Books

05.03.18

High-Speed Empire

Will Doig
Columbia Global Reports: The story of the world’s most audacious infrastructure project.Less than a decade ago, China did not have a single high-speed train in service. Today, it owns a network of 14,000 miles of high-speed rail, far more than the rest of the world combined. Now, China is pushing its tracks into Southeast Asia, reviving a century-old colonial fantasy of an imperial railroad stretching to Singapore, and kicking off a key piece of the One Belt One Road initiative, which has a price tag of U.S.$1 trillion and reaches inside the borders of more than 60 countries.The Pan-Asia Railway portion of One Belt One Road could transform Southeast Asia, bringing shiny Chinese cities, entire economies, and waves of migrants where none existed before. But if it doesn’t succeed, that would be a cautionary tale about whether a new superpower, with levels of global authority unimaginable just a decade ago, can pull entire regions into its orbit simply with tracks, sweat, and lots of money. Journalist Will Doig traveled to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore to chronicle the dramatic transformations taking place—and to find out whether ordinary people have a voice in this moment of economic, political, and cultural collision.{chop}

China Tells Donald Trump: We Can Help Make America’s Infrastructure Great Again

Catherine Wong
South China Morning Post
China has offered to take part in US President Donald Trump’s US$1.5 trillion plan to repair and upgrade America’s infrastructure, saying it would complement Beijing’s own Belt and Road Initiative.

Why Chinese State Media Love Elon Musk’s Latest Tweets

Jethro Mullen
CNN
The Tesla CEO tweeted out a link to a video about a Chinese rail station that was built in less than 9 hours.

China’s Plans for Creating New International Courts Are Raising Fears of Bias

Nyshka Chandran
CNBC
Multi-jurisdictional dealings between Chinese entities and their emerging market counterparts can pose immense regulatory challenges, especially in the realms of financing and execution.

Conversation

02.01.18

Should Pacific Island Nations Be Wary of Chinese Influence?

Jenny Hayward-Jones, Graeme Smith & more
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s three-day visit to China, from January 31 to February 2, has amplified ongoing debates in Europe about the costs and benefits of engagement with China and of Chinese investment. Attention to China’s role in...

The Island Paradise That Could Be China’s Next Strategic Transport Hub

Justina Crabtree
CNBC
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded his annual trip to Africa on Tuesday with a visit to the tiny island nation of Sao Tome and Principe, off the continent's western gulf...

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...

For China's Global Ambitions, ‘Iran Is at the Center of Everything’

Thomas Erdbrink
New York Times
When Zuao Ru Lin, a Beijing entrepreneur, first heard about business opportunities in eastern Iran, he was skeptical. But then he bought a map and began to envision the region without any borders, as one enormous market.

Environment

06.30.17

Can the AIIB Support Asia’s Energy Revolution?

from chinadialogue
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), headquartered in Beijing, held its second annual meeting on the Korean island of Jeju last week. Korea is currently positioning Jeju as a zero-carbon tourist destination, so the choice of location...

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...

Books

06.20.17

Shadow Banking and the Rise of Capitalism in China

Andrew Collier
This book is about the growth of shadow banking in China and the rise of China’s free markets. Shadow Banking refers to capital that is distributed outside the formal banking system, including everything from Mom and Pop lending shops to online credit to giant state owned banks called Trusts. They have grown from a fraction of the economy 10 years ago to nearly half of all China’s annual 25 trillion renminbi (U.S.$4.1 trillion) in lending in the economy today.Shadow Banks are a new aspect of capitalism in China—barely regulated, highly risky, yet tolerated by Beijing. They have been permitted to flourish because many companies cannot get access to formal bank loans. It is the Wild West of banking in China. If we define capitalism as economic activity controlled by the private sector, then Shadow Banking is still in a hybrid stage, a halfway house between the state and the private economic. But it is precisely this divide that makes Shadow Banking important to the rise of capitalism. How Beijing handles this large free market will say a lot about how the country’s economy will grow—will free markets be granted greater leeway? —Palgrave Macmillan{chop}

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...

China, Russia Share Much to Expand Economic Cooperation

China Daily
Roughly three months ahead of a BRICS summit to be held in China, Russian analysts saw immense potential to increase and diversify economic cooperation between Russia and China.

What Do Trump’s Views on Europe Mean for China?

Paul Haenle & Tomáš Valášek from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
President Trump will travel to Europe in May for his first time since taking office to meet with European Union (E.U.) leaders, attend a NATO meeting, and visit the organization’s headquarters in Brussels. Although he has walked back some of his...

China’s Xi Positions Himself as Free Trade and Climate Champion

James Griffiths
CNN
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the world to reject protectionism and promote free trade in the latest attempt by Beijing to take up the mantle of globalization since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.

China Pledges More Than $100 Billion in Belt and Road Projects

sophia yan
CNBC
China is pledging more than $100 billion to finance projects under its “One Belt, One Road” strategy, an ambitious initiative to strengthen the world’s second-largest economy’s investment, influence and trade links to the rest of the globe.

China’s Summit for Its New Silk Road Is Missing 44 Heads of State from the 65 Nations Involved

zheping huang
Quartz
World leaders are gathering in Beijing this weekend for a big summit touting China’s infrastructure spending spree to connect Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The project, known as the Belt and Road Initiative—or “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR...

China Says Silk Road Plan Is Not Tied to Presidency

Reuters
China’s President Xi Jinping initiated the ambitious “Belt and Road” development plan but it has become a world plan not tied to his presidency, the Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday, days before Xi hosts a global forum on the initiative.

How Trump Gave China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Scheme a Boost

cary huang
South China Morning Post
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and Road’ trade development initiative, always ambitious, has been given a boost by American counterpart Donald Trump’s protectionist trade agenda and isolationist diplomacy.

Syria Says up to 5,000 Chinese Uighurs Fighting in Militant Groups

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
Up to 5,000 ethnic Uighurs from China's violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang are fighting in various militant groups in Syria, the Syrian ambassador to China said on Monday, adding that Beijing should be extremely concerned about it...

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...

Xinhua Insight: Procedures unveiled for birth of Xiongan New Area

Xinhua
Plans for Xiongan New Area, an economic zone about 100 kilometers south of Beijing, are becoming more clear. President Xi Jinping said, “The capital's core functions should be preserved and strengthened, and some inappropriate functions...

China Conducts Foreign Policy in Africa without Judgment

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this edition of the China in Africa podcast, we pull the focus back to look at China’s rapidly evolving foreign policy agenda in this new era of Western populism led by Donald Trump in the United States.François Godement, Director of the Asia and...

All Mapped Out: How China’s Charting Its Course as a Superpower

Daily Beast
In February, the French daily Le Monde published a map reportedly circulated by the Chinese military. It showed the People’s Republic in the center of the globe with all else shrinking away toward the edges: “The world turned upside down for anyone...

China State Firms Eye Land around Panama Canal: Waterway Authority

Brenda Goh
Reuters
Chinese state firms have expressed an interest to develop land around the Panama Canal, the chief executive of the vital trade thoroughfare said, underlining China’s outward push into infrastructure via railways and ports around the world.

As China’s Li Visits Down Under, Trump on Australian PM Turnbull’s Mind

Nyshka Chandran
CNBC
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to keep his relationship with the U.S. in close focus as China’s Li Keqiang becomes the first Premier in eleven years to visit Down Under.

China’s Economy Gets Off to Strong Start in 2017 as Investment Rebounds

Yawen Chen and Elias Glenn
Reuters
China issued a raft of upbeat data on Tuesday showing the economy got off to a strong start to 2017, supported by strong bank lending, a government infrastructure spree and a much-needed resurgence in private investment. 

China’s ‘New Silk Road’ Is Derailed in Sri Lanka by Political Chaos and Violent Protests

Wade Shepard
Forbes
It is now looking as if Sri Lanka’s biggest partner in the Hambantota endeavor, China, is pulling back from what seems to have become an all out fiasco 

Here Are Five Ways China’s New Silk Road Is Good for Western Companies

Alex Capri
Forbes
China’s One-Belt-One-Road initiative is the most ambitious infrastructure project in history. Referred to as “OBOR,” this immense network of planned highways, railways, energy grids and port facilities will create economic corridors between 65...

China Overseas Investment Spree Set to Run Out of Steam

Lingling Wei
Wall Street Journal
A government think tank predicts China’s direct investment overseas, after years of robust gains, is likely to decline in 2017

The New Scramble for Africa: How China Became the Partner of Choice

Richard Poplak
Guardian
In 2014 alone China invested £56 billion in African infrastructure. But is this colonialism in another guise?

In China, Trump-Style Infrastructure Partnerships are Used to Hide Debt

James T. Areddy
Wall Street Journal
To pay for a highway project, Wenling’s government teamed up with Bank of China to create an ‘industrial fund’ that pulls in money from ordinary investors

China is Poised to Benefit from Trump’s Ambiguous Africa Policy

Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden
Huffington Post
By neglecting to propose a clear approach toward the continent, the future U.S. president may end up boosting Beijing

Unfinished Bridge Reveals Broken State of North Korea’s Alliance with China

Steve Finch
Guardian
Two years on from its expected completion, the bridge joining Dandong and Sinuiju remains unfinished: an emblem of an uneasy alliance gone sour

China Courts Philippines Leader Duterte Amid Signs of U.S. Rift

Tom Phillips and Oliver Holmes
Guardian
The Philippines president is visiting China, but whether his focus is on building relations or his country’s infrastructure remains to be seen

China Boosts Regional Ties with Milestone Xi Visit to Dhaka

Arun Devnath
Bloomberg
China is expected to sign off on more than $23 billion in loans to Bangladesh to fund a series of large-scale infrastructure projects

Chinese Aid is Helping African Economies, but Not in the Places that Need it Most

Bradley Parks et al.
Washington Post
New data shows that Chinese projects are disproportionately sited in the home towns of African leaders

China’s Experiment in Djibouti

François Dubé
Diplomat
China’s role in Africa is changing from resource extractor to long-term strategic partner. Djibouti is a prime example

Is China Building a Road to Ruin?

Andrew Browne
Wall Street Journal
China beats the U.S. on infrastructure but at a heavy cost

Environment

09.15.16

A Chinese Train Could Link South America’s Atlantic and Pacific Coasts by Rail for the First Time

from chinadialogue
Official bodies from Brazil and Peru have expressed concern about the social and environmental impacts of the proposed interoceanic railway, which will connect the coast of Peru and Brazil, cutting through 621 miles of pristine rainforest.In a...

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...

Books

05.30.16

The China Triangle: Latin America's China Boom and the Fate of the Washington Consensus

Kevin P. Gallagher
In The China Triangle, Kevin P. Gallagher traces the development of the China-Latin America trade over time and covers how it has affected the centuries-old (and highly unequal) U.S.-Latin American relationship. He argues that despite these opportunities Latin American nations have little to show for riding the coattails of the ‘China Boom’ and now face significant challenges in the next decades as China’s economy slows down and shifts more toward consumption and services. While the Latin American region saw significant economic growth due to China's rise over the past decades, Latin Americans saved very little of the windfall profits it earned even as the region saw a significant hollowing of its industrial base. What is more, commodity-led growth during the China boom reignited social and environmental conflicts across the region. Scholars and reporters have covered the Chinese expansion into East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australasia, Africa, the U.S., and Europe. Yet China’s penetration Latin America is as little understood as it is significant-especially for America given its longstanding ties to the region. Gallagher provides a clear overview of China’s growing economic ties with Latin America and points to ways that Latin American nations, China, and even the United States can act in order to make the next decades of China-Latin America economic activity more prosperous for all involved. —Amazon{chop}

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...

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?

Conversation

11.24.15

The China Africa Relationship: Crossroads or Cliff?

Cobus van Staden, Eric Olander & more
As we approach the sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit in Johannesburg, we try better to understand the main issues that surely will arise when Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma meet on December 4...

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...

America’s Society Is Wealthier Than China’s – And It Doesn’t Matter

Christopher A. McNally and Denny Roy
Diplomat
The large gap in private wealth has limited significance.

In Africa, Those Who Bet on China Face Fallout

Patrick McGroarty and Matina Stevis
Wall Street Journal
Economic slowdown in China exacerbates strain for trading partners in Africa.

At Sea in the City

Economist
When building cities in China, someone forgot the drains.

China’s Film Industry Is Gaining on Hollywood

Bilge Ebiri
Businessweek
Chinese audiences are growing, more theaters are being built, and the movies are getting better.

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...

Want a Green Card? Invest in Real Estate

Julie Satow
New York Times
Developers also take the search for investors in their projects on the road, primarily to China.

China, Africa, and the PRC’s Massive New Development Bank

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Fifty-seven countries, including two from Africa, are among the founding members of China’s new development bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). While the new bank’s primary objective will be to develop infrastructure projects in...

Conversation

04.23.15

A New Era for China and Pakistan?

Andrew Small, Paul J. Smith & more
This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Islamabad and showered Pakistan with attention and promises of $46 billion in development support. What does this intensified Sino-Pakistani engagement mean for Asia and the rest of the world? —The...

China Is Planning to Rebuild the Silk Road and Transform Global Trade Routes

Samuel Oakford
Vice News
China plans to build a modern version of the Silk Road through Pakistan and beyond.

Cameroon Highlights Pros and Cons of Chinese Infrastructure Development

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When finished, the new deep-sea port in the southern Cameroonian city of Kribi will likely become a major gateway for all of Central Africa. This will be Cameroon’s only deep-sea port that can accommodate the larger inter-continental trading ships...

China to Reveal Detailed “Belt and Road” Roadmap

Xinhua
Hundreds of major infrastructure projects could spread into Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan. 

Qiu He, top Yunnan Official, Ousted for Corrupt Land Deals

East by Southeast
Qiu was the catalyst for a swath of controversial infrastructure projects, including a new international airport finished in 2012. 

China’s BIG Gamble in the TINY Comoros Islands

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Comoros is a tiny archipelago nation off the east coast of Africa in the Indian ocean where a major Chinese experiment is underway. Chinese scientists and pharmaceutical have undertaken a radical experiment to test an unlicensed anti-malarial herbal...

China’s Mystery Transportation Infrastructure Deal with the African Union

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It’s not really news anymore when China announces yet another massive infrastructure construction deal in Africa. Typically these deals are done at the national level, so when Beijing and the African Union signed a major transport infrastructure MOU...