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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.

Interview with Yuen-ying Chan

Media freedom in China has suffered under president Xi Jinping, and Professor Yuen-ying Chan agrees that these are hard times for Chinese journalists. In our MERICS Podcast, the director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at Hongkong University also argues that independent journalism in China still exists.

As rising tensions in the South China Sea worry policymakers from Washington to Brussels, the US and the EU should seize the opportunity to cooperate with China in another part of the world. China’s growing role in the Mideast and its “One Belt, One Road” initiative could be a starting point for non-traditional maritime security cooperation.

The revelation that his brother-in-law used offshore tax havens to hide his wealth is more than an embarrassment for China’s president Xi Jinping. His anti-corruption campaign will only have domestic credibility once family members of the party leaders can be subjected to investigations.

Is the crack down on one of Hong Kong’s top newspapers a result of China’s stricter media policy or retaliation for a specific article? Or is it meant to boost the paper’s credibility as an independent news source before the impending takeover by Alibaba?

Rather than presiding over another round of double-digit growth in China’s military budget, President Xi Jinping wants to turn the world’s largest military into a truly modern armed force.

Like many other fragments of information that trickle out of the black box of China’s leadership, the new usage of the term “hexin” could mean several different—opposing—things.

China’s leaders want to establish the yuan as a global asset and transaction currency. But this won’t work as long as exchange rates are driven by conflicting domestic policy targets rather than by global markets.