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  • Author: Lee Chun-yi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the comparison of labour policies in Taiwan and China has an important bearing on the interaction between state and society. The fact that labour policies have changed over time illustrates a process of bargaining between the state and society. The core question of this paper is whether the development of labour policies in Taiwan can provide China a good example to learn from. In order to answer this question more systematically, the first part of this paper provides theoretical reviews of the state–society relationship, while the second part aims to verify whether those labour-favouring policies in Taiwan have changed under a different party's governance. The third part of the paper further investigates labour policy in China; this section mainly focuses on the historical background to the new labour contract law. Based on the preceding two sections' literature review of the changing path of labour policies, the fourth section scrutinises fundamental issues reflected in the development of Taiwan's labour policies, then compares how those issues are reflected in the case of China. The conclusion of this paper is that although Taiwan, like China, formerly had a one-party system, the changes in Taiwan's labour policies are not completely comparable to China, though both societies had some similarities.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Marius Korsnes
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to understand what government mechanisms have allowed China's wind industry to grow as fast as it has over the past ten years. Instead of formal rules and regulations, this paper focuses on specific sets of institutional conditions that have been crucial in the process of high-speed implementation of wind energy in China. Specifically, fragmentation and centralisation, together with policy experimentation and policy learning, have been fundamental for policy flexibility and institutional adaptability. The paper illustrates that there are benefits and disadvantages to these characteristics, and that inherent qualities of China's governing system that lead to rapid growth overlap with those that lead to challenges in terms of quality and long-term performance.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: May Tan-Mullins, Peter S. Hofman
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: There is increasing evidence that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is emerging as a management issue within Chinese business (Moon and Shen 2010; Yin and Zhang 2012). The main drivers of this movement, which are commonly discussed, include domestic political will and international pressure. However, what is less understood is the nature of the shaping of CSR. As a concept, CSR has been widely interpreted as the way companies take into account interests of a broader range of stakeholders beyond owners and shareholders of the firm. Hence, it is about the way firms develop policies and practices to minimize the negative impacts and even increase the positive impacts of their business practices on various stakeholder groups. In a Western context, the rationale for CSR has been explained as a result of interaction between business, government and society where institutional pressures that develop from these interactions lead to certain expectations regarding the nature of business practices. This is where firms increasingly see CSR as a strategic approach to maintaining and enhancing legitimacy and reputation so as to ensure the buy-in and loyalty of key stakeholder groups such as employees and customer
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: May Tan-Mullins
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's insatiable appetite for natural resources and energy to fuel its national growth is having an increasing impact on the domestic and global environment. Globally, China has turned to resource-rich regions in Africa and South America, at times engaging so-called “rogue states” to secure the resources it requires. Now is a critical juncture at which to encourage socially responsible behaviours in the Chinese extractive sectors, such as adopting the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This analysis discusses the current corporate social responsibility (CSR) mechanisms in extractive industries and assesses the feasibility of socialising China towards adopting CSR global norms in the extractive industries. This article has three sections. The first discusses China's environmental governance trajectory and ecological footprint in the domestic and global extractive industry. The second section discusses the factors contributing to the success and failure of various CSR mechanisms, with a specific focus on the EITI, and the final section expounds on the emerging challenges and issues and concludes with policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Douglas Whitehead
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: NGO–firm partnerships have been well studied in the literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR) (Marano and Tashman 2012; Dahan et al. 2010; Oetzel and Doh 2009). However, these studies have generally limited their focus to Western multinationals and Western NGOs and, moreover, not by-and-large examine in depth the institutional settings under which either the firm or the NGO operates Building on recent institutional approaches to CSR (Brammer, Jackson, and Matten 2012; Kang and Moon 2012; Matten and Moon 2008), this paper examines how the institutional dynamics of several partnerships between Chinese firms and NGOs affect the manifestation of CSR (e.g. “implicit” vs. “explicit”). The paper also looks into how CSR and NGO–firm collaboration plays out within a changing state-corporatist framework in Chinese context (Unger and Chan 1995, 2008; Hsu and Hasmath forthcoming). The paper then argues 1) that the involvement of an NGO in the partnership reflects a changing institutional setting in China, and 2) that type and level of involvement of Chinese government institutions affects whether a given firm takes an “implicit” or an “explicit” approach to CSR.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Susannah M. Davis, Dirk C. Moosmayer
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China\'s state-led model of corporate social responsibility (CSR) does not seem to present a promising environment for the participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Nevertheless, we observe recent examples of NGO involvement in CSR initiatives. Chinese NGOs are using the CSR platform to challenge the environmental practices of firms operating in China. We take a field-theoretical approach that focuses on the agency of actors. We show how an international NGO proposes a new standard and how Chinese NGOs use local environmental information disclosure laws to engage with firms in the textile supply chain. We find that NGOs leverage the power of brands to influence the practices of Chinese suppliers. However, we find differences in the framing and tactics employed by international NGOs versus their Chinese counterparts. Field analysis helps better understand the actors in the field of CSR, along with their motivations and their resources, and it offers a useful perspective on civil society development in China.
  • Topic: Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Peter S. Hofman, Bin Wu, Kaiming Liu
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In this paper we evaluate three projects with the participation of 40 supplier firms in several Chinese coastal provinces representing multi-stakeholder efforts to provide alternative channels through which workers can voice their concerns. The supplier firms took on these projects to reduce worker dissatisfaction and employee turnover. The projects fill an institutional void in employer–employee relations within Chinese supplier firms as they provide alternative channels for workers to voice their concerns. The role of civil society organisations focusing on labour interests was a crucial feature of the projects, through capacity-building for workers and by providing independence. The supplier firms and their workers have benefitted as firms take measures to enhance worker satisfaction, while the reduced employee turnover positively impacted firm performance. We propose that these collaborative socially responsible practices are a potential way to strengthen the positions of workers and supplier firms in global supply chains.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Michael B. Griffiths, Jesper Zeuthen
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that new interpretations of “eating bitterness” (吃苦, chiku) have firmly entered the landscape of China's social organisation. Whereas the bitterness eaten by heroic types in China's revolutionary past was directed towards serving others, now the aim of eating bitterness is self-awareness. Furthermore, bitterness-eating, which once pertained to rural-urban migrant workers as opposed to discourses of urban “quality” (素质, suzhi), has now also been taken up by the urban middle classes. A new cultural distinction, therefore, adds dignity to migrant workers while potentially marginalising a wide range of unproductive people, both urban and rural. This distinction ultimately mitigates risk to the Chinese regime because the regime makes sure to reward those who eat bitterness. This paper is based on ethnographic data gathered in Anshan, from the rural areas surrounding Chengdu, and our analysis of a TV show about a peasant boy who becomes a Special Forces soldier.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Gladys Pak Lei Chong
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines the ways in which taxi driving and China's quest for global ascendency are interlinked and enmeshed. Inspired by de Certeau's The Practice of Everyday Life and his conceptual formulation of “strategy” and “tactic”, this article explores how taxi drivers, through their everyday practice of driving, found ways and moments to tactically challenge and appropriate so-called “civility campaigns” and a rising China. By demonstrating the numerous instances of tactics taxi drivers used, I argue that their socio-economic marginality did not, in fact, reduce them to a “powerless” position. I bring in Foucault's analytics of power and governmentality to add to de Certeau's work by helping to explain the intertwined relationship between government and governed to shed light on the complexity implicated in the dynamics of power relations and resistance. I examine the period around the 2008 Beijing Olympics as it involved large-scale attempts to showcase China through (urban) transformation.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing
  • Author: Karsten Giese, Erdem Dikici
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: When we talk about “China in Africa”, we should always remember to differentiate between the various actors and scales that are too often conflated and hidden behind such large and all-encompassing labels like “China” or “Africa”. Common containers and the homogenizing of diversity seldom help to broaden our knowledge or deepen our understanding of the various phenomena which can be observed at the various scales of the multiple relationships that have evolved between this East Asian country and the African continent. Moreover, it is necessary to specify the point in time or particular period we are covering in our scholarly work and that from which we draw our conclusions. Quite a few of the publications addressing China–Africa relations have succumbed to broad generalizations, neglected diversity and specificity and overlooked the temporal dimension. The last couple of years, however, have seen the emergence of a growing body of well-informed case studies on the Chinese presence across the African continent that stress the particularity and the situatedness of Chinese–African encounters and interactions in Africa. We now can rely on thick descriptions of various Chinese actors' realities on the ground in Africa that more often than not defy and counter longstanding and still very common stereotypes, such as that of China's grand strategy in the scramble for Africa or of the generally exploitative and belligerent character of Chinese economic endeavours across the African continent.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China