahmed">Shazeda Ahmed</a>, who is doing a doctorate on social credit at Berkeley, has been using very innovative digital methods to get more interesting information on the functioning of the social credit system.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Interview by Jacinta Keast</strong></p></div> </div> </div> Mon, 20 Aug 2018 09:58:45 +0000 jheller 7981 at https://www.merics.org Chinas private Sicherheitsfirmen werden weltweit aktiv https://www.merics.org/de/tile/chinas-private-sicherheitsfirmen-werden-weltweit-aktiv <span>The internationalization of China&#039;s private security companies</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/286" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">h.seidl</span></span> <span>周四, 08/16/2018 - 14:08</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-published field--type-datetime field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Date published</div> <div class="field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-16T12:00:00Z">周四, 08/16/2018 - 12:00</time> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-medium-name field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Type</div> <div class="field--item">China Monitor</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-reference-link field--type-link field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Link</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/cn/node/7921">/cn/node/7921</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tile-color field--type-color-field-type field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tile color</div> <div class="field--item"> <div class='color_field__swatch--square' style="background-color: RGB(190,22,35); width: 50px; height: 50px;"></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-frontpage-news field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Frontpage news</div> <div class="field--item">Off</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-frontpage-publications field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Frontpage publications</div> <div class="field--item">On</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-china-monitor field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">China Monitor</div> <div class="field--item">On</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-china-mapping field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">China Mapping</div> <div class="field--item">Off</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-papers-on-china field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Papers on china</div> <div class="field--item">Off</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item">Foreign Relations</div> <div class="field--item">International Order</div> <div class="field--item">International Security</div> <div class="field--item">Europe - China</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-program-of-origin field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Program of origin</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item">Foreign Policy and Economic Relations</div> <div class="field--item">European China Policy Unit</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item">Security Policy</div> <div class="field--item">Belt and Road</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:06:08 +0000 h.seidl 7971 at https://www.merics.org Chinas private Sicherheitsfirmen werden weltweit aktiv https://www.merics.org/de/tile/chinas-private-sicherheitsfirmen-werden-weltweit-aktiv <span>The internationalization of China&#039;s private security companies</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/286" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">h.seidl</span></span> <span>周四, 08/16/2018 - 14:08</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-published field--type-datetime field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Date published</div> <div class="field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-16T12:00:00Z">周四, 08/16/2018 - 12:00</time> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-medium-name field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Type</div> <div class="field--item">China Monitor</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-reference-link field--type-link field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Link</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/cn/node/7921">/cn/node/7921</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tile-color field--type-color-field-type field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tile color</div> <div class="field--item"> <div class='color_field__swatch--square' style="background-color: RGB(190,22,35); width: 50px; height: 50px;"></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-frontpage-news field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Frontpage news</div> <div class="field--item">Off</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-frontpage-publications field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Frontpage publications</div> <div class="field--item">On</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-china-monitor field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">China Monitor</div> <div class="field--item">On</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-china-mapping field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">China Mapping</div> <div class="field--item">Off</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-papers-on-china field--type-boolean field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Papers on china</div> <div class="field--item">Off</div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item">Foreign Relations</div> <div class="field--item">International Order</div> <div class="field--item">International Security</div> <div class="field--item">Europe - China</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-program-of-origin field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Program of origin</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item">Foreign Policy and Economic Relations</div> <div class="field--item">European China Policy Unit</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item">Security Policy</div> <div class="field--item">Belt and Road</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 12:06:08 +0000 h.seidl 7971 at https://www.merics.org China’s Europe policy poses a challenge to EU cohesion https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinas-europe-policy-poses-challenge-eu-cohesion <span>China’s Europe policy poses a challenge to EU cohesion</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/306" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">komprakti</span></span> <span>周三, 08/15/2018 - 14:39</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-16T12:00:00Z">16/08/18</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/en/team/jan-weidenfeld" hreflang="en">Jan Weidenfeld</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>China used to be a strong proponent of a stable and unified Europe – as a market and as a pillar in a multipolar world. Yet its recent infrastructure foreign policy initiatives and political outreach to central and eastern European countries have raised the question if Beijing’s priorities have changed. This article is the sixth and final part of a MERICS<a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinas-new-foreign-policy-setup"> blog series </a>on China’s new foreign policy setup. </span></span></span></strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-main-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=WYEUappU 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=q-RO2oZ- 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=ch8zG-jf 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=Ga5LAFeA 2229w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=WYEUappU" alt="Image" title="China has remained unimpressed by louder calls from Berlin, Brussels and Paris recently to tone down its 16+1 activities. Image by EEAS via flickr." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>In the run-up to the latest 16+1 Summit in Sofia in July 2018, China’s Prime Minister </span></span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-easteurope/china-backs-european-integration-li-says-before-summit-with-eastern-states-idUSKBN1JW1V2"><span><span>Li Keqiang went to great pains</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> to explain that the regional cooperation format with 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries was by no means intended to undermine the European Union (EU).</span></span> <span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>“We have promoted 16+1 cooperation as part of the efforts to promote European integration. We welcome a united and prosperous Europe. We welcome a strong Euro,” Li said at a news briefing with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>Li’s statement appears to confirm Beijing’s commitment to the integration of Europe. After all, China benefits from a common market for goods and services and it views Europe as one influential pole in the multipolar world order the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would like to see emerge. However, deeds speak louder than words. Over the past two years, China’s infrastructure foreign policy in CEE countries, mainly through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and the related 16+1 format, have raised the question whether Beijing’s priorities in Europe have changed.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>Infrastructure projects create fiscal instability in EU neighborhood</span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China’s BRI-related infrastructure projects are creating fiscal instability in the EU’s regional neighborhood and often fail to align with EU rules and standards for building large-scale infrastructure, from transportation to energy and communications. The Bar-Boljare highway in Montenegro </span></span><a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/belt-and-road-reality-check-how-assess-chinas-investment-eastern-europe"><span><span>illustrates this point</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>. Not only has the IMF warned that the project, which is financed by a Chinese loan, will drive the debt levels of the small country to unsustainable levels. The European Commission </span></span><a href="http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-8442-2017-INIT/en/pdf"><span><span>has noted</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> a growing lack of appreciation for EU rules on public procurement and state aid, environmental impact assessments and sound cost-benefit analyses. Brussels is also concerned that the significant resources invested in the project will create “other important transport bottlenecks and high maintenance needs.”</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>It is no coincidence that China has had a much harder time implementing BRI inside EU borders. In February 2017, the European Commission opened a </span></span><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/003bad14-f52f-11e6-95ee-f14e55513608"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>formal investigation</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> into what is meant to become the flagship BRI construction project in the EU, the 2.45 billion EUR high-speed rail link between Belgrade and Budapest. Brussels not only expressed doubts about the financial viability of the rail line but also suggested that the project did not comply with EU public procurement rules. Budapest had failed to release a call for public tender normally required for projects of this magnitude. Eventually, at the November 2017 Budapest 16+1 Summit, an official call for tender for the project </span></span><a href="http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-11/27/c_136781007.htm"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>was issued</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>. Neither bidders nor the winner was announced so far, but </span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>the remarkably short timeline </span></span><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/why-are-they-giving-us-the-money-behind-china-s-plans-to-rescue-a-decrepit-rail-link-20180606-p4zjwk.html"><span><span>suggests that one of the tenderers might have had an inside track</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China has recently sought to address European concerns about its infrastructure foreign policy. This includes high-level promises </span></span><a href="http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/36165/final-eu-cn-joint-statement-consolidated-text-with-climate-change-clean-energy-annex.pdf"><span><span>to be more responsive to European connectivity priorities</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> identified by the EU and its member states. Beijing has also encouraged </span></span><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/e0a2dd52-85b4-11e8-a29d-73e3d454535d"><span><span>Chinese policy banks to partner up</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and European development agencies in the implementation of BRI projects in Europe and its immediate neighbourhood. However, this does not change the fact that the vast majority of BRI projects in the CEE region remain firmly in the hands of Chinese lenders and companies.  Rather than waiting for concessions from China, the EU will have to stand up for its own interests and vision – be it with its upcoming connectivity strategy or with a more assertive NATO neighborhood policy. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China charges ahead with 16+1 despite concerns</span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>The way China has positioned itself within the 16+1 framework is another critical indicator that Beijing’s Europe policy might have changed in fundamental ways. The initiative has recently lost momentum as many of the promised infrastructure and investment projects have been delayed or have failed to materialize, leading to disappointed expectations. In what was a clear snub to Beijing, at the July 2018 Sofia 16+1 summit, Poland as the biggest European 16+1 economy was only represented by the Deputy Prime Minister, while Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki </span></span><a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/07/whats-next-for-the-china-cee-161-platform/"><span><span>attended a pilgrimage gathering</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> at home.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>At the same time, Beijing hardly seems to regret the divisive political effects of 16+1. A growing number of senior Chinese political analysts openly admit that the point of 16+1 was to find a new way of shaping EU politics when the EU was no longer as responsive to Chinese interests and concerns as the CCP would have liked to see. Since 2012, the 16+1 format has provided China with growing political influence in Central Europe – and arguably also Brussels – exacerbating tendencies towards greater fragmentation in Europe.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China has remained unimpressed by louder calls from Berlin, Brussels and Paris recently to tone down its 16+1 activities. Rather, Beijing has sought an </span></span><a href="https://www.merics.org/de/blog/chinas-charm-offensive-eastern-europe-challenges-eu-cohesion"><span><span>intensification and broader institutionalization</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> of the format. It also welcomed the interest expressed by </span></span><a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/07/what-to-expect-at-the-2018-china-cee-161-summit/"><span><span>Austria and Greece</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>, currently 16+1 observers, in full membership of the format. The fact that the Sofia 16+1 summit was moved </span></span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-easteurope/chinas-ambitions-in-eastern-europe-to-face-scrutiny-at-summit-idUSKBN1JU1NR"><span><span>forward by almost half a year</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> from its original schedule on China’s initiative to only a few days before the EU-China summit this July left many EU officials irritated and even made some EU 16+1 members uncomfortable. Also, China has not given up on the idea of establishing additional sub-regional formats in Northern and Southern Europe.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>It is too early to suggest with absolute certainty that all this indicates a fundamental shift in China’s European policy. The recent frictions with Brussels could have been the unintended result of a strategic miscalculation on Beijing’s part. But if Beijing does not adjust its policies in response to the current backlash in Europe, there is reason to assume that China’s previous emphasis on European cohesion has been replaced by the priority to strengthen China’s influence in different parts of Europe – no matter the political cost for the EU and its citizens.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><em>This series is also published by our partner publication <a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/chinas-europe-policy-poses-a-challenge-to-eu-cohesion/">The Diplomat.</a></em></p></div> </div> </div> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 12:39:00 +0000 komprakti 7966 at https://www.merics.org China’s Europe policy poses a challenge to EU cohesion https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinas-europe-policy-poses-challenge-eu-cohesion <span>China’s Europe policy poses a challenge to EU cohesion</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/306" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">komprakti</span></span> <span>周三, 08/15/2018 - 14:39</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-16T12:00:00Z">16/08/18</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/en/team/jan-weidenfeld" hreflang="en">Jan Weidenfeld</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>China used to be a strong proponent of a stable and unified Europe – as a market and as a pillar in a multipolar world. Yet its recent infrastructure foreign policy initiatives and political outreach to central and eastern European countries have raised the question if Beijing’s priorities have changed. This article is the sixth and final part of a MERICS<a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinas-new-foreign-policy-setup"> blog series </a>on China’s new foreign policy setup. </span></span></span></strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-main-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=WYEUappU 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=q-RO2oZ- 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=ch8zG-jf 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=Ga5LAFeA 2229w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180816_EU%20China%20Summit_Tusk_Mogherini_EEAS_floickr_34208120154_cut.jpg?itok=WYEUappU" alt="Image" title="China has remained unimpressed by louder calls from Berlin, Brussels and Paris recently to tone down its 16+1 activities. Image by EEAS via flickr." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>In the run-up to the latest 16+1 Summit in Sofia in July 2018, China’s Prime Minister </span></span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-easteurope/china-backs-european-integration-li-says-before-summit-with-eastern-states-idUSKBN1JW1V2"><span><span>Li Keqiang went to great pains</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> to explain that the regional cooperation format with 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries was by no means intended to undermine the European Union (EU).</span></span> <span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>“We have promoted 16+1 cooperation as part of the efforts to promote European integration. We welcome a united and prosperous Europe. We welcome a strong Euro,” Li said at a news briefing with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>Li’s statement appears to confirm Beijing’s commitment to the integration of Europe. After all, China benefits from a common market for goods and services and it views Europe as one influential pole in the multipolar world order the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would like to see emerge. However, deeds speak louder than words. Over the past two years, China’s infrastructure foreign policy in CEE countries, mainly through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and the related 16+1 format, have raised the question whether Beijing’s priorities in Europe have changed.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>Infrastructure projects create fiscal instability in EU neighborhood</span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China’s BRI-related infrastructure projects are creating fiscal instability in the EU’s regional neighborhood and often fail to align with EU rules and standards for building large-scale infrastructure, from transportation to energy and communications. The Bar-Boljare highway in Montenegro </span></span><a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/belt-and-road-reality-check-how-assess-chinas-investment-eastern-europe"><span><span>illustrates this point</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>. Not only has the IMF warned that the project, which is financed by a Chinese loan, will drive the debt levels of the small country to unsustainable levels. The European Commission </span></span><a href="http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-8442-2017-INIT/en/pdf"><span><span>has noted</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> a growing lack of appreciation for EU rules on public procurement and state aid, environmental impact assessments and sound cost-benefit analyses. Brussels is also concerned that the significant resources invested in the project will create “other important transport bottlenecks and high maintenance needs.”</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>It is no coincidence that China has had a much harder time implementing BRI inside EU borders. In February 2017, the European Commission opened a </span></span><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/003bad14-f52f-11e6-95ee-f14e55513608"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>formal investigation</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> into what is meant to become the flagship BRI construction project in the EU, the 2.45 billion EUR high-speed rail link between Belgrade and Budapest. Brussels not only expressed doubts about the financial viability of the rail line but also suggested that the project did not comply with EU public procurement rules. Budapest had failed to release a call for public tender normally required for projects of this magnitude. Eventually, at the November 2017 Budapest 16+1 Summit, an official call for tender for the project </span></span><a href="http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-11/27/c_136781007.htm"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>was issued</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>. Neither bidders nor the winner was announced so far, but </span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>the remarkably short timeline </span></span><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/why-are-they-giving-us-the-money-behind-china-s-plans-to-rescue-a-decrepit-rail-link-20180606-p4zjwk.html"><span><span>suggests that one of the tenderers might have had an inside track</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China has recently sought to address European concerns about its infrastructure foreign policy. This includes high-level promises </span></span><a href="http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/36165/final-eu-cn-joint-statement-consolidated-text-with-climate-change-clean-energy-annex.pdf"><span><span>to be more responsive to European connectivity priorities</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> identified by the EU and its member states. Beijing has also encouraged </span></span><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/e0a2dd52-85b4-11e8-a29d-73e3d454535d"><span><span>Chinese policy banks to partner up</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and European development agencies in the implementation of BRI projects in Europe and its immediate neighbourhood. However, this does not change the fact that the vast majority of BRI projects in the CEE region remain firmly in the hands of Chinese lenders and companies.  Rather than waiting for concessions from China, the EU will have to stand up for its own interests and vision – be it with its upcoming connectivity strategy or with a more assertive NATO neighborhood policy. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China charges ahead with 16+1 despite concerns</span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>The way China has positioned itself within the 16+1 framework is another critical indicator that Beijing’s Europe policy might have changed in fundamental ways. The initiative has recently lost momentum as many of the promised infrastructure and investment projects have been delayed or have failed to materialize, leading to disappointed expectations. In what was a clear snub to Beijing, at the July 2018 Sofia 16+1 summit, Poland as the biggest European 16+1 economy was only represented by the Deputy Prime Minister, while Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki </span></span><a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/07/whats-next-for-the-china-cee-161-platform/"><span><span>attended a pilgrimage gathering</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> at home.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>At the same time, Beijing hardly seems to regret the divisive political effects of 16+1. A growing number of senior Chinese political analysts openly admit that the point of 16+1 was to find a new way of shaping EU politics when the EU was no longer as responsive to Chinese interests and concerns as the CCP would have liked to see. Since 2012, the 16+1 format has provided China with growing political influence in Central Europe – and arguably also Brussels – exacerbating tendencies towards greater fragmentation in Europe.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China has remained unimpressed by louder calls from Berlin, Brussels and Paris recently to tone down its 16+1 activities. Rather, Beijing has sought an </span></span><a href="https://www.merics.org/de/blog/chinas-charm-offensive-eastern-europe-challenges-eu-cohesion"><span><span>intensification and broader institutionalization</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> of the format. It also welcomed the interest expressed by </span></span><a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/07/what-to-expect-at-the-2018-china-cee-161-summit/"><span><span>Austria and Greece</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>, currently 16+1 observers, in full membership of the format. The fact that the Sofia 16+1 summit was moved </span></span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-easteurope/chinas-ambitions-in-eastern-europe-to-face-scrutiny-at-summit-idUSKBN1JU1NR"><span><span>forward by almost half a year</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span> from its original schedule on China’s initiative to only a few days before the EU-China summit this July left many EU officials irritated and even made some EU 16+1 members uncomfortable. Also, China has not given up on the idea of establishing additional sub-regional formats in Northern and Southern Europe.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>It is too early to suggest with absolute certainty that all this indicates a fundamental shift in China’s European policy. The recent frictions with Brussels could have been the unintended result of a strategic miscalculation on Beijing’s part. But if Beijing does not adjust its policies in response to the current backlash in Europe, there is reason to assume that China’s previous emphasis on European cohesion has been replaced by the priority to strengthen China’s influence in different parts of Europe – no matter the political cost for the EU and its citizens.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><em>This series is also published by our partner publication <a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/chinas-europe-policy-poses-a-challenge-to-eu-cohesion/">The Diplomat.</a></em></p></div> </div> </div> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 12:39:00 +0000 komprakti 7966 at https://www.merics.org Chinese experts challenge Western generalists in diplomacy https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinese-experts-challenge-western-generalists-diplomacy <span>Chinese experts challenge Western generalists in diplomacy</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/286" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">h.seidl</span></span> <span>周二, 08/14/2018 - 11:23</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-14T12:00:00Z">14/08/18</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/en/team/sabine-mokry" hreflang="en">Sabine Mokry</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>The emphasis on regional expertise is a major asset of China’s diplomatic corps. Chinese diplomats frequently rotate within a geographic region. China’s top ambassadors, however, are often left in their positions for a long time. The preference for seniority and the lack of qualified potential successors could weaken the overall effectiveness of China’s diplomatic outreach. This article is part 5 of a MERICS </strong><strong><a href="https://www.merics.org/blog/chinas-new-foreign-policy-setup">blog series</a> on China’s new foreign policy setup.</strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-main-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=_bA-vTTK 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=W28Fe5M7 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=qxv32XSW 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=7ns9SJZt 2600w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=_bA-vTTK" alt="photo" title="Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua leaves the Great Hall of the People in March 2017. He assumed his post more than eight years ago. Source: ImagineChina." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span>China’s ambassador to Russia, Li Hui, has spent a decade in his current post. Ambassadors from other countries hardly spend that much time on a single post. In fact, Li spent his whole career working on Russia and its neighbors. Most importantly, he served as ambassador to Kazakhstan and led the general directorate for Eastern European and Central Asian Affairs in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Li’s considerable regional expertise is hardly unusual in China’s foreign service and may be seen as a strength. However, Li’s example also underscores a persistent problem in China’s diplomacy: a lack of renewal in top posts.  </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Most Chinese ambassadors spend on average 3½ years on their posts, which is close to the international average. Every year, China exchanges its ambassador in up to a third of its 170 embassies and ten permanent missions. In the first half of 2018, 27 new ambassadors started their positions. In the past five years, 2014 was the year with the highest turnover when 60 ambassadors were replaced. The lowest turnover was in 2017, when only 35 ambassadors were newly appointed. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In contrast, China’s top ambassadors are far less mobile. The current ambassadors at China’s most prestigious embassies (excluding India) have spent around six years on their posts. In international comparison, this is relatively long. It suggests that the CCP only trusts very few people to take the top posts. The Chinese government deems its envoys to the United States, Russia, the UK, France, Japan, Germany, Brazil, India and North Korea most important. With (almost) ten years, China’s ambassadors to Russia and the UK have served the longest. Only China’s ambassador to India has been exchanged more frequently; the current ambassador was appointed two years ago.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>Regional experience is key for new appointments</strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Knowledge of foreign languages continues to be an important <span><span><a href="https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/62371">selection criterion</a></span></span> for China’s diplomats. Regional expertise, measured in the number of previous postings in or related to the same geographic region, is seen as a plus: the more an ambassador knows about the regional context, the better he/she is able to represent China’s interests on the ground.  </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The CCP seems to increasingly pick ambassadors with more experience in the respective region than their predecessors. More than half of ambassadors appointed in 2017 have more previous experience in the region than their predecessors. In contrast, only a small minority of 7 percent had less regional experiences. For the first half of 2018 a similar trend appears: More than two thirds of newly appointed ambassadors have at least as much regional experiences as their predecessors with a third of them having more experience. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>China’s current top ambassadors have not only served on their postings for a long time, but two thirds are close to the official retirement age of 65. Examining their shared career steps provides hints on who could replace them. All top-level ambassadors have at least once served as an ambassador before taking up the top post, indicating that a prior ambassadorial posting is a necessary condition. Five out of the nine current top ambassadors were vice ministers before and/or led a department in the MFA, indicating that having served at a high level MFA posting counts as a plus.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>These demands leave a fairly small pool of diplomats with sufficient international exposure and experiences at the MFA headquarter. Currently, four out of the current six vice ministers and roughly half of the 31 director generals in China’s MFA seem eligible as they have been posted abroad as ambassadors before.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>Three obstacles to professionalism in China’s diplomatic corps  </strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The preference for seniority has given rise to concerns that young diplomats cannot rise through the ranks. While the Chinese government does not publish its promotion criteria, they are the subject of intense debate among Chinese scholars and the foreign policy establishment. (Former) diplomats frequently complain about delays in filling key diplomatic posts. As a consequence, there might be a lack of qualified younger diplomats with sufficient international exposure who could occupy China’s top positions in the future. Whereas complaints about the lack of competence are not unique to China’s foreign policy establishment, the comparatively <span><span><a href="http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2137092/china-headed-diplomatic-crisis-its-own-making">high dropout rates</a></span></span> in China’s foreign service suggest that there might be more fundamental problems. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Centralization of power and the CCP’s more pervasive role could provide the second obstacle to professionalization in China’s diplomatic service. In his speech at the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs in June 2018, Xi Jinping reiterated the party’s tight grip on foreign policy. Most notably, <span><span><a href="https://asiasociety.org/policy-institute/kevin-rudd-xi-jinping-china-and-global-order">Xi</a></span></span> reminded China’s diplomats that they are first and foremost “party cadres.” For the future, this could signal a big shift in which party loyalty is valued higher than professional or regional expertise. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The third obstacle relates to the MFA’s weak position within China’s foreign policy apparatus. Chinese embassies not only implement the policies drafted at MFA headquarters in Beijing but they also engage with a variety of actors within China’s bureaucracy. At times, there seem to be no clear lines of command at China’s embassies. For example, only half the personnel at any given mission is employed through the MFA. At each embassy, there is, for example a MOFCOM representative. While it has been <span><span><a href="http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/2017-02/06/c_1120420090.htm">announced</a></span></span> that ambassadors should have more say on personnel issues, it remains to be seen if and when this materializes.  </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>Knowing China is the best answer</strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Despite these potential quality problems, which could weaken the overall effectiveness of China’s diplomatic corps, policymakers in Europe and elsewhere should not underestimate China’s key competitive advantage: the strong focus on regional experience. Extensive previous exposure to the region in which they serve and knowledge of the local language(s) could put Chinese diplomats at an advantage vis-à-vis their counterparts from other countries who traditionally want their diplomats to be generalists.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>It is no coincidence that Western diplomatic services have started discussing to open up regional career paths. If European governments want to meet China’s representatives eye-to-eye, they will have to invest some resources into training diplomats who know China as well as China knows their countries.</span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span> </span></span></span></span></p> <p class="infobox_hell"><span><span><span><span>This blog post is based on information published by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The MFA’s and embassies’ websites regularly publish detailed CVs of Chinese ambassadors and the MFA’s leadership. In the news section of the MFA website, ambassadorial appointments are regularly announced. Data was collected on all <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><a href="http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjdt_674879/dsrm_674893/default.shtml"><span>ambassadorial appointments</span></a></span> from January 2012 until June 2018. The CVs of the MFA’s leadership, including vice ministers and assistant ministers, were reviewed separately between April and June 2018.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><em>Continue reading <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinas-europe-policy-poses-challenge-eu-cohesion">part 6</a> of the blog series.</em></p> <p><em>This series is also published by our partner publication <a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/chinese-experts-challenge-western-generalists-in-diplomacy/">The Diplomat.</a></em></p> <p> </p></div> </div> </div> Tue, 14 Aug 2018 09:23:07 +0000 h.seidl 7961 at https://www.merics.org Chinese experts challenge Western generalists in diplomacy https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinese-experts-challenge-western-generalists-diplomacy <span>Chinese experts challenge Western generalists in diplomacy</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/286" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">h.seidl</span></span> <span>周二, 08/14/2018 - 11:23</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-14T12:00:00Z">14/08/18</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/en/team/sabine-mokry" hreflang="en">Sabine Mokry</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>The emphasis on regional expertise is a major asset of China’s diplomatic corps. Chinese diplomats frequently rotate within a geographic region. China’s top ambassadors, however, are often left in their positions for a long time. The preference for seniority and the lack of qualified potential successors could weaken the overall effectiveness of China’s diplomatic outreach. This article is part 5 of a MERICS </strong><strong><a href="https://www.merics.org/blog/chinas-new-foreign-policy-setup">blog series</a> on China’s new foreign policy setup.</strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-main-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=_bA-vTTK 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=W28Fe5M7 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=qxv32XSW 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=7ns9SJZt 2600w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180814_China%20ambassador_Japan_pbu586202_01.jpg?itok=_bA-vTTK" alt="photo" title="Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua leaves the Great Hall of the People in March 2017. He assumed his post more than eight years ago. Source: ImagineChina." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span>China’s ambassador to Russia, Li Hui, has spent a decade in his current post. Ambassadors from other countries hardly spend that much time on a single post. In fact, Li spent his whole career working on Russia and its neighbors. Most importantly, he served as ambassador to Kazakhstan and led the general directorate for Eastern European and Central Asian Affairs in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Li’s considerable regional expertise is hardly unusual in China’s foreign service and may be seen as a strength. However, Li’s example also underscores a persistent problem in China’s diplomacy: a lack of renewal in top posts.  </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Most Chinese ambassadors spend on average 3½ years on their posts, which is close to the international average. Every year, China exchanges its ambassador in up to a third of its 170 embassies and ten permanent missions. In the first half of 2018, 27 new ambassadors started their positions. In the past five years, 2014 was the year with the highest turnover when 60 ambassadors were replaced. The lowest turnover was in 2017, when only 35 ambassadors were newly appointed. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In contrast, China’s top ambassadors are far less mobile. The current ambassadors at China’s most prestigious embassies (excluding India) have spent around six years on their posts. In international comparison, this is relatively long. It suggests that the CCP only trusts very few people to take the top posts. The Chinese government deems its envoys to the United States, Russia, the UK, France, Japan, Germany, Brazil, India and North Korea most important. With (almost) ten years, China’s ambassadors to Russia and the UK have served the longest. Only China’s ambassador to India has been exchanged more frequently; the current ambassador was appointed two years ago.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>Regional experience is key for new appointments</strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Knowledge of foreign languages continues to be an important <span><span><a href="https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/62371">selection criterion</a></span></span> for China’s diplomats. Regional expertise, measured in the number of previous postings in or related to the same geographic region, is seen as a plus: the more an ambassador knows about the regional context, the better he/she is able to represent China’s interests on the ground.  </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The CCP seems to increasingly pick ambassadors with more experience in the respective region than their predecessors. More than half of ambassadors appointed in 2017 have more previous experience in the region than their predecessors. In contrast, only a small minority of 7 percent had less regional experiences. For the first half of 2018 a similar trend appears: More than two thirds of newly appointed ambassadors have at least as much regional experiences as their predecessors with a third of them having more experience. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>China’s current top ambassadors have not only served on their postings for a long time, but two thirds are close to the official retirement age of 65. Examining their shared career steps provides hints on who could replace them. All top-level ambassadors have at least once served as an ambassador before taking up the top post, indicating that a prior ambassadorial posting is a necessary condition. Five out of the nine current top ambassadors were vice ministers before and/or led a department in the MFA, indicating that having served at a high level MFA posting counts as a plus.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>These demands leave a fairly small pool of diplomats with sufficient international exposure and experiences at the MFA headquarter. Currently, four out of the current six vice ministers and roughly half of the 31 director generals in China’s MFA seem eligible as they have been posted abroad as ambassadors before.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>Three obstacles to professionalism in China’s diplomatic corps  </strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The preference for seniority has given rise to concerns that young diplomats cannot rise through the ranks. While the Chinese government does not publish its promotion criteria, they are the subject of intense debate among Chinese scholars and the foreign policy establishment. (Former) diplomats frequently complain about delays in filling key diplomatic posts. As a consequence, there might be a lack of qualified younger diplomats with sufficient international exposure who could occupy China’s top positions in the future. Whereas complaints about the lack of competence are not unique to China’s foreign policy establishment, the comparatively <span><span><a href="http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2137092/china-headed-diplomatic-crisis-its-own-making">high dropout rates</a></span></span> in China’s foreign service suggest that there might be more fundamental problems. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Centralization of power and the CCP’s more pervasive role could provide the second obstacle to professionalization in China’s diplomatic service. In his speech at the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs in June 2018, Xi Jinping reiterated the party’s tight grip on foreign policy. Most notably, <span><span><a href="https://asiasociety.org/policy-institute/kevin-rudd-xi-jinping-china-and-global-order">Xi</a></span></span> reminded China’s diplomats that they are first and foremost “party cadres.” For the future, this could signal a big shift in which party loyalty is valued higher than professional or regional expertise. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The third obstacle relates to the MFA’s weak position within China’s foreign policy apparatus. Chinese embassies not only implement the policies drafted at MFA headquarters in Beijing but they also engage with a variety of actors within China’s bureaucracy. At times, there seem to be no clear lines of command at China’s embassies. For example, only half the personnel at any given mission is employed through the MFA. At each embassy, there is, for example a MOFCOM representative. While it has been <span><span><a href="http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/2017-02/06/c_1120420090.htm">announced</a></span></span> that ambassadors should have more say on personnel issues, it remains to be seen if and when this materializes.  </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>Knowing China is the best answer</strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Despite these potential quality problems, which could weaken the overall effectiveness of China’s diplomatic corps, policymakers in Europe and elsewhere should not underestimate China’s key competitive advantage: the strong focus on regional experience. Extensive previous exposure to the region in which they serve and knowledge of the local language(s) could put Chinese diplomats at an advantage vis-à-vis their counterparts from other countries who traditionally want their diplomats to be generalists.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>It is no coincidence that Western diplomatic services have started discussing to open up regional career paths. If European governments want to meet China’s representatives eye-to-eye, they will have to invest some resources into training diplomats who know China as well as China knows their countries.</span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span> </span></span></span></span></p> <p class="infobox_hell"><span><span><span><span>This blog post is based on information published by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The MFA’s and embassies’ websites regularly publish detailed CVs of Chinese ambassadors and the MFA’s leadership. In the news section of the MFA website, ambassadorial appointments are regularly announced. Data was collected on all <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><a href="http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjdt_674879/dsrm_674893/default.shtml"><span>ambassadorial appointments</span></a></span> from January 2012 until June 2018. The CVs of the MFA’s leadership, including vice ministers and assistant ministers, were reviewed separately between April and June 2018.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><em>Continue reading <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinas-europe-policy-poses-challenge-eu-cohesion">part 6</a> of the blog series.</em></p> <p><em>This series is also published by our partner publication <a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/chinese-experts-challenge-western-generalists-in-diplomacy/">The Diplomat.</a></em></p> <p> </p></div> </div> </div> Tue, 14 Aug 2018 09:23:07 +0000 h.seidl 7961 at https://www.merics.org China races to catch up on foreign affairs spending https://www.merics.org/en/blog/china-races-catch-foreign-affairs-spending <span>China races to catch up on foreign affairs spending</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/306" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">komprakti</span></span> <span>周四, 08/09/2018 - 11:00</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-09T12:00:00Z">09/08/18</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/en/team/markus-herrmann" hreflang="en">Markus Herrmann</a>, <a href="/en/team/sabine-mokry" hreflang="en">Sabine Mokry</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span><strong>China’s foreign affairs expenditures may pale in comparison to the United States or Germany, but they grew at an unprecedented speed over the past 15 years. Even in the face of slower GDP growth and rising domestic obligations, China is likely to further scale up its spending to secure its influence in an increasingly multipolar world. </strong></span></span></span></span><strong>This article is part 4 of a MERICS </strong><strong><a href="/blog/chinas-new-foreign-policy-setup">blog series</a> on China’s new foreign policy setup.</strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-main-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=lr2chUQS 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=LRsLiiHJ 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=r40vbgTs 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=1SsOcJsF 2048w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=lr2chUQS" alt="Federica Mogherini and Wang Yi" title="In face of the EU aspiration to become a more important global player, China is likely to further scale up its foreign affairs spending. Image by European External Action Service via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>To support their global ambitions, China’s leaders have stepped up resources for foreign affairs since the early 2000s, a domain previously underfunded and often overlooked by the highest party echelons.</span></span></span> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>So how is China’s step-change on the world stage reflected in its financial accounts?</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Over the course of the past 15 years, each year the Chinese government spent more on foreign affairs than the year before. Between 2003 and 2017, China’s foreign affairs expenditures rose at a 14.5 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), hence almost at the level of China’s breakneck GDP growth rate of 15.3 percent CAGR over the same period.</span></span></span></span><br />  </p> <a href="https://www.merics.org/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_1.png"><img alt="China's foreign affairs spending has grown substantially since 2000" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="8d689f14-1f34-4bf5-ac5c-b7dfb1bf0422" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_1.png" width="600" class="align-center" /></a> <p><br /><span><span><span><span>Comparing the end of the Hu period in 2012 (5.2 billion USD) and the end of the first term of Xi in 2017 (8 billion USD), resources spent on foreign affairs almost increased by two thirds. Despite a slowing down of GDP growth between 2016 and 2017, China’s 2018 budget envisages a spending increase of 15 percent. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>The comparison of the Hu presidency (2003-2012) and Xi’s first term (2013-2017) reveals that spending growth had been more accelerated under Hu at a 17.5 percent CAGR (2003-2012), while spending growth under Xi markedly slowed down to 9.9 percent CAGR (2013-2017).</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>However, contrasting these growth figures with the GDP growth rates of the respective periods shows that the Chinese government’s resource allocation for foreign affairs under Hu was quite conservative in the face of the historically fast GDP growth (CAGR 20 percent). On the contrary, foreign affairs resource investment during Xi’s first term was maintained at a level substantially above GDP growth, with the latter slowing down to CAGR 6.2 percent.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Overall, the scaling up of foreign affairs resources under Hu arguably took place in a catch-up mode to enable China’s growing international participation, whereas Xi has been working on taking China’s foreign policy to the next level (as indicated by the newly created Central Foreign Affairs Commission (<a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/xis-china-center-takes-control-foreign-affairs">see part 2 of this series</a>) and the promotions of Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi), with the intent of shaping international affairs according to China’s own visions and priorities.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>China’s foreign affairs spending is less than meets the eye</strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>However, the rapid increase in China’s foreign affairs spending needs to be put into perspective. </span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>First, comparisons to other countries’ foreign affairs expenditures make China’s foreign affairs expenditures look more modest. Although the growth of China’s foreign affairs expenditure between 2003 and 2017 (CAGR 14.5 percent) was substantially higher than the respective growth in the United States (CAGR 6.7 percent) or Germany (CAGR 6.9 percent), China’s foreign affairs spending as a percentage of GDP still comes out last.</span></span></span><br />  </p> <a href="https://www.merics.org/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_2.png"><img alt="China’s foreign affairs spending has remained below 0.1% of GDP" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="780df0af-a6fd-45cc-8fcf-de4ac904dd84" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_2.png" width="600" class="align-center" /></a> <p><br /><span><span><span><span>Likewise, in absolute 2017 figures, China’s foreign affairs budget (approximately 8 billion USD) still lags both behind Germany’s (16.2 billion USD) and the United States’ (31.3 billion USD), but also behind that of the EU institutions (94.5 billion Euro for 2014-2020, corresponding to approximately 15.7 billion USD per year), which merely complements the individual activities of EU member states, by a wide margin.</span></span></span></span><br />  </p> <a href="https://www.merics.org/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_3.png"><img alt="China is still out-spent by the United States, Germany and the EU" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0fff89c1-24e3-4d22-a846-ffab9349fba3" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_3.png" width="600" class="align-center" /></a> <p><br /><span><span><span><span>Second, despite the seemingly high expenditures, foreign affairs still were not high on the Chinese list of priorities. Foreign affairs spending growth for 2003-2017 (CAGR 14.5 %) remained slower than overall government spending growth (CAGR 16.3 %) over the same period. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>As a consequence, the share allocated to foreign affairs in China’s total government spending actually declined from 0.32 percent in 2003 to 0.26 percent in 2017. In contrast, over the same period, key domestic spending buckets such as social security and employment (CAGR 23.7%), public health (CAGR 23.3%) or education (CAGR 18.1%) grew a lot faster.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In sum, these findings suggest there is still substantial room for China to catch up before it reaches the foreign affairs spending level of other countries. This catch-up is underway with higher spending growth rates than those in the United States or Germany.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><strong>Despite difficult trade-offs, China likely to further scale up its foreign affairs </strong></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Xi has started to demonstrate his foreign policy ambitions, but he also has to balance them with slowing growth and rising domestic spending obligations. In order to overcome the “middle income trap” and pursue continued economic development, China is required to sustain substantial funding for critical domestic policy goals (e.g. “moderately prosperous society by 2021,” “Made in China 2025,” “Healthy China 2030,” as well as PLA modernization, environmental protection, educational reforms) in the longer term. Decisions in favor of even more foreign affairs resources become particularly sensitive trade-offs.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>However, in face of the Trump administration’s “America First” policy, but also of the EU aspiration to become a more important global player (with its recently <a href="https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/46545/eu-boost-investment-global-role-30-budget-increase-external-action_en">announced</a> substantial 30 percent external action budget increase), the Chinese government is likely to continue scaling up its foreign affairs spending to use the geopolitical openings left by the United States’ retreat from multilateral formats – and to secure its influence in an increasingly multipolar world.</span></span></span></span><br />  </p> <p><strong><em>Some caveats for the use of official Chinese data</em></strong></p> <p><em>This analysis relies on Chinese government sources, in particular on the annual accounts of the Chinese government expenditures published the by </em><em>National</em><em> Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS).</em></p> <p><em>To facilitate reading, this blog post uses the so-called Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) indicator which focuses on the growth trend via annualized growth rates and eliminates growth fluctuations.</em></p> <p><em>The following specific methodological points need to be flagged: </em></p> <ul><li><em>Foreign affairs spending comparisons across countries are inherently problematic, as organizational, accounting and political labeling practices vary.</em></li> <li><em>Accounting or budgeting methodologies may have changed over time. </em></li> <li><em>Currency conversions were made at a 6.5-to-1 USD to CNY rate and 1.16-to-1 EUR to USD.</em></li> <li><em>For 2018, earmarked budget figures were used.</em></li> </ul><p><em>Although a lot of China’s international activities, e.g. infrastructure funding, defense activities or party diplomacy, are not </em><em>formal</em><em> part of the published foreign affairs expenditures, looking into “classical” Chinese foreign policy government expenditures can still provide an important pointer for assessing the nature of China’s current and future global reach.</em></p> <p> </p> <p><em>Continue reading <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinese-experts-challenge-western-generalists-diplomacy">part 5</a> of the blog series.</em></p> <p><em>This series is also published by our partner publication <a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/china-races-to-catch-up-on-foreign-affairs-spending/">The Diplomat.</a></em></p></div> </div> </div> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 09:00:11 +0000 komprakti 7946 at https://www.merics.org China races to catch up on foreign affairs spending https://www.merics.org/en/blog/china-races-catch-foreign-affairs-spending <span>China races to catch up on foreign affairs spending</span> <span><span lang="" about="/cn/user/306" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">komprakti</span></span> <span>周四, 08/09/2018 - 11:00</span> <div class="layout layout--onecol"> <div class="layout__region layout__region--content"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-08-09T12:00:00Z">09/08/18</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/en/team/markus-herrmann" hreflang="en">Markus Herrmann</a>, <a href="/en/team/sabine-mokry" hreflang="en">Sabine Mokry</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span><strong>China’s foreign affairs expenditures may pale in comparison to the United States or Germany, but they grew at an unprecedented speed over the past 15 years. Even in the face of slower GDP growth and rising domestic obligations, China is likely to further scale up its spending to secure its influence in an increasingly multipolar world. </strong></span></span></span></span><strong>This article is part 4 of a MERICS </strong><strong><a href="/blog/chinas-new-foreign-policy-setup">blog series</a> on China’s new foreign policy setup.</strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-main-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=lr2chUQS 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=LRsLiiHJ 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=r40vbgTs 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=1SsOcJsF 2048w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2018-08/180809_Mogherini_Wang_Yi_European_External_Action_Service_flickr.jpg?itok=lr2chUQS" alt="Federica Mogherini and Wang Yi" title="In face of the EU aspiration to become a more important global player, China is likely to further scale up its foreign affairs spending. Image by European External Action Service via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>To support their global ambitions, China’s leaders have stepped up resources for foreign affairs since the early 2000s, a domain previously underfunded and often overlooked by the highest party echelons.</span></span></span> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>So how is China’s step-change on the world stage reflected in its financial accounts?</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Over the course of the past 15 years, each year the Chinese government spent more on foreign affairs than the year before. Between 2003 and 2017, China’s foreign affairs expenditures rose at a 14.5 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), hence almost at the level of China’s breakneck GDP growth rate of 15.3 percent CAGR over the same period.</span></span></span></span><br />  </p> <a href="https://www.merics.org/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_1.png"><img alt="China's foreign affairs spending has grown substantially since 2000" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="8d689f14-1f34-4bf5-ac5c-b7dfb1bf0422" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_1.png" width="600" class="align-center" /></a> <p><br /><span><span><span><span>Comparing the end of the Hu period in 2012 (5.2 billion USD) and the end of the first term of Xi in 2017 (8 billion USD), resources spent on foreign affairs almost increased by two thirds. Despite a slowing down of GDP growth between 2016 and 2017, China’s 2018 budget envisages a spending increase of 15 percent. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>The comparison of the Hu presidency (2003-2012) and Xi’s first term (2013-2017) reveals that spending growth had been more accelerated under Hu at a 17.5 percent CAGR (2003-2012), while spending growth under Xi markedly slowed down to 9.9 percent CAGR (2013-2017).</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>However, contrasting these growth figures with the GDP growth rates of the respective periods shows that the Chinese government’s resource allocation for foreign affairs under Hu was quite conservative in the face of the historically fast GDP growth (CAGR 20 percent). On the contrary, foreign affairs resource investment during Xi’s first term was maintained at a level substantially above GDP growth, with the latter slowing down to CAGR 6.2 percent.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Overall, the scaling up of foreign affairs resources under Hu arguably took place in a catch-up mode to enable China’s growing international participation, whereas Xi has been working on taking China’s foreign policy to the next level (as indicated by the newly created Central Foreign Affairs Commission (<a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/xis-china-center-takes-control-foreign-affairs">see part 2 of this series</a>) and the promotions of Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi), with the intent of shaping international affairs according to China’s own visions and priorities.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>China’s foreign affairs spending is less than meets the eye</strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>However, the rapid increase in China’s foreign affairs spending needs to be put into perspective. </span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>First, comparisons to other countries’ foreign affairs expenditures make China’s foreign affairs expenditures look more modest. Although the growth of China’s foreign affairs expenditure between 2003 and 2017 (CAGR 14.5 percent) was substantially higher than the respective growth in the United States (CAGR 6.7 percent) or Germany (CAGR 6.9 percent), China’s foreign affairs spending as a percentage of GDP still comes out last.</span></span></span><br />  </p> <a href="https://www.merics.org/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_2.png"><img alt="China’s foreign affairs spending has remained below 0.1% of GDP" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="780df0af-a6fd-45cc-8fcf-de4ac904dd84" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_2.png" width="600" class="align-center" /></a> <p><br /><span><span><span><span>Likewise, in absolute 2017 figures, China’s foreign affairs budget (approximately 8 billion USD) still lags both behind Germany’s (16.2 billion USD) and the United States’ (31.3 billion USD), but also behind that of the EU institutions (94.5 billion Euro for 2014-2020, corresponding to approximately 15.7 billion USD per year), which merely complements the individual activities of EU member states, by a wide margin.</span></span></span></span><br />  </p> <a href="https://www.merics.org/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_3.png"><img alt="China is still out-spent by the United States, Germany and the EU" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0fff89c1-24e3-4d22-a846-ffab9349fba3" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Foreign%20Policy%20Blog%204_graph_3.png" width="600" class="align-center" /></a> <p><br /><span><span><span><span>Second, despite the seemingly high expenditures, foreign affairs still were not high on the Chinese list of priorities. Foreign affairs spending growth for 2003-2017 (CAGR 14.5 %) remained slower than overall government spending growth (CAGR 16.3 %) over the same period. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>As a consequence, the share allocated to foreign affairs in China’s total government spending actually declined from 0.32 percent in 2003 to 0.26 percent in 2017. In contrast, over the same period, key domestic spending buckets such as social security and employment (CAGR 23.7%), public health (CAGR 23.3%) or education (CAGR 18.1%) grew a lot faster.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In sum, these findings suggest there is still substantial room for China to catch up before it reaches the foreign affairs spending level of other countries. This catch-up is underway with higher spending growth rates than those in the United States or Germany.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><strong>Despite difficult trade-offs, China likely to further scale up its foreign affairs </strong></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Xi has started to demonstrate his foreign policy ambitions, but he also has to balance them with slowing growth and rising domestic spending obligations. In order to overcome the “middle income trap” and pursue continued economic development, China is required to sustain substantial funding for critical domestic policy goals (e.g. “moderately prosperous society by 2021,” “Made in China 2025,” “Healthy China 2030,” as well as PLA modernization, environmental protection, educational reforms) in the longer term. Decisions in favor of even more foreign affairs resources become particularly sensitive trade-offs.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>However, in face of the Trump administration’s “America First” policy, but also of the EU aspiration to become a more important global player (with its recently <a href="https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/46545/eu-boost-investment-global-role-30-budget-increase-external-action_en">announced</a> substantial 30 percent external action budget increase), the Chinese government is likely to continue scaling up its foreign affairs spending to use the geopolitical openings left by the United States’ retreat from multilateral formats – and to secure its influence in an increasingly multipolar world.</span></span></span></span><br />  </p> <p><strong><em>Some caveats for the use of official Chinese data</em></strong></p> <p><em>This analysis relies on Chinese government sources, in particular on the annual accounts of the Chinese government expenditures published the by </em><em>National</em><em> Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS).</em></p> <p><em>To facilitate reading, this blog post uses the so-called Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) indicator which focuses on the growth trend via annualized growth rates and eliminates growth fluctuations.</em></p> <p><em>The following specific methodological points need to be flagged: </em></p> <ul><li><em>Foreign affairs spending comparisons across countries are inherently problematic, as organizational, accounting and political labeling practices vary.</em></li> <li><em>Accounting or budgeting methodologies may have changed over time. </em></li> <li><em>Currency conversions were made at a 6.5-to-1 USD to CNY rate and 1.16-to-1 EUR to USD.</em></li> <li><em>For 2018, earmarked budget figures were used.</em></li> </ul><p><em>Although a lot of China’s international activities, e.g. infrastructure funding, defense activities or party diplomacy, are not </em><em>formal</em><em> part of the published foreign affairs expenditures, looking into “classical” Chinese foreign policy government expenditures can still provide an important pointer for assessing the nature of China’s current and future global reach.</em></p> <p> </p> <p><em>Continue reading <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinese-experts-challenge-western-generalists-diplomacy">part 5</a> of the blog series.</em></p> <p><em>This series is also published by our partner publication <a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/china-races-to-catch-up-on-foreign-affairs-spending/">The Diplomat.</a></em></p></div> </div> </div> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 09:00:11 +0000 komprakti 7946 at https://www.merics.org