As is clear from The Dragon and the Kangaroo Blog Twitter account, I’ve been somewhat preoccupied lately with the Asian Cup (including the Socceroos very entertaining and competitive match against China. Highlights available here). Yet still here’s the weekly roundup of interesting content on China, Australia and international relations, with China’s latest GDP figures headlining discussions this week, along with the term ‘new normal’ to describe the apparent stage the Chinese economy is moving towards. The demographics of China is another interesting topic talked about this week. China’s Antarctica policy also has been in the news. And there’s another piece on possible friction in Asia.
- http://www.smh.com.au/business/china/six-charts-that-show-where-chinas-economy-is-heading-20150120-12u6fv.html – A good summary by Fairfax of the latest economic info about China. The main story is that the Chinese economy ‘only’ grew at 7.4% GDP in 2014, which is the slowest rate of growth in 24 years (gone are the heady days of double digit growth), and this marks the first time that the economy has grown slower than the Chinese government’s official growth target of 7.5%. You could be forgiven for not predicting that torrents of discussion have followed because China only grew at 7.4% and not 7.5%. This significance of the latest economic data, and what it suggests about the future for China, is a hot topic of discussion, and this Fairfax piece provides an accessible grounding in these discussions
- http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/china-market-reform-local-government-by-andrew-sheng-and-geng-xiao-2015-01 – A Project Syndicate piece that looks at what China’s ‘new normal’ (that is, a time of slower, or at least not breakneck, growth, couple with different economic activity [in particular more consumption and less investment]) means for Chinese cities. The article points out that China’s smaller cities could suffer a fair bit if there’s not savvy local government that structures and reforms the cities and regions to prepare for China’s new economic period
- http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/1/21/china/china-cant-afford-muddle-through-2015 – Dr John Lee with a good piece that critically analyses why the Chinese leadership can’t be complacent in 2015. As Lee states ‘the problem with muddling through is that even if China manages to achieve 5-7 per cent growth, a number of problems with serious consequences remain’. In particular he focuses on debt and the prominence of SOEs in China’s economy
- http://theconversation.com/china-growth-stalls-but-dont-believe-the-doomsayers-36559 – Provides pushback against the doomsayers around the latest economic data on China
- http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/1/22/china/chinas-ticking-demographic-time-bomb – A very good piece by Peter Cai on China’s demographics. As Cai remarks: ‘The trend is unmistakable: China is losing able-bodied workers at an ever faster rate. Who would have thought that China, the most populous country in the world, would eventually run out of surplus workers!’ He goes on to comment ‘Japan’s current woes should be a wake-up call for Beijing. There is every possibility that China might end up in a worse position than its neighbour. At least Japan got rich before it turned grey, whereas China may end up with a lot of wrinkles before it becomes prosperous’
- http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-20/chinas-desire-for-antarctic-mining-despite-international-ban/6029414 – A fine piece by the ABC, with a good ABC 7:30 video also at the links, that looks at how China has keenly been looking at the mineral resources under Antarctica. There is a ban on mining there, however with China’s massive and growing energy needs, China’s policy towards Antarctica will likely be a point of interest for a while to come
- http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/the-review/power-trip-might-chinas-struggles-with-its-neighbours-bring-war-to-asia#full – Joshua Kurlantzick with a good and detailed piece on friction in Asia, involving China and its neighbours. Clear writing that elucidates why discussions about potential conflict in Asia is hard to put to bed