China

Hundreds of protesters marked the fourth anniversary of mass pro-democracy rallies, known as the Umbrella Movement, in Hong Kong on Sept. 28.CreditCreditAnthony Wallace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For years, this city was neither genuinely democratic nor entirely authoritarian. Its politics had both democratic and authoritarian elements, though on balance those were more democratic than authoritarian. Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” arrangement with the Chinese government in Beijing afforded it a high degree of autonomy. The territory was able to maintain the rule of law by constraining the local government’s powers and protecting citizens’ fundamental rights.

Not anymore. In the aftermath of the Umbrella Movement in late 2014, a series of protests and an occupation that paralyzed major Hong Kong streets for 79 days, the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) has adjusted its approach.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the coming days, as world leaders travel to Singapore for the annual Southeast Asian summit, China will likely have a rather unpleasant development on its mind: increasing pushback across Southeast Asia of its growing economic influence, led by none other than Malaysia, a traditionally China-friendly nation.

When Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made a surprise return to power earlier this year at the age of 92, it precipitated a qualitative shift in Sino-Malaysian relations as he pushed for more transparent and equitable economic deals with Beijing. As Mahathir said at the time, he views China’s leadership as “inclined towards totalitarianism” and unashamed to “flex [its] muscles” in order to “increase [its] influence over many countries in Southeast Asia.” He characterized the new assertiveness in China’s behavior as “very worrisome,” particularly for smaller neighbors such as Malaysia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Beijing hosted the China International Import Expo this month. Photo: Getty Images.

Forty years since beginning to open up to the world, China now faces a fresh set of foreign policy challenges. One of these will be developing a global foreign policy and responding to concerns in regions that are historically little known in China but will affect and be affected by the country’s economic growth. In order to improve its global diplomacy, China needs to draw on policies that go beyond the simple purposes of securing China’s own economic interests.

The Middle Kingdom projects its power and secures its national interests in three ways: exercising might, spending money and expressing its own mindset.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuando China finalmente tenga su recesión de crecimiento inevitable –que casi con certeza se verá agravada por una crisis financiera, dado el apalancamiento masivo de la economía-, ¿cómo se verá afectado el resto del mundo? En un momento en que la guerra comercial del presidente norteamericano, Donald Trump, está afectando a China justo cuando el crecimiento ya se estaba desacelerando, la pregunta no es banal.

Las estimaciones típicas, por ejemplo las que aparecen en las evaluaciones del riesgo país del Fondo Monetario Internacional, sugieren que una desaceleración económica en China afectará a todos. Pero el dolor agudo, según el FMI, estará más concentrado y confinado regionalmente de lo que estaría si hubiera una recesión profunda en Estados Unidos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Si bien los estudiosos en países desarrollados expresan críticas sobre el uso que el presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, hace de herramientas contundentes – como lo son los aranceles – contra China, muchos de ellos creen que Trump está respondiendo frente a un problema real. Sostienen que China, en los hechos, sí incurre en prácticas comerciales desleales. Pero, ¿es esto cierto?

Una de las principales quejas contra China se basa en lo que las autoridades de Estados Unidos llaman “transferencia forzada de tecnología”: las empresas extranjeras que buscan acceder al mercado chino deben compartir su propiedad intelectual con un “socio” local en China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Se han cumplido 400 años de la muerte de Diego de Pantoja, el primer jesuita español que hizo realidad el proyecto de san Francisco Javier, primer misionero católico de Japón que murió cuando se disponía a entrar en China. El historiador alemán Georg Schurhammer relata cuánto impactó al navarro la pregunta de unos japoneses: «Si el cristianismo es la religión verdadera, ¿cómo es que los chinos, tan sabios y cultos, no la conocen ni propagan?». Javier decidió entonces entrar en China, pero no pudo; Diego de Pantoja sí, y acompañando a Matteo Ricci, SJ, incluso consiguió acceder a la Ciudad Prohibida en 1601.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los países suelen dedicar fondos públicos a promover las exportaciones de sus bienes y servicios. Pero dedicar recursos a promover las importaciones –como está haciendo China con su Exposición Internacional de Importación inaugural, que acaba de abrir sus puertas en Shanghái- es verdaderamente raro.

La Exposición de Importación anual, que será parte de la estrategia general de promoción de importaciones de China, ha atraído a miles de compañías de todo el mundo con la promesa de grandes pedidos de firmas chinas, incluidas empresas estatales a las que el gobierno ha encomendado la tarea de que la exposición resulte un éxito.

Si la exposición logra aumentar las importaciones, uno podría esperar que esto redujera el excedente comercial de China.…  Seguir leyendo »

En el transcurso de los últimos 15 años, China ha impulsado uno de los incrementos en préstamos oficiales más impresionantes y de mayor alcance geográfico en tiempos de paz de toda la historia. Más de cien países, predominantemente países de bajos ingresos, han tomado préstamos de China para financiar proyectos de infraestructura, ampliar su capacidad productiva en el sector de minería u otros sectores de productos básicos o para apoyar el gasto gubernamental, de manera general.

Sin embargo, el tamaño de esta ola de préstamos no es la característica más distintiva de dicho incremento en préstamos oficiales. Lo que es verdaderamente notable es el poco conocimiento que tiene al respecto cualquier persona que sea ajena al grupo de actores inmediatos – formado por aquellos que otorgan prestamos: el gobierno chino y las agencias de desarrollo; y, por quienes toman préstamos: los gobiernos y las empresas estatales.…  Seguir leyendo »

People walk past the 'Belt and Road' ecological wall in Beijing during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May. Photo: Getty Images.

One could be forgiven for having missed the fifth birthday last month of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Celebrations were notably mute, for two obvious reasons. One is the increasingly audible grumbling among recipient countries about the effects of what Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has called a ‘new colonialism’ — a phrase that captures the idea that the BRI has led to the accumulation of debt on receiving countries’ balance sheets to pay for projects of uncertain value, built mostly by Chinese contractors on opaque terms, allowing China’s regional influence to grow in ways that are out of proportion to the benefits that countries can expect to enjoy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers of the Chinese Battalion of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), in Juba, South Sudan. China routinely deploys a squad of female peacekeepers with every infantry battalion. The PLA says the largest has been a group of 19 deployed to Mali. UN Mulitmedia

China’s growing engagement with African countries got a publicity boost on 3-4 September with the latest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The triennial event brought leaders and officials from 53 African countries and the African Union (AU) to Beijing for meetings that culminated in a resolution to continue strengthening ties and a renewed pledge of billions of dollars in Chinese loans, grants and investments. Over the past decade China’s role in peace and security has also grown rapidly through arms sales, military cooperation and peacekeeping deployments in Africa. Today, through FOCAC and support to the AU and other mechanisms, China is making a growing effort to take a systematic, pan-African approach to security on the continent.…  Seguir leyendo »

An image from undated video footage of Muslims reading from official Chinese language textbooks at a training center in Hotan, in Xinjiang. The Chinese authorities recently acknowledged the existence of a vast network of indoctrination camps. Credit Credit CCTV, via Associated Press Video, via Associated Press

“Citizens, please remain calm and relax, no one in the re-education camps will starve, be left in the cold, be punished or be forced to work.” With these words, an official from China’s Communist Youth League tried to reassure relatives and friends of members of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities who had been taken to internment centers. The detainees were “infected by an ideological illness,” the official said, and the camps would “cleanse the virus from their brain.”

When the speech was delivered in October 2017, the camps were unknown even to some of the people they targeted, the roughly 11 million ethnic Uighurs and one million Kazakhs of Xinjiang, a nominally autonomous region in northwestern China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mass ahead of Easter celebrations at the government-sanctioned South Cathedral in Beijing, in March.CreditCreditGreg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Last month the Vatican announced that it had come to a provisional agreement with the government of China over the appointment of Catholic bishops. Supporters of the deal say that it finally brings unity after longstanding division — between an underground Church loyal to the pope and an official church approved by the Chinese authorities — and that with it, the Chinese government has for the first time recognized the authority of the pope. In fact, the deal is a major step toward the annihilation of the real Church in China.

I know the Church in China, I know the Communists and I know the Holy See.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last month, the international law enforcement agency Interpol lost its chief, Meng Hongwei, and set out looking for him. It turns out that Mr. Meng, also a vice minister of public security in China, was arrested by Chinese security personnel upon returning to China (Interpol is headquartered in France). It took nearly two weeks to find out why: Partly in response to Interpol’s demands for information, the internal oversight organ of the Chinese Communist Party announced that Mr. Meng was under investigation for being “possibly involved in illegal activities.” Interpol then received Mr. Meng’s resignation.

Mr. Meng’s trial may not take place for months, but the C.C.P.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Xuelong 2 icebreaker is christened in Shanghai on 10 September. Photo via Getty Images.

As polar ice melts, the Arctic will become increasingly important for its untapped oil, gas and minerals as they become more accessible, as well for its shipping routes, which will become increasingly cost efficient for cargo as parts of the routes become ice-free for extended periods.

A number of countries, including Russia and China, are also exploring the possibilities around overflights, commercial fishing, the laying of submarine cables and pipelines, and scientific research.

Earlier this month, China announced the launch of its first domestically built conventionally-powered polar icebreaker, Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2. Like its (foreign-built) predecessor,Snow Dragon, this vessel’s purpose is framed as scientific research into polar ice coverage, environmental conditions, and biological resources.…  Seguir leyendo »

Depuis sa fondation en 1949, la République populaire de Chine a cherché à renforcer son contrôle sur les régions périphériques et historiquement non-chinoises, telles que le Tibet, et le cas moins médiatisé du Turkestan oriental.

Au cours des dernières décennies, pour asseoir son autorité, le régime chinois n’a pas hésité à recourir à divers moyens économiques, politiques, mais aussi à la force et à l’encouragement à l’installation – voire à l’envoi direct et programmé – de populations han (chinois ethniques) dans ces périphéries pour mieux les arrimer à son territoire national.

Dans ces régions qui possèdent langues, cultures et organisations sociales et politiques propres, le mécontentement vis-à-vis des politiques imposées par l’Etat chinois et le questionnement de la légitimité de son autorité se manifestent continuellement jusqu’à aujourd’hui.…  Seguir leyendo »

Will China Hack the U.S. Midterms

President Trump recently accused the Chinese of interfering in American politics ahead of the midterm elections. “They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president to ever challenge China on trade,” he said, addressing the United Nations Security Council. He provided no evidence, and appeared to be complaining mostly about retaliatory tariffs by the Chinese government, which may hurt constituencies that support him, and an advertorial touting U.S.-China trade in an Iowa newspaper.

In a speech to the Hudson Institute on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence doubled down on the accusation, arguing that China “has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 elections and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential elections.” Neither the president nor the vice president charged China with stealing and releasing politically sensitive emails or manipulating social media, as the Russian government appears to have done to sway the 2016 presidential election.…  Seguir leyendo »

It was a close call for the USS Decatur this week, when a Chinese naval vessel came within yards of the guided-missile destroyer. The Decatur, shown on Oct. 21, 2016, was passing the Spratly Islands, a chain claimed by China. The Pentagon told the Agence France-Presse news agency Sunday that the Decatur “conducted a freedom of navigation operation,” sailing within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Diana Quinlan/U.S. Navy/AFP)

U.S. and Chinese warships played a dangerous game of chicken in the South China Sea this week, adding to the rising tensions over trade issues and allegations of Chinese meddling in U.S. elections. U.S.-China relations appear to be on shaky ground — but how will these tensions play out?

For political scientists, a big question in recent years is whether China will remain a firm partner in the “liberal international order” or become a “revisionist power,” one that will overturn existing institutions in pursuit of its global agenda. Many scholars believe that China’s membership in key security, economic and political institutions will limit its ambitions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hace cinco años, los líderes de China decidieron apostar por la gobernanza estatal moderna como una prioridad de sus reformas. Su objetivo es mejorar la capacidad del estado de adaptarse al inmenso tamaño y la creciente complejidad de la economía china, además de mitigar los riesgos. No será fácil lograrlo.

Para comprender por qué y lo que será necesario para tener éxito, piénsese en cómo ha funcionado la gobernanza china en las últimas décadas. En general, para gobernar el país se requiere una combinación de centralización política y descentralización económica. En particular, el espectacular aumento de su ingreso nacional se ha debido a un delicado equilibrio entre la concentración del poder político en el liderazgo central y la delegación de la gestión económica a las autoridades locales.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jack Ma at the World Economic Forum meeting in Tianjin, China, this month.CreditCreditChina Network/Reuters

Earlier this month, Jack Ma announced that he was stepping down as executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the world’s largest e-commerce company. His decision caught many by surprise. At an economic forum in Russia, President Vladimir V. Putin reportedly asked him, “You are still so young. Why are you retiring?”

Maybe Mr. Ma, 54, knows something that Mr. Putin does not. Two of the three forces, globalization and marketization, that have propelled Alibaba to its current $500 billion valuation are dissipating. The third force, technology, is mired in the trade war between China and the United States, and its prospects in China are now uncertain.…  Seguir leyendo »

What China Can Teach the U.S. About Artificial Intelligence

Every technology goes through an age of discovery and an age of implementation. During the age of discovery, the critical work takes place in research laboratories, where scientists make the breakthroughs that move the field forward. During the age of implementation, the technology reaches a point of practical utility and begins spilling out of the lab and into the world.

Over the past decade, I’ve watched firsthand as the field of artificial intelligence has transitioned from one phase to the other. The 1980s and 1990s were a period of discovery in A.I., one that I participated in through my research on speech recognition at Carnegie Mellon University and Apple.…  Seguir leyendo »