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  • Author: Lei Zhang, Arthur P.J. Mol, Guizhen He
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Entering the twenty-first century, China has been the site of many serious environmental disasters and accidents. These have strengthened the call for the establishment of an environmental risk management system and for the development of new policies to effectively manage risk. Among the new policies in China's environmental risk management strategy are pollution insurance and information disclosure. This paper explores information disclosure policies through the implementation of the Environmental Information Disclosure Decree by governmental authorities and companies. In both 2008 and 2010, we reviewed the websites of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and all 31 provincial Environmental Protection Bureaus, conducted experiments in requesting information disclosure, and held interviews with all provincial Environmental Protection Bureaus. We conclude that the implementation of the Environmental Information Disclosure Decree is improving but still far from widespread, full and effective. The lack of enforcement and the ambiguity of some clauses in the decree give provincial environmental agencies great discretion to avoid disclosure and discourages enforcement of company environmental information disclosure. Implementation shortcomings of the decree are also related to the longstanding closeness, secrecy and monopoly of information in China's political system.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Xianbing Liu, Yanli Dong, Can Wang, Tomohiro Shishime
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper discusses environmental complaints made by citizens living close to industrial polluters in China. Data collected from a questionnaire survey in Suzhou City is used for the analysis. The results confirm a marginal level of citizen environmental complaints in the study area at present. Meaningful findings include the fact that citizens have a tendency to complain collectively, and that perception of the level of environmental information provided by companies significantly determines a citizen's likelihood of lodging environmental complaints. Therefore, the disclosure of corporate environmental information must be emphasized continuously; citizens must be encouraged to correctly understand the environmental performance of companies so that they might make appropriate complaints. Governments need to show their support for citizen-led environmental complaint initiatives. The successful cases would convince them to keep a closer eye on their neighbouring polluters.
  • Political Geography: China, Suzhou
  • Author: André Laliberté
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: For people reading the mainstream media, the recent travails of the Shouwang Church in Beijing – a Protestant congregation whose followers have been forbidden to worship in public since being evicted from the premises they rented – seem emblematic of a confrontational relationship between religion and state in China today (Jacobs 2011a). This impression appears to be confirmed when we also look at the persecution that adherents to Falungong continue to suffer (Richardson and Edelman 2011) and the difficult relations that Muslims in Xinjiang and Buddhists in Tibet experience. However, this is only one side of the story. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), at least since the administration of Jiang Zemin, has looked with approval at the growth of religion. Party documents have extolled the compatibility between religion and social stability, and the CCP has encouraged the construction or rebuilding of temples all over the country (Ren 2007: 195ff). Intellectuals and local governments are now looking back at China's traditional religions, not long ago dismissed as “superstitions”, as part of a national heritage worthy of preservation. The dramatic expansion of Confucius Institutes all over the world confirms that the party has completely changed its appreciation of traditional culture and religion, now seen as assets (Paradise 2009).
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing
  • Author: Richard Madsen
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the Reform Era in 1979, there has been a rapid growth and development of religious belief and practice in China. A substantial new scholarly literature has been generated in the attempt to document and understand this. This essay identifies the most important contributions to that literature and discusses areas of agreement and controversy across the literature. Along with new data, new paradigms have developed to frame research on Chinese religions. The paradigm derived from C. K. Yang's classic work in the 1960s came from structural functionalism, which served to unite research in the humanities and social sciences. However, structural functionalism has been abandoned by the new generation of scholars. In the humanities, the most popular paradigm derives from Michel Foucault, but there are also scholars who use neo-Durkheimian and neo-Weberian paradigms. In the social sciences, the dominant paradigms tend to focus on state-society relations. None of these paradigms fully captures the complexity of the transformations happening in China. We recommend greater dialogue between the humanities and social sciences in search of more adequate theoretical frameworks for understanding Chinese religions today.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Religion
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Lawrence C. Reardon
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: During the 1980s, Chinese policy elites underwent a process of complex learning in economic policy that resulted in a shift from a revolutionary to a techno-economic paradigm that greatly reduced the control of the Chinese Communist Party over the economy. Spillover from the sectoral paradigm shift affected other policy sectors, which forced policy elites to experiment with religious policies that would complement the new economic paradigm. This experimentation fostered the growth of a civil society that could assume the social responsibilities cast off by the reforming state-owned enterprises. However, the experimentation also empowered distributional coalitions such as the Falungong, which threatened the party's control. Policy elites thus implemented adaptations of religious policies formulated under the revolutionary paradigm. The study concludes that the current conflict between the Vatican and Beijing resembles an iterated prisoner's dilemma and that the conflict will continue until Chinese policy elites realize that the failure of religious policy adaptations threaten the long-term goals of the techno-economic paradigm.
  • Topic: Religion
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: David C. Schak
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between the Chinese state and Protestantism. It demonstrates that it varies widely from place to place; moreover, the actual relationship between individual churches and the local authorities that are supposed to govern them paints a quite different picture from that implied by the laws and regulations. The paper also argues that the state faces a dilemma: On one hand it feels threatened by the appearance of autonomous organizations such as unregistered churches, while on the other it values the contributions they make to society and recognizes that subjecting them to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement and China Christian Council would require a good deal of force and be very socially disruptive.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: André Laliberté
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The Chinese Communist Party has shown tolerance, if not direct support, for the growth of Buddhism over the last few decades. Three explanations for this lenient attitude are explored in this article. The flourishing of Buddhism is encouraged by the state less for its propaganda value in foreign affairs than for its potential to lure tourists who will, in turn, represent a source of revenue for local governments. Buddhist institutions are also establishing their track record in the management of philanthropic activities in impoverished area where local governments lack the resources to offer specific social services. Finally, the development of such activities has contributed to enhance cooperation between China and Taiwan, whose governments have a vested interest in the improvement of relations across the Strait. The article concludes that the growth of Buddhism in China results from the initiatives of Buddhists themselves, and the government supports this growth because it serves local politics well.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Min Xia
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines the impacts of two types of social capital – bonding and bridging – upon the performance of grassroots selfgovernment institutions in rural China, based on an original survey of 410 villages throughout the whole of China. The findings indicate that, on the one hand, bonding social capital still has a very solid foundation in the rural areas of China. On the other, bridging social capital is in formation in Chinese villages, even though the stock of bridging social capital is currently very moderate. Moreover, this study finds that bridging social capital, as manifested in general trust and inclusive social networks, positively affected the governance performance of each surveyed village. Yet, bonding social capital, as manifested in particular trust and exclusive social networks, tends to negatively impact the performance of Chinese rural governance. These findings help clarify some theoretical issues about, and shed some light on the prospects of, the rural self-governance system in China.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Andy Yee
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article systematically compares maritime territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas. It draws on the bargaining model of war and hegemonic stability theory to track the record of conflicts and shifts in the relative power balances of the claimants, leading to the conclusion that certainty and stability have improved in the South China Sea, with the converse happening in the East China Sea. To enrich the models, this article also considers social factors (constructivism) and arrives at the same conclusion. This calls for a differentiated methodological approach if we are to devise strategies to mediate and resolve these disputes.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jonathan Holslag
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: From all accounts, China's return to Africa has been a bumpy journey. Not only was it one of the most scrutinized recent events in international politics, but it also tested China's traditional diplomatic premises such as non-interference, equality and mutually beneficial cooperation. This thematic issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs will not judge the degree to which these principles were upheld. Rather, it will present new insights into how China's presence on the African continent has evolved, what challenges it has encountered, and how this all affected the prospects for Chinese cooperation with Europe in Africa. It is clear that China has seen its economic presence and its diplomatic manoeuvrability in Africa become imperilled, not least by bad governance, lack of regional stability, and piracy. Most contributors to this issue also recognize that this makes cooperation with Europe imperative. Yet, they also find that pressing common interests have not been sufficiently converted into synergies – neither bilaterally between China and Europe, nor in a trilateral setting with African stakeholders.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe