Features

11.28.18

Beijing’s Long Struggle to Control Xinjiang’s Mineral Wealth

Judd C. Kinzley
The Silk Road Economic Belt—the overland component of Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)—promises to bind China to Central Asia and beyond through a new infrastructural network. Connecting through China’s far western Xinjiang...

China Is Fueling a New ‘Resource Curse’ — and Riots around the World

Renard Sexton
Washington Post
During the past 15 years, China’s demand for primary commodities has triggered a dramatic increase in natural resource extraction in the developing world.

Environment

05.23.17

India and China Will Offset Trump’s Climate Backslide

from chinadialogue
With the U.S. likely to fall short of its Paris Agreement pledge to reduce carbon emissions, a new analysis released last week claims that overachievement by India and China will ensure progress on climate action is not stymied.The U.S., the world’s...

Books

05.15.17

A World Trimmed with Fur

Jonathan Schlesinger
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, booming demand for natural resources transformed China and its frontiers. Historians of China have described this process in stark terms: pristine borderlands became breadbaskets. Yet Manchu and Mongolian archives reveal a different story. Well before homesteaders arrived, wild objects from the far north became part of elite fashion, and unprecedented consumption had exhausted the region’s most precious resources.In A World Trimmed with Fur, Jonathan Schlesinger uses these diverse archives to reveal how Qing rule witnessed not the destruction of unspoiled environments, but their invention. Qing frontiers were never pristine in the nineteenth century—pearlers had stripped riverbeds of mussels, mushroom pickers had uprooted the steppe, and fur-bearing animals had disappeared from the forest. In response, the court turned to “purification”; it registered and arrested poachers, reformed territorial rule, and redefined the boundary between the pristine and the corrupted. Schlesinger’s resulting analysis provides a framework for rethinking the global invention of nature. —Stanford University Press{chop}

China Appears to be Losing Interest in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Beijing-based investment attorney Kai Xue joins Eric and Cobus to discuss why he thinks Africa is no longer appealing to Chinese companies. Kai Xue is a longtime Sino-African affairs analyst and carefully monitors trade, foreign direct investment,...

China’s Approach to the Middle East Looks Familiar

Massoud Hayoun
Diplomat
Despite repudiating American foreign policy, China now borrows heavily from U.S.-style Middle Eastern diplomacy

How Rwanda Attracts Chinese Money and Migrants Without the Lure of Natural Resources

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Quartz’s Africa correspondent Lily Kuo recently returned from a reporting assignment to Rwanda where she discovered a very different side of China’s engagement in Africa. Rwanda lacks many of the resources and large markets that other African states...

Rwanda is a Landlocked Country with Few Natural Resources. So Why is China Investing So Heavily in it?

Lily Kuo
Quartz
Rwanda doesn't fit the usual narrative of China's interest in Africa-- namely that China is only interested in the continent's resources...

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

China’s Coal Cap Will Bite

David Fickling
Bloomberg
Can the shift to more domestic output be met without blanketing China's cities in smog?...

China Is Planning A Massive Sea Lab 10,000 Feet Underwater

Bloomberg
Plans for deep-sea platform—used for mineral hunting and likely military purposes—have been accelerated....

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}

Africa Feels the Chill of China’s Cooling Economy

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It hasn’t even been a month since Chinese president Xi Jinping was in South Africa for the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) confab where he unveiled a massive $60 billion financial package. Oh how those were innocent, halcyon days...

China’s Xi Pledges $60 Billion for Africa Development Over Three Years

PATRICK MCGROARTY
Wall Street Journal
China’s trade with Africa grew to $222 billion last year, making it the continent’s top trade partner for the sixth straight year.

Chinese Investment in Africa Falls by 40%

Saibal Dasgupta
Voice of America
China’s Commerce Ministry publicly admitted that Chinese investments to Africa had fallen by 40 percent in the first half of this year.

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...

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...

China’s Role in Africa’s ‘Looting Machine’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China goes to great lengths to differentiate its engagement in Africa from the continent’s former European colonizers by emphasizing so-called “win-win development.” Chinese leaders regularly visit Africa where they emphatically reject the...

A Flash Point in China-Africa Relations Re-Opens in Zambia

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When critics of the Chinese in Africa make their case, the Collum coal mine in Zambia is invariably on their list of grievances. The controversial mine has been the site of violent labor disputes that have severely injured, even killed, both...

China Tilts Towards Liberal Latin American Economies

Lucy Hornby and Andres Schipani
Financial Times
China is promoting a Chinese-built, cross-Andes rail link that would allow Brazilian ore and soya to be shipped from Pacific ports in Peru to Asia.

China’s Controversial Trade in Africa’s Natural Resources

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
China often faces blistering criticism for its voracious appetite for Africa’s natural resources. Chinese companies are spread across the continent mining, logging, and fishing to feed both hungry factories and people back home. In most, if not all...

Conversation

05.07.14

How is China Doing in Africa?

Tendai Musakwa, Kathleen McLaughlin & more
On his current weeklong tour of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola, and Kenya, Premier Li Keqiang announced a new $12 billion aid package intended to address China’s “growing pains” in Africa. China is by turns lauded for bringing development to the...

No, China Did Not Win the Global Battle for Supremacy

Daniel Rosen
Foreign Policy
Eric X. Li enumerates the defects of a U.S.-centric international system that he perceives to be crumbling, praises the deftness and strength he sees in China's statecraft, and predicts a coming period of international volatility as...

Books

02.05.14

By All Means Necessary

Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi
In the past thirty years, China has transformed from an impoverished country where peasants comprised the largest portion of the populace to an economic power with an expanding middle class and more megacities than anywhere else on earth. This remarkable transformation has required, and will continue to demand, massive quantities of resources. Like every other major power in modern history, China is looking outward to find them.In By All Means Necessary, Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth. China is now engaged in a far-flung quest, hunting around the world for fuel, ores, water, and land for farming, and deploying whatever it needs in the economic, political, and military spheres to secure the resources it requires. Chinese traders and investors buy commodities, with consequences for economies, people, and the environment around the world. Meanwhile the Chinese military aspires to secure sea lanes, and Chinese diplomats struggle to protect the country’s interests abroad. And just as surely as China’s pursuit of natural resources is changing the world—restructuring markets, pushing up commodity prices, transforming resource-rich economies through investment and trade—it is also changing China itself. As Chinese corporations increasingly venture abroad, they must navigate various political regimes, participate in international markets, and adopt foreign standards and practices, which can lead to wide-reaching social and political ramifications at home.Clear, authoritative, and provocative, By All Means Necessary is a sweeping account of where China’s pursuit of raw materials may take the country in the coming years and what the consequences will be—not just for China, but for the whole world. —Oxford University Press{chop}

China Playing a Long Game in Polar Governance

Anne-Marie Brady
World Politics Review
The recent Antarctic rescue of a Russian vessel highlights China's comprehensive polar strategy. ...

Excerpts

10.28.13

Stark Choices for China’s Leaders

Damien Ma & William Adams
One Beijing morning in early November 2012, seven men in dark suits strode onto the stage of the Great Hall of the People. China’s newly elected Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Xi Jinping stood at the center of the ensemble, flanked on each...

China’s Coal Supply Will Soon Weigh 40 Percent More Than Earth’s Population

Gwynn Guilford
Atlantic
The country's excessive past investments in coal have produced a surplus, and today, lowered prices mean mining barons are struggling to pay off loans. ...

Africa Wants Jobs From China

Reuters
It is true China’s boom has brought many benefits to Africa. But in many countries, China’s demand for ore, timber and oil is forcing African states to specialise at the bottom of the value chain in areas with low productivity gains.&...

China Granted Access to Arctic Club as Resource Race Heats Up

Nicole Gaouette and Niklas Magnusson
Bloomberg
China has identified the Arctic as a strategically and geopolitically valuable region and having a seat at the table, albeit only as a permanent observer, has long been an essential part of the country’s regional strategy. 

China’s Massive Water Problem

Scott Moore
New York Times
This Spring 2013 China is expected to finish the first phase of its gigantic South-North Water Transfer Project, though the project highlights the limits of engineering solutions to problems of basic environmental scarcity.&...

Greenland: China’s Foothold in Europe?

Paula Briscoe
Council on Foreign Relations
China’s current and planned investments in Greenland raise concerns, not only about Chinese access to more of the world’s resources but also about China’s longer term objectives and the foothold in Europe that a strong partnership with Greenland...

Caixin Media

05.31.12

Heading Deep for the First Time

On May 9, China National Offshore Oil Corp.’s (CNOOC) first deepwater drilling platform began operating in the South China Sea. The world-class vessel is stationed in the Liwan 6-1-1 field, about 320 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong, in waters...

Reports

12.01.07

Wanjiazhai Water Transfer Project: Key Factors and Assesment

World Bank
China's impressive economic performance since 1978 with a growth rate of GDP of 9.5 percent per year has been mainly in the industrial and commercial sectors and is concentrated in urban areas; as a result, urban water demand has increased by...

Reports

04.20.05

China’s Growing Interest in Latin America

Kerry Dumbaugh, Mark P. Sullivan
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
Over the past year, increasing attention has focused on China’s growing interest in Latin America. Most analysts appear to agree that China’s primary interest in the region is to gain greater access to needed resources—such as oil, copper, and iron—...