While the US rebalances east to Asia, China marches west. Beijing’s project to build a “new silk road” connecting Asia and Europe is the most visible statement of its geostrategic interests. The success of the project, officially known as “One belt, one road” (OBOR), depends in large part on developments in the volatile Mideast.
Three months after Hong Kong’s handover in 1997, Hong Kong’s first Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said, rather naively, “the Chinese in Hong Kong should be proud of being Chinese. I earnestly hope that our youths will develop a sense of patriotism and nationalism through familiarizing with the culture of our motherland.” Such hopes have been dashed. Today many Hong Kong citizens do not, and have no wish to, identify with the Chinese mainland.
The Chinese government has long recognized the need to stop excessive land grabs and evictions of Chinese farmers by subnational governments. During this years’ annual session of the National People’s Congress the Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming announced changes to the Land Administration Law, which would be made public after approval.
When China’s Communists hold their 19th Party Congress in October, the choreography of the event will be as stiff as ever and broadcast the image of a rigid and unchanging political system. This image is wrong. With the help of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, the Chinese leadership is thoroughly reshaping its approach to economic and social governance. China’s determined pursuit of the digital transformation presents a fundamental challenge to democratic political systems.
China has announced a number of impressive environmental strategies and specific plans, but observers often worry that weak implementation may lead to the failure of China’s green transformation. Around the world, Germany is seen as a pioneer and a model for other countries when it comes to environmental policy.
The soaring debt load of local governments is a major threat to financial stability and economic growth in China. Between 2010 and 2013 alone, local debt increased by 67 percent to 17.9 trillion CNY (2.95 trillion USD) – an amount equivalent to 30 percent of Chinese GDP. And these numbers don’t even reflect debt accumulated outside official balance sheets.