MERICS Blog, European Voices on China, Header

 

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 International Monetary Fund’s decision to add the Yuan to its basket of Special Drawing Rights currencies honors the Chinese currency's ongoing internationalization. The Yuan will soon play a bigger role in Asia and in financial markets for development aid. But it will take much longer for it to become accepted as a reserve currency in private markets.

After decades of silence between the Vatican and Beijing, Pope Francis has reached out to China’s Communist leaders to negotiate over the status of China’s party-led state church, the ordination of priests and the appointment of bishops. But many Chinese Catholics are rightfully sceptical whether their concerns will be considered.

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.

There is a growing risk that China will be the origin or epicenter of global economic turbulences. To prevent negative spillover effects from homemade shocks, China has to improve the quality of economic data, set more realistic targets, improve communication and rely on market signals.

Interview with Kaiser Kuo (via Young China Watchers)

Kaiser Kuo sees China's powerful Internet companies on a course of collision, not collusion with the central government. In this partner post, the former international communications director of Baidu, co-host of the Sinica podcast and founder of the rock band Tang Dynasty shares his views on the future of the Chinese tech sector and on his mission to build cultural bridges between China and the US.

As host of the G20 summit in Hangzhou China showed unprecedented initiative in shaping global economic governance - and to ensure that the results reflect China’s domestic economic priorities.

The upcoming G20 summit is a powerful symbol of China’s rise. But the struggles of pro-democracy forces ahead of Hong Kong’s elections are a reminder that China’s increasing international integration has not brought political liberalization at home.

When Hong Kong voters take to the ballots to elect their parliament, they are bound to change the political dynamics between their city and Beijing. No matter which camp wins, tensions in Hong Kong are likely to flare up again.

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.

Launching a new global paradigm for inclusive and sustainable growth is only possible if China agrees to lead the way. Beijing has to commit to structural reforms to increase productivity while protecting the environment, public health and the population's overall wellbeing.

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.

A new Cold War is developing in Asia Pacific, and nuclear weapons are set to play an increasingly important role in the strategies of both the U.S. and China. Nuclear posturing exacerbates the conventional arms race already underway in the Region.

Interview with Richard McGregor

In the past three years, Lu Wei became the public face of China’s internet censorship. The founding director of the Cyberspace Administration of China worked towards perfecting information control. His ultimate goal was to make censorship unnecessary by discouraging undesirable Content.

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.

Interview with Barry Naughton

MERICS research reveals that official Chinese media use events in Europe to discredit Western concepts of democracy while more market-oriented outlets offered a more differentiated assessment.

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.

The EU’s efforts to defend its steel industry against cheap imports from China are as misguided as China’s continuing overproduction of primary steel. Both sides will have to move away from traditional steel production and into higher value products to stay competitive.

China’s rejection of the South China Sea ruling poses a serious challenge to the rules-based international order. European nations can play an important role in forging a response using a new “G7 plus” Format.