MERICS Blog - European Voices on China https://www.merics.org/de/blog/rss?field_topics_target_id=All de Europe needs democratic alliances to compete with China on technology https://www.merics.org/en/blog/europe-needs-democratic-alliances-compete-china-technology <span>Europe needs democratic alliances to compete with China on technology</span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/286" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">h.seidl</span></span> <span>Fr., 29.05.2020 - 15:14</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="2020-05-29T12:00:00Z">29/05/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/de/team/rebecca-arcesati" hreflang="de">Rebecca Arcesati</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Martijn Rasser</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>While COVID-19 brings China one step closer to technology-perfected authoritarianism through improvised health apps and real-time surveillance, Europe is busy looking inward. </span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>The pandemic has reignited self-reliance ambitions and given new impetus to concepts of digital and technological ´</span></span></span><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/political-guidelines-next-commission_en.pdf"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>sovereignty</span></span></span></a></strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span><strong>.´. Europe stands at an inflection point, </strong></span></span></span></span></span></span><strong>argue <span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Rebecca Arcesati (MERICS) and Martijn Rasser (CNAS)</span></span></span><a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> </span></span></span></a></span></span></span>(via EUobserver).</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/2020-05/80615405_m.jpg?itok=BbKZmZH8 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-05/80615405_m.jpg?itok=5RB0bVOY 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-05/80615405_m.jpg?itok=Y5FL919p 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2020-05/80615405_m.jpg?itok=VWYqv3rW 2365w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-05/80615405_m.jpg?itok=BbKZmZH8" alt="Breakthroughs in key fields like 5G, quantum information science, and AI will have far-reaching economic impact, and profound effects on national and international security. Picture by Serhii Yaremenko via 123rf." title="Breakthroughs in key fields like 5G, quantum information science, and AI will have far-reaching economic impact, and profound effects on national and international security. Picture by Serhii Yaremenko via 123rf." 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-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>While COVID-19 brings China one step closer to technology-perfected authoritarianism through improvised health apps and real-time surveillance, Europe is busy looking inward. </span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>The pandemic has reignited self-reliance ambitions and given new impetus to concepts of digital and technological ´</span></span></span><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/political-guidelines-next-commission_en.pdf"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>sovereignty</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>.´ There is a serious debate about</span></span></span><a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-wont-kill-globalization-but-will-clip-its-wings/"> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>re-shoring</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> production from China, as the pandemic exposed the vulnerability of supply chains from pharmaceuticals to electronics. The</span></span></span><a href="https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/GA/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52020XC0326(03)"> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>EU</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> and</span></span></span><a href="https://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/Articles/2020/04/30/covid-19-update-of-the-foreign-direct-investment-screening-procedure-in-france"> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>member states</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> are bracing for acquisitions of strategic assets like biotechnologies by tightening investment screening tools.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Tech independence is through collaboration with allies</span></span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>The pursuit of resilience should not result in isolationism. But recently, some were</span></span></span><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/6757ca9a-3048-11e9-8744-e7016697f225"> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>advocating</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> for bigger European ´champions´ to match China´s techno-nationalist industrial policy. Transatlantic mistrust on digital matters also urges Europe to do things on its own, from developing a European</span></span></span><a href="https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/EN/Publikationen/Digitale-Welt/project-gaia-x.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&amp;v=4"> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>cloud infrastructure</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> to crafting</span></span></span><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/commission-white-paper-artificial-intelligence-feb2020_en.pdf"> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>rules</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> on artificial intelligence (AI) and ensuring that Europeans have control over their</span></span></span><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication-european-strategy-data-19feb2020_en.pdf"> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>data</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>. While the bloc´s resolve to be stronger in tech deserves praise, an inward-looking strategy is doomed to fail unless it is accompanied by proactive cooperation with like-minded countries.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>In a paradox, the best way for Europe to ensure its tech independence is through collaboration with allies. Europe cannot go it alone if it wants to preserve its technological edge, protect its security, and ensure a democratic technology future and a vibrant economy in the post-pandemic world. Democratic alliances remain an unmatched source of European strength as it deals with a rising China. Beijing´s ambitions to lead in technologies like AI, 5G, quantum computing, and genomics, if successful, would provide China with unprecedented economic, political, and military advantages. This poses a threat to liberal democracy and would leave Europe’s quest for technological ‘sovereignty’ stillborn.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Economically, China’s plans to boost indigenous innovation through subsidies, protectionism, and the absorption of foreign technology threaten the competitiveness of countries playing by market rules. Politically, Chinese tech firms implicated in human rights abuses in Xinjiang play leading roles in setting global standards for applications like facial recognition, empowering authoritarianism. In the security sphere, reliance on Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-linked firms for the construction of critical information infrastructure is hardly conducive to any country´s technological autonomy – and brings mounting cybersecurity and strategic risks.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>The EU and tech-leading member states – such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands – should join forces with like-minded countries. Together with the United States, Canada, Japan, and South Korea among others, they should spearhead the creation of a new coordination body for multinational technology policy – a technology alliance. This grouping would help preserve competitiveness and security by protecting critical technologies, strengthen collaborative innovation, and anchor emerging technology adoption and governance in democratic values and norms. These three lines of effort would be the foundation for a secure and prosperous Europe.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Europe stands at an inflection point</span></span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>First, Europe’s long-term economic health is threatened by Beijing’s goals to wean itself off foreign technology in fields like aerospace, semiconductors, and robotics. EU member states should not let this be a fait accompli. This does not mean cutting off China as a trade partner. It does require placing restrictions on certain exports and knowledge transfers to make sure China cannot indigenize the state-of-the-art. Such controls, like for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, must be targeted and multilateral. Multinational coordination is also needed to share information on Chinese state-backed investments, or R&amp;D partnerships with universities.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Second, investments must be made to maintain leadership in key fields. Breakthroughs in areas like 5G, quantum information science, and AI will have far-reaching economic impact, and profound effects on national and international security. Launching joint civilian and defense R&amp;D projects with like-minded partners is one way of securing continued technological advantage. Another is to join forces on expensive efforts to restructure vital supply chains. The pandemic exposed the brittleness of Europe’s position. Countries like Japan, which</span></span></span><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/5e6e99c2-4faa-4e56-bcd2-88460c8dc41a"> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>is subsidizing</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> manufacturers to move away from China, share this plight. Resilience will require joint solutions – and create new opportunities and markets.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Finally, coordinating the deployment and governance of emerging technologies is front and center at protecting the values that unite Europe. China’s proliferation of surveillance technology – used for repression at home and increasingly exported – is a direct threat to democratic values; curbing it will require a coordinated response by the world’s leading democracies. This same group should also reassert themselves in the world’s standards-setting bodies, like the UN´s ITU, that are increasingly targeted by Beijing to influence the make-up of the digital economy.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Europe stands at an inflection point. Decisions its leaders make in coming months will set the course for its post-pandemic future. How they act to secure Europe’s technological viability will determine the continent’s economic, military, and political power for decades. Technological sovereignty will not flow from mimicking Chinese industrial policy. Instead, Europeans should embrace their allies to build a tech future that is dynamic, innovative, and competitive. Cooperation with tech-leading democracies is how to secure European tech sovereignty.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><em><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>This article was first published by <a href="https://euobserver.com/opinion/148449">EU Observer</a> on May 29, 2020. </span></span></span></span></span></span></em></p></div> </div> </div> Tue, 26 May 2020 08:32:33 +0000 kom_intern 11631 at https://www.merics.org Europe’s position in the US-China trade conflict: It’s the exports, stupid https://www.merics.org/en/blog/europes-position-us-china-trade-conflict-its-exports-stupid <span>Europe’s position in the US-China trade conflict: It’s the exports, stupid </span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/1001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kom_intern</span></span> <span>Mo., 25.05.2020 - 16:49</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="2020-05-25T12:00:00Z">25/05/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/de/team/maximilian-kaernfelt" hreflang="de">Maximilian Kärnfelt</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>As Washington and Beijing do battle over trade, Europe is seen to be in a strategic dilemma. Maximilian Kärnfelt says this ignores a simple political calculation that favors the US.</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/2020-05/105351043_m.jpg?itok=onUwaV4V 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-05/105351043_m.jpg?itok=5ysZVtNP 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-05/105351043_m.jpg?itok=NFSnQDuH 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2020-05/105351043_m.jpg?itok=wLTgI7-3 2600w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-05/105351043_m.jpg?itok=onUwaV4V" alt="Staying out of the neighborly quarrel between the US and China is no option for Europe as both countries are doing their best to involve it. Picture by Akarat Phasura via 123rf." title="Staying out of the neighborly quarrel between the US and China is no option for Europe as both countries are doing their best to involve it. Picture by Akarat Phasura via 123rf." 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-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">The US-China trade conflict has bred the truism that Europe is in a tough spot: Washington and Beijing would each like Europe to support them and European nations are struggling  – and will continue to struggle  – to choose between US skepticism towards China, and China’s wish for the trade order to remain as it is. But experience suggests Europe’s politicians will be more tempted to side with the US than China – and that one of their most important reasons will be Europe’s greater dependence on the US as its biggest export market. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Staying out of the neighborly quarrel between the US and China is no option for Europe as both countries are doing their best to involve it. Global trade has become increasingly politicized. The Trump administration, for example, has imposed tariffs on some European industries with a nod and wink that progress in areas such as restricting Huawei’s access to the European market may help remove them. For its part, China is supporting smaller European countries in exchange for political support within EU institutions.</span></span></span></span></p> <img alt="European economies depend on both the US and China" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="ecfff1d7-a40e-4827-b4b8-3f0c518bfec0" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blogpost-TradeGraphicfinal.jpg" class="align-center" /><p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Globalization has ensured that exports to China have become an ever-bigger part of European gross domestic product (GDP) in the past ten years. But over the same period, the importance of exports to the US to European GDP rose easily as much. With some exceptions, European countries export far more to the US than they do to China. In 2018, the European Union’s 27 members and the UK exported an average of 2.5 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to the US – Germany, the largest European economy, even 3.5 percent. The region’s exports to China were much lower, at 1.3 percent of GDP (Figure 1). </span></span></span></span></p> <p>UN trade data from 2018 shows European countries export more to the US than to China<span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">. Only a few European countries at the EU’s periphery, such as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, export a larger share of their GDP to China than to the US. It is true that all European countries import more from China than the US. </span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">It is within the realm of possibility that the cheap consumer goods that this brings Europe might generate more economic benefits than the income from exports to the US does.</span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> Figuring this out is no easy task for economists. But while we do that, politicians and the public rightly or wrongly already seem to have made up their minds, typically privileging exports over imports.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">There is a strong tradition of public discourse that represents exports as being more important than imports. In trade negotiations diplomats who agree to lower import duties are said to make sacrifices, while those that convince their counterparties to lower duties are said to make gains. In that vein, US President Donald Trump has used tariffs to restrict foreign imports into the US, while battling with Beijing to allow US companies to export more to China. Similarly, the Brexiteers’ premise that the EU needs the UK more than the UK the EU was founded on Britain’s importance as an export market for continental companies.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">There is a political bias to privileging exports over imports</span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Of course, international relations are bigger than trade alone, as any number of security issues demonstrate. </span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">But a clear political bias to privileging exports over imports is common</span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">. Chancellor Angela Merkel, for one, hopes to successfully steer Germany through the coronavirus crisis so that it can maintain its position as an <em>Exportnation</em>. So in disputes to come, European policymakers’ economic reasoning more probably will result in them fearing economic pressure from the US more than that from China. Rightly or wrongly, its exports to the US will be an important factor in making Europe side with the US. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Indeed, in Europe’s supposed struggle to choose between US skepticism towards China and China’s wish for the trade order to remain as it is, European leaders have once already sided with the skeptics in Washington. This is illustrated by its </span><a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-eu-huawei-5g-china-cybersecurity-toolbox-explained/"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">treatment</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei. Both the EU and the UK are introducing rules that impose some level of trade friction, making it more difficult for Huawei to construct its 5G networks in Europe. Tradition and precedent suggest that Europe’s large export flows to the US will remain a major determinant of the complex triangular relationship between the EU, the US and China.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Europe’s policymakers will get dragged deeper and deeper into the trade war</span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">European policymakers will be careful not to risk the income earned by exporting to US. China could, of course, encourage more domestic consumption, potentially providing Europe with an export market of the same size as the US. But due to stalling reform progress Chinese demand is weak and the government has had difficulties stimulating it. Furthermore, China’s GDP and GDP per capita growth, predictors of trade flows, are slowing. This is partly because of a long-term economic slowing, but also because the coronavirus devastated growth. China will not replace the US as Europe’s most important export market any time soon. As a result, Europe’s policymakers will continue to favor the US over China and get dragged deeper and deeper into the trade war at Washington’s side.   </span></span></span></span></p></div> </div> </div> Mon, 25 May 2020 14:12:46 +0000 kom_intern 11626 at https://www.merics.org Mao called it snake oil – How China uses the Corona crisis to promote traditional medicine in Africa https://www.merics.org/en/blog/mao-called-it-snake-oil-how-china-uses-corona-crisis-promote-traditional-medicine-africa <span>Mao called it snake oil – How China uses the Corona crisis to promote traditional medicine in Africa</span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/1001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kom_intern</span></span> <span>Di., 19.05.2020 - 08:40</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="2020-05-19T12:00:00Z">19/05/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/de/team/tom-bayes" hreflang="de">Tom Bayes</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><span><span><span>Covid-19 has boosted Beijing’s championing of traditional Chinese medicine. Tom Bayes says China should focus on more measurably effective public health efforts – starting in Africa. </span></span></span>This article is part 10 of a <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog">MERICS blog series </a>on China's corona struggle.</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/2020-05/44451116571_7105fbaa6d_c.jpg?itok=4TAl2CLa 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-05/44451116571_7105fbaa6d_c.jpg?itok=6_CJZMX8 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-05/44451116571_7105fbaa6d_c.jpg?itok=ePWnbA4M 799w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-05/44451116571_7105fbaa6d_c.jpg?itok=4TAl2CLa" alt="In 2018 Beijing hosted a China-Africa Forum on Traditional Medicine and that year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting pledged to promote TCM in Africa. Source: Presidence du Benin via flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)." title="In 2018 Beijing hosted a China-Africa Forum on Traditional Medicine and that year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting pledged to promote TCM in Africa. Source: Presidence du Benin via flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 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><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Amidst the scramble to respond to Covid-19, Chinese authorities and state media have </span></span><a href="https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/02/03/tcm-shuanghuanglian-pseudoscience-chinese-media-is-selling-snake-oil-to-fight-the-wuhan-virus/"><span>promoted</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) – alongside drone patrols and sweeping lockdowns, herbal medicines like Shuanghuanglian have been touted as virus remedies. This state-backed push is not new – it chimes with a campaign to promote TCM at home and abroad that has gathered pace in recent years, most notably in Africa. Given many African countries’ urgent healthcare needs and the lack of robust evidence that TCM treatments, including herbal medicine and acupuncture, can meet them, Beijing’s campaign is troubling.     </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In 2018 Beijing hosted a China-Africa Forum on Traditional Medicine and that year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (<a href="https://www.focac.org/eng/zywx_1/zywj/t1594297.htm">FOCAC</a><span><span>)</span></span> meeting pledged to promote TCM in Africa. China has since opened a <a href="https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/confucius-institute-for-chinese-medicine-launched-at-uwc-32854726">Confucius Institute for Chinese Medicine</a> in South Africa, a <a href="http://www.exploringtianjin.com/2019-12/30/c_445324.htm">Luban Workshop</a> to teach TCM in Mali, and is developing similar institutes <a href="http://northafricapost.com/33281-china-morocco-to-set-up-traditional-medicine-center-in-casablanca.html">elsewhere</a>. China’s long-running <a href="https://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/chinese-medical-teams-bring-more-just-doctors-uganda">Chinese Medical Team</a> (CMT) program in Africa includes TCM practitioners, offering free treatment and <a href="https://africa.cgtn.com/2019/08/04/chinese-doctors-offer-training-to-south-sudan-students-on-traditional-medicine/">training</a>. In recent years, state media have trumpeted <a href="http://en.people.cn/90782/8089514.html">TCM’s rising popularity</a> on the continent and the growing numbers of <a href="http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-10/26/c_136705759.htm">African students</a> studying TCM in China. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>A global campaign to promote ‘Chinese solutions’</strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Africa is a major target of a global campaign that has gathered pace since 2016, when Beijing’s <a href="http://www.china.org.cn/englishscio/2017-01/17/content_40621689_7.htm">TCM White Paper</a> and <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/29/health/china-new-law-traditional-chinese-medicine-tcm/index.html">TCM law</a> set out to better promote the discipline worldwide. The campaign received a major boost in 2019 when the World Health Organization (WHO), currently <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-29/who-says-it-s-working-with-taiwan-experts-after-video-goes-viral">struggling</a> with questions about its relationship with Beijing, <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/24/health/traditional-chinese-medicine-who-controversy-intl/index.html">included</a> TCM in its global diagnostic compendium, the International Classification of Diseases. TCM has become yet another facet of China’s many-headed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which now includes a Belt and Road TCM Development Plan to build dozens of TCM centers around the world. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Xi Jinping has </span></span><a href="https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201910/25/WS5db297cba310cf3e35573a4d.html"><span>personally</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> backed a campaign that is intended to enhance Chinese prestige – he is  reportedly a TCM user himself and has dubbed it ‘a treasure of Chinese civilization’. The drive is</span></span> typical of Beijing’s growing preoccupation with “discourse power”, a major symptom of which is the promotion of “<a href="https://www.merics.org/en/china-monitor/decoding-chinese-concepts-for-global-order">Chinese solutions</a><span><span>”</span></span> to the world’s problems. And as with many Chinese solutions, TCM is increasingly placed in opposition to allegedly flawed Western alternatives. “Chinese medicine helps you get rid of the disease from its root,” <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/24/health/traditional-chinese-medicine-who-controversy-intl/index.html">says one Chinese adherent</a>. “Western medicine helps deal with the symptoms, not the causes.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>But Beijing is taking a different approach to TCM promotion in Africa than in other regions. China is emphasizing </span></span><a href="https://www.focac.org/eng/zywx_1/zywj/t1594297.htm"><span>joint development</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> of TCM alongside African traditional herbal medicine, at least rhetorically. This is consistent with Beijing’s win-win messaging and rhetoric of developing-world mutual respect and equality, and may pay diplomatic dividends as some African g</span></span>overnments institutionalize and promote traditional herbal medicine – the <a href="https://addisstandard.com/op-ed-the-curious-case-of-the-ethiopian-traditional-medicine-derived-anti-covid19-treatment-and-the-need-for-caution/">Ethiopian</a> government recently claimed to have identified a traditional treatment for Coronavirus. But it is unclear if any of the much-touted joint development has begun. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>A billion paying patients for TCM</strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>TCM promotion in Africa also has a commercial dimension. TCM exports to Africa doubled in value in recent years to over <a href="https://www.alwihdainfo.com/China-Africa-traditional-medicine-trade-totals-80-million-in-2017_a66508.html">USD 80 million</a> annually and China’s State Administration for TCM estimates worldwide trade to be worth USD 50 billion. The <a href="https://newafricanmagazine.com/10210/">proliferation</a> of privately founded TCM clinics across Africa shows there is clearly demand across a continent in which access to healthcare remains a major challenge. As a result, the WHO reckons that “up to <a href="https://africanbusinessmagazine.com/sectors/retail/africas-homegrown-remedies/">80 percent</a> of the population [in Africa] uses traditional medicine for primary healthcare”, suggesting a billion potential TCM users. TCM hits a mid-market segment in Africa: more expensive but better regarded than local traditional herbalists, <a href="http://en.people.cn/90782/8089514.html">cheaper</a> than modern allopathic services.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The promotion of TCM in a region with scant modern medical resources has an echo of the “invention” and promotion of institutionalized TCM under Mao. He promoted TCM as a pragmatic response to New China’s yawning healthcare shortfall – even though he dismissed the discipline’s practitioners as “<a href="https://aeon.co/essays/traditional-chinese-medicine-needs-its-own-revolution">circus entertainers</a>, snake-oil salesmen or street hawkers.” But given Africans’ urgent medical needs and the <a href="https://aeon.co/essays/traditional-chinese-medicine-needs-its-own-revolution">absence of reliable evidence</a> that TCM produces outcomes that can meet them, Xi’s overseas reprise of Mao  is troubling. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>Beijing should prioritize impactful global health interventions</strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The Covid-19 crisis has lent a new momentum to Beijing’s push to expand a global healthcare cooperation that it very much wants to include TCM. Through its Medical Teams, hospital construction, and participation in Ebola response, China has already raised its contribution to healthcare in Africa. However, as it drives forward construction of its “Health Silk Road”, it </span></span>should concentrate on measurably effective public health efforts and policies in Africa – and around the world. Vaccination programs may be less visible, but they are better than seeking prestige through TCM and its more uncertain clinical benefits.</span></span></span></p></div> </div> </div> Mon, 18 May 2020 13:51:29 +0000 kom_intern 11571 at https://www.merics.org Sino-german relations in the Corona crisis: It’s time to make decisions https://www.merics.org/en/blog/sino-german-relations-corona-crisis-its-time-make-decisions <span>Sino-german relations in the Corona crisis: It’s time to make decisions </span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/306" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">komprakti</span></span> <span>Fr., 15.05.2020 - 17:56</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="2020-05-15T12:00:00Z">15/05/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/de/team/barbara-pongratz" hreflang="de">Barbara Pongratz</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The pandemic has once again shown Berlin’s relations with Beijing to be a balancing act. Barbara Pongratz says <span>cordial partnership plus cautious opposition does not equal clarity. </span></span></span></span></span></span></strong><span><span><strong>T</strong></span></span><strong>his article is part 9 of a <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog">MERICS blog series </a>on China's corona struggle.</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/2020-05/200515%20Merkel%20in%20China_Michael%20Kappeler%20via%20dpa.jpg?itok=Yc5xMNMP 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-05/200515%20Merkel%20in%20China_Michael%20Kappeler%20via%20dpa.jpg?itok=dJXKB1QX 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-05/200515%20Merkel%20in%20China_Michael%20Kappeler%20via%20dpa.jpg?itok=56kmedhV 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2020-05/200515%20Merkel%20in%20China_Michael%20Kappeler%20via%20dpa.jpg?itok=RPX2iPlk 2600w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-05/200515%20Merkel%20in%20China_Michael%20Kappeler%20via%20dpa.jpg?itok=Yc5xMNMP" alt="German chancellor Angela Merkel in China, September 2019. Image by Michael Kappeler via dpa/picture alliance." title="German chancellor Angela Merkel in China, September 2019. Image by Michael Kappeler via dpa/picture alliance." 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-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Sino-German relations were already complicated before the global Covid-19 crisis. Both sides were preparing for government consultations in 2020 and the EU’s 27 national leaders first-ever joint meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Leipzig this fall under the auspices of the German EU Council presidency. The aim of these meetings was to promote the partnership dimension of Germany-China and EU-China relations. At the same time, political relations </span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>had deteriorated not least because of growing German worries about the suppression of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and large-scale human rights violations in Xinjiang</span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Traditionally well-oiled business relations had also suffered setbacks. </span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>German business leaders had for the first time openly started to discuss</span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> the risks of doing business with Chinese partners </span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>– political, security-related or reputational</span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>. </span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>The highly controversial Huawei/5G debate showed China policy had become a factor in German domestic politics. </span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>It was no longer taboo for German business leaders to think about “diversification” away from China.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>Relations between Beijing and Berlin are getting more complicated</span></span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>With the pandemic in full swing, Sino-German relations are only getting more complicated. On top of questions about China’s crisis management, the Covid-19 crisis has made it ever more evident that China has extended the reach of its propaganda to manage its reputation and influence debates in Germany and elsewhere. </span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Chinese public diplomacy has increased and become more strategic – the </span></span><a href="https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/china-und-das-coronavirus-mit-internationaler-hilfe-kann-die-krankheit-besiegt-werden/25567244.html"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Chinese embassy</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) </span></span><a href="http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/02/c_138941592.htm"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>International Liaison Department</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> and social media have all become messaging channels.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>While German media have harshly </span></span><a href="https://www.bild.de/politik/international/bild-international/bild-chief-editor-responds-to-the-chinese-president-70098436.bild.html"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>criticized</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> attempts by China to influence public opinion, the German government has shied away from public confrontation. For example, German media </span></span><a href="https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/bundesregierung-bestaetigt-einflussversuch-china-kontaktierte-heimlich-deutsche-beamte/25774498.html"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>reported</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> that the foreign ministry had internally called for vigilance and countermeasures in light of Chinese attempts to encourage German officials to speak positively about China’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Yet the German government’s only public reaction to such a brazen attempt to influence Berlin was that it would not comply with China’s request. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Germany's political elite will have to take a position on Chinese influencing</span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>It remains unclear why Berlin is not willing to position itself more openly and more vocally to oppose Chinese meddling. But German opposition politicians have been more </span></span><a href="https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/corona-china-einflussnahme-101.html"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>outspoken</span></span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>, criticizing China’s moves and the German government’s reticent response. As a result, an open discussion in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, seems inevitable. The country’s political elite will have to take a position on China’s meddling – and some related issues. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The Covid-19 crisis looks set to reinforce existing trends in Sino-German relations. Germany’s </span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>close business ties to China mean that the pandemic’s economic shock will immediately impact German business. As global demand and trade slump, the country’s manufacturers will see potentially lasting effects on the production capacity and market outlook. This will add new urgency to a number of debates that were already complicating Germany’s economic and political relations with China before the coronavirus pandemic struck. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Crisis adds new momentum to debate about German dependence on China</span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>First, the crisis will add new momentum to the debate about Germany’s dependence on China, about what degree is appropriate and when supply-chains should be diversified. Second, widespread fears about asset-hunting by Chinese companies during the crisis have led Germany to once again increase its efforts to sharpen investment screening. And these business-related discussions will prove a prelude to two more fundamental questions. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>The crisis has underscored the simultaneous roles of partner, competitor and rival in which many European policymakers cast China – and the challenges this poses for managing Sino-German relations. Beijing’s crisis management and ensuing international posturing have probably fueled more doubt than confidence in Beijing and its global leadership capacity. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Lastly, the crisis is likely to lead more German decision-makers to acknowledge new geopolitical realities, and in turn to reaffirm that EU unity is of utmost importance in the face of China’s rise. Covid-19 has demonstrated China’s growing influence across Europe, and how it was able and willing to seize the opportunity to present itself as a global leader following initial shortcomings in crisis management in Germany and elsewhere in the EU. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>As much as the German government might want to duck a public airing of these issues, the country’s political and business elites will have to openly discuss the consequences sooner rather than later. There is some uncertainty about whether the EU-China summit in Leipzig can take place in times of pandemic. But regard for saving this crucial meeting should not stop Germany from embarking on an overdue public debate about Sino-German relations. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><em><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>This blog post is a shortened version of an article published in a <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/covid-19-and-Europe-China-Relations">recent report by the European Think-tank Network (ETNC)</a>.</span></span></em></p></div> </div> </div> Fri, 15 May 2020 13:51:19 +0000 komprakti 11561 at https://www.merics.org Supporting China’s SMEs affected by Covid-19 is crucial to avoid a socioeconomic disaster https://www.merics.org/en/blog/supporting-chinas-smes-affected-covid-19-crucial-avoid-socioeconomic-disaster <span>Supporting China’s SMEs affected by Covid-19 is crucial to avoid a socioeconomic disaster </span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/646" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jheller</span></span> <span>Di., 12.05.2020 - 14:45</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="2020-05-12T12:00:00Z">12/05/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/de/team/anna-holzmann" hreflang="de">Anna Holzmann</a>, <a href="/de/team/maximilian-kaernfelt" hreflang="de">Maximilian Kärnfelt</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span><span>The economic shutdown in response to the Covid-19 outbreak has left its impact on the whole of China’s economy, not least its small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Representing the lion’s share of GDP and employment, they are crucial for China’s stability. Beijing has taken steps to cushion the blow for SMEs, but there is no guarantee it will succeed. </span></span></span></span></strong><strong><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>If these measures fail, China will take a severe hit not only to its economy, but also to its social stability</span></span></span></span></strong><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span><span>.</span></span></span></span> T</strong></span></span><strong>his article is part 8 of a <a href="https://www.merics.org/de/blog">MERICS blog series </a>on China's corona struggle.</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/2020-05/128593241_m.jpg?itok=c2oM4kZK 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-05/128593241_m.jpg?itok=F7YARntz 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-05/128593241_m.jpg?itok=9XSRzK7F 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2020-05/128593241_m.jpg?itok=RGGOofTR 2361w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-05/128593241_m.jpg?itok=c2oM4kZK" alt="Street Vendor in Nanning, China." title="By the end of March, almost half a million businesses across China had closed – many in bankruptcy and most of them SMEs. Unregistered businesses, such as street vendors, are likely hit especially hard. Image by Phuong Nguyen Duy via 123rf (before Covid-19)." 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><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">The spread of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown of virtually all of China’s society and economy has had dramatic and unprecedented consequences. Charts tracking </span><a href="https://www.merics.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/Q1_2020_Economic%20indicators_final.pdf"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">economic indicators</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> across almost every sector have taken a nosedive.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">In the first quarter, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 6.8 percent. This marks the first time China has recorded negative growth since 1976. The urban unemployment rate has also reached record levels at 6.2 percent. As China slowly returns to pre-virus life, there are signs of an upswing – but with both domestic and global demand struggling, a full recovery is unlikely to happen quickly. Xi Jinping has recently signaled that he wants support for large state-owned enterprises to be ramped up, but meanwhile many of China’s SMEs are buckling under the pressure. If they are left to fail, the contagion effect could be widespread and severe. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">SMEs are particularly vulnerable, but vital for China’s stability</span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">China’s 50 million SMEs – largely active in retail, manufacturing of consumer goods, and food supply – are exceptionally exposed to the devastation caused by the outbreak and the government’s response. Unlike large conglomerates with ample cash reserves, credit lines and government support as protection, SMEs have little shelter from the storm. </span><a href="https://www.scmp.com/print/economy/china-economy/article/3077125/coronavirus-chinas-small-businesses-increasingly-desperate"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">A recent survey</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> found that more than 85 percent of China’s SMEs could go bankrupt within three months without financial support. China’s catering industry, which is mainly run by smaller companies, has already contracted by 47 percent year-on-year.</span> </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><img alt="Plummeting catering business indicates SMEs are struggling" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="75eb2d01-73cb-4b63-967c-ccae057d6d8e" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/200511_Blogpost-Graph_01%20%281%29.jpg" /></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">By the end of March, almost half a million businesses across China had closed – many in bankruptcy – and new business registrations had fallen by more than 30 percent compared to last year. Most of these companies are SMEs. Unregistered businesses, such as street vendors, are likely hit especially hard. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Getting back to work is an uphill struggle. Xin Guobin, Deputy Minister of Industry and Information Technology, said in March that while over 95 percent of larger companies had resumed operations, </span><a href="http://english.scio.gov.cn/pressroom/2020-03/13/content_75810437.htm"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">only 60 percent of SMEs</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> had followed suit. Although it was reported that the production rate of smaller firms had passed 82 percent by the end of April, the </span><a href="https://www.scmp.com/print/economy/china-economy/article/3077269/coronavirus-china-small-business-confidence-edges-still-weak"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB">sentiment among SMEs</span></a> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">remains pessimistic.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">The importance of a speedy recovery for China’s small-scale entrepreneurs cannot be overstated. SMEs account for 80 percent of jobs, 60 percent of GDP and about half of national tax revenue. They are vital drivers of China’s economy, populating the middle class and leading the country’s transition to consumption-based growth. Large-scale liquidations would threaten not only the country’s overall economic performance, but also its social stability.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Support for SMEs is top of the agenda</span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Beijing has made relief to SMEs a focal point in its battle against the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. Within the first ten days after China’s Spring Festival, </span><a href="http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-02/25/c_138816121.htm"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">600 policies</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> in support of smaller firms were launched – with more in the pipeline. Preferential taxes, cuts in rental and insurance costs, and deferrals in electricity payments are all intended to reduce the liquidity strain on SMEs. However, tweaking operational costs alone will not be enough.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">China’s banking industry has been called in, allowing firms to delay loan interest payments whilst increasing lending to SMEs. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is providing an incentive by making reserve requirement cuts conditional on targeted lending. It sounds good, but much of this is not new – the authorities started incentivizing banks to support financially stricken SMEs back in 2017, as part of the deleveraging campaign.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Indeed, the Chinese government has sought to strengthen SMEs for years. Competitive neutrality – the equal treatment of all companies, regardless of their ownership and country of origin – and major initiatives such as “Made in China 2025” are all intended to promote the role of small firms, particularly in national innovation chains. Special funds also exist to support innovative SMEs. Yet none of the attempts to get money to distressed SMEs has been particularly successful. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><img alt="Incentives for more SME lending do not work" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="924085ea-e546-499c-bd93-305f0f1f6b42" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/200511_Blogpost-Graph_02%20%281%29.jpg" /> </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">The PBOC has repeatedly called for financial "irrigation" and "inclusion". But banks have become wary of the risks involved in lending to smaller firms. Only 23.3 percent of outstanding loans went to smaller companies at the end of December 2019, down from around 25 percent in 2018. Without financial cushioning and effective state support, SMEs remain chronically underfinanced. They are thus particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">If the SME bailout fails, the consequences will be dire </span></span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Premier Li Keqiang recognizes the gravity of SME predicament. “Smaller businesses have been hit the hardest […]. Their restart […] affects the entire industrial chain and is vitally important for keeping employment stable,” </span><a href="http://english.www.gov.cn/premier/news/202004/01/content_WS5e836a5fc6d0c201c2cbfe4c.html?mc_cid=fef690d655&amp;mc_eid=39be4d9b38"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">he said</span></a><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> in March. If China’s SMEs go bust, there will be a knock-on effect on the operations of other firms. Many people would lose their jobs and their income streams would dry up, making it difficult to meet their financial obligations. If people cannot pay their mortgages, they could lose their homes. Further social damage in the form of broken families, divorces and suicides could follow. At the very least, domestic consumption would struggle even more to recover. Meanwhile, China’s financial system would be damaged because its banks are directly exposed to the risk of outstanding mortgages and defaulting SMEs. The compound effects on China’s economic, financial, social and – ultimately – political stability would be disastrous. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">With an unprecedented crisis of such magnitude, it is impossible for the Chinese government to completely offset the damages. China does not have the same monetary and fiscal power it had during the global financial crisis of 2008, nor does it have a strong social safety net in place. It seems inevitable that SMEs will be left to fend for themselves. The livelihood of many people is at stake – and with the tragedy still unfolding, the government remains under pressure to act.</span></span></span></span></span></p></div> </div> </div> Tue, 12 May 2020 11:23:46 +0000 kom_intern 11541 at https://www.merics.org China steps up the Long March to 5G https://www.merics.org/en/blog/china-steps-long-march-5g <span>China steps up the Long March to 5G</span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/286" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">h.seidl</span></span> <span>Do., 07.05.2020 - 17:25</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="2020-05-07T12:00:00Z">07/05/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/de/team/john-lee" hreflang="de">John Lee</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">As the U.S. increases pressure on technology exports, China’s race for self-sufficiency becomes more urgent. A blogpost by MERICS expert John Lee. (via The Diplomat)</span></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/2020-05/123530789_m.jpg?itok=IGWF6fQ1 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-05/123530789_m.jpg?itok=X-ougN4W 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-05/123530789_m.jpg?itok=rCi-z9Pr 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2020-05/123530789_m.jpg?itok=FBQSuyjz 2508w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-05/123530789_m.jpg?itok=IGWF6fQ1" alt="5G towers" title="China appears to be leading the race to 5G as economies face depression in the wake of the corona pandemic. Image by boscorelli via 123rf." 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-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Despite much of the country still being under </span><span><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/china-covid-19-second-wave-prevention/">coronavirus restrictions</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">, China has doubled down on its national 5G roll-out, with the </span><span><a href="https://www.newamerica.org/cybersecurity-initiative/digichina/blog/beijing-authorities-push-rapid-5g-deployment-despite-covid-19-headwinds-translation/">central government directing measures</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> to “forcefully advance 5G network construction.” The country’s three state-owned telecoms operators have already </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/asia/as-ericsson-advances-nokias-5g-business-may-be-finished-in-china/a/d-id/759209?">awarded nearly 10 billion USD worth of 5G contracts</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">, and are projected to </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/asia/chinas-5g-answer-to-covid-19-spend-spend-spend/d/d-id/759001">collectively spend 25.5 billion USD on 5G equipment throughout 2020</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">, installing half a million base stations that will provide 5G coverage to every city in China. So far </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/asia/as-ericsson-advances-nokias-5g-business-may-be-finished-in-china/a/d-id/759209?">nearly 90 percent of contract value has gone to the Chinese firms</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> Huawei and ZTE, with Sweden’s Ericsson receiving around 10 percent and Finland’s Nokia </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/asia/nokia-gives-up-on-5g-radio-business-in-china/d/d-id/759305">nothing to date</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">A worldwide digital technology fragmentation becomes more likely</span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Given Huawei’s extensive presence in European telecoms networks, this will fuel discontent over China’s reciprocity in affording market access to foreign firms. Coronavirus-induced </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/5g/covid-19-will-help-china-to-extend-its-5g-lead/d/d-id/758596">delays to 5G roll-outs in Europe</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> amplify concerns that China’s state-led drive to 5G connectivity will help its firms capture </span><span><a href="https://www.eurasiagroup.net/live-post/the-geopolitics-of-5g">first-mover advantages</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> that will follow in development of the technology and commercial applications. Anger </span><span><a href="https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-dispute-highlights-growing-eu-skepticism-towards-china-could-strain-post-pandemic-ties-1500630">over China’s propaganda campaign</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> concerning the pandemic has amplified </span><span><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/16/chinese-takeover-of-europe-tech-firms-face-increased-scrutiny.html">growing wariness about Chinese companies’ presence</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> in European economies. Even in the United Kingdom, which in January </span><span><a href="https://thediplomat.com/2020/02/5g-and-huawei-the-uk-and-eu-decide/">green-lighted Huawei’s involvement in its 5G networks</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">, the foreign secretary has warned that “</span><span><a href="https://thediplomat.com/2020/04/covid-19-a-reckoning-for-uk-china-relations/">we can’t have business as usual</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> [with China] after this crisis,” while a </span><span><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/b354c58b-06fc-4848-a823-584bcc0c3869">Parliamentary caucus</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> has been established to “</span><span><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-52414635">promote fresh thinking”</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> about commercial engagement with Chinese interests.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Likewise, citing China’s alleged cover-up of the pandemic’s origin as justification, the U.S. government is now </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/security/fcc-china-covered-up-covid-19-so-well-ban-chinese-telcos/d/d-id/759177">threatening to revoke operating licenses</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> for Chinese telecoms firms, as it </span><span><a href="https://saraacarter.com/fcc-doing-a-top-to-bottom-review-of-every-chinese-telecom-company-in-us-says-commissioner-carr/">conducts</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> “a top to bottom review of every single company that could be controlled by the communist regime” and whether they should be allowed to connect to U.S. networks. This darkening U.S. regulatory environment is now </span><span><a href="https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/news/report-google-and-facebook-abandon-us-china-cable-plan-over-security-fears/">impacting international telecoms infrastructure projects</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> that connect to China, reinforcing the prospect of worldwide digital technology fragmentation along national lines.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">U.S. restrictions and Chinese demand for 5G deployment are reshaping supply chains</span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">In this context, China has redoubled efforts to leapfrog the United States and Europe in the race to 5G. Beijing was already committed to </span><span><a href="https://en.ndrc.gov.cn/policyrelease_8233/201612/P020191101482242850325.pdf">rapidly building out next-generation information infrastructure</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> and </span><span><a href="https://chinacopyrightandmedia.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/outline-of-the-national-informatization-development-strategy/">constructing an “internationally leading mobile telecommunications network” by 2025</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">. Expanding </span><span><a href="https://www.globaltrademag.com/bis-introduces-significant-restrictions-on-u-s-exports-to-china-russia-and-venezuela/">U.S. export controls on transfers</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> to Chinese firms are driving the latter to accelerate development of alternative suppliers and indigenous capabilities, with Huawei now shipping </span><span><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-02/huawei-makes-end-run-around-u-s-ban-by-turning-to-its-own-chips">large numbers of 5G base stations without U.S.-origin technology</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">. The combined effect of U.S. government-imposed restrictions and Chinese telecoms operators’ vast demand for </span><span><a href="https://www.newamerica.org/cybersecurity-initiative/digichina/blog/beijing-authorities-push-rapid-5g-deployment-despite-covid-19-headwinds-translation/">first phase 5G deployment</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> is reshaping the supply chain for supporting technologies </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/components/optical-components/us-component-makers-should-plan-for-life-without-huawei/a/d-id/753539">such as optical transmission components</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">, where Huawei is </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/5g/huaweis-ding-gives-open-ran-short-shrift-updates-on-supply-chain/d/d-id/757680">starting to supplement U.S. suppliers with in-house</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> capabilities.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">These imperatives have been amplified by the global pandemic. Rapid expansion of 5G services is aimed at enabling </span><span><a href="https://www.scmp.com/tech/policy/article/3077075/almost-72-cent-chinese-smes-have-resumed-work-amid-push-digitise">industrial automation to help Chinese enterprises cope</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> with coronavirus restrictions, and at “</span><span><a href="http://www.xinhuanet.com/info/2020-03/11/c_138866054.htm">unleashing new consumption potential to offset the epidemic’s [economic] impacts</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">.” Meanwhile, with export markets depressed and China’s domestic demand </span><span><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/907740a4-854c-11ea-b6e9-a94cffd1d9bf">unable to fuel private sector expansion,</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> state-led investment in new infrastructure will be needed to achieve even </span><span><a href="https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3080882/coronavirus-china-seen-pursuing-lower-2020-economic-growth">trimmed GDP growth targets</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> likely to be announced at the </span><span><a href="https://neican.substack.com/p/china-neican-3-may-2020">national “two sessions”</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> later this month.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Economies could be locked into Chinese-led technological ecosystems</span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Achieving nationwide first-phase 5G deployment and commencement of the second-phase build-out of </span><span><a href="https://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/real-5g-relies-5g-nr-standalone-architecture-special-report">full stand-alone services</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> by </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/asia-pacific/china-targets-standalone-5g-in-year-of-the-rat/d/d-id/757033">winter 2020</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> would showcase the <em>dirigiste</em> aspect of China’s economy, with state-owned firms driving procurement for base stations and </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/china-5g-plans-put-china-tower-in-the-spotlight/d/d-id/752981">construction of the infrastructure back-end</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">, facilitated by cooperative provincial governments across the country. Exploiting this infrastructure’s potential falls to </span><span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/in-the-race-for-supremacy-in-artificial-intelligence-its-us-innovation-vs-chinese-ambition/2018/11/02/013e0030-b08c-11e8-aed9-001309990777_story.html">Chinese private firms and their </a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">proven ability to quickly develop and scale out commercial use cases.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">Such aggressive scaling underpinned the </span><span><a href="https://telecoms.com/503499/global-slowdown-gives-china-a-chance-to-leapfrog-us-and-europe-in-5g-race/">varying success of national economies in capturing value</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> from 4G mobile networks, at the expense of foreign competition. This will likely be even more true for 5G, as it enables the transition to a world in which the internet facilitates not just communication, but the thorough </span><span><a href="https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300233070/internet-everything">integration of digital technology with the physical world</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">. Chinese firms leading this transition could expand into foreign markets and lock foreign economies into technological ecosystems that amplify the </span><span><a href="https://fairbank.fas.harvard.edu/events/webinar-scott-kennedy-decoupling-from-china-a-radical-and-dangerous-idea/">already massive gravitational pull</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> of China’s economy.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">This process might itself be leapfrogged by the rise of nonproprietary and software-oriented network solutions that open the supplier field to a wider range of firms, with the recent launch of a </span><span><a href="https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/rakuten-launches-commercial-service-in-japan-using-a-fully-virtualized-netwok/75041785">virtualized 5G network by Japan’s Rakuten</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> exemplifying </span><span><a href="https://www.lightreading.com/asia/rakuten-turns-5g-revolutionary-as-it-nears-worlds-first-open-ran-launch/d/d-id/758349">multivendor alternative</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">s to end-to-end solutions provided by Huawei. The globe-spanning O-RAN industry alliance, which includes China’s three state-owned telecoms operators, </span><span><a href="https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/arm-joins-o-ran-alliance-in-5g-infrastructure-push/2020/04/">is attracting digital sector heavyweights</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"> to support development of such open network architectures. A bill currently before the U.S. Senate seeks to promote O-RAN and thereby “</span><span><a href="https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2020/1/national-security-senators-introduce-bipartisan-legislation-to-develop-5g-alternatives-to-huawei">Western-based alternatives to… Huawei and ZTE</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">.” For the moment however, China appears to be leading the race to 5G </span><span><a href="https://www.axios.com/5g-rollout-advances-despite-pandemic-but-hazards-loom-d7afad7d-18ef-4d81-8f84-3c5d59d285a1.html">in the face of pandemic-depressed economies</a></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><em><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>This article was first published by <a href="https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/china-steps-up-the-long-march-to-5g/">The Diplomat on May 6, 2020</a>.</span></span></span></em></p></div> </div> </div> Thu, 07 May 2020 12:03:22 +0000 jheller 11531 at https://www.merics.org Coronavirus outbreak: China sympathizers are making everything worse https://www.merics.org/en/blog/coronavirus-outbreak-china-sympathizers-are-making-everything-worse <span>Coronavirus outbreak: China sympathizers are making everything worse</span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/646" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jheller</span></span> <span>Mi., 06.05.2020 - 18:15</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="2020-05-06T12:00:00Z">06/05/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/de/team/kristin-shi-kupfer" hreflang="de">Kristin Shi-Kupfer</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>There is a tendency in politics and the media to tone down criticism of Beijing. But this is damaging to all those in China who bravely oppose the regime's dictatorship, says Kristin Shi-Kupfer</span></span></span></span></span>. This article is part 7 of a MERICS blog series on China's corona struggle.</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/2020-05/Huanggang%20in%20lockdown.jpg?itok=gN8mEC2_ 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-05/Huanggang%20in%20lockdown.jpg?itok=E15Sq4zj 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-05/Huanggang%20in%20lockdown.jpg?itok=13NgJHOJ 1280w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-05/Huanggang%20in%20lockdown.jpg?itok=gN8mEC2_" alt="A result of the governments late actions: Chibi Avenue in Huanggang city during corona lockdown in February 2020." title="A result of the governments late actions: Chibi Avenue in Huanggang city during corona lockdown in February 2020. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, Walter Grassroot (CC0)." 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 lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>The coronavirus is not the only problem the world has right now. Increasingly people are also talking about who is responsible for this crisis – and the finger of blame is pointing toward the Chinese government. You might want to ignore Donald Trump ranting about the “China virus”, but discontent is growing among European leaders – both about the initial cover-up in Wuhan, the Chinese epicentre of the epidemic, and about the defective "Made in China" medical equipment delivered to Europe. African countries have expressed their indignation at the discrimination against their citizens in China. In the United States as well as in Europe, politicians and NGOs are calling for legal action to be taken at an international level against the Chinese government. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><em><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>The Chinese government is working with every means on its own narrative </span></span></em></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>As positions harden, Beijing is meeting accusations with counter accusations, for example, that Sars-CoV-2 originated in the United States or Italy. Chinese diplomats abroad are seeking out news that demonstrates the inefficiency and irresponsibility liberal democracies – with varying degrees of success. Using social media platforms that are blocked in the People's Republic, Chinese officials, self-proclaimed patriots and willing bots accuse critics from abroad of having hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka, for example, complained on its Twitter account, after it was temporarily blocked, that it had been denied freedom of expression (which does not exist in China itself). According to Beijing, the US company Twitter apparently applies double standards, only allowing others the freedom to stir up racism and hatred. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><em><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China’s criticism of the critics is finding a voice here too</span></span></em></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>At the same time, the </span></span></span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-germany-china/germany-says-china-sought-to-encourage-positive-covid-19-comments-idUSKCN2280JW"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>Chinese leadership is looking</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span> for allies abroad to give it a good grade for its fight against the coronavirus. Politicians, business-people, scientists, doctors, journalists and also China experts from liberal democracies are adding their voices to the complaints from Beijing. They accuse their compatriots, who criticise the Chinese government, of arrogance and sometimes also racism. They mean well, they say. For by criticizing all those who criticize Beijing, they claim to be sending out a warning against <a href="https://www.euronews.com/2020/04/09/the-west-s-double-standards-are-on-full-display-racialises-the-coronavirus-pandemic-view">moral arrogance on the part of the “West”</a>, against double standards and hair-splitting. But they don't realize that their attitude provides support for racism and arrogance within China; they are protecting a Chinese leadership that discriminates against ethnic and social minorities and oppresses everyone and everything that could endanger its claim to absolute power. </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>Those who denounce all critics of the Chinese regime foster racism and arrogance in China: They fail to recognize that Beijing discriminates against ethnic and social minorities and cracks down on all those who would endanger their power monopoly. They fail to recognize the many brave Chinese who stand up against their government – like Li Wenliang, the doctor who was the first whistle blower in the corona crisis, the journalist Fang Fang, or the inhabitants of Wuhan who shouted “Fake, fake, everything fake” at a senior delegation from Beijing visiting their district to conduct a tour of victory over the virus. But also all those Chinese who have had to pay dearly for their commitment to freedom and justice, for example, with life imprisonment – like the Uyghur economist Ilham Tohti, or with torture – like the civil rights activist Liu Dejun who lives in Germany, or even with death – like the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><em><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China sympathizers are prepared to accept that there are victims of the one-party state</span></span></em></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>These self-appointed defenders of the Chinese government obviously cannot or do not want to imagine that there are people outside China who criticize the Chinese regime and express solidarity with these Chinese citizens, even want to support them. They claim that Western observers lack both the ability and the authority to criticise the Chinese power apparatus. Often, they justify this with the “historical burden of Western civilization”, referring to the 19th and 20th century when China, too, was oppressed by the colonial powers. The historical guilt borne by "the West" prohibits it from making any criticism of its former victim, China.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>Thus, those who advocate this line of argument appear able to accept, in silence, today’s victims of an all-powerful one-party state. These critics go even further, denying in general the existence of universal human rights or values. They argue that Western values should not be imposed on “the Chinese” in the way that missionaries once did. Following this logic, critical intellectuals and activists in China are either brainwashed Westerners or traitors to the fatherland. But these are precisely the arguments that the Chinese Communist Party uses to try to discredit and silence Chinese critics at home and abroad.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><strong><em><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China is a dictatorship, the United States is a democracy</span></span></em></strong></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>Those who complain of double standards demand that critics of the Chinese government in liberal states should, first and foremost, carry out self-criticism. If you point a finger at others, three fingers are pointed at you, as they say in China. Exactly. If you follow this argument, the same should also apply to all those Chinese officials who point their finger at critics at home and abroad. But angry Chinese ambassadors or appeasing Chinese business partners seem to be excluded from this logic. Moreover, those who apply double standards often say: “Beijing isn’t doing anything different from Washington”, or: “Look, Xi is more reliable than Trump”. The fact is that no matter how unreliable Donald Trump may be, he can neither cover up the traces of his government’s irresponsible actions nor silence open criticism, even from within his own ranks. Xi Jinping could do all this - at least by virtue of the Community Party statutes.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>The fact that critical voices are still heard in China should give us grounds for hope. However, it should not encourage us to confuse a dictatorship with a functioning democracy. Those who accuse the critics of the Chinese leadership of splitting hairs emphasise how important pragmatic cooperation with China is, especially in these times. This, they argue, should not be put at risk – not least for their own interests but also in the name of stability. We cannot solve any global crisis without China, they claim. Some people also argue that to say that the </span></span></span><a href="https://oxfordpoliticalreview.com/2020/04/24/china-series-1/"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>Communist Party is evil but the Chinese people are good</span></span></a><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>,</span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span> is a simplification. They say this view ignores the fact that China's Communist Party members are themselves drawn from society and that the Party works within society. Moreover, most cadres – like politicians in other countries – are just trying to do the best for their people. And, of course, politicians make mistakes too.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><em><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>Beijing’s critics at home deserve solidarity</span></span></em></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>What these positions fail to recognise is that it is not criticism of the Chinese regime that endangers worldwide solidarity and cooperation in the fight against the corona pandemic. Far more dangerous is the cowardice of not calling unpleasant facts by their real name. More and more Chinese citizens are, through their own passion for the truth, courageously forcing their own system to make compromises. Citizen journalists and reporters from Caixin magazine have ensured through their investigative reports that no part of the horrendous reality in Wuhan could be completely concealed. Most likely thanks to huge internal pressure, Beijing has corrected the death figures in Wuhan upwards – although the extent is still hardly credible. This shows that if we want to cooperate more effectively and successfully with China, these critical voices from within China require support. It is not the critics of the Chinese leadership who are to blame if political Beijing terminates all cooperation with liberal foreign countries. On the contrary, a collective silence on the part of the West towards an autocratic China would encourage the rulers in Beijing to continue to act above any criticism, as if nothing had happened.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><em><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>This is an edited version of a piece written for the German news platform </span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Zeit Online<strong><em><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span> </span></span></span></em></strong>and <a href="https://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2020-04/coronavirus-ausbruch-china-kritik-regierung-verantwortung/komplettansicht">first published on Mai 2, 2020</a>.</span></span></span></em></span></span></p></div> </div> </div> Wed, 06 May 2020 15:22:36 +0000 jheller 11511 at https://www.merics.org China’s good netizens https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinas-good-netizens <span>China’s good netizens </span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/1001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kom_intern</span></span> <span>Do., 30.04.2020 - 09:21</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="2020-04-30T12:00:00Z">30/04/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>David Lenz</p> <p><strong><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>Beijing has issued rules to encourage regime-friendly online content. David Lenz sees a wave of volunteer cheerleaders crowding out the critical voices still present on the Chinese internet.</span></span></span></span></span></span> This article is part 6 of a MERICS blog series<a href="/blog"> on China's corona struggle.</a></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/2020-04/107411423_m.jpg?itok=d2ZwEJmV 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-04/107411423_m.jpg?itok=dbCV2vK1 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-04/107411423_m.jpg?itok=vEPFLdUf 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2020-04/107411423_m.jpg?itok=5_qbpNug 2508w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-04/107411423_m.jpg?itok=d2ZwEJmV" alt="“Good netizens” are meant to counter critical voices and post positive news hailing the achievements of the system and helping it resolve political and societal issues. Image by lzflzf via 123rf." title="“Good netizens” are meant to counter critical voices and post positive news hailing the achievements of the system and helping it resolve political and societal issues. Image by lzflzf via 123rf." 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><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>Addressing the </span></span><a href="http://www.gov.cn/zhuanti/2017-10/27/content_5234876.htm"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>19<sup>th</sup> Party Congress</span></span></a><span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span> in 2017</span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>, Xi Jinping asserted the importance of “creating a clear and bright cyberspace” (</span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span>营</span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span>造清朗的网</span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span>络</span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span>空</span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span>间</span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>)</span></span> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>and the “correct public opinion guidance” (</span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span>正确</span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span>舆论导</span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span>向</span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>).</span></span> <span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span>China’s censorship apparatus has aided the state and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader´s goal by removing unwelcome online content. But is only now turning its attention to actively fostering content it does like even by regulation– a move that could potentially push authorities’ already infamous online information control to new levels. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>Officially encouraged online content is described in the Cyberspace Administration of China’s (CAC) </span></span></span></span><a href="http://www.cac.gov.cn/2019-12/20/c_1578375159509309.htm"><em><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>Provisions on Governance of the Online Content Ecosystem</span></span></span></em></a><em><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>. </span></span></span></span></em><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>They came into force on</span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span> 1 March and call for “correct portrayals of the Party” and “presenting true image of China to the world”. The provisions resemble a political directive and envision an “online content eco-system” (</span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>网</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>络</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>信息内容生</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>态</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>) in which online platforms like Weibo or WeChat play a central role. As they control the technical infrastructure, they are expected to make welcome content more visible, even via recommendation services like </span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>the Weibo’s list of trending topics</span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>Chinese officials admit that “</span></span></span></span><a href="http://media.people.com.cn/n1/2018/1217/c192370-30471226.html"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>good netizens do not fall from heaven</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>” (</span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>好网民不是天上掉下来的</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>). The CAC hopes to build on its already lengthy experience in engaging with the online public. For example, the CAC launched its </span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/982759.shtml"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>campaign</span></span></span></a> <span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>“Strive to be a good Chinese netizen”</span></span> <span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>(</span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>争做中国好网民</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>)</span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span> in April 2016 to encourage voluntary pro-regime voices to be active on the internet, promote “online role models” and organize meetups and training. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>China has build a solid foundation of pro-regime bloggers</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><a href="http://news.china.com.cn/2018-07/12/content_56465881.htm"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>According to state media</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>, one CAC-inspired online training program conducted by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions in 2017 attracted </span></span></span></span><a href="http://news.china.com.cn/2018-07/12/content_56465881.htm"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>160 million</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span> participants, roughly twenty percent of </span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.ceicdata.com/en/china/internet-internet-market-size/cn-internet-service-no-of-internet-user"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>all internet users</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span> in in the country that year. The CAC’s campaign – which also targeted college students, members of the Communist Youth League and military veterans ­– built a solid foundation of pro-regime bloggers, raised awareness about the ideological work of the state, and helped to disseminate ideological expectations among the broader public. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>Campaigns like this expanded the ranks of voluntary pro-regime voices, diminished critical voices through repeated crackdowns and used censorship to control the online environment. It is fair to assume that this gave authorities the confidence to push for further legal regulation – even if the resulting definitions are often not very precise. For example, the new rules require netizens to avoid “making improper comments on natural disasters and major accidents” (</span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>不当</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>评</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>述自然灾害</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>) that fall under the “undesired content” (</span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>不良信息</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>). Such vague formulations risk triggering a wide spectrum of interpretation and makes compliance difficult.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>Beijing wants to keep netizens on their toes</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>But Beijing’s preferred goal is clearly not to flood the judiciary with cases. It wants to keep users on their toes so that they themselves counter attempts to publish unwelcome information at initial stages of content production or reproduction and fill the cyberspace with positive accounts. Uncertainty about legal norms forces stakeholders in the ecosystem to be over-cautious, monitor others, adjust as the Party line adjusts, and self-censor as a last resort. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>This soft law approach to desirable content aided by existing laws to suppress undesirable content. The criminal and administrative laws allow much unwanted information to be dubbed as “spreading rumours”. This can lead to detentions – and even criminal sanctions in case they cause social unrest or become too popular. Authorities can now easily issue warnings and temporary restrictions while still relying on harsher penalties in case of non-compliance. Content producers constantly have to second-guess themselves.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>A more self-reliant system for preliminary content management could be useful as Beijing turns towards promoting the spread of “</span></span></span></span><a href="http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2020-03/06/nw.D110000renmrb_20200306_5-05.htm"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>positive energy</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>” (</span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>正能量</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>) and calls for more “</span></span></span></span><a href="http://www.rfi.fr/cn/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/20200307-%E6%AD%A6%E6%B1%89%E5%B8%82%E5%A7%94%E4%B9%A6%E8%AE%B0%E7%9C%9F%E6%8E%A8%E6%84%9F%E6%81%A9%E6%95%99%E8%82%B2-%E7%A1%AE%E6%8C%87%E6%84%9F%E6%81%A9%E6%80%BB%E4%B9%A6%E8%AE%B0-%E6%84%9F%E6%81%A9%E5%85%B1%E4%BA%A7%E5%85%9A"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>gratitude</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>” (</span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span><span><span>感恩</span></span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>) in the coronavirus crisis. While media outlets and social media accounts continue to have undesired content </span></span></span></span><a href="https://chinadigitaltimes.net/chinese/2020/02/%e7%bd%91%e7%bb%9c%e6%b3%95%e6%b2%bb%e5%9b%bd%e9%99%85%e4%b8%ad%e5%bf%83-%e6%b6%892020%e6%96%b0%e5%86%a0%e8%82%ba%e7%82%8e%e7%bd%91%e7%bb%9c%e8%b0%a3%e8%a8%80%e5%a4%84%e7%bd%9a%e4%b8%80%e8%a7%88/"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>sanctioned</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span> by professional censors, a voluntary popular censorship is emerging. </span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span><span>“Good netizens” are meant to counter critical voices and post positive news hailing the achievements of the system and helping it resolve political and societal issues.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>Here is an example of the system in action. The story of Ai Fen, a doctor who shared information about the coronavirus early and was reprimanded by the police, spurred a wave of </span></span></span></span><a href="https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2020/03/grass-mud-horse-lexicon-digital-disobedience/"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span>digital disobedience</span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>. But one influential Weibo user argued supporting Ai Fen was pointless given the thousands of medical workers involved. He stressed Beijing’s propaganda that the US was hiding cases and Europe showing a lack of solidarity. This </span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.weibo.com/u/3939426052"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>user</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span> has over 6 million followers and the CAC’s named him a top 100 </span></span></span></span><a href="http://theory.people.com.cn/GB/40557/408912/414515/index.html"><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span>“positivity online role model”</span></span></span></a><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span> (</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span><span lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN" xml:lang="ZH-CN"><span><span>网络正能量榜样</span></span></span><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>).</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>Such posts help Beijing divert attention from sensitive topics and reinforce the regime’s narrative by guiding the public through China</span></span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span><span>'s</span></span></span></span> <span lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB" xml:lang="EN-GB"><span><span><span>as yet contested cyberspace. Once the regime has mobilized enough loyal content producers to counter unwelcome narratives, critical platforms and users that fail to self-censor their online contributions could be pushed to the margins of China’s clear and bright cyberspace. All with the help of the new regulations. </span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><strong>About the author:</strong></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>David Lenz </strong>is an intern in the Public Policy and Society team at MERICS. He is pursuing an MA in Sinology and Law at the University of Vienna. He has worked as a developer and data analyst in the ERC-funded project on “The Microfoundations of Authoritarian Responsiveness: E-Participation, Social Unrest and Public Policy in China“.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><em>Teaser image: MERICS montage. Original source: iStock/BlackJack3D.</em></p></div> </div> </div> Wed, 29 Apr 2020 14:15:45 +0000 kom_intern 11481 at https://www.merics.org The Digital Silk Road is a development issue https://www.merics.org/en/blog/digital-silk-road-development-issue <span>The Digital Silk Road is a development issue </span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/1001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kom_intern</span></span> <span>Di., 28.04.2020 - 11:09</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="2020-04-28T12:00:00Z">28/04/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/de/team/rebecca-arcesati" hreflang="de">Rebecca Arcesati</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>The coronavirus pandemic threatens to wreck developing countries and lay bare the inequalities of the digital divide: diagnosis based on artificial intelligence (AI), smart working and e-learning are unthinkable in most countries. But there’s China: State media recently featured an AI-enabled COVID-19 diagnostic system, developed by two Chinese companies, being used by hospitals in Ecuador – just one of several Chinese digital health projects. This article is part 5 of a MERICS blog series <a href="/blog">on China's corona struggle.</a></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/2020-04/124519488_m.jpg?itok=kX71LtJg 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-04/124519488_m.jpg?itok=zhuwsNt1 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-04/124519488_m.jpg?itok=lR_vh3Qn 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/2020-04/124519488_m.jpg?itok=zbPDOhxc 2508w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-04/124519488_m.jpg?itok=kX71LtJg" alt="Shenzhen by night" title="China sees its burgeoning digital economy as a success story that can be shared with others. Image by Wu Bingfeng via 123rf." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>China is keen to present itself as a global power that can help developing countries bridge the digital divide. While many Western observers emphasize espionage and surveillance risks of China’s Digital Silk Road (DSR), the Chinese government <a href="https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201904/27/WS5cc3a6e7a3104842260b8add.html">stresses</a> the unmet needs of digital connectivity in the Global South, from online education in Zambia to smart health in Saudi Arabia. As the world´s largest development donor, Europe needs to take notice. </p> <h4>It´s not just about 5G and surveillance cameras </h4> <p>Much of the European debate about the <a href="https://www.merics.org/en/bri-tracker/networking-the-belt-and-road">digital side</a> of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has narrowly focused on Huawei´s role in the continent´s 5G networks and Chinese surveillance-equipment sales. The implications of China’s digital push for development cooperation are rarely mentioned, even though developing countries have been the focus of Chinese information and communication (ICT) groups expanding abroad since the late 1990s.  </p> <p>Backed by Chinese government loans in the order of billions of euros, Huawei and its rival ZTE, for instance, built much of Africa´s digital infrastructure. In 2015 and 2017, after the DSR was announced, Chinese ICT infrastructure financing across the continent <a href="https://www.icafrica.org/fileadmin/documents/Annual_Reports/IFT2017.pdf">surpassed</a> the combined funds from African governments, multilateral agencies, and G7 nations. Chinese-built fiber-optic cables also increased digital connectivity in landlocked Central Asia. </p> <p>Beyond basic hardware, Chinese firms expanded to implementing e-governance, smart education and digital health projects. For example, the African Union in 2017 <a href="https://au.int/en/newsevents/20171026/african-union-commission-auc-launches-smart-health-monitoring-system">launched</a> its Smart Health Monitoring Room using ZTE technology. And Chinese e-commerce and fintech platforms are another core part of the DSR, especially in digitally savvy Southeast Asia.  </p> <h4>Promoting digital development with Chinese characteristics </h4> <p>Emphasizing development is <a href="https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/01/08/how-china-is-reshaping-international-development-pub-80703">typical</a> of China´s foreign policy approach to developing countries. Building a global information network with China at its center at the same time quite naturally serves tech companies´ market expansion – and Beijing’s economic, security and diplomatic goals. While financing digital connectivity in underserved regions, Chinese government is also positioning China as a leading player in digital development – one able to advance the United Nations´ ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  </p> <p>China´s wish to influence global governance norms and to challenge Western discourses also entails promoting the DSR as a development concept in its own right. Several UN agencies now use the term, a testament to China´s influence. The UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) is <a href="http://www.unece.org/info/media/news/trade/2019/uncefact-standards-can-pave-the-digital-silk-road-and-streamline-trade-for-the-sustainable-development-goals/doc.html">exploring</a> how standards for cross-border e-commerce can support DSR, and Beijing and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) are looking to expand connectivity along the BRI. ITU Secretary General Zhao Houlin <a href="http://en.people.cn/n3/2017/0523/c90000-9219335.html">says</a> the BRI “recognizes this critical role played by ICTs as a foundation for development.” </p> <p>Even the UK’s Department for International Development commissioned a <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5c86628940f0b6369b76a372/K4D_Emerging_Issues_-_BRI_Investment_Part_A_-_final.pdf">study</a> on how the DSR could help meet the SDGs. It praised the DSR’s potential to spur rural growth, support SMEs, reduce inequality, and strengthen democratic participation. And it said Chinese digital products and services and ICT investments served local needs better than Western alternatives – two of the report’s authors are affiliated with a <a href="https://www.echo-wall.eu/guanxi-matters/chinas-new-think-tanks-europe">think tank</a> under China’s State Council. </p> <h4>Europe must step up its digital development game </h4> <p>Digital transformation does spur development. China sees its burgeoning digital economy as a success story that can be shared with others – efforts to improve global broadband access are often <a href="http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2015wic/2015-12/16/content_22725804.htm">framed</a> as natural extension of China´s domestic experiences. The EU and its member states are also aiming to leverage their digital technologies for the benefit of international development. There are the EU’s Digital4Development strategy and many national initiatives, but Europe’s overall scale of funding lags behind China´s ambitions – and digital connectivity only gets a brief mention in the EU Connectivity Strategy.  </p> <p>There are crucial differences between the EU’s approach and China’s. For one, Beijing’s <a href="https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/wjb_663304/zzjg_663340/jks_665232/kjlc_665236/qtwt_665250/t1442390.shtml. ">vision</a> for global cyber governance could normalize an authoritarian approach to digital development and prevent citizen empowerment and innovation. At the same time, as it readies to launch a more ambitious <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/policies/foreign-policy">Global Digital Cooperation Strategy</a> in 2021, the EU could learn a thing or two from Chinese tech companies about nurturing local innovation and quickly delivering affordable ICT infrastructure – joint <a href="https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/eu-and-japan-push-back-against-belt-and-road/">efforts</a> with Japan are a good start. But ensuring enough funding and mobilizing what European tech firms have to offer in a post-COVID-19 world will be key. </p> <p><em>Teaser image: MERICS montage. Original source: iStock/BlackJack3D.</em></p></div> </div> </div> Tue, 28 Apr 2020 08:42:50 +0000 kom_intern 11456 at https://www.merics.org Covid-19 causes a new wave of economic nationalism https://www.merics.org/en/blog/covid-19-causes-new-wave-economic-nationalism <span>Covid-19 causes a new wave of economic nationalism</span> <span><span lang="" about="/de/user/286" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">h.seidl</span></span> <span>Fr., 24.04.2020 - 15:51</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="2020-04-24T12:00:00Z">24/04/20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-authors field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <a href="/de/team/torsten-riecke" hreflang="de">Torsten Riecke</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-announcement-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><span><span><span><span><span><span>Three major trading blocs – China, the European Union and the United States – have reacted with protectionist measures to the economic challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Industrial policy has become the preferred tool for safeguarding systemically important industries against foreign take-over, reinforcing a trend toward protectionism that was already visible before the crisis. The new wave of economic nationalism could weaken the fragile world trade order even further. </span></span></span></span></span></span>This article is part 4 of a MERICS blog series on China's corona struggle.</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/2020-04/ChineseYuanandChineseflagvia123rf.jpg?itok=w9S9IUxG 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/2020-04/ChineseYuanandChineseflagvia123rf.jpg?itok=Z6KVTyW4 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/2020-04/ChineseYuanandChineseflagvia123rf.jpg?itok=cjQ1z1Hq 825w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/2020-04/ChineseYuanandChineseflagvia123rf.jpg?itok=w9S9IUxG" alt="Illustration showing the Chinese Flag and Chinese Yuan" title="Image by Stephen Finn via 123rf" 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><span><span>Never let a good crisis go to waste, an old saying goes. Even in the dark times of the current Covid-19 pandemic there are opportunities for those who suffer less than others. That’s especially true in the economic sphere. Stock markets around the world went south after the virus hit as companies suffered dramatic losses in sales and profits, weakening their balance sheets and  leading to steep declines in market values. Some are now in such a weakened state that they are vulnerable to takeover by foreign investors. The German car manufacturer Daimler is a good example: the company has lost 40 per cent of its market value since January 2. Its market cap is about 32 billion EUR as of April 14. For the Chinese investor </span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.manager-magazin.de/premium/daimler-angst-vor-der-machtuebernahme-durch-geely-a-00000000-0002-0001-0000-000170066277"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Li Shufu</span></span></span></a><span><span><span><span>, whose company Geely already owns Volvo and has a 10 percent stake in Daimler, it would be a bargain to take over the steering wheel of one of Germany’s auto icons.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span><span><span>Putting up barriers</span></span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>It’s no wonder that governments in Europe fear an attack on their industrial base. Germany, Spain, Italy and France have all </span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.bakermckenzie.com/en/insight/publications/2020/03/covid19-impact-governmental-foreign"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>tightened</span></span></span></a><span><span><span><span> their take-over rules and screening of foreign direct investment. Industrial policy is back on the global agenda, carrying the stick of protectionism to fend off foreign buyers. That’s not just the case for valuable industries like medical equipment, but also for whole strategic sectors like energy, infrastructure, mobility and technology. Self-sufficiency is the new buzzword. Although protectionism was a characteristic of industrial policy before the Covid-19 crisis, and economic nationalism is a long-term trend caused by trade and tech wars between China, the United States and Europe, the virus has </span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-accelerates-european-efforts-to-block-foreign-takeovers-11586516403?emailToken=a80a3da6e97a6fc34bf1526486ca3098OCG5Nh9zq4aXlBLOmCRoxaDTNSK9e72UeWaoVo52DyaX/2XXRaXxwJgohlIzct0XBDgv6g3Bj9645lpdMYB7DBhHdrMb2Pnv/UMAcd5yh+uqqHazNJ1HPO+4++on9tSg&amp;reflink=article_email_share"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>reinforced</span></span></span></a><span><span><span><span> this behavior among the major trading powers.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>European governments don’t mention suspected predators by name, but their protective measures are clearly directed at Chinese investors. </span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-07/china-s-corporates-are-gearing-up-in-europe-for-m-a-bargains"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>M&amp;A specialists</span></span></span></a><span><span><span><span> confirm that, in particular, state-owned enterprises from China are looking for a bargain in Europe. This shows us the other side of the coin: industrial policy isn’t only a defensive measure to protect your golden eggs at home. It can also be an offensive attack to strengthen your domestic industries through merger and acquisitions abroad. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span>A lack of reciprocity</span></span></h4> <p><span><span><a href="https://www.merics.org/en/blog/chinas-industrial-policy-no-blueprint-europe"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>China</span></span></span></a><span><span><span><span> is the usual suspect in this regard. Chinese firms have been on a buying spree in </span></span></span></span><a href="https://www.merics.org/en/topic/chinese-investment-europe"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>Europe</span></span></span></a><span><span><span><span><span> for the past few years</span></span></span></span></span><span><span><span><span>. The lack of transparency in their financing has aroused the suspicion that they get more than a little help from their friends in the Chinese government. Yet when foreign companies want to invest in China, they still face many restrictions. This absence of reciprocity, along with the suspicion that Chinese investors get their orders from Beijing to target companies from systemically important industries abroad, has caused a backlash in Europe and the United States. Although the Trump administration hasn’t specifically changed its stance on foreign direct investment since the outbreak, it is likely that screening through its notorious Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) will be even more restrictive, especially for the medical supply chain. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Europe is following suit. The EU set up an extensive screening process for foreign direct investment last year and issued </span></span></span></span><a href="https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/china/76628/coronavirus-commission-issues-guidelines-protect-critical-european-assets-and-technology_en"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>new guidelines</span></span></span></a><span><span><span><span> “to protect critical European assets and technology in the current crisis”. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><span><span><span>Counting the cost</span></span></span></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The world economy certainly wasn’t a place of harmony and cooperation before the Covid-19 crisis hit. Free trade open borders were already under attack by populists, and economic nationalism had already weakened the rules-based world trade order. But the pandemic has brought out an “everyman-for-himself” mentality among nations that threatens the free flow of goods, services, data, ideas and people even more. The economic costs for the wealth of nations could be quite high. The Covid-19 crisis could cut global foreign direct investment by as much as 40 per cent in 2020, the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD) </span></span></span></span><a href="https://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2313"><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>reports</span></span></span></a><span><span><span><span>. With economic nationalism increasingly disguised as industrial policy, this could make things even worse.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><strong><span><span><span><span><span><span>About the author</span></span></span></span></span></span></strong></p> <p><span><span><span>Torsten Riecke is the international correspondent at Handelsblatt, Germany’s leading business and financial daily. From </span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">January until April 2020, he is a Visiting Academic Fellow at MERICS.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily reflect those of the Mercator Institute for China Studies.</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></span></p></div> </div> </div> Fri, 24 Apr 2020 12:50:46 +0000 h.seidl 11446 at https://www.merics.org