China’s defiance of the arbitral award on the South China Sea presents a serious challenge not only to the United States and its Asian allies, but to the entire international community. The sweeping rejection of China’s claims by a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has increased the risk of an escalation of tensions in the contested region, especially if China chooses to reassert its own position on the ground.
Over the past years, the European Union has been shaken by the Greek debt crisis, a massive influx of refugees, the rise of right-wing extremism, deadly terrorist attacks and just recently the Brexit vote in Great Britain. Researchers of Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) analysed how these multiple crises are viewed in Chinese media.
The Communist Youth League is where many political careers in China began. China’s former party and state leader Hu Jintao and the incumbent Premier Li Keqiang were groomed in the organization and rose through its ranks before assuming national leadership positions. And as politics in China is often explained with factions, this group of leaders became known as the “tuanpai” (团派), the “Youth League Faction”.
A review of China’s judicial system is a laudable effort and long overdue. Unfortunately, the new paper does not provide reliable information and raises fundamental questions of legitimacy. The State Council’s positive self-assessment stands in sharp contrast to reports on the continuing lack of fair legal process within China. It also ignores accusations of human rights violations from the United Nations (UN) and other outside parties.
China’s party and state leader Xi Jinping is not known to be a friend of “Western values”. Throughout the recent past, Chinese authorities have taken measures to limit the intrusion of allegedly harmful foreign influences on China’s youth, which are vaguely defined as anything from lose sexual mores to attitudes towards consumption.
There were times when China loomed large in American presidential election contests: in 1992, Bill Clinton successfully attacked George H.W. Bush, the sitting president seeking re-election, for “coddling” a dictatorial regime that had brutally suppressed the democracy movement in June 1989. In 2000, George W.
China’s economy is facing tougher times. Export-oriented mass production is no longer the growth driver it used to be and the transition to a higher-value added, innovation-driven industrial model has only just begun.
Thus there are big hopes riding on the service sector’s performance. First some facts: services accounted for 50 per cent of GDP for the first time in 2015, according to official statistics. At an expansion rate of 8.3 per cent, it was the only sector that grew faster than overall GDP, outperforming industry and agriculture.
When industrial workers in the West lose their jobs, the bogeyman is usually China. Earlier this year, steelworkers from all over Europe took to the streets in Brussels to protest against cheap Chinese steel imports. They had the backing of powerful lobby groups and populist politicians who accused China of damaging the global steel market and succeeded in pressuring governments across Europe to demand concessions from China.