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  • Author: Lee Chun-yi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • 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
  • Author: Karsten Giese
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • 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: Cheryl Mei-ting Schmitz
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
30. Editorial
  • Author: Karsten Griese
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • 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
  • Author: Heike Holbig
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: For more than two decades, the National Planning Office for Philosophy and Social Sciences (NPOPSS) has been managing official funding of social science research in China under the orbit of the Communist Party of China's (C PC) propaganda system. By focusing on "Major Projects", the most prestigious and well-funded program initiated by the NPOPSS in 2004, this contribution outlines the political and institutional ramifications of this line of official funding and attempts to identify larger shifts during the past decade in the "ideologics" of official social science research funding – the changing ideological circumscriptions of research agendas in the more narrow sense of echoing party theory and rhetoric and – in the broader sense – of adapting to an increasingly dominant official discourse of cultural and national self-assertion. To conclude, this article offers reflections on the potential repercussions of these shifts for international academic collaboration.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Doris Fischer
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past three decades, China's fast economic development has induced considerable changes in China's university and research institution landscape, research financing and academic career incentives. This paper argues that these changes have affected the motivation and the ways in which Chinese scholars engage in international research cooperation. Most recently it has been observed that strong pressures on scholars and scientists – especially at leading academic institutions – to excel in international publications while simultaneously fulfilling their obligation to generate income for their institutions can lead to a dilemma with regard to international research cooperation: Those institutions and scholars most interesting for foreign scholars to cooperate with may be the ones with the least amount of both incentive and time to enter into serious cooperation. This article invites us to reflect on the implications of these changes in the incentive structure for cooperation in social science research on China.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Josef Gregory Mahoney
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper discusses how cooperation between Chinese researchers and their foreign counterparts has changed. The paper draws on current literature and the author's experience as a researcher in the US and in China, arguing that while cooperation has increased overall, it has done so in ways that have crowded out old forms of cooperation or made them passé. The paper focuses particularly on how changes at leading Chinese research institutions have impacted international cooperation, both positively and negatively, and suggests ways in which foreign scholars might effectively pursue new avenues for cooperation and exchange.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Christian Gobel
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Field research in China often requires the researcher to cooperate with two kinds of actors: research collaborators, such as those at universities or official think tanks, and local officials. These actors facilitate or enhance field access, but such access comes at the price of a potential "pre-selection bias" in data collection. Some scholars have argued that dependence on these "gatekeepers" introduces a significant bias into research outcomes. I argue, however, that the constraints faced by China scholars in their field studies are not absolute, but function by degree. The CCP is monolithic neither in its organization nor in the thoughts of its agents, and close collaboration with local partners can help remove normative bias rather than necessarily introducing it. Most importantly, an argument built exclusively on the power of structural constraints discounts China scholars' most crucial abilities: to learn, to think critically and to research holistically.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Ya-ning Kao
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines two cases of Zhuang religious revival involving multiple actors. It shows how consideration of "superstition" (迷信, mixin) places some religious practice outside the institutional framework when discussing the modern concept of religion in China. In this paper, I particularly focus on two main dimensions of religious revival among the Zhuang people. The first is a grassroots dimension that involves the revival of a so-called "superstitious" cult in which Zhuang people along the Sino-Vietnamese border carry out shamanic rituals to make offerings to a powerful chief-turned-deity, Nong Zhigao, and his wife. The second dimension is a top-down dynamic and involves a series of projects conducted by Zhuang officials, scholars and business persons, which aim to standardize a Zhuang religion, known as Mo religion. These two cases of religious revival demonstrate the varied strategies utilized by different actors in response to government policies regarding religion in China.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Martin Saxel
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The relation between ethnicity and religion has had a troubled history in the People's Republic of China. Conflating religious practice with ethnic culture is considered to carry the risk of breeding "splittism" – especially in Tibet and Xinjiang. While in the post-Mao era the outright hostility against religion has given way to a religious revival, keeping religion and (nationality) politics separate has remained a major concern for the Chinese Communist Party. Religion is supposed to be a private matter that does not interfere with politics. Against this backdrop, a recent phenomenon in the Tibet Autonomous Region is all the more remarkable: the (re-)fusion of ethnicity and religion under the label of cultural heritage and its protection. This paper approaches this officially endorsed re-fusion ethno-graphically and examines its wider implications. I argue that endorsing religion as an attribute of Tibetan heritage corresponds to the concept of defining public spaces and events in which religious practice is legitimate and expected. Simultaneously, religious practices outside these dedicated spaces and events become even more problematic, leading to everyday Buddhist practices, such as circumambulation, being seen as (and performed as) political acts.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Nele Noesselt
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses changes in China's relations with socialist countries. It uses Chinese academic publications to add an insideâ?out perspective to the interpretation of Chinese foreign policy and outlines key socioâ?cognitive determinants of China's foreign behaviour. The paper starts with an overview of role theory, integrating Chinese scholars' writings on images of ego and alter to identify the main patterns and frames of China's selfproclaimed national role(s). It argues that China's actor identity comprises various, partly contradictory role conceptions. National roles derived from China's internal structures and its historical past lead to continuity in Chinese foreign policy, while the 'new' roles resultant from China's rise to global powerhood require it to adapt its foreign policy principles. The paper then examines four bilateral relationships – between China and Cuba, North Korea, the Soviet Union/Russia, and Vietnam – and discusses their development over time in light of China's reformulation of its 'socialist' role conception.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Socialism/Marxism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Sandra Heep
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Against the backdrop of China's increasingly influential role in global finance and the debate on the emergence of a “Beijing Consensus,” this paper examines whether the ideology that China promotes in the Bretton Woods institutions is conducive to the initiation of financial policy change at the international level. Drawing on Barnett and Duvall's (2005) conceptualization of productive power, Snow and Benford's (1988) framing theory and Freeden's (1996) understanding of ideology, the paper develops a theoretical framework for the analysis of international policy framing. Following an overview of China's rise in global finance, it identifies the core elements of the ideology that has been promoted by Chinese government officials in the Bretton Woods institutions since the onset of the global financial crisis. The paper argues that China's ruling elites will only be able to initiate a shift in the global consensus on acceptable financial policies if the frames that they propagate succeed in striking a balance between ideological continuity and change.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Patrick Köllner
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Analyses of the shape and functioning of systems of political rule need to address informal institutions, which exist alongside and can relate to formal institutions in various ways. In this paper, I first discuss some analytical foundations of the study of such institutions. I then suggest that a focus on political regimes – understood as the configuration of formal and informal institutions shaping and reflecting the access to and the exercise of political power – can be particularly useful for analysing the shape and functioning of autocracies. Finally, I use such a regime focus to study the Chinese Communist Party and its leadership succession process, which is characterised by increasing institutionalisation and complementary as well as substitutive relations between formal and informal institutions.
  • Topic: Communism, Political Economy, Political Theory, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • 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
  • Author: David S. G. Goodman, Jörn Dosch
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The rise of China is not a new phenomenon. The PRC's growing economic (and in a number of cases also political) involvement in Southeast Asia and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa has caught the attention of academics and policymakers alike. However, China's emergence as an important actor in Latin America has only recently appeared on the radar screen of the scholarly community and is still an under-researched area. Eight years have passed since Chinese President Hu Jintao's first tour of Latin America in November 2004, marking the beginning of a new phase in Beijing's trans-Pacific relations. The significant boost in Chinese–Latin American trade provides strong evidence for the importance of this emerging pattern of interaction. China's trade with the region reached 180 billion USD in 2010, evincing not only an increase of 50 per cent from 2009 but also a pattern of sharp growth since 2000, when the China–Latin America trade volume stood at just 13 billion USD. By 2007 bilateral trade had already exceeded Hu's original target of 100 billion USD, set for 2010 ( China Daily 2011; Xinhua 2008). The articles in this issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs bear strong witness to the fact that this budding relationship has been driven mainly by a mutual desire to accelerate economic exchange.
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Rhys Jenkins
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The paper analyses the economic impacts of China's re-emergence on Brazil, looking at both the direct effects of China on Brazil in terms of bilateral trade and investment flows and the indirect effects through increased competition in export markets for manufactured goods and higher world prices for primary commodities. Despite a surge in Chinese FDI in Brazil in 2010, the main driver of bilateral relations is trade. While bilateral trade has grown rapidly, the pattern that has emerged has given rise to concern because Brazil's exports are concentrated in a small number of primary products while imports from China are almost entirely of manufactured goods that are becoming more technologically sophisticated over time. Brazil has benefitted in the short term from the high prices of primary commodities (partly caused by growing Chinese demand), but has lost export markets to China in manufactures, contributing to the "primarization" of the country's export basket.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil
  • Author: Roberto Hernández Hernández
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the commercial relationship between Mexico and China in the context of the liberalization policies enacted by both countries. The policies were developed in the framework of economic globalization and worldwide strategic military power, starting from the end of the Cold War. Against this backdrop, the paper analyses the current trade relations between China and Mexico. The text emphasizes the public policy of both countries, presenting similarities and asymmetries along with the results of their commercial policies and specific business practices.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: China, Mexico
  • 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: Juan Carlos Gachúz
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's foreign policy has been characterized in the last decade by a heightened interest in reaching out to Latin America, particularly to countries rich in natural resources and with potential markets for Chinese exports, and Chile is one of these countries. The paper shows that even though the Chilean economy has benefitted from the signing of the FTA, it also faces potential risks. To continue to benefit, Chile needs to boost exports in other potential export sectors (value-added products or services) and should attempt to attract more Chinese FDI to Chile's export industry. The export of raw materials (particularly non-renewable ones) is not always sustainable in the long term. The roles of the Chilean state and the private sector in attracting Chinese investment and enhancing diversification of exports of value-added products are crucial for the future of the economy of Chile and its relationship with China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Adrian H. Hearn
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's deepening engagement with Latin America has been accompanied by concerns about the Chinese government's regard for international conventions of economic governance. Critics claim that across Latin America and the Caribbean, Chinese aid and trade are characterised by excessive state intervention. This article argues that, for two reasons, the rationale for these misgivings is dissipating. First, since the onset of the global financial crisis, China has gained influence in multilateral institutions, prompting them toward greater acceptance of public spending in developing countries. Second, recent developments in Cuba show that China is actively encouraging the Western hemisphere's only communist country to liberalise its economy. China sits at the crossroads of these local and global developments, prompting Cuba toward rapprochement with international norms even as it works to reform them.
  • Topic: International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Karsten Giese
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, we invite our readers to join us on a journey focusing on global flows with Chinese characteristics. These flows are literally spanning the globe and consist of capital, goods, people and ideas. Concentrating on people and ideas in this issue, these global flows have become ever more diverse and are affecting not only China but also countries all over the world. Though China had been mainly on the receiving end of both capital and ideas for almost two decades starting with the beginning of the reform period and has – once again – become a leading sending region of people sojourning to destinations all over the world, Chinese capital and ideas, now reaching ever more of the world's regions, are late additions to this process. In this topical issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, four authors discuss some of the repercussions of these flows, which are not restricted to implications for the regions receiving Chinese investments and/ or people but are also affecting China and its society more and more. The proverbial “other” has become increasingly present, diverse and influential in China, be it in the form of representations of destination regions for Chinese sojourners and migrants or in the form of personal experiences, given the growing numbers and higher concentrations of foreigners from around the world who have chosen to settle and/ or conduct business in Chinese cities.
  • Topic: Reform
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Artem Rabogoshvili
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The article provides a seminal analysis of the electronic resources in the Chinese cyberspace devoted to the labour migration of Chinese people to Russia. The author focuses on the online narratives and media stories published on three types of electronic resources – government websites of the northeast provinces of the PRC, online reports by the Chinese news agencies, and postings on bulletin board systems (BBSs) in order to find answers to the following research questions: 1. What is the role of Chinese migrants' narratives circulated via different electronic resources on the Internet in the reproduction of the state-regulated imagination of Russia? 2. To what extent have different types of electronic resources (government websites, news agency websites, BBSs) been used to renegotiate this imagination? The research has revealed that the websites of PRC government bodies tend to convey a rather consolidated understanding of Russia as a destination country, frequently publishing the narratives of successful migrants online. The mass media reports tend to provide regular coverage of a broader range of themes related to migration, including those related to the legal and economic vulnerability of Chinese labour migrants in Russia. The semi-anonymous and non-official character of the bulletin board system in turn has allowed its participants to make enquiries about or engage in the discussions of aspects of migration that would never be covered or described in detail by official sources such as government websites.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Hong Liu
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Based upon an empirical analysis of Singaporean Chinese's intriguing and changing linkages with China over the past half century, this paper suggests that multi-layered interactions between the Chinese diaspora and the homeland have led to the formulation of an emerging transnational Chinese social sphere, which has three main characteristics: First, it is a space for communication by ethnic Chinese abroad with their hometown/ homeland through steady and extensive flows of people, ideas, goods and capital that transcend the nation-state borders, although states also play an important role in shaping the nature and characteristics of these flows. Second, this transnational social sphere constitutes a dynamic interface between economy, politics and culture, which has contributed to creating a collective diasporic identity as well as social and business networks. Third, the key institutional mechanism of the transnational social sphere is various types of Chinese organizations – ranging from hometown associations to professional organizations – which serve as integral components of Chinese social and business networks.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Singapore
  • Author: Gordon Mathews, Yang Yang
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article looks at the livelihoods and lives of African traders coming to Hong Kong and Guangzhou. These traders are practising “low-end globalization”, involving small amounts of capital, and semi-legal or illegal transactions under the radar of the law. The article first considers who these traders are, portraying them as, typically, members of the upper crust of their home societies. It then considers these traders in Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong, a building that is an entrepôt between China and the developing world. Finally, it looks at traders' livelihoods and lives in Guangzhou, South China, and traders' efforts to succeed in mainland China. The article argues that one essential economic role China plays today is in manufacturing the cheap, sometimes counterfeit goods that enable Africa and other developing-world regions to experience globalization; the African traders who come to China help make this possible.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Hong Kong, South China, Guangzhou
  • Author: David Shim, Patrick Flamm
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea’s rising status in regional and global affairs has received much attention in recent years. But in academic, media and policy debates South Korea is usually regarded as a mere middle power that, due to its geopolitical situation, has only limited leeway in its foreign policy. Accordingly, it must constantly maneuver between its larger neighbors: China, Japan and Russia. However, this perspective neglects the fact that the same geopolitical constraint also applies to other states in the region. No country can easily project its power over others. We use the concept of “regional power” as a template to discuss South Korea’s rising stature in regional and global politics. We argue that Seoul seems quite capable of keeping up with other assumed regional powers. Hence, we not only provide a novel account of South Korea’s foreign policy options but also go beyond current approaches by asking about the (undetermined) possibilities for Seoul’s regional relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Israel, South Korea
  • Author: Georg Strüver
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: With China's emergence as a global economic and political power, it is commonly assumed that its leadership's influence in international politics has increased considerably. However, systematic studies of China's impact on the foreign policy behavior of other states are rare and generally limited to questions regarding economic capabilities and the use of coercive power. This paper seeks to contribute to the literature on China's global political rise by taking a broader perspective. Drawing on voting data from the UN General Assembly for the last two decades, it explores the plausibility of different explanations for foreign policy similarity: economic, diplomatic and military linkages; domestic institutional similarities; and parallel problem‐solving processes. The logistic regression analyses find that high similarity levels correlate with shared regime characteristics and comparable patterns of sociopolitical globalization. The results further indicate that foreign aid and arms trading seem to help buy support in global politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Development, Emerging Markets, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Daniel Flemes, Georg Strüver, Hannes Ebert
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Rising powers have attracted tremendous interest in international politics and theory. Yet the ways in which secondary powers strategically respond to regional changes in the distribution of power have been largely neglected. This article seeks to fill this gap by presenting a systematic comparative analysis of the different types of and causes of contestation strategies undertaken by secondary powers. Empirically, it focuses on two contentious regional dyads in East and South Asia, exploring how structural, behavioral, and historical factors shape the way in which Japan and Pakistan respond, respectively, to China's and India's regional power politics. The paper concludes that the explanatory power of these factors depends on the particular context: in the case of Japan, China's militarily assertive regional role has invoked the most significant strategic shifts, while in the case of Pakistani contestation, shifts in polarity have had the largest impact on the strategic approach.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Development, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Japan, China, India
  • Author: Jonathan Sullivan, Eliyahu V. Sapir
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the substantial advances made in cross-Strait relations during Ma Ying-jeou's (Ma Yingjiu) first term, the ROC president's rhetoric varied considerably as he grappled with the difficult reality of implementing campaign and inauguration pledges to establish better relations with China while striving to maintain national respect and sovereignty. In this article, we put forward a framework for measuring, analysing and explaining this variation in President Ma's first-term discourse. Analysing a very large number of Ma's speeches, addresses, etc., we provide empirical assessments of how the content of Ma's public pronouncements has developed over time, how his rhetoric varies according to the strategic context and timing of a speech, and how his discourse compares to that of his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian (Chen Shuibian). In addressing these questions, the article contributes a quantitative perspective to existing work on political discourse in Taiwan and to the growing methodological and applied literature on how to systematically analyse Chinese political text.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Gunter Schubert
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Taiwan held its first combined national elections on 14 January 2012. Though the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the largest opposition party, fared much better in the Legislative Yuan elections than it did in 2008, DPP presidential contender Tsai Ying-wen's (Cai Yingwen) clear defeat at the hands of the Kuomintang (KMT, Guomindang) incumbent, Ma Ying-jeou (Ma Yingjiu), in the presidential race came as a surprise. The article examines the election campaigns of both Tsai and Ma, summarizes the election results, and analyses the reasons why the DPP failed to retake the presidency. It then discusses the post-election debate within the DPP on the future of its China policy and ponders what can be expected from the second Ma administration.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Maria Bondes
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The proliferation of social organizations in China has engendered a lively debate about how to conceptualize these social forces. This paper argues that such a conceptualization should take into account the role that both the party-state and social actors attribute to social organizations. With an empirical case study from the western Chinese countryside, this paper explores how social organizations both adapt to the restrictive authoritarian framework and negotiate the spaces opening up to society in the realms of environmental and social politics. The study shows that while the party-state understands organizations as consultants and partners in service provision, they have a deviating self-image from the Western concepts of “NGO” and “civil society” that are becoming increasingly relevant as frames of reference. While their practices remain within the limits imposed by the authoritarian framework, they impact policy formulation, local political participation, and the formation of social networks according to their own self-image as members of a budding Chinese civil society.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Environment, Politics
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Hugo Dobson
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: As a result of the emergence of the G20 as the self‐appointed “premier forum for international economic cooperation”, Asia's expanded participation in G‐summitry has attracted considerable attention. As original G7 member Japan is joined by Australia, China, Indonesia, India and South Korea, this has given rise to another alphanumeric configuration of the Asian 6 (A6). Resulting expectations are that membership in the G20 will impact Asian regionalism as the A6 are forced into coordination and cooperation in response to the G20's agenda and commitments. However, by highlighting the concrete behaviours and motivations of the individual A6 in the G20 summits so far, this paper stands in contrast to the majority of the predominantly normative extant literature. It highlights divergent agendas amongst the A6 as regards the future of the G20 and discusses the high degree of competition over their identities and roles therein. This divergence and competition can be seen across a range of other behaviours including responding to the norm of internationalism in promoting global governance and maintaining the status quo and national interest, in addition to claiming a regional leadership role and managing bilateral relationships with the US.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Indonesia, India, Asia, South Korea, Australia
  • Author: Laurence Marfaing, Alena Thiel
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the twenty‐first century, Africa has seen the arrival of a new form of Chinese migration. Largely independent from big Chinese players, these “new entrepreneurial migrants” come to Africa not as workers in the highly prestigious state projects, but rather to follow their own economic interests. Engaging in business activities as diverse as petty manufacturing, printing, pharmaceutical and medical services, restaurants, beauty salons and last but not least, general trade, these independent Chinese migrants are often acknowledged for bringing affordable new commercial services and goods to low‐income households on the African continent. On the other hand, the high visibility of the Chinese entrepreneurial activities has also sparked anti‐Chinese sentiments among many African entrepreneurs.
  • Topic: Economics, Imperialism, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Ghana
  • Author: Dieter Grunow, Thomas Heberer
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: “Implementation” has become an important element of research in political science at the latest since the publication of the first book on the topic by Pressman and Wildavsky in 1973. The subtitle of the book gives a precise indication as to why this topic has earned so much attention even to this day: How Great Expectations in Washington Are Dashed in Oak- land; Or, Why It's Amazing that Federal Programs Work at All, This Being a Saga of the Economic Development Administration as Told by Two Sympathetic Observers Who Seek to Build Morals on a Foundation of Ruined Hopes . In the process of extending public tasks in gr owing societies – in this time period especially the expansion of welfare functions in OECD countries – public policies were put under observation in order to determine whether policy aims were being followed and goals reached. Effectiveness in task fulfilment and/ or problem-solving in public affairs were the key issues. This did not, and does not, exclude the possibility of purely “symbolic” policy-making – where only making a good appearance in the public sphere is of interest to the protagonists.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Richard Louis Edmonds
  • 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 outlines how the evolution of China's policy and study of the environment are reflected in the scholarly literature, paying special attention to the impact of the country's environmental developments on international relations. In particular, it examines accounts of how China has moved from an isolated national scientific and environmental control infrastructure into the centre of international environmental debates as its society has opened and the geographical scale of ecological problems has expanded. The paper also identifies the continuing inhibitors to China's ability to control environmental degradation – including lack of transparency, elite manipulation, and bureaucratic weaknesses – despite the opening of China's system to limited participation of civil society in its environmental debates.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Dieter Grunow
  • 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 describes empirical observations gathered during a research project on the implementation of environmental protection (EP) policies in China. The project focused on local EP in both urban and rural areas. Policy field analysis was used as a conceptual framework for structuring the observations. The paper develops in three main steps discussing the following topics: 1) Collective problems within the policy field of EP show that EP issues in general are unlike those of other policy fields. Official EP policies in China today resemble those of other countries – but they are separating issues and responsibilities, making local implementation very demanding. 2) China lags behind in its willingness and ability to implement these policies – leading to implementation gaps. To explore the causes and consequences, specific sites in China are described in an extended look at local implementation structures. It was found that although policies in China are basically the same everywhere, the structures for implementing them and the quality of their implementation vary widely with regard to resources, organization, coordination, staff qualifications, personnel placement, and other aspects. 3) Not all of the challenges hampering local implementation of environmental policies were China-specific; however, some of those which are can be described as the macro-context: an ineffective rule of law, insufficient involvement of civil society, and complicated macro-structures of public administration prevent a generally high level of successful EP implementation in China.
  • Topic: Civil Society
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Thomas Heberer, Anja Senz
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article describes how China uses evaluation ratings and monitoring as incentives in order to foster the implementation of environmental policies at the local level. It is argued that decentralisation in China leaves room for actors at the local levels to manoeuver and bargain with those on higher levels for flexible adjustment of implementation policies according to local conditions. However, decentralisation is accompanied by significant institutional changes in the structure of intergovernmental communication, incentives and control. Accordingly, decentralisation in China exhibits a specific design which leaves space for divergent local environmental policies while also engendering “grass-roots mechanisms”. On the whole, this new institutional setting benefits the implementation of environmental policies.
  • Topic: Communications
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Qingzhi Huan
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), has set up six regional Supervision Centres for Environmental Protection (SCEPs) in recent years. The creation of the SCEPs reflects the “green will” of Chinese government, to reverse the ever-worsening environmental situation throughout China by strengthening vertical supervision of the environmental laws and policies enforcement. A primary analysis focusing on the South China Supervision Centre (SCSC) has clearly shown, however, that the SCEPs today can only perform well in the concrete or “small” tasks – most of them designated or handed over by the MEP – rather than in the complicated or “big” issues. To make the SCEPs do more and better, the most desirable but radical policy choice is to reshape them into fully authorised regional “sub-bureaus” of the MEP.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: China
  • 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
  • Author: Bert Jacobs
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: As China's footprint in African trade grows larger by the day, the need to contextualize this rise through comparative analysis becomes ever more necessary. This paper contrasts the sub-Saharan trade relations of both China and Europe with their respective designated stereotypes: those of a dragon and a dove. The article compares the trade dynamics on four levels: the policies and institutional mechanisms that shape the relationship; the composition of the trade flows; the geographic distribution of trade dominance; and the influence of norms and values on the trade pattern. It concludes that although there are empirical grounds behind these stereotypes, Chinese and European trade relations with sub-Saharan Africa are becoming more similar, partly due to a more hawkish European stance.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe
  • Author: Lucy Corkin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: It has long been recognised that the actors involved in crafting and implementing China's foreign policy are not always in agreement. This paper argues that the prioritisation of commercial outreach over purely political objectives in Africa has led to a shift in influence from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). To that end, the paper examines the rising prominence of China Exim Bank's concessional loans as a foreign policy instrument in Africa along with the process through which they are negotiated and implemented. Using the case of Angola, this paper shows how despite formal institutional equality, the MOFCOM is playing a far more influential role than the MFA is in defining the direction of China's foreign policy toward Africa.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Sara Van Hoeymissen
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: African regional organizations play a significant role in maintaining peace and security on their continent. This article looks at how China, as an emerging power in Africa, has incorporated these organizations into its policies on African security crises. It asserts that China has explicitly endorsed regional conflict resolution mechanisms, which it perceives as having a less intrusive impact on third world countries' sovereignty than have initiatives taken under the global collective security system led by the UN Security Council. Moreover, China strengthening cooperation with African regional organizations and aligning its stance with the views emerging from these regional bodies is an important way in which China has tried to respond to the rising security challenges and political demands it is faced with in Africa. The article briefly considers what influence China's increased attention to African regional bodies is having on efforts by Africa's traditional donors to help build – but also shape – Africa's emerging peace and security architecture.
  • Topic: Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, United Nations
  • Author: Susanne Kamerling, Frans-Paul van der Putten
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article aims to assess how China is using its navy to secure its interests in the Gulf of Aden, and what this means for the European Union. The analysis of how China's naval presence in the Gulf of Aden has evolved since early 2009 suggests that China's increasing interests and involvement in Africa do not necessarily lead to the establishment of Chinese naval bases in or close to the continent. To supply its ships, the Chinese navy may well continue using the commercial-diplomatic model that China has been developing. This model is based on China's close diplomatic relations with countries in the region and the extensive presence of Chinese companies to whom logistical services can be outsourced and who are under a greater degree of state influence than most Western multinationals. One of the consequences of this approach is that although China may not establish overseas military bases, it may be able to keep expanding its naval presence in or around Africa.
  • Topic: Piracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Aden
  • Author: Anna Stahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In recent years, both the European Union (EU) and the People's Republic of China (PRC) have considerably stepped up their presence in Africa, including in the field of peace and security. This article discusses how the EU's and China's understanding of governance and sovereignty affects their respective security strategies in Africa. It argues that although European and Chinese rhetoric significantly differs in terms of the doctrines of sovereignty and governance, the conventional wisdom of two competing security models is inaccurate. As a matter of fact, Brussels and Beijing pursue converging security interests in Africa, a fact that can open the door for coordinated Sino-European crisis management efforts.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, North America
  • Author: Nele Noesselt
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: With the beginning of the post-Maoist era, the focus of Chinese foreign policy shifted from ideology and revolution to pragmatism and reform. Chinese scholars in the field of International Relations (IR) are now encouraged to develop abstract scientific analyses of China's international environment. This requires not only the handling of IR theories and methods of foreign policy analysis (FPA), but also a sound knowledge of the organizational structures and policy principles of other states.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Heike Holbig, Bruce Gilley
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The contemporary politics of China reflect an ongoing effort by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to claim the right to rule in light of the consequences of economic development, international pressures, and historical change. China stands out within the Asian region for the success the regime has achieved in this effort. By focusing on the changes in China elite discourse during the reform period and particularly during the last decade, this paper aims to elaborate on the relative importance of various sources of legitimacy as they shift over time, as well as on their inherent dilemmas and limitations. There is evidence of an agile, responsive, and creative party effort to relegitimate the post-revolutionary regime through economic performance, nationalism, ideology, culture, governance, and democracy. At the same time, the paper identifies a clear shift in emphasis from an earlier economic‐nationalistic approach to a more ideological-institutional approach.
  • Topic: Communism, Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Dirk Kohnert
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The remarkable influx of Chinese migrant entrepreneurs in West Africa has been met with growing resistance from established African entrepreneurs. Whether the former have a competitive edge over the latter because of distinctive sociocultural traits or whether the Chineseʹ s supposed effectiveness is just a characteristic feature of any trading diaspora is open to question. This comparative exploratory study of Chinese and Nigerian entrepreneurial migrants in Ghana and Benin provides initial answers to these questions. Apparently, the cultural stimuli for migrant drivers of change are not restricted to inherited value systems or religions, such as a Protestant ethic or Confucianism; rather, they are continually adapted and invented anew by transnational migration networks in a globalized world. There is no evidence of the supposed superiority of the innovative culture of Chinese entrepreneurial migrants versus that of African entrepreneurial migrants. Rather, there exist trading diasporas which have a generally enhanced innovative capacity vis‐à‐vis local entrepreneurs, regardless of the national culture in which they are embedded. In addition, the rivalry of Chinese and Nigerian migrant entrepreneurs in African markets does not necessarily lead to the often suspected cut‐throat competition. Often the actions of each group are complementary to those of the other. Under certain conditions they even contribute to poverty alleviation in the host country.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Migration
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Robert Kappel
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: As the conception of and debates on regional powers have been led by political science, this paper aims to contribute to the discussion from an economics perspective. Based on the discussion of different concepts of economic power—such as those of Schumpeter, Perroux, Predöhl, or Kindleberger—concepts of technological leadership, and the global value chain approaches, the paper develops a research framework for the economics of regional powers. This framework is then tested using descriptive statistics as well as regressions analysis, with a focus on the four regional powers Brazil, China, India, and South Africa. As economic power is relational, the relationship of regional powers to other nations in the region is analyzed.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Robert Kappel
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: A number of regional powers are becoming important international actors and are changing the coordinates of world politics and the global economy. The political and economicshift in favor of these regional powers has been accompanied by the relative loss of importance of the US, Japan, and the EU. The latter countries are increasingly challenged by the economic growth and the geostrategical actions of the regional powers. As the conception of and debates on regional powers have been led by political science, this paper aims to contribute to the discussion from an economics perspective. Based on the discussion of different concepts of economic power–such as those of Schumpeter, Perroux, Predöhl, or Kindleberger–concepts of technological leadership, and the global value chain approaches, the paper develops a research framework for the economics of regional powers. This framework is then tested using descriptive statistics as well as regressions analysis, with a focus on the four regional powers Brazil, China, India, and South Africa. As economic power is relational, the relationship of regional powers to other nations in the region is analyzed. According to the findings, only limited conclusions on the economics of regional powers are possible: a regional power can be described as an economy with a relatively large population and land area which plays a dominant role in trade within the region and in the regional governance. The regional power develops its technological capacities, and its businesses act regionally and globally with increasing strength.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: China, India, Brazil
  • Author: Michael Brian Griffiths
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of the everyday practices of individuality among the migrant workers with whom I worked at “Lamb Buddha”, a hotpot restaurant in Anshan City, Liaoning Province, during the summer of 2007. The majority of the data comes from four young men, meaning that the analysis complements extant studies of Chinese female migrant workers by allowing male-gendered inflections of discourse prominence. The paper examines the internal structure of “symbolic boundaries” drawn and managed in judgements, positioning statements, and so forth, attempting to regress the modalities by which these migrants assert themselves, thus showing how individuality arises from a discursive environment structured by relation to similar peers and distinctly different others.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Baohui Zhang
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign policy has been transformed in recent years. This article seeks to provide a systematic analysis of the most salient features of the new Chinese foreign policy. It identifies five such features. Based on these features, the article suggests that China is poised to become a true global power. This view differs significantly from Gerald Segal's famous claim in 1999 that China was no more than a middle power. The article utilizes many current Chinese sources to help readers understand China's new motives and goals in international and regional affairs.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Arjan de Haan
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The global financial crisis has had a large negative impact on China's economy, particularly on employment, but the government responses appear to have been effective. This article focuses on the social policy responses after the crisis, and how these are situated in the austere social policies that have come about since the economic reforms started in 1978, and the recent aims to create a “harmonious society” and the challenges and contradictions these contain.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Jianhong Zhang, Haico Ebbers
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: About half of China's overseas acquisition attempts have not been completed; the chance of success is much lower than worldwide. This study provides an overview of China's overseas acquisition, and investigates the reasons behind the low likelihood that an acquisition deal is completed. By using a sample that consists of 1,324 overseas acquisition attempts by Chinese firms, the study found that multi-level determinants influence the outcome of China's overseas acquisitions. Based on the findings, we conclude that the distinctive social and economic environment of acquirers; ownership and low competitiveness of these acquirers; lack of global experience; and sensitiveness of the industry all hamper Chinese acquisition deals.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Gordon C. K. Cheung
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Taiwan's Legislative Yuan and Presidential elections in January and March 2008 respectively re-orientated cross-Strait relations from hostility to co-operation. On 4 November 2008, Chen Yunlin, head of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Chiang Pin-kun (Jiang Bingkun), chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), meeting in the Second Chiang-Chen Talks in Taiwan, took a historical step in the further development of cross-Strait relations. Agreements were signed on direct air and sea transport, postal services and food-safety security. On 22 December 2009, the Fourth Chiang- Chen Talks took place in Taizhong and more substantial and technical agreements were signed on agriculture, inspection/ accreditation and fisheries. It seems that continuous integration between China and Taiwan is inevitable. To address the implications of this process for Taiwan's domestic economy, four dimensions of the current cross-Strait relationship are scrutinized: guanxi, plutocracy, legalism and the idea of a Chinese Common Market. It is argued that in order to intensify economic co-operation across the Taiwan Strait, more institutionalization of the cross-Strait relationship must be brought about.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
  • Author: Lee Chun-yi
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on the changing interaction between Taiwanese entrepreneurs and local Chinese governments. Through the analysis of this changing process, it can be seen that Taiwanese businesses are a special “asset” of Chinese governments. The main argument of this paper is that both central and local governments in China have strategic considerations in respect of Taiwanese businesses. The Chinese central government values Taiwanese businesses because more Taiwanese investment in China strengthens the Beijing government in negotiations with the Taibei government. Nevertheless, since the Kuomintang (KMT) (Guomindang) regained power in 2008, the strategic value of Taiwanese businesses in the cross-Strait relationship seems to have decreased. The central government has created a profitable macro-environment enabling local officials to give a warm welcome to Taiwanese businesses. Chinese local governments value Taiwanese businessmen not only because of the central government's deliberate policy but also because they are pursuing their own self-interest. This paper firstly focuses on the changing interaction between Taiwanese businesses and Chinese local governments. It then further analyses the different but complementary interests of both central and local governments in China in relation to Taiwanese investors.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Beijing
  • Author: Sara Hsu, Shiyin Jiang, Halcott Heyward
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Towards the end of 2008, as the world economy slowed and export-demand declined due to the global financial crisis, news reports began to appear detailing the return of rural migrants in China to their provincial homes. It was reported that 20 million rural migrant workers were laid off, and social instability rose due to both economic hardship and to the withholding of the payment of wages. Over time, these circumstances have changed, due to both the Chinese government's fiscal stimulus package and to those programmes that have been targeted specifically at assisting the country's rural migrants. As a result, the situation for rural migrants is no longer dire; circumstances have been greatly ameliorated by proactive government policies. To confirm these results, in this paper we look both at the situation across China and briefly at a study carried out in Sichuan province.
  • Political Geography: China