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  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Jian Sun, Lin Ye
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Mega-events such as the World Cup and the Olympics have been used for economic development, urban transformation and global status enhancement. Beijing and Shanghai embraced these purposes when they won the bids for the 2008 Olympics and the 2010 World Expo respectively. This article examines the pre-event economic changes in Beijing and Shanghai that are associated with their pursuit of mega-events. Changes in a group of economic indicators are tracked from 1997 to 2006. It was found that after winning the bids for the Olympics and the World Expo, Beijing and Shanghai experienced greater growth in construction and tourism, a speeding-up in economic development and restructuring, and an improvement in physical infrastructure. However, the enhancement of global exposure was not accompanied by growth in foreign trade and in the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) industries. The empirical analyses place the mega-events in large economic contexts and provide a base for future post-event studies.
  • Political Geography: Shanghai, Beijing
  • 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: Christopher R. Hughes
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This critique assesses Prof. Chang Ya-chung's draft basic agreement for cross-Strait relations by arguing that it overstates changes in Beijing's Taiwan policy, which is based on a strategy that has not seen substantial change since it was devised in the early 1990s to prevent the island's democratization leading to the exercise of self-determination. By over-estimating Taiwan's political, diplomatic, military, and economic vulnerability the proposal unnecessarily narrows down Taibei's options to the point where it has to accept Beijing's one-China principle. This merely closes off other options that Taiwan can just as readily pursue, such as continuing to develop cross-Strait relations through ad hoc solutions to practical problems or seeking more imaginative ways to create a durable modus vivendi with international support. Even more problematic is that a political framework for stability based on the principles of Chinese nationalism is unlikely to be acceptable for Taiwan's liberal- democratic politics and could thus amount to an unnecessary risk that would lead to a less durable cross-Strait status quo than that which has been maintained over the last two decades.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Beijing