Should African Governments Welcome Or Be Wary of Chinese Infrastructure Investment?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China announced a U.S.$60 billion financing package for African states to build out new roads, airports, railways, and other needed infrastructure. While no one questions the need for infrastructure, there are legitimate concerns as to whether it...

How Taming the Mekong Could Give China Unprecedented Power

Jason Koutsoukis
Bloomberg
The deadly collapse of one of the dozen or so dams dotted along the Mekong River and its tributaries has highlighted the rapid development of a waterway that is increasingly important strategically for China and its neighbors.

China in Africa: Win-Win Development, or a New Colonialism?

Guardian
As their hand-built wooden dhow approaches the shore, Ibrahim Chamume and his fellow fishermen take in the sail and prepare to sell their catch to the small huddle of villagers waiting on the white sand. He has been making a living like this on the...

Books

04.12.18

China’s Great Wall of Debt

Dinny McMahon
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Over the course of a decade spent reporting on the ground in China as a financial journalist, Dinny McMahon gradually came to the conclusion that the widely held belief in China’s inevitable economic ascent is dangerously wrong.In this unprecedented deep dive, McMahon shows how, lurking behind the illusion of prosperity, China’s economic growth has been built on a staggering mountain of debt. While stories of newly built but empty cities, white elephant state projects, and a byzantine shadow banking system have all become a regular fixture in the press in recent years, McMahon goes beyond the headlines to explain how such waste has been allowed to flourish, and why one of the most powerful governments in the world has been at a loss to stop it.Through the stories of ordinary Chinese citizens, McMahon tries to make sense of the unique—and often bizarre—mechanics of the Chinese economy, whether it be the state’s addiction to appropriating land from poor farmers, why a Chinese entrepreneur decided it was cheaper to move his yarn factory to South Carolina, why ambitious Chinese mayors build ghost cities, or why the Chinese bureaucracy was able to stare down Beijing’s attempts to break up the state’s pointless monopoly over the distribution of table salt.Debt, entrenched vested interests, a frenzy of speculation, and an aging population are all pushing China toward an economic reckoning. China’s Great Wall of Debt unravels an incredibly complex and opaque economy, one whose fortunes—for better or worse—will shape the globe like never before.{chop}

China Spends $279 bln on R&D in 2017: Science Minister

Reuters Staff
Reuters
China’s total spending on research and development is estimated to have hit 1.76 trillion yuan ($279 billion) last year, China’s science minister said on Monday, a year-on-year increase of 14 percent.

Industrial Parks Are Africa’s Latest Gamble to Lure Chinese Manufacturers

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Freelance journalist William Davison joins Eric and Cobus to discuss his reporting from the Hawassa Industrial Park in Ethiopia, which is the latest high-stakes gamble taken by a number of African countries to lure Chinese manufacturers. Officials...

China Is Quietly Reshaping the World

Anja Manuel
Atlantic
The Pakistani town of Gwadar was until recently filled with the dust-colored cinderblock houses of about 50,000 fishermen. Ringed by cliffs, desert, and the Arabian Sea, it was at the forgotten edge of the earth. Now it’s one centerpiece of China’s...

Africa Needs Infrastructure, China Wants to Build It. So What’s the Problem?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Every week seemingly brings a new announcement of a Chinese-financed mega project somewhere in Africa. Last week’s announcement of a $5.8 billion power station in Nigeria that will be financed and built by Chinese state-owned companies is typical of...

China, Like U.S., Struggles to Revive Industrial Heartland

Michael Schuman
New York Times
The hulking, brown–brick industrial plants lining the roads were once the backbone of this gritty city. Today, they are outdated and unwanted, and the region is one of the Chinese economy’s most troubled. 

Caixin Media

06.27.17

Is China Building Too Many Airports?

Over the next three years, local authorities in China are planning to build more than 900 airports for general aviation—the segment of the industry that includes crop dusting and tourism. The figure is nearly double the central government’s goal of...

Chinese Debt in Africa: How Much Is Too Much?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China now owns more than half of Kenya’s external debt, and that figure is likely to grow even higher as President Uhuru Kenyatta turns to Beijing to finance large infrastructure projects across the country. Most recently, China completed the first...

The U.S. and China Spend Millions Fighting Malaria in Africa, So Why Don’t They Work Together?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Both the United States and People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fight malaria in Africa. A pair of experts at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia contend that if the U.S. and P.R.C. stopped working in...

Caixin Media

05.05.17

Belt and Road: A Symphony in Need of a Strong Conductor

In just a few weeks, the Chinese president will host the Belt and Road summit—Xi Jinping’s landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Reactions to the project have been, understandably...

The U.N.’s Role in China’s African Development Agenda

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China’s embrace of multilateral diplomacy in Africa is a relatively new phenomenon. For years, Beijing rejected the Western aid model, preferring instead to work bilaterally with African governments where they often employed aid (or infrastructure)...

Books

04.21.17

A New Deal for China’s Workers?

Cynthia Estlund
China’s labor landscape is changing, and it is transforming the global economy in ways that we cannot afford to ignore. Once-silent workers have found their voice, organizing momentous protests, such as the 2010 Honda strikes, and demanding a better deal. China’s leaders have responded not only with repression but with reforms. Are China’s workers on the verge of a breakthrough in industrial relations and labor law reminiscent of the American New Deal?In A New Deal for China’s Workers? Cynthia Estlund views this changing landscape through the comparative lens of America’s twentieth-century experience with industrial unrest. China’s leaders hope to replicate the widely shared prosperity, political legitimacy, and stability that flowed from America’s New Deal, but they are irrevocably opposed to the independent trade unions and mass mobilization that were central to bringing it about. Estlund argues that the specter of an independent labor movement, seen as an existential threat to China’s one-party regime, is both driving and constraining every facet of its response to restless workers.China’s leaders draw on an increasingly sophisticated toolkit in their effort to contain worker activism. The result is a surprising mix of repression and concession, confrontation and cooptation, flaws and functionality, rigidity and pragmatism. If China’s laborers achieve a New Deal, it will be a New Deal with Chinese characteristics, very unlike what workers in the West achieved in the last century. Estlund’s sharp observations and crisp comparative analysis make China’s labor unrest and reform legible to Western readers. —Harvard University Press{chop}

China Spends Billions in Egypt to Woo the Middle East

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s recent state visit to Beijing is the latest evidence that China is maneuvering to play a bigger role in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. The two countries reportedly signed deals worth upwards of $65 billion during...

Is China a Partner or Predator in Africa (or Both)?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this week’s episode of the China in Africa podcast, Matt Ferchen from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing joins Eric and Cobus to discuss his new paper on the perception gaps that exist around the world regarding China’s...

Conversation

02.16.17

Can China Become a Leader of Innovation?

Jost Wübbeke, Yu Zhou & more
China’s ambitious high-tech strategy is raising alarm in industrialized nations. From American and South Korean chipmakers to German car and machine manufacturers, some industry leaders expect the imminent arrival of strong Chinese competitors. Does...

Postcard from Dandong: Politics and Pity on the Border of China and North Korea

Economist
The border between the two countries shows how drastically they have grown apart

Is Latin America of Strategic Importance to China?

Shaheli Das
Diplomat
For China, Latin American countries will be a key part of its bid to influence global governance

How China’s Government Helps —and Hinders— Innovation

Anil Gupta and Haiyan Wang
Harvard Business Review
Given its ideological leanings, China presents itself as a unique experiment in the power of the state to help the economy become more innovative

A New Generation Of Chinese Social Entrepreneurs Is Emerging In Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The dearth of Chinese NGOs in Africa should not come as a surprise given that the emergence of the non-profit sector in China is a relatively new phenomenon. Today, there are an estimated 500,000 registered NGOs in the P.R.C., most of which focus on...

Environment

10.21.16

Will Chinese Money Transform Pakistan?

from chinadialogue
The development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has spurred debate in all quarters. Some perceive it as a form of neo-colonialism and criticize Pakistan’s government for promoting unethical business practices at the cost of ordinary...

Media

08.25.16

China Analysts Should Talk to Each Other, Not at Each Other

Scott Kennedy
On August 12, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued its annual report card on China’s economy and gave the country mixed grades, finding that its “economic transition will continue to be complex, challenging, and potentially bumpy.” In...

China’s Undeserved Reputation for Building Bad Infrastructure in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The Chinese build more infrastructure than any other country (foreign or African) in Africa. Chinese banks are financing billions of dollars in new loans, aid packages, and other deals to build badly-needed infrastructure across the continent, and...

Environment

08.11.16

China-Led Development Bank Careful to Cooperate with Critics

from chinadialogue
The Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB) unveiled its initial batch of projects at its first annual meeting in Beijing in June, giving the go-ahead to investments totaling U.S.$509 million (3.4 billion yuan) and providing an important...

In China, Economic Data Highlights Growing Divide Between Regions

Mark Magnier
Wall Street Journal
Provinces’ first-half figures for GDP growth also have revived the debate over the country’s statistics.

Infographics

06.30.16

Visualizing China’s Aid to Africa

Eva Constantaras
In June of last year, 50 countries signed on to the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, including the U.K., Germany, Australia, and South Korea, acknowledgement of China’s success in driving development through mega-projects to build...

Sinica Podcast

06.20.16

Arthur Kroeber vs. the Conventional Wisdom

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
In this episode of Sinica, we present an in-depth interview with Arthur Kroeber, the founding partner and head of research for Gavekal Dragonomics, an independent global economic research firm, and the editor-in-chief of its journal, China Economic...

China Pouring Billions Into Majority Tibetan Ganzi Prefecture

Eric Baculinao
NBC News
Beijing aims to spend nearly $30 billion over a five-year period in the majority Tibetan prefecture of Ganzi in western Sichuan province.

Green Space

05.18.16

Time Traveling Through Dramatic Urbanization in China Over Decades

Michael Zhao
Twenty-six years ago, only 26 percent of the Chinese population lived in urban areas. Since then, China’s urbanization rate has risen to almost 56 percent, meaning hundreds of millions of people have packed themselves into the country’s 662 cities...

Environment

04.20.16

Book: ‘Black Dragon River’—Russia’s Wild Window into China

from chinadialogue
Russia’s Far East is supposedly a strategically important area for President Vladimir Putin’s administration, with the government repeatedly declaring that development of the remote territory is one of its top priorities. But, as any Russian expert...

Continental Shift: How China is Changing Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For their new book, Continental Shift: A Journey into Africa’s 21st Century, South African authors Kevin Bloom and Richard Poplak embarked on a 14-country odyssey across two continents over a span of five years to report on Africa’s changing...

China Premier Urges More Efforts in Restive Uighur Heartland

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China's violence-prone region of Xinjiang needs to make more efforts at development to ensure young people have "something to do and money to earn."...

Media

03.10.16

China’s Secret Weapon on Disputed Island: Beer and Badminton

Soldiers, ships, and military outposts are the usual tools of nations staking out their territory. But on disputed shoals in the South China Sea, Beijing may be deploying a new arsenal: soccer fields, pipelines, and tea shops.Woody Island is a...

Viewpoint

01.15.16

China’s New Development Bank Needs Better Human Rights Protections

Nicholas Bequelin
On January 16, the Board of Governors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will meet in Beijing to formally launch its operations.A symbol of China’s growing clout on the international scene, the AIIB attracted 57 founding members,...

Green Space

01.14.16

Waking the Green Tiger

This documentary—available in full on ChinaFile throughout January courtesy of filmmaker Gary Marcuse—follows a group of environmental activists trying to prevent the construction of dams on the Nu (Salween) and the Upper Yangtze (Jinsha) rivers in...

Another Kind of Climate Change: China Warms to Superpower Role

ANDREW BROWNE
Wall Street Journal
Paris talks gave a whiff of Beijing’s ambitions to lead—but critics fear that could upend status quo.

As U.S. and Europe Pass the Hat at Climate Talks, China Clings to Developing-Nation Status

KEITH BRADSHER and CORAL DAVENPORT
New York Times
This week, China is crying poverty.

You Can't Understand China Unless You Know How the Communist Party Thinks

Zheng Bijian
Huffington Post
The CPC came into being in 1921, almost a century ago.

Beware of China's Safety Record

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
Chinese people have paid heavily for a flawed system. Now that Chinese-style construction and management are going global, what price is the world prepared to pay?

What to Expect at this Year’s Mega China-Africa Summit

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The sixth Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that will be held in December in Johannesburg comes at a critical time in the Sino-African relationship. The combination of China’s slowing economy, a major slump in global commodity prices, and a...

This Is Where China’s Future Will Be Decided

Matt O'Brien...
Washington Post
Lanzhou, China — The first thing you notice is the dust.

Are the Good Times Over for China and Africa?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
One of the prevailing media narratives of China’s recent economic turmoil is the effect that it could have on emerging markets, particularly in Africa. Now that the Chinese economy is showing real signs of slowing, the story goes, Beijing will soon...

From Amateur to Professional: A 25-Year Photographic Journey

Mark Leong
National Geographic
These old photos are a record of a time now gone, not just for a developing China but also for an updated version of myself. 

Viewpoint

08.07.15

Here’s What’s Wrong With Most Commentary on the Beijing 2022 Olympics

Taisu Zhang & Paul H. Haagen
Upon hearing that Beijing would be hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, we wondered what the Chinese government was thinking. The decision seemed counterintuitive, to say the least: For one thing, it barely snows in Beijing, or even in Zhangjiakou, the...

Media

08.04.15

Beijing’s Winter Doldrums

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On July 31, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing, the arid northern capital of a country with little tradition of winter sports. Beijing will be the first city in history to host both the winter games and...

China’s “New Normal” is Shifting the Country’s Economic Center of Gravity

Richard Macauley
Quartz
But it is not only because more developed cities are slowing that the rest of China is advancing. Smaller, poorer cities are also innovating their way out of the doldrums. Guiyang, capital of Guizhou, China’s poorest province, tops this year’s...

Two Way Street

07.20.15

How China and the U.S. Will Manage Competition for Influence

Ian Bremmer from Two Way Street
Washington refuses to accept that though the United States is not in decline, its international influence is not what it was. It is unlikely to regain the leverage it once wielded, because China and so many others now have more than enough economic...

Two Way Street

07.09.15

The ‘Two Orders’ and the Future of China-U.S. Relations

Wang Jisi from Two Way Street
The China-U.S. relationship may be the most complex relationship that has ever existed between two major powers. Ties between China and the United States are deepening, and at every level the interaction between the two countries is marked by both...

China Parliament Ratifies BRICS Bank Agreement

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China ratifies an agreement with the world's largest emerging nations to create a new development bank, alternative to western institutions such as the World Bank...

China Starts to Play Nice with Foreign Aid Partners

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
New research from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in China indicates Beijing is starting to be more open about its international aid programs. If so, this would mark a significant change from the past where the Chinese government was...

The Village and the Girl

Carrie Gracie
BBC
The destruction of rural China became for pig farmer Xiao Zhang a liberation and an opportunity.

Investors Flee China Funds in Historic Rush

Alanna Petroff
CNN
Chinese funds just experienced the biggest exodus of money ever.

Conversation

06.11.15

How Will Beijing Treat Myanmar’s Symbol of Democracy?

Jurgen Haacke & David Mathieson
Burmese opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent 15 years under house arrest in Myanmar, is visiting the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing for five days this week, through Sunday. Also courted by...

Top Leaders to Host Suu Kyi on Her 1st Visit to China

Louise Watt
Associated Press
The five-day visit includes no public appearances and gives Beijing a chance to get to know Suu Kyi as her country has shifted toward the West.

Caixin Media

06.09.15

China’s Cabinet Unveils Plan to Improve Rural Schools

The State Council has released a plan for improving the quality of education in rural areas over the next five years—a move the cabinet says is aimed at improving the quality of teaching at primary and secondary schools in the country’s less-...

Reports

06.01.15

Demand-Driven Data: How Partner Countries are Gathering Chinese Development Cooperation Information

United Nations
As China becomes one of the major development partners and South-South cooperation (SSC) providers globally, there is increasing demand from partner countries for more information on China’s financial flows. China has been taking initiatives to...

Environment

05.21.15

China’s Role in Illegal Trade of Toxic E-Waste Rising Sharply

from chinadialogue
Discarded smartphones and other gadgets are poisoning the environment and people in developing countries, where most of the world’s electronic waste (e-waste) is being dumped illegally and now involves criminal gangs, the UN’s environment arm warned...