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  • Author: Lee Chun-yi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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: Georg Strüver, Pascal Abb
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper uses the case of Sino–Southeast Asian relations to gain insights on China's ability to muster support for its global agenda. The analysis focuses on the regional–global nexus of interstate relations and explores the extent to which the quality of two states' regional relations influences the likelihood of behavioral alignment in global politics. To this end, we consider a range of potentially influential aspects of Sino–Southeast Asian relations (the quality of bilateral relations based on recent event data, alliance policy, regime similarity, development level, and economic ties) and employ a statistical model to search for correlations with observed trends of voting coincidence in the United Nations General Assembly during the period 1979–2010. We find a strong correlation between the quality of regional bilateral relations and global policy alignment, which indicates that patterns of regional cooperation and conflict also impact the trajectory of China's rise in world affairs.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Karsten Giese, Erdem Dikici
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • 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
  • Author: Romain Dittgen
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Chinese economic activities in Africa have gained increased visibility in parallel to the recent acceleration of Sino-African relations. This paper, which is framed from a geographical perspective that is often absent or neglected in studies covering China–Africa, focuses on the spatial forms and dynamics. It depicts the way in which two contrasting Chinese economic entities – a state-owned company in Chad and privately owned commercial malls in Johannesburg, South Africa – engage with their respective host environments. While drawing on concepts of “liminality” as well as “heterotopias”, I argue that the modalities of the Chinese footprint are characterised both by closure and interaction, creating a dynamic tension that produces its own set of unique practices. This ambivalence between enclave and active linkages with host societies is not only perceivable from a spatial point of view, but also emerges with regard to economic strategies. In the midst of a transitional period, along with a launching and a consolidating phase, the Chinese economic entities in both case studies show signs of change in terms of behaviour and territorial foothold.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Allen Hai Xiao
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The burgeoning interstate relation between China and Nigeria is in fact hiding the vulnerable condition of transnational Chinese petty entrepreneurship. Small-scale Chinese entrepreneurs in Nigeria are faced with everyday corruption practised by both Nigerian authorities and ordinary Nigerian people, the dominance of self-interest over cohesion and mutual support among the Chinese compatriots, and variations in state policies due to dynamic and changing interstate relations. To overcome their position of weakness, small-scale Chinese entrepreneurs strategize their interactions with both Nigerian and Chinese nationals. Informality is a characteristic of such interactions. Economic informality is primarily embodied in the documentation service businesses that are indebted to those popular corrupt practices in Nigeria; while social informality takes place in cyberspace. Interaction via the Internet among Chinese involved in Chinese–Nigerian businesses helps small-scale Chinese entrepreneurs to cope with fluctuations in interstate links at the macro-level and to develop a sense of community.
  • Political Geography: China, Nigeria
  • Author: Richard Aidoo, Steve Hess
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's non-interference policy has come under scrutiny in regards to its growing and deepening relations in Africa. The policy has come to represent an about-face from conditional assistance and investment associated with the Washington Consensus. Although often well received in much of the global South, this policy has drawn a lot of criticism from the West and others. These commentators have perceived non-interference as an opportunistic and often inconsistent instrument for enabling China's increasing access to African resources and markets. This article suggests that despite some consistent support for the rhetoric of non-interference, China's implementation of the policy has become increasingly varied and contextualized in reaction to Africa's ever-more diversified political and economic landscape since the early 2000s.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Washington
  • Author: Timothy Steven Rich, Vasabjit Banerjee
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article highlights the precarious nature of Taiwan's diplomatic relations in Africa. Whereas Cold War rationales initially benefitted Taiwan, economic interests now appear to incentivize African countries to establish relations with China. Through qualitative and quantitative data covering much of the post-World War II era, this analysis argues that economic factors have trumped political rationales for Taiwanese–African relations. In addition, this article problematizes both conceptions of diplomatic recognition and Taiwan's enduring relations with Africa.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Meiqin Wang
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article contextualises the art practice of Beijing-based artist Liu Bolin and examines ways in which his artworks illuminate the sociopolitical conditions that regulate the everyday reality of underprivileged social groups amid China's spectacular urban transformation in the 2000s. The tension between individual existence and the force of urbanization underlays Liu's most important work, entitled Hiding in the City. This performance photographic series, in which Liu covered his body thoroughly with paint so that he “disappeared” into the background, was initiated as a response towards the demolition of an artist village in Beijing where the artist resided and worked. The series has since been developed into an ambitious and years-long project in which the artist surveys the disparate urban living environment of the city, bringing to the surface dominant forces that render the existence of the individuals “invisible”.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing
  • Author: Jonathan Hassid, Wanning Sun
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: For political scientists, Chinese media practices and communication systems provide an enduring prism through which to understand how Chinese politics work. By contrast, for media and communication scholars, politics is one of the main domains in which various media and communication forms, practices and policies can be fruitfully explored. While political scientists and media scholars share this common interest, they tend to pursue different research agendas, adopt different methods of data-gathering and analysis, and at times seem to speak a different language. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that political scientists and media scholars may even have differ- ent understandings of what constitutes valid empirical data or worthy lines of inquiry and which theoretical models and paradigms are fash- ionable or out of date. Because of this divide, the two groups of scholars unearth different findings and reach different conclusions. This leads to the curious situation in which scholars of the same field – but in different disciplines – talk past each other, or worse still, look upon each other’s work with deep suspicion. While gulfs understandably exist across disciplinary boundaries, they are, to a great extent, avoidable. In fact, collaboration between the disciplines of anthropology and media studies has provided some shining examples of cross-fertilization bearing intellectual fruit (e.g. Ginsburg, Abu-Lughod, and Larkin 2002). And there are signs that as the Chinese media are becoming increasingly regionalized and local- ized, it is becoming possible to explore the analytic perspectives de- veloped in the field of geography to make sense of the new develop- ments in scale, place and space (Sun and Chio 2012). Given this fruit- ful collaboration, there are certain to be advantages in exploring dia- logue between political scientists and media scholars.
  • Topic: Media, Local, State Media
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Wanning Sun
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: he most common framework through which we under- stand media communication and political/social stability in China is that of hegemony and control. This characterization may have served us well in documenting how the mandate for stability often results in censorship, regulation and restriction, but it has two major faults: First, the focus on crackdowns, bans and censorship usually tells us something about what the party-state does not like, but does not convey much about what it does like. Second, it often obscures the routine ways the party-state and the market work together to shore up ideological domination and maintain stability. In this analysis of the policies, economics and content of a broad range of television programmes, I suggest that we look at the media and communication as an ideological-ecological system in order to arrive at a more nu- anced understanding of the relationship between China’s media prac- tices and its ongoing objectives.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Media, Propaganda, State Media
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jonathan Hassid
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Despite its authoritarian bent, the Chinese government quickly and actively moves to respond to public pressure over mis- deeds revealed and discussed on the internet. Netizens have reacted with dismay to news about natural and man-made disasters, official corruption, abuse of the legal system and other prominent issues. Yet in spite of the sensitivity of such topics and the persistence of China’s censorship apparatus, Beijing usually acts to quickly address these problems rather than sweeping them under the rug. This paper dis- cusses the implications of China’s responsiveness to online opinion. While the advantages of a responsive government are clear, there are also potential dangers lurking in Beijing’s quickness to be swayed by online mass opinion. First, online opinion makers are demographical- ly skewed toward the relative “winners” in China’s economic reforms, a process that creates short-term stability but potentially ensures that in the long run the concerns of less fortunate citizens are ignored. And, second, the increasing power of internet commentary risks warping the slow, fitful – but genuine – progress that China has made in recent years toward reforming its political and legal systems.
  • Topic: Public Opinion, Media, Propaganda, State Media
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ashley Esarey
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China’s local governments are facing a crisis of public con- fidence and have struggled to handle political dissent and popular protests. In an attempt to promote political stability, local officials around the country have utilized Twitter-like microblog sites (, weibo) to upgrade their capability to influence citizens and engage in rapid information management. Through the analysis of microblog- ging by prominent propagandists whose identities and professions are known to the public, this article finds some evidence that microblog- ging could be helping cadres to win hearts and minds, although such microblogging poses new risks to the state as netizens challenge propagandists and state policies in exchanges that reveal political pluralism and disapproval of state policies. While venting on weibo may enable people to blow off steam, the reluctance (or inability) of official microbloggers to engage their critics in meaningful dialogue suggests the limited utility of official microblogging as a means of furthering political stability through the improvement of state–society relations.
  • Topic: Protests, Propaganda, Local, Oppression
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jonathan Hassid, Sun Wanning
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Studies on public expression in China tend to focus on how the state and internet users (netizens) struggle over the limits of online expression. Few have systematically traced discourse competi- tion within state-imposed boundaries, particularly how the authoritar- ian state has adapted to manage, rather than censor, online expres- sion. This paper explores and evaluates the state’s attempts to ma- nipulate online expression without resorting to censorship and coer- cion by examining the role of internet commentators, known as the “fifty-cent army”, in Chinese cyberspace. To cope with the challenge of online expression, the authoritarian state has mobilized its agents to engage anonymously in online discussions and produce apparently spontaneous pro-regime commentary. However, due to a lack of proper motivation and the persistence of old propaganda logic, this seemingly smart adaptation has proven ineffective or even counter- productive: It not only decreases netizens’ trust in the state but also, ironically, suppresses the voices of regime supporters.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Internet, State Media, Cyberspace
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Orhan H Yazar
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The regulatory agency responsible for prudential super- vision of the banks in China, the China Banking Regulatory Commis- sion (CBRC), is not an independent authority. The agency’s regula- tory actions are constrained by the central government, which has to balance the prudential and non-prudential consequences of bank regulation for its political survival. The conditions and limits of the government’s influence on the CBRC is analysed through an investi- gation of three regulatory cases. The conclusion is that the CBRC’s regulatory actions are determined by the relative importance of pru- dential outcomes for the government’s policy objectives.
  • Topic: Regulation, Finance, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Banking
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Cora Lingling Xu
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article looks at identity constructions of mainland Chinese undergraduate students in a Hong Kong university. These students shared a “Hong Kong Dream” characterised by a desire for change in individual outlooks, a yearning for international exposure, and rich imaginations about Hong Kong and beyond. However, when their Hong Kong Dream met Hong Kong’s “anti-mainlandisa- tion discourse,” as was partially, yet acutely, reflected in the recent Occupy Central movement, most students constructed the simultan- eous identities of a “free” self that was spatially mobile and ideologi- cally unconfined and an “elite” self that was among the winners of global competition. This article argues that the identity constructions of these mainland Chinese students shed light on global student mo- bilisation and provide a unique, insider’s perspective into the integra- tion process between Hong Kong and the rest of the People’s Re- public of China.
  • Topic: Education, Globalization, Domestic politics, Students
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Anders Sybrandt Hansen
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines the experiences of Chinese elite uni- versity students abroad through the lens of temporality. In the strug- gle to get ahead, elite students are expected to carefully deploy their time. Studying abroad, it is argued, has become one more step in a culturally idealised temporal arrangement of how one is expected to go about advancing. The downside to this ethics of striving is shown to be a pervasive sense of restlessness (, fuzao). The article shows how relocating to a different life environment allowed a group of elite students to respond to their temporal predicament in existentially creative ways that registered socially as personal maturation. It is argued that these responses were set in motion by the students’ in- habiting an expanse of not-yet-purposeful time. Treating the tem- poral experience of Chinese elite students as a pronounced inflection of an increasingly global temporal mode of striving, the article en- quires into the temporality of the present human condition.
  • Topic: Education, Globalization, Ethics, Students
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Anni Kajanus
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article uses Mahler and Pessar’s (2001, 2006) model of “geography of power” to interrogate how the general dynamic of Chinese student migration generates a variety of experiences at the individual level. Each Chinese student-migrant embarks on their journey from a different position vis-à-vis the flows and interconnec- tions of the international education market. Some of them set out to achieve concrete goals, while others are motivated by a more intan- gible mission to become cosmopolitan subjects. As they move around, their shifting position in the hierarchies of nationality, class, gender, and generation influences their decision-making and their experiences. These power systems function simultaneously on mul- tiple geographical scales, exemplified by the contradictory ways gen- der operates in the family, education, work, and marriage. To further develop the connection this model makes between personal charac- teristics, cognitive processes, and various power systems, I draw at- tention to the politics of ordinary affects.
  • Topic: Education, Globalization, Culture, Geography, Students
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Stig Thogersen
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The article is based on a longitudinal study of Chinese college students who studied abroad as part of their BA programme in Preschool Education. It first examines the Chinese discourse on preschool education in order to understand the current situation in the students’ professional field. The main section then discusses stu- dents’ attitudes to what they perceived to be key values and principles in early childhood education in the West: freedom, individual rights, equality, and creativity. Students generally expressed strong support for these values and wanted to reform Chinese institutions according- ly. The article argues, based on this case, that while Chinese students abroad may not see themselves as the vanguard of macro-level politi- cal reforms, some of them certainly want to play a role in the gradual transformation of Chinese institutions in their respective professional fields.
  • Topic: Education, Culture, Reform, Students
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jamie Coates
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Chinese migrants are currently the largest group of non- Japanese nationals living in Japan. This growth is largely the result of educational migration, positioning many Chinese in Japan as student- migrants. Based on 20 months’ ethnographic fieldwork in Ikebukuro, Tokyo’s unofficial Chinatown, this paper explores the ways in which the phenomenology of the city informs the desire for integration amongst young Chinese living in Japan. Discussions of migrant inte- gration and representation often argue for greater recognition of marginalised groups. However, recognition can also intensify vulner- ability for the marginalised. Chinese student-migrants’ relationship to Ikebukuro’s streets shows how young mobile Chinese in Tokyo come to learn to want to be “unseen.” Largely a response to the visual dy- namics of the city, constituted by economic inequality, spectacle, and surveillance, the experiences of young Chinese students complicate the ways we understand migrants’ desires for recognition and integra- tion.
  • Topic: Education, Culture, Immigrants, Students
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Heidi Ross
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper draws on the theory of ethnic enclaves to study Chinese international student communities and their role in constructing Chinese undergraduate student experiences on US campuses. Enclave theory has primarily been used by sociologists to study immigrant and diaspora populations, but it can also provide an important analytical tool for scholars examining the internationalisation of student populations in higher-education settings. Student interviews and participant observation at a representative research-intensive, doctoral-granting institution in the American Midwest indicate that institutional and media characterisations of Chinese international student communities as closed and segregated are far too simplistic. Chinese student enclaves provide their members with crucial information, support, and social spaces that help them adapt to – and in turn change – their host institutions. Chinese students are active participants in and creators of campus cultures that are often in- visible to university administrators, faculty, and peers.
  • Topic: Education, Migration, Immigration, Culture, Students
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Herby Lai
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Amidst political tensions between China and Japan, and against the backdrop of the patriotic education campaign in China that promotes a negative image of Japan as the victimiser, Chinese students in Japanese educational institutions study and work in Japan in a highly politicised context. In general, how they chose to interpret their experiences in Japan, and their views on history and controver- sial political issues involving China and Japan, demonstrates two levels of cosmopolitanism – namely, the ability and the willingness to en- gage with Japanese people on such issues, and reflexivity towards their own national identities. Meanwhile, some informants would deliberately avoid talking about history and controversial political issues involving China and Japan. While they lacked the willingness to engage with Japanese people on controversial issues, their keenness to separate their daily lives in Japan from the political context means they were also engaged in a reflexive reconfiguration of their national identities.
  • Topic: Education, Migration, Culture, Immigrants, Students, Social Identities
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Angelo Gilles
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Guangzhou has become a key destination for sub-Saharan African traders. These traders have established multilocal forms of business organisation and, in so doing, have developed diverse prac- tices to overcome geographical, political and cultural boundaries. This paper focuses on these practices, looking at the ways in which the movements, relations and interactions within these organisational formations are produced, transformed and lived. A close ethnograph- ic examination was made of the livelihoods of 33 African traders from 13 sub-Saharan African countries. Through the concept of trans- locality, the organisational formations of these Africans are conceptu- alised as links between different places on a larger geographical scale; these links then meet on a local scale in the specific place of Guang- zhou. Following a relational understanding of spatial constructions in social science, these links are conceptualised as one of the main drivers for the social construction and transformation of the city as a trans- local trading place.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Culture, Urban, Local
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Tabea Bork-Huffer
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Taking the examples of Chinese rural-to-urban migrant and African migrant businesspeople in Guangzhou, this article inquires into the commonalities and differences in the health status and health- care-seeking practices of both groups. While both populations of migrants are diverse and heterogeneous, there are many commonali- ties with regard to the challenges they face compared to the Chinese local population. Mixed-methods research frameworks and qualitative and quantitative methods were applied. While existing publications emphasise lacking financial access to healthcare, further individual and social factors account for migrants’ healthcare choices. Their access to healthcare can be improved only by introducing insurance schemes with portable benefits, providing localised and culturally adequate health services adapted to migrants’ specific needs and health risks, and enhancing patient orientation and responsiveness by health professionals.
  • Topic: Migration, Health Care Policy, Urban, Rural
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Roberto Castillo
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article is an exploration into the personal aspirations that converge in Guangzhou’s African music scene. I argue that despite being often traversed, articulated, fuelled, and constrained by econ- omies and economic discourses, aspirations are not necessarily eco- nomic or rational calculations. I contend that the overarching trading narrative about “Africans in Guangzhou” has left little space for issues of agency, emotion, and aspiration to be considered in their own right. Drawing on a year of continuous ethnographic fieldwork, I show how aspirations are crucial arenas where the rationales behind transnational mobility are developed, reproduced, and transmitted. Indeed, aspira- tions can be thought of as “navigational devices” (Appadurai 2004) that help certain individuals reach for their dreams. By bringing the analysis of aspirations to the fore, I intend to provide a more complex and nuanced landscape of the multiple rationales behind African presence in Southern China; promote a better understanding (both conceptually and empirically) of how individuals navigate their social spaces and guide their transnational journeys; and draw attention to the incessant frictions and negotiations between individual aspirations while on the move and the constraints imposed by more structural imperatives.
  • Topic: Culture, Music, popular culture
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Gordon Mathews
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article begins by asking how African traders learn to adjust to the foreign world of Guangzhou, China, and suggests that African logistics agents and middlemen serve as cultural brokers for these traders. After defining “cultural broker” and discussing why these brokers are not usually Chinese, it explores this role as played by ten logistics agents/middlemen from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As logistics agents, these people help their customers in practically adjusting to Chinese life, and as middlemen they serve to grease the wheels of commerce be- tween African customers and Chinese suppliers. This is despite their own ambivalent views of China as a place to live. They play an essen- tial role in enabling harmonious relations between Africans and Chi- nese in Guangzhou, even though they see themselves not as cultural brokers but simply as businessmen.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Culture, Business , Commerce
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Catherine S. Chan
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In the 1980s, as the end of the millennium approached, the production of nostalgia exploded all around the world. For Hong Kong, nostalgia became a reminder of the golden age that had trans- formed the city into one of the “Four Asian Tigers” in the decades following the end of the Second World War. While yearning for the better days of the past, Hong Kong coincidentally experienced desta- bilisation. As the rest of the world, especially the “baby boomers,” mourned the end of a productive era, Hong Kong locals were dis- turbed by the affirmation of the handover to China in 1997. In the context of these events, a creative rush to nostalgia in cultural manu- facturing swept across the city. In the hope of highlighting the uniqueness of nostalgic production in Hong Kong, this study analyses two sets of TV commercials produced by local beverage company Vitasoy. Through the deconstruction of selected historical events, Vitasoy successfully reinvented its brand and, in contrast to general criticism of the concept, generated a positive connotation for nostal- gia on the path towards Hong Kong’s search for an identity.
  • Topic: Media, Social Identities, Nostalgia
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Bill Chou
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper reviews Beijing’s Hong Kong policy, arguing that the policy mirrors China’s policy towards its restive borderlands represented by Tibet and Xinjiang. The rule of Hong Kong and other borderlands in China will be understood in an analytical framework that highlights four broad policies of governing borderlands: prom- ises of a high degree of local autonomy; extension of politico-admin- istrative control; cultural assimilation; and economic integration and domination. These policies may be conceptualised within the term “coercion.” It is argued that before Hong Kong’s retrocession to China in 1997, the PRC’s approach to the territory, in comparison to its approaches to Tibet and Xinjiang, was the least coercive – that is, China initially promised Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy over domestic affairs. The degree of coercion was stepped up when Hongkongers were perceived as becoming increasingly alienated from the new regime.
  • Topic: Culture, Borders, Local, Assimilation , Autonomy, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Christopher A. McNally, Boy Luthje, Tobias ten Brink
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past 35 years, China's economic development strategy relied on the extensive use of factors of production relatively abundant in China. These include labour, land and some mining resources (such as coal and rare earths), as well as mounting reserves of capital in the first decade of the twenty-first century. State-guided policies channelled these factors into an export- and investment-driven model of development that was highly successful in terms of aggregate GDP growth. This model also proved to be quite adaptive when the financial crisis originating in US mortgage markets reverberated globally in late 2008. China was then able to rapidly jumpstart a slowing economy with a massive government-led stimulus programme that relied heavily on state banks extending credit for real estate and infrastructure projects.
  • Political Geography: China, Hawaii
  • Author: Tobias ten Brink
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article gives a broad characterization of China's political economy, as well as specific aspects of its socio-economic instabilities. With a focus on China's export-oriented industry sectors, concepts from comparative and international political economy are applied to show how the Chinese economy can be understood as a variegated form of state- permeated capitalism that at the same time is deeply integrated into world economic processes. The article goes on to portray the socio-economic dynamics, as well as the instabilities of China's new capitalism, that are at the root of the state leadership's attempts to turn away from a one-sided model of export and investment-driven growth. Thereby, a number of obstacles are revealed for the "rebalancing" of the economy: a continued dependence on exports, a lack of domestic consumer demand which impedes a significant "social" upgrading, the ongoing low- wage model for which there is no end in sight, the limits of the state's steering capacity and the weaknesses of its fragmented, competition- driven structure
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Boy Luthje
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper develops a new approach to analyse labour relations at the level of companies, industries, and regions in China. Referring to Western and Chinese labour sociology and industrial relations theory, the author applies the concept of "regimes of production" to the context of China's emerging capitalism. This article focuses on China's modern core manufacturing industries (i.e. steel, chemical, auto, electronics, and textile and garment); it explores regimes of production in major corporations and new forms of labour-management cooperation, the growing inequality and fragmentation of labour policies within the modern sectors of the Chinese economy, consequences for further reform regarding labour standards, collective bargaining, and workers' participation.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Florian Butollo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Based on field studies in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) in 2010 and 2011, specific paths of industrial upgrading in the garment and IT industries are identified. The analysis reveals that there exists a multiplicity of upgrading trajectories, all of which have different implications for skill development and the character of work. While the modernization of industries relies on the input of higher skilled work, primarily in the fields of R and marketing, this barely is the case with regard to manufacturing. While labour intensity in the examined cases is diminishing in absolute or relative terms, internal divisions between low-skilled and high-skilled work are reconfigured rather than overcome.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Kun-Chin Lin, Chan Shaofeng
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Through two illustrative case studies of enterprise reform in Henan Province, we examine the underlying political contentions behind the changing roles of local government in the process of the corporatization and asset restructuring of state-owned enterprises (SOE) starting in the late 1990s. As SOEs lose their ability to meet the multitude of resource demands from central and local officials, they become sites of inter-governmental conflicts that produce a no-win situation for the SOE and fiscal and social uncertainties for those communities trying to exit the socialist economy. Our first case study is Puyang municipal government, which leveraged its regulatory authority to exact heavy side-payments in return for not obstructing the corporatization of Zhongyuan Oilfield; the second case involves Zhengzhou city officials colluding with provincial bureaucrats and the state-appointed managers of the Yutong Bus Company in an insider privatization that effectively circumvented a specific Ministry of Finance prohibition.
  • Political Geography: China
  • 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