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  • Author: Sonny Lo
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The complexities of central–local relations in the People's Republic of China (PRC) include at least two main policy dimensions: control over personnel and the appointment of local authorities by the central government in Beijing and the fiscal relations between the centre and the localities.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou
  • Author: Ka Ho Mok, Gengua Hueng
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's welfare system is a typical “residual welfare regime”, which did not manifest too many flaws in the planned economy era. However, economic reform and market-oriented transformations in recent decades have shaken the original well-balanced “residual” and “needs” pattern. The decline of the “work unit system” has led to two consequences: First, it radically transformed the social and economic structures, which gave rise to increased and diversified needs of social welfare. Second, the government is being pressed to shoulder more responsibility for social welfare provisions. This article adopts a case study approach to examine changing social welfare needs and expectations in Guangzhou, a relatively developed city in southern China. With particular focus on the major strategies adopted by the Guangzhou government in addressing people's welfare needs, this article critically examines how far the new measures have met the changing welfare expectations of citizens in mainland China.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Guangzhou
  • Author: Bill Chou
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper investigates how Beijing governs its two special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau through leverages on their local autonomy. First, a conceptual analysis of local autonomy will be provided. Local autonomy is more than a zero-sum game between the central and local authorities over how much power should be granted or taken from the local authorities; it also concerns the space for cultural expression and the use of local customs in public administration. Second, the degree of local autonomy in Hong Kong and Macau will be critically examined. On paper, both SAR governments are able to freely make decisions on a wide range of policies. In practice, however, Beijing has the absolute authority to override the decisions of Hong Kong and Macau. It is argued that the autonomy in cultural expression can compensate for the institutional constraints on the two SARs' decision- making power and is thus able to alleviate public discontent – as long as the constraints do not conflict with the people's core values and ways of life.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Hong Kong
  • Author: Lawrence K. K. Ho, Ming K. Chan
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper aims to highlight the significance of labour issues – namely, the minimum wage (MW) and standard working hours (SWH) – in shaping candidates' electoral platforms in the 2012 chief executive (CE) election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China (PRC). We first offer a brief review of labour politics regarding the MW case as a precursor to the SWH drafting and enactment process. We then provide an analytical delineation of some of the labour and socio-economic dimensions of the CE electoral contest by comparing the candidates' campaign planks in relation to SWH. We then attempt to predict the likely course of the SWH debate under the leadership of Leung Chun-ying, who eventually won the CE election and assumed power on 1 July 2012. We conclude by examining Leung's social engineering attempts to increase popular support amongst low- and middle-income (LMI) households as part of his long-term strategy for the 2017 CE elections and his broader Beijing-entrusted political agenda.
  • Topic: Regime Change
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Hong Kong
  • Author: Steven J. Balla, Zhou Liao
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • 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: Yihong Jiang
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This study looks at Chinese homeowners' participation in policymaking. Drawing on evidence from Guangzhou and Beijing, it shows that various organised homeowner activists have moved upstream in the policy process and have begun to push beyond policy implementation into the domain of agenda setting and “rule-making”. These advocates display rights-conscious patterns of behaviour that are closer to that of interest or lobby groups than to the typical repertoire of Chinese contentious citizens. The study suggests that this kind of political participation is on the rise amongst Chinese homeowner activists. This result complements and extends other recent findings that suggest the Chinese policy process is gradually opening up. Such a trend could have significant implications and calls for more research in different domains of state-society relations.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing
  • Author: Tobias Brandner
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article surveys the complex ecumenical, missionary and international church relations of Chinese Protestant Christians. It argues that the inter-church relations to other parts of Asia are overshadowed by relations to Christians in the West, thus reflecting a political preoccupation with relationships to the West. This is evidenced by an analysis of worldwide and Asian ecumenism as well as bilateral church and missionary relationships. The dominance of contacts with the West not only contradicts the idea of a multipolar world and increased South-South contacts, it also stands in contrast to the reality of growing and increasingly important Christianity in Asia. Methodologically, this paper analyses different kinds of international relations (multilateral and bilateral, inter-church and missionary) and develops a typology of different interchurch and inter-state relations to assess international church relations in Asia today. The typology shows how China's international church relations support its political relationships with its neighbours and beyond.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Maria Bondes, Sandra Heep
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In the debate on authoritarian resilience, the importance of persuasion to regime legitimacy has been widely acknowledged, yet a conceptual framework explaining the role of persuasion is still lacking. Against this backdrop, we argue that the framing perspective (Benford and Snow 2000) provides a useful basis for such a framework. Drawing on Beetham's (1991) model of legitimacy, we contend that the ruling elites in authoritarian regimes propagate official frames in a continuous effort to reproduce the belief of the populace in the elites' leadership qualities and their determination to serve the common interest. In the empirical part of our paper we look at the case of China, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has in recent years reemphasized persuasion as a means of reproducing legitimacy. We then apply our theory in an analysis of the conceptual shifts in the CCP's frames and ideology, as propagated under its secretary general, Hu Jintao.
  • Topic: Government, Political Theory, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Nele Noesselt
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Research on Chinese International Relations (IR) theory has produced a variety of discourses, including post-positivist analyses, contributions by area specialists and China watchers, and articles by Chinese IR scholars. These strands, however, hardly overlap or communicate with each other. To close the gap between “the self-reflection of the core” (“Western” IR) (Waever/Tickner 2009: 3) and “the periphery's revolt against [“Western”] IR” paradigms (ibid.), it is necessary to view China (and other non-“Western” regions) as more than simply a playground for theory testing. This paper thus goes beyond the metatheoretical debate about the possibility of non-“Western” IR. It argues that even though the IR debates in China are heavily influenced by the trends of “Western” IR Studies, the claim regarding the establishment of a “Chinese school of IR” is not a hollow slogan. Indigenous frameworks are already under construction.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Karsten Giese, Alena Thiel
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In this article Chinese-Ghanaian employment relations are analyzed using the concepts of foreignness, the psychological contract, equity, and cross-cultural communication. Based on a qualitative study conducted in Accra, Ghana, we discuss the labor market in general and introduce the conditions under which Chinese sojourners operate their family trade businesses in the city. After discussing the phenomenon of Ghanaian employment within Chinese trade companies from a theoretical perspective, we explain how Chinese employers' and Ghanaian employees' culturally based perceptions of employment relations are contradictory and prone to conflict. We then show how, under the condition of the employers' foreignness, Ghanaian employees perceive their psychological contracts as being violated and Chinese employers regard the equity of exchange relations as distorted. We discuss how Ghanaian employees cope with this situation by means of voice, silence, retreat or destruction, while Chinese employers, who lack both sufficient language skills and effective sanctions, choose to endure perceived distortions of equity and in some cases ultimately terminate employment relations when inadequate cross-cultural communication results in a failure to mediate conflicts.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Ghana