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  • Author: Romain Dittgen
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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: Christopher A. McNally, Boy Luthje, Tobias ten Brink
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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