MERICS Blog, European Voices on China, Header

 

Cheap internet-connected devices made in China are becoming a major threat to global IT security. China will have to regulate the “Internet of Things” so that everyday household items cannot be used to launch cyber attacks.

China has made impressive strides to increase the coverage of social policy programs like health insurance and old age pension plans. Yet slower economic growth and China's demographic challenges might make it difficult to continue the success Story.

Lecture by Kevin Rudd

China’s president Xi Jinping follows a grand strategy when he talks about a multipolar world and reform of global governance, according to former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd. In a lecture in Berlin, Rudd described China's efforts to push for change within the United Nations or through the creation of institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure and Development Bank (AIIB). „China is in the business of changing international institutions,“ said Rudd.

Xi Jinping’s programme to reform the Chinese military has been characterized as a high-risk venture by a strongman leader and as a radical break with the past. But this dominant narrative is flawed. Xi has avoided overt confrontations, and the management of the reforms so far is in line with historical precedents.

Interview with Zhang Jieping

The online platform “Initium” is one of several media start-ups in Hong Kong that defy tighter censorship and media controls in China. Within a year it has attracted more than two million regular readers although the site quickly got blocked on the mainland. Chief editor Zhang Jieping says there’s a huge appetite for independent journalism. In this new podcast she talks about how to keep up journalistic principles in a restrictive political environment.

The Chinese government claims to have made stunning progress in improving the human rights situation in the country through reforming its judicial system. But its new White Paper titled “New Progress in the Judicial Protection of Human Rights in China”, published on 12 September 2016, is a jumble of selective statistics and unsubstantiated Claims.

After an international tribunal rejected China's maritime claims surrounding its outposts in the Spratlys, China could try to use a number of planned offshore power platforms to justify the creation of expansive safety zones for their protection.

The restructuring of the Communist Party’s youth organization has been interpreted as motivated by Xi Jinping’s inner-party rivalries. But an overhaul of the organization is in the interest of the entire Party if it wants to reach a new generation.

Premier Li Keqiang receives scant international attention by China watchers who view Xi Jinping as the strong man at the top. Yet Li and the State Council have a bigger role than meets the eye.

Interview with Lynette Ong (via Young China Watchers)

The centralization of power and crackdown on dissent under Xi Jinping is weakening, not strengthening the Party, according to Lynette Ong, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. In this interview, which was previously published on the blog of Young China Watchers, she talks about attempts to quell social unrest and about the challenges of land reform and rural-urban Migration.

By Orville Schell (via ChinaFile)

By rejecting the ruling of the arbitration tribunal in The Hague China has diminished the chances of resolving its regional maritime disputes in a peaceful manner. This essay was originally published by ChinaFile, the online magazine of Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.

China is a new player in the global knowledge economy dominated by Western countries and Japan, and to some extent by South Korea and Taiwan. Part two of this series assesses China’s potential to become a transformative force in global innovation.

In “China’s Core Executive”, the first MERICS Paper on China, international China experts examine decision-making structures and processes under Xi Jinping. To mark the publication’s launch, contributors debated their views in a MERICS China Dispute.

The dynamics of Chinese politics have changed considerably under Xi Jinping. In “China’s Core Executive”, the first MERICS Paper on China, international China experts examine decision-making structures and processes in Xi’s China. But before we start to debate leadership in China, Jessica Batke challenges us to check our own frame of reference.

The surge of Chinese FDI in Europe poses a novel challenge to investment regimes and competition policy. Policymakers should take concrete steps to deal with China's aggressive outbound industrial and technology policies and to prevent market distortions by state-controlled investors.

Interview with Arthur Kroeber

China will need economic and political reforms to keep up growth, says Arthur Kroeber of Gavecal Dragonomics, an independent research firm in Beijing. In this Podcast he argues that the transition to a new growth model won’t be possible without cutting back state-owned enterprises, restructuring financial markets, and promoting globally competitive innovation. “President Xi seems willing to sacrifice economic vitality to maintain political control.”

China has to introduce regional solidarity if it wants to become a high-income country. Fiscal redistribution could bridge the gap between rich and poor provinces.

Ting Guan

China allows local governments a lot of say in implementing environmental policy. This system may lead to uneven outcomes, especially when compared to environmental pioneers like Germany. But in light of vast regional differences, ‘one size fits all environmental policy implementation’ will not work in China. 

Interview with Thomas Eder

Tensions in the South China Sea could further escalate after a ruling by a UN tribunal expected within the next few weeks. China is likely to take provocative action should the court rule in favour of the Philippines, said MERICS fellow Thomas Eder. In our latest Podcast, Eder warns that the EU cannot afford to ignore this challenge in a region that includes important shipping routes for its trade with Asia.

Declaring the end of China’s one-child policy as a victory for civil liberties is premature. The Chinese government continues to intervene heavily in one of life’s most personal decisions and does not intend to give up control over family planning any time soon.

Interview with Daniel Leese

50 years after the start of the Cultural Revolution Xi Jinping tries to reconnect to China's Maoist heritage. But he won’t allow to mobilise the masses as Mao did, because he is afraid of losing control. Listen to Daniel Leese, professor of Chinese history at Freiburg University, in our MERICS Podcast.

China’s decision to subject foreign NGOs to strict government control has triggered international outrage. But the Overseas NGO Law, while further narrowing the space for political engagement in China, is not primarily an attempt to shut China off from Western influences. Rather, it is part of a strategy to develop a domestic – and domesticated – non-profit sector.

Worker unrest mirrors China’s falling growth rates. A growing number of labour protests in the private construction and manufacturing sector may cause the government to reconsider its plans for much-needed reforms in the state sector.