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  • Author: Ben Lampert, Giles Mohan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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: Steven J. Balla, Zhou Liao
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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: Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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: Danielle Tan
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: During the colonial period, Laos welcomed the smallest overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, communities that almost disappeared after the communist forces seized power in Laos in 1975. Yet, this landlocked country shares a long history with China and even experienced a Golden Age thanks to the thriving caravan trade between Yunnan and mainland Southeast Asia. The Greater Mekong Subregion initiative, a development programme launched by the Asian Development Bank, has revitalized these historical trade routes, causing thousands of Chinese migrants to pour onto the new roads of Laos, channelled through the North–South Economic Corridor linking Kunming to Bangkok. Depicted as “an army of ants” that plunders the natural resources of this poor country, these Chinese migrants are also the main drivers of development. The paper seeks to examine the specificity of China's engagement in Laos. I suggest that this small and forgotten country can provide insightful lessons to better understand the current changes taking place in Chinese migration worldwide.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Laos
  • Author: Simona Alba Grano, Ping-Lan Tu
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Although Taiwan arguably needs civil and official collaboration non environmental protection, the implementation of an efficient system of environmental regulations has often been hindered by the many actors involved in the process of environmental governance (state, economic actors, civil society, media), whose interests are divergent. Consequently, there is no uniform, homogeneous authority for environmental governance but rather a variety of official and less official agents of authority whose interests and powers overlap and compete. In this paper we will introduce a case study dealing with the controversy surrounding the construction of an alternative road connecting Danshui with Taibei City (namely, the Danshui North Shore Road Project, Danbei daolu) to elucidate what the key influences are that govern environmental power dynamics between different agents with conflicting (or, sometimes, colluding) interests and how these multiple levels of interaction are negotiated by the various players. Our hypothesis holds that although environmental policies are, for the most part, mandated from the top, at the local level their implementation can be bypassed, altered or stalled by these various agents.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Wang Hung-jen
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In this paper I analyse how Taiwanese liberalist scholars have discursively and operationally shaped the meanings of Taiwanese democratization via a mix of liberal values and nationalist concerns. I will argue that a valid understanding of democratization in Taiwan has never emerged in a way that adequately responds to a liberalist perspective of the country's ongoing political development. Instead, such an understanding has been subjectively influenced by liberal intellectuals writing on the subject. In other words, current discourses in Taiwan represent efforts on the part of scholars to manage connections between liberalist values and nationalist concerns rather than shared views regarding facts emerging from Taiwanese democratization. In this paper I discuss four types of liberalist orientations to Taiwanese democratization – universal, moderate, pragmatic and nationalist – in the contexts of national-identity constraints, a balance between liberal values and national identity, and flexibility regarding liberalist and nationalist concerns. I conclude that democratization research in Taiwan reflects an aspect of knowledge production formulated by the relationship between the researcher and the subject under study.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Taiwan
  • Author: Cheng Li
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article explores two interrelated aspects of the new dynamics within the CCP leadership – the new elite groups and the new ground rules in Chinese politics. The first shows profound changes in the recruitment of the elite and the second aims to reveal the changing mechanisms of political control and the checks and balances of the Chinese political system. The article argues that the future of the CCP largely depends on two seemingly contradictory needs: how broad-based will the Party's recruitment of its new elites be on the one hand and how effective will the top leadership be in controlling this increasingly diverse political institution on the other. The emerging fifth generation of leaders is likely to find the challenge of producing elite harmony and unity within the Party more difficult than their predecessors. Yet, the diverse demographic and political backgrounds of China's new leaders can also be considered a positive development that may contribute to the Chinese-style inner-Party democracy.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: China