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  • Author: Ka Ho Mok, Gengua Hueng
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's welfare system is a typical “residual welfare regime”, which did not manifest too many flaws in the planned economy era. However, economic reform and market-oriented transformations in recent decades have shaken the original well-balanced “residual” and “needs” pattern. The decline of the “work unit system” has led to two consequences: First, it radically transformed the social and economic structures, which gave rise to increased and diversified needs of social welfare. Second, the government is being pressed to shoulder more responsibility for social welfare provisions. This article adopts a case study approach to examine changing social welfare needs and expectations in Guangzhou, a relatively developed city in southern China. With particular focus on the major strategies adopted by the Guangzhou government in addressing people's welfare needs, this article critically examines how far the new measures have met the changing welfare expectations of citizens in mainland China.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Guangzhou
  • Author: Bill Chou
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper investigates how Beijing governs its two special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau through leverages on their local autonomy. First, a conceptual analysis of local autonomy will be provided. Local autonomy is more than a zero-sum game between the central and local authorities over how much power should be granted or taken from the local authorities; it also concerns the space for cultural expression and the use of local customs in public administration. Second, the degree of local autonomy in Hong Kong and Macau will be critically examined. On paper, both SAR governments are able to freely make decisions on a wide range of policies. In practice, however, Beijing has the absolute authority to override the decisions of Hong Kong and Macau. It is argued that the autonomy in cultural expression can compensate for the institutional constraints on the two SARs' decision- making power and is thus able to alleviate public discontent – as long as the constraints do not conflict with the people's core values and ways of life.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Hong Kong
  • Author: Lawrence K. K. Ho, Ming K. Chan
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper aims to highlight the significance of labour issues – namely, the minimum wage (MW) and standard working hours (SWH) – in shaping candidates' electoral platforms in the 2012 chief executive (CE) election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China (PRC). We first offer a brief review of labour politics regarding the MW case as a precursor to the SWH drafting and enactment process. We then provide an analytical delineation of some of the labour and socio-economic dimensions of the CE electoral contest by comparing the candidates' campaign planks in relation to SWH. We then attempt to predict the likely course of the SWH debate under the leadership of Leung Chun-ying, who eventually won the CE election and assumed power on 1 July 2012. We conclude by examining Leung's social engineering attempts to increase popular support amongst low- and middle-income (LMI) households as part of his long-term strategy for the 2017 CE elections and his broader Beijing-entrusted political agenda.
  • Topic: Regime Change
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Hong Kong
  • Author: Steven J. Balla, Zhou Liao
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In recent years, the Chinese government has increasingly utilised online consultation as a means of providing citizens with opportunities to offer feedback on draft laws and regulations. As little is known about the operation of online consultation, this article analyses the content of citizen feedback submitted on a revision to China's health system proposed by the National Development and Reform Commission. Citizen engagement with the political and substantive issues under consideration is crucial if online consultation is to impact government decision-making and enhance the performance of laws and regulations. This paper's main findings are that it was common for comments to address substantive issues in great depth, as well as express negative assessments of government decisions. This suggests that online consultation holds promise as an instrument of governance reform, which the Chinese Communist Party has embraced as a means of cultivating popular support.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Law, Reform
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Yihong Jiang
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This study looks at Chinese homeowners' participation in policymaking. Drawing on evidence from Guangzhou and Beijing, it shows that various organised homeowner activists have moved upstream in the policy process and have begun to push beyond policy implementation into the domain of agenda setting and “rule-making”. These advocates display rights-conscious patterns of behaviour that are closer to that of interest or lobby groups than to the typical repertoire of Chinese contentious citizens. The study suggests that this kind of political participation is on the rise amongst Chinese homeowner activists. This result complements and extends other recent findings that suggest the Chinese policy process is gradually opening up. Such a trend could have significant implications and calls for more research in different domains of state-society relations.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing
  • Author: Tobias Brandner
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article surveys the complex ecumenical, missionary and international church relations of Chinese Protestant Christians. It argues that the inter-church relations to other parts of Asia are overshadowed by relations to Christians in the West, thus reflecting a political preoccupation with relationships to the West. This is evidenced by an analysis of worldwide and Asian ecumenism as well as bilateral church and missionary relationships. The dominance of contacts with the West not only contradicts the idea of a multipolar world and increased South-South contacts, it also stands in contrast to the reality of growing and increasingly important Christianity in Asia. Methodologically, this paper analyses different kinds of international relations (multilateral and bilateral, inter-church and missionary) and develops a typology of different interchurch and inter-state relations to assess international church relations in Asia today. The typology shows how China's international church relations support its political relationships with its neighbours and beyond.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Maria Bondes, Sandra Heep
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In the debate on authoritarian resilience, the importance of persuasion to regime legitimacy has been widely acknowledged, yet a conceptual framework explaining the role of persuasion is still lacking. Against this backdrop, we argue that the framing perspective (Benford and Snow 2000) provides a useful basis for such a framework. Drawing on Beetham's (1991) model of legitimacy, we contend that the ruling elites in authoritarian regimes propagate official frames in a continuous effort to reproduce the belief of the populace in the elites' leadership qualities and their determination to serve the common interest. In the empirical part of our paper we look at the case of China, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has in recent years reemphasized persuasion as a means of reproducing legitimacy. We then apply our theory in an analysis of the conceptual shifts in the CCP's frames and ideology, as propagated under its secretary general, Hu Jintao.
  • Topic: Government, Political Theory, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Nele Noesselt
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Research on Chinese International Relations (IR) theory has produced a variety of discourses, including post-positivist analyses, contributions by area specialists and China watchers, and articles by Chinese IR scholars. These strands, however, hardly overlap or communicate with each other. To close the gap between “the self-reflection of the core” (“Western” IR) (Waever/Tickner 2009: 3) and “the periphery's revolt against [“Western”] IR” paradigms (ibid.), it is necessary to view China (and other non-“Western” regions) as more than simply a playground for theory testing. This paper thus goes beyond the metatheoretical debate about the possibility of non-“Western” IR. It argues that even though the IR debates in China are heavily influenced by the trends of “Western” IR Studies, the claim regarding the establishment of a “Chinese school of IR” is not a hollow slogan. Indigenous frameworks are already under construction.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Karsten Giese, Alena Thiel
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In this article Chinese-Ghanaian employment relations are analyzed using the concepts of foreignness, the psychological contract, equity, and cross-cultural communication. Based on a qualitative study conducted in Accra, Ghana, we discuss the labor market in general and introduce the conditions under which Chinese sojourners operate their family trade businesses in the city. After discussing the phenomenon of Ghanaian employment within Chinese trade companies from a theoretical perspective, we explain how Chinese employers' and Ghanaian employees' culturally based perceptions of employment relations are contradictory and prone to conflict. We then show how, under the condition of the employers' foreignness, Ghanaian employees perceive their psychological contracts as being violated and Chinese employers regard the equity of exchange relations as distorted. We discuss how Ghanaian employees cope with this situation by means of voice, silence, retreat or destruction, while Chinese employers, who lack both sufficient language skills and effective sanctions, choose to endure perceived distortions of equity and in some cases ultimately terminate employment relations when inadequate cross-cultural communication results in a failure to mediate conflicts.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Ghana
  • Author: David S. G. Goodman, Jörn Dosch
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The rise of China is not a new phenomenon. The PRC's growing economic (and in a number of cases also political) involvement in Southeast Asia and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa has caught the attention of academics and policymakers alike. However, China's emergence as an important actor in Latin America has only recently appeared on the radar screen of the scholarly community and is still an under-researched area. Eight years have passed since Chinese President Hu Jintao's first tour of Latin America in November 2004, marking the beginning of a new phase in Beijing's trans-Pacific relations. The significant boost in Chinese–Latin American trade provides strong evidence for the importance of this emerging pattern of interaction. China's trade with the region reached 180 billion USD in 2010, evincing not only an increase of 50 per cent from 2009 but also a pattern of sharp growth since 2000, when the China–Latin America trade volume stood at just 13 billion USD. By 2007 bilateral trade had already exceeded Hu's original target of 100 billion USD, set for 2010 ( China Daily 2011; Xinhua 2008). The articles in this issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs bear strong witness to the fact that this budding relationship has been driven mainly by a mutual desire to accelerate economic exchange.
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Rhys Jenkins
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The paper analyses the economic impacts of China's re-emergence on Brazil, looking at both the direct effects of China on Brazil in terms of bilateral trade and investment flows and the indirect effects through increased competition in export markets for manufactured goods and higher world prices for primary commodities. Despite a surge in Chinese FDI in Brazil in 2010, the main driver of bilateral relations is trade. While bilateral trade has grown rapidly, the pattern that has emerged has given rise to concern because Brazil's exports are concentrated in a small number of primary products while imports from China are almost entirely of manufactured goods that are becoming more technologically sophisticated over time. Brazil has benefitted in the short term from the high prices of primary commodities (partly caused by growing Chinese demand), but has lost export markets to China in manufactures, contributing to the "primarization" of the country's export basket.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil
  • Author: Roberto Hernández Hernández
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the commercial relationship between Mexico and China in the context of the liberalization policies enacted by both countries. The policies were developed in the framework of economic globalization and worldwide strategic military power, starting from the end of the Cold War. Against this backdrop, the paper analyses the current trade relations between China and Mexico. The text emphasizes the public policy of both countries, presenting similarities and asymmetries along with the results of their commercial policies and specific business practices.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: China, Mexico
  • Author: Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article reviews dependency postulates and examines whether they are applicable to explain the political economy of China's contemporary relations with Peru. It argues that the dichotomy between Peru as a commodity-providing periphery and China as a core manufacturing centre is insufficient to explain the ways in which power is embedded in the international economic system, and particularly inadequate to identify winners and losers in the international division of labour. Thereby, in line with some recent international political economy discussions of power, the article proposes that China should not be understood as a self-contained economic entity, but as a hub where natural resources are mobilized for transnational production. Furthermore, contending that a focus on nation-states fails to capture the complexity of (under)-development dynamics, it suggests that notions of internal colonialism, flexible sovereignties and postcolonial analyses of representation provide fresher perspectives from which to understand the distribution of power along the political economy of Sino-Peruvian relations.
  • Topic: Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Juan Carlos Gachúz
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's foreign policy has been characterized in the last decade by a heightened interest in reaching out to Latin America, particularly to countries rich in natural resources and with potential markets for Chinese exports, and Chile is one of these countries. The paper shows that even though the Chilean economy has benefitted from the signing of the FTA, it also faces potential risks. To continue to benefit, Chile needs to boost exports in other potential export sectors (value-added products or services) and should attempt to attract more Chinese FDI to Chile's export industry. The export of raw materials (particularly non-renewable ones) is not always sustainable in the long term. The roles of the Chilean state and the private sector in attracting Chinese investment and enhancing diversification of exports of value-added products are crucial for the future of the economy of Chile and its relationship with China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Adrian H. Hearn
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's deepening engagement with Latin America has been accompanied by concerns about the Chinese government's regard for international conventions of economic governance. Critics claim that across Latin America and the Caribbean, Chinese aid and trade are characterised by excessive state intervention. This article argues that, for two reasons, the rationale for these misgivings is dissipating. First, since the onset of the global financial crisis, China has gained influence in multilateral institutions, prompting them toward greater acceptance of public spending in developing countries. Second, recent developments in Cuba show that China is actively encouraging the Western hemisphere's only communist country to liberalise its economy. China sits at the crossroads of these local and global developments, prompting Cuba toward rapprochement with international norms even as it works to reform them.
  • Topic: International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Karsten Giese
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, we invite our readers to join us on a journey focusing on global flows with Chinese characteristics. These flows are literally spanning the globe and consist of capital, goods, people and ideas. Concentrating on people and ideas in this issue, these global flows have become ever more diverse and are affecting not only China but also countries all over the world. Though China had been mainly on the receiving end of both capital and ideas for almost two decades starting with the beginning of the reform period and has – once again – become a leading sending region of people sojourning to destinations all over the world, Chinese capital and ideas, now reaching ever more of the world's regions, are late additions to this process. In this topical issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, four authors discuss some of the repercussions of these flows, which are not restricted to implications for the regions receiving Chinese investments and/ or people but are also affecting China and its society more and more. The proverbial “other” has become increasingly present, diverse and influential in China, be it in the form of representations of destination regions for Chinese sojourners and migrants or in the form of personal experiences, given the growing numbers and higher concentrations of foreigners from around the world who have chosen to settle and/ or conduct business in Chinese cities.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Artem Rabogoshvili
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The article provides a seminal analysis of the electronic resources in the Chinese cyberspace devoted to the labour migration of Chinese people to Russia. The author focuses on the online narratives and media stories published on three types of electronic resources – government websites of the northeast provinces of the PRC, online reports by the Chinese news agencies, and postings on bulletin board systems (BBSs) in order to find answers to the following research questions: 1. What is the role of Chinese migrants' narratives circulated via different electronic resources on the Internet in the reproduction of the state-regulated imagination of Russia? 2. To what extent have different types of electronic resources (government websites, news agency websites, BBSs) been used to renegotiate this imagination? The research has revealed that the websites of PRC government bodies tend to convey a rather consolidated understanding of Russia as a destination country, frequently publishing the narratives of successful migrants online. The mass media reports tend to provide regular coverage of a broader range of themes related to migration, including those related to the legal and economic vulnerability of Chinese labour migrants in Russia. The semi-anonymous and non-official character of the bulletin board system in turn has allowed its participants to make enquiries about or engage in the discussions of aspects of migration that would never be covered or described in detail by official sources such as government websites.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Hong Liu
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Based upon an empirical analysis of Singaporean Chinese's intriguing and changing linkages with China over the past half century, this paper suggests that multi-layered interactions between the Chinese diaspora and the homeland have led to the formulation of an emerging transnational Chinese social sphere, which has three main characteristics: First, it is a space for communication by ethnic Chinese abroad with their hometown/ homeland through steady and extensive flows of people, ideas, goods and capital that transcend the nation-state borders, although states also play an important role in shaping the nature and characteristics of these flows. Second, this transnational social sphere constitutes a dynamic interface between economy, politics and culture, which has contributed to creating a collective diasporic identity as well as social and business networks. Third, the key institutional mechanism of the transnational social sphere is various types of Chinese organizations – ranging from hometown associations to professional organizations – which serve as integral components of Chinese social and business networks.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Singapore
  • Author: Gordon Mathews, Yang Yang
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article looks at the livelihoods and lives of African traders coming to Hong Kong and Guangzhou. These traders are practising “low-end globalization”, involving small amounts of capital, and semi-legal or illegal transactions under the radar of the law. The article first considers who these traders are, portraying them as, typically, members of the upper crust of their home societies. It then considers these traders in Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong, a building that is an entrepôt between China and the developing world. Finally, it looks at traders' livelihoods and lives in Guangzhou, South China, and traders' efforts to succeed in mainland China. The article argues that one essential economic role China plays today is in manufacturing the cheap, sometimes counterfeit goods that enable Africa and other developing-world regions to experience globalization; the African traders who come to China help make this possible.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Hong Kong, South China, Guangzhou
  • Author: David Shim, Patrick Flamm
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea’s rising status in regional and global affairs has received much attention in recent years. But in academic, media and policy debates South Korea is usually regarded as a mere middle power that, due to its geopolitical situation, has only limited leeway in its foreign policy. Accordingly, it must constantly maneuver between its larger neighbors: China, Japan and Russia. However, this perspective neglects the fact that the same geopolitical constraint also applies to other states in the region. No country can easily project its power over others. We use the concept of “regional power” as a template to discuss South Korea’s rising stature in regional and global politics. We argue that Seoul seems quite capable of keeping up with other assumed regional powers. Hence, we not only provide a novel account of South Korea’s foreign policy options but also go beyond current approaches by asking about the (undetermined) possibilities for Seoul’s regional relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Israel, South Korea