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  • Author: Karsten Giese
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last few years, Sino-African relations have become a hot topic both in the general media and for scholars worldwide. Large parts of the global mass media are still engaged in painting the big picture of the relationship between China and Africa by conflating the multiple stakeholders and actors on both sides and generalizing about China's "neocolonialist" strategies vis-à-vis weak African states: its exploitation of African raw materials and populations, its support for non-democratic regimes and its undermining of all Western efforts for reforms across the continent. Where media reports transcend this stereotyping and homogenizing on the macro-level and portray Chinese–African encounters on the ground, it is power differentials, competition, tension and conflict between disempowered African locals and (at least economically) powerful Chinese – the latter as exoticized as alien "others" – that are often the focus of attention.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Ben Lampert, Giles Mohan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's renewed engagement with Africa is often framed as a form of imperialism, with the growing number of Chinese migrants on the continent seen as an exploitative presence. Such claims have generally been based on little evidence, and where more detailed empirical studies have emerged, they tend to emphasise the tensions and conflicts that have arisen. Our research on Chinese migrants in Ghana and Nigeria suggests that while there are concerns about Chinese competition in the informal retail sector and the treatment of local labour in Chinese enterprises, narratives of apparent tension and conflict are often much more nuanced than is generally recognised. Furthermore, more convivial and cooperative relations have also emerged and these have facilitated important opportunities for Africans to benefit from the Chinese presence. However, while the presence of Chinese migrants in African socio-economic life can be more integrated and mutually beneficial than is often assumed, the ability of African actors to benefit from this presence is highly uneven, placing the politics of class at the centre of any understanding of Sino-African encounters.
  • Topic: Development, Migration
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Nigeria
  • Author: Cheryl Mei-ting Schmitz
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The sense of mystery around Chinese presences in Angola impels researchers to understand not only the empirical details of economic transactions and diplomatic partnerships but also the various ways in which the actors involved make sense of a novel social, political, and economic configuration. By drawing several ethnographic portraits of the social practices and discursive strategies at play in Chinese–Angolan relations, I show how, in a context of mutual uncertainty and suspicion, appeals to "security" play a central role. Instead of viewing Chinese and Angolans as two separate groups with opposed interests and lack of communication between them, I explore how participation in a shared context generates common modes of explanation. Moreover, I propose a parallel analysis of state-level negotiations alongside everyday social encounters to consider how a political economic partnership between China and Angola is lived through the everyday negotiations of Chinese and Angolan residents in Luanda.
  • Political Geography: China, Angola, Luanda
  • Author: Guive Khan Mohammad
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Burkina Faso currently has no diplomatic relationship whatsoever with the People's Republic of China. Engaged in cooperation with Taiwan since 1994, it is one of only three African countries not a part of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation. This unusual situation has produced a unique manifestation of the Chinese presence in Burkina Faso, where the estimated 600 Chinese migrants are primarily private entrepreneurs. This phenomenon of "globalization from below" – or, this migration of entrepreneurs that transcends the absence of diplomatic relations – creates new intimate social relations between the Burkinabe and Chinese people who come into contact with each other. Far from simply turning Chinese and Burkinabe into economic competitors, these relations have also led to the emergence of many forms of interpersonal and business cooperation. In this paper, I therefore demonstrate how Sino-African cooperation from below has developed in Burkina Faso, which stands in radical contrast to the latter's cooperation with Taiwan, which takes place almost exclusively on a broader state-to-state level. The empirical evidence of this study is drawn from field survey interviews and observations of both Chinese and Burkinabe entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso between 2010 and 2011.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Tanzania
  • Author: Tanny Men
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The paper presents a single case study of how one Chinese firm operates in Dar es Salaam and how the firm's embeddedness and unique managerial style in the local context affect local benefits for Tanzanian employees. The results demonstrate the need to fill a gap in the knowledge about Chinese economic activities in Africa, particularly in relation to the cultural constructs present in manager-employee interactions. The findings paint a picture of a firm that intends to localize its business strategies and engage a local labour force, but similarly reveals the inherent cultural, behavioural and social norms of Chinese management, which may create organizational challenges and power differentials in the workplace.
  • Political Geography: China, Tanzania
  • Author: Codrin Arsene
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the context in which a group of African workers interact with their Chinese employers within a specific ethno- graphic space: Chinese-owned shops in Kampala, Uganda. By exploring enjawulo, the locally embedded cultural, social and economic notion of work and labour, I reveal how relations between Chinese employers and Ugandan employees are shaped by the former's knowledge and acceptance of this practice. This analytical lens contextualises the two groups' divergent goals, opinions and aspirations, examines the interpersonal dimensions of their social relations, and also analyses employers' and employees' opinions on labour conflicts, cooperation and understanding. The goal of the paper is to explore and deconstruct the context in which Chinese store owners and their local employees interact, cohabit, and sometimes even find common ground, despite markedly different economic, social, cultural, racial and linguistic backgrounds.
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, China, Kampala
  • Author: Berthold Kuhn, Yangyong Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Climate protection issues are receiving more attention in China. Responding to this survey, 133 environmental and climate protection experts indicated that the government is a key factor in raising awareness of climate protection in China. Experts participating in the survey also referred to the role of the media – in particular social media – NGOs and educational institutions in spreading climate protection awareness. Additionally, interviews were carried out with 40 of the experts, who were grouped into different categories to discover whether there were any striking differences of opinion between experts of different backgrounds. Their assessments revealed few statistically relevant differences, though some are worth noting: Chinese researchers, project managers and representatives of NGOs were more positive than international experts regarding the impact of the Rio+20 conference on climate change discourse in China. Also, the youngest experts with the least international experience evaluated the potential of green volunteer work highest.
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Andre Beckershoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The recent rapprochement between China and Taiwan cannot be understood if our conceptual apparatus is unable to cope with the distinctive new quality of cross-Strait relations. A critical framework provides a transnational account of cross-Strait dynamics. An analysis of the KMT–CCP Forum through the lens of the neo-Gramscian notion of hegemony sheds light on the Forum's strategies, mechanisms, practices and instruments to secure consent for cross-Strait rapprochement. While this mode of governance has broadened the KMT's strategic options, it has also compromised Taiwanese democracy.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
49. Editorial
  • Author: Karsten Griese
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs presents two important topics. The first part of the issue reflects some strands of a recurring debate within the area of social science research on China. The conditions under which research in the People's Republic of China can be conducted, primarily in cooperation with Chinese academic institutions, have been a meta-topic for critical discussions within the scientific community. Researchers must be aware of these conditions, and the limitations but also the opportunities that are inherent to this system, which officially requires every foreign scholar to cooperate with an official Chinese partner when conducting research in China. A number of issues – including the integration of Chinese research institutions with government bodies an d administrations, the widespread self-conception of Chinese colleagues as policy consultants, and the political agendas involved in many research interests – have caused some non-Chinese academics to refrain from collaborative research altogether. Other researchers have been accused by the mass media in their home countries for being biased and acting as propaganda tool for the PRC government for producing research results that have not replicated longstanding media prejudice.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sascha Klotzbücher
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: It would be naïve to pretend that politics and the actual needs of governance do not play a role in social sciences in any part of the world. However, the political dismissal of faculty members in Chinese universities, along with other political interventions reported in recent Western media, reveals the outspoken trend toward scientific professionalisation and scientific autonomy in a different light.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Heike Holbig
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: For more than two decades, the National Planning Office for Philosophy and Social Sciences (NPOPSS) has been managing official funding of social science research in China under the orbit of the Communist Party of China's (C PC) propaganda system. By focusing on "Major Projects", the most prestigious and well-funded program initiated by the NPOPSS in 2004, this contribution outlines the political and institutional ramifications of this line of official funding and attempts to identify larger shifts during the past decade in the "ideologics" of official social science research funding – the changing ideological circumscriptions of research agendas in the more narrow sense of echoing party theory and rhetoric and – in the broader sense – of adapting to an increasingly dominant official discourse of cultural and national self-assertion. To conclude, this article offers reflections on the potential repercussions of these shifts for international academic collaboration.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Doris Fischer
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past three decades, China's fast economic development has induced considerable changes in China's university and research institution landscape, research financing and academic career incentives. This paper argues that these changes have affected the motivation and the ways in which Chinese scholars engage in international research cooperation. Most recently it has been observed that strong pressures on scholars and scientists – especially at leading academic institutions – to excel in international publications while simultaneously fulfilling their obligation to generate income for their institutions can lead to a dilemma with regard to international research cooperation: Those institutions and scholars most interesting for foreign scholars to cooperate with may be the ones with the least amount of both incentive and time to enter into serious cooperation. This article invites us to reflect on the implications of these changes in the incentive structure for cooperation in social science research on China.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Josef Gregory Mahoney
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper discusses how cooperation between Chinese researchers and their foreign counterparts has changed. The paper draws on current literature and the author's experience as a researcher in the US and in China, arguing that while cooperation has increased overall, it has done so in ways that have crowded out old forms of cooperation or made them passé. The paper focuses particularly on how changes at leading Chinese research institutions have impacted international cooperation, both positively and negatively, and suggests ways in which foreign scholars might effectively pursue new avenues for cooperation and exchange.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Christian Gobel
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Field research in China often requires the researcher to cooperate with two kinds of actors: research collaborators, such as those at universities or official think tanks, and local officials. These actors facilitate or enhance field access, but such access comes at the price of a potential "pre-selection bias" in data collection. Some scholars have argued that dependence on these "gatekeepers" introduces a significant bias into research outcomes. I argue, however, that the constraints faced by China scholars in their field studies are not absolute, but function by degree. The CCP is monolithic neither in its organization nor in the thoughts of its agents, and close collaboration with local partners can help remove normative bias rather than necessarily introducing it. Most importantly, an argument built exclusively on the power of structural constraints discounts China scholars' most crucial abilities: to learn, to think critically and to research holistically.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Ya-ning Kao
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines two cases of Zhuang religious revival involving multiple actors. It shows how consideration of "superstition" (迷信, mixin) places some religious practice outside the institutional framework when discussing the modern concept of religion in China. In this paper, I particularly focus on two main dimensions of religious revival among the Zhuang people. The first is a grassroots dimension that involves the revival of a so-called "superstitious" cult in which Zhuang people along the Sino-Vietnamese border carry out shamanic rituals to make offerings to a powerful chief-turned-deity, Nong Zhigao, and his wife. The second dimension is a top-down dynamic and involves a series of projects conducted by Zhuang officials, scholars and business persons, which aim to standardize a Zhuang religion, known as Mo religion. These two cases of religious revival demonstrate the varied strategies utilized by different actors in response to government policies regarding religion in China.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Martin Saxel
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The relation between ethnicity and religion has had a troubled history in the People's Republic of China. Conflating religious practice with ethnic culture is considered to carry the risk of breeding "splittism" – especially in Tibet and Xinjiang. While in the post-Mao era the outright hostility against religion has given way to a religious revival, keeping religion and (nationality) politics separate has remained a major concern for the Chinese Communist Party. Religion is supposed to be a private matter that does not interfere with politics. Against this backdrop, a recent phenomenon in the Tibet Autonomous Region is all the more remarkable: the (re-)fusion of ethnicity and religion under the label of cultural heritage and its protection. This paper approaches this officially endorsed re-fusion ethno-graphically and examines its wider implications. I argue that endorsing religion as an attribute of Tibetan heritage corresponds to the concept of defining public spaces and events in which religious practice is legitimate and expected. Simultaneously, religious practices outside these dedicated spaces and events become even more problematic, leading to everyday Buddhist practices, such as circumambulation, being seen as (and performed as) political acts.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Nele Noesselt
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses changes in China's relations with socialist countries. It uses Chinese academic publications to add an insideâ?out perspective to the interpretation of Chinese foreign policy and outlines key socioâ?cognitive determinants of China's foreign behaviour. The paper starts with an overview of role theory, integrating Chinese scholars' writings on images of ego and alter to identify the main patterns and frames of China's selfproclaimed national role(s). It argues that China's actor identity comprises various, partly contradictory role conceptions. National roles derived from China's internal structures and its historical past lead to continuity in Chinese foreign policy, while the 'new' roles resultant from China's rise to global powerhood require it to adapt its foreign policy principles. The paper then examines four bilateral relationships – between China and Cuba, North Korea, the Soviet Union/Russia, and Vietnam – and discusses their development over time in light of China's reformulation of its 'socialist' role conception.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Socialism/Marxism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Sandra Heep
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Against the backdrop of China's increasingly influential role in global finance and the debate on the emergence of a “Beijing Consensus,” this paper examines whether the ideology that China promotes in the Bretton Woods institutions is conducive to the initiation of financial policy change at the international level. Drawing on Barnett and Duvall's (2005) conceptualization of productive power, Snow and Benford's (1988) framing theory and Freeden's (1996) understanding of ideology, the paper develops a theoretical framework for the analysis of international policy framing. Following an overview of China's rise in global finance, it identifies the core elements of the ideology that has been promoted by Chinese government officials in the Bretton Woods institutions since the onset of the global financial crisis. The paper argues that China's ruling elites will only be able to initiate a shift in the global consensus on acceptable financial policies if the frames that they propagate succeed in striking a balance between ideological continuity and change.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Patrick Köllner
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Analyses of the shape and functioning of systems of political rule need to address informal institutions, which exist alongside and can relate to formal institutions in various ways. In this paper, I first discuss some analytical foundations of the study of such institutions. I then suggest that a focus on political regimes – understood as the configuration of formal and informal institutions shaping and reflecting the access to and the exercise of political power – can be particularly useful for analysing the shape and functioning of autocracies. Finally, I use such a regime focus to study the Chinese Communist Party and its leadership succession process, which is characterised by increasing institutionalisation and complementary as well as substitutive relations between formal and informal institutions.
  • Topic: Communism, Political Economy, Political Theory, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Sonny Lo
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The complexities of central–local relations in the People's Republic of China (PRC) include at least two main policy dimensions: control over personnel and the appointment of local authorities by the central government in Beijing and the fiscal relations between the centre and the localities.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou