This week’s latest hot topics are anti-monopoly law in China (the Qualcomm case), record levels of Taiwanese identity professed in Taiwan, resistance to Xi’s reforms from government officials, the era of Xi Jinping (as discussed in a Q&A with Roderick MacFarquhar), diplomacy between China and Australia (in 2 podcasts) and more on the latest batch of economic data from China.
- http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/22704a96-9ff2-11e4-9a74-00144feab7de.html#axzz3PwaXcC7j – Very good and detailed piece by FT on anti-monopoly law in China. It looks at the curious tale of AML in China, and how it is today in China can be ‘an administrative cudgel designed to ensure a desired result’ rather than an objective system to ensure fair competition. Includes a rich interview with a drafter of China’s AML, Zhang Xinzhu. Also includes good details on China’s wily National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)
- http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2015/01/26/2003610092 – Highly interesting article, with numerous interesting stats, such as ‘the university’s Election Study Center poll showed that 60.6 percent of respondents regard themselves as Taiwanese, while 23.9 percent support Taiwanese independence’. Both of those percentages are ‘historic highs’, according to the conductor of the research, the National Chengchi University
- http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/china-reform-vested-interests-by-keyu-jin-2015-01 – A piece on the difficulties Xi will face in attempting to push through his reforms. The main passage: ‘If implemented fully, the current round of reforms would have a far-reaching impact on China’s political economy, because they shift the balance of power from officials to markets. This would enable China to continue its ascent toward high-income status, improving the wellbeing of millions of its citizens along the way.But vested interests will not back down. Though they will not oppose reforms outright, they will continue to procrastinate and spread fear about economic instability and social tension to prevent changes that threaten to diminish their status and prerogatives. Unless and until China’s top leaders overcome such resistance, progress on reform will remain sluggish’
- http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/30/q-and-a-roderick-macfarquhar-on-xi-jinpings-high-risk-campaign-to-save-the-communist-party/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=World&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs®ion=Body – A truly fantastic Q&A with Roderick MacFarquhar. Worth reading carefully from start to finish. Some gems include: ‘I think that Xi Jinping is more powerful than Deng because he doesn’t have people of equal status who are able to challenge him’, ‘if [Xi] is going to attack corruption root and branch, tigers and fleas as he would call it, then there is real danger. Danger for the party collapsing as it did in Russia, or danger of a leadership coalition against him’ and ‘Q. If you don’t have Confucianism or Marxism, and you aren’t focusing on nationalism, what do you have? A. Nothing. That’s why Xi Jinping is so worried’
- http://blogs.cfr.org/asia/2015/01/23/podcast-the-united-states-china-and-the-asia-pacific/ – Good podcast with Linda Jakobson and the CFR on The US, China and the Asia-Pacific
- http://theconversation.com/speaking-with-kerry-brown-on-china-australia-and-diplomacy-36593 – Another good pod worth a listen, this one with Kerry Brown on China, Australia and diplomacy
- http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/25/china-bids-bring-economic-miracle-end-hard-times – A fine critical and savvy piece by the Guardian, with good input from multiple interviewees, on the direction that China’s economy is heading in