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Category archive for: China

Why scrapping the one-child policy will do little to change China’s population

Written by Stuart Gietel-Basten.

China is scrapping its one-child policy and officially allowing all couples to have two children. While some may think this heralds an overnight switch, the reality is that it is far less dramatic. This is, in fact, merely the latest in an array of piecemeal national and local reforms implemented since 1984.

In fact the change is really a very pragmatic response to an unpopular policy that no longer made any sense. And much like the introduction of the policy in 1978, it will have little impact on the country’s population level.

The overwhelming narrative being presented now is that this is a step to help tackle population ageing and a declining workforce through increasing the birth rate – dealing with the “demographic time bomb”. According to Xinhua, the state news agency, “The change of policy is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population.” The party line is that the policy played an essential part in controlling the country’s population and, hence, stimulating GDP growth per capita. It prevented “millions being born into poverty”, but is no longer needed. Continue reading Why scrapping the one-child policy will do little to change China’s population

Disputes over the South China Sea could put East Asia at war again

Written by Timo A. Kivimäki.

Philippine authorities have released satellite pictures of six reefs in the Spratly archipelago that indicate that the Chinese are building artificial structures in the disputed territories of the South China Sea. According to some observers, these features could allow China to extend the range of its navy, air force, coastguard and fishing fleets into the disputed areas.

In response, the US and the Philippines announced they would further strengthen their alliance to increase their military capacity. The Philippines have already given the US military access to bases on Philippine soil, two decades after the closing of the last American bases there.

The news about Chinese building projects and the possible military consequences have not yet been commented on by the Chinese media or by Chinese officials, but it seems clear that the reinforcements are yet another move in a long, steady game of escalation between the US and China. Continue reading Disputes over the South China Sea could put East Asia at war again

Xi Jinping’s Pakistan visit: what’s left behind?

By Filippo Boni

The long-awaited visit has finally taken place. Xi Jinping’s first official visit abroad this year was to Islamabad, previously postponed due to the September 2014 dharna (sit-in) organised by Imran Khan’s PTI.  “I feel as if I am going to visit the home of my brother” said Xi Jinping ahead of his trip to Pakistan in an editorial published in the Daily Times, a tradition that the Chinese President inaugurated last fall at the dawn of his South Asian tour to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India.

The arrival saw a red carpet welcome at the airport, and a reminder of the Pakistan and China’s long-standing joint defence cooperation with four JF 17 Fighters accompanying Xi’s plane as it entered Pakistani airspace. While reiterating the intangible dimension of Pakistan-Chinas’ “all-weather” narrative, the more tangible, substantive part of his trip was yet to come.

Continue reading Xi Jinping’s Pakistan visit: what’s left behind?

China’s principle of intervention

By Miwa Hirono

Until the turn of the century, China’s response towards international conflicts had been based on the principle of non-intervention affirmed at the Bandung Conference in 1955. However, since the beginning of the 2000s, it seems China has begun to take mixed approaches to dealing with various international conflicts, ranging from a very flexible interpretation of the principle of non-intervention and participation in ‘intrusive’ international policy in relation to conflict states; to its tactic of abstention at the UN Security Council (UNSC); and even to very firmly abiding by the principle of non-intervention in the occasional exercise of its  power of  veto.

Continue reading China’s principle of intervention

The End of Cheap Labour in China?

By Andreas Bieler

China’s developmental strategy has been based on cheap labour, foreign direct investment (FDI) and the assembling of pre-fabricated parts for export to North American and European markets. This export-oriented growth strategy in low value added production sectors has, however, come under pressure as a result of the global economic crisis and a decline in global demand. In his presentation at Nottingham University on 17 February, jointly hosted by theSchool of Contemporary Chinese Studies and the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, Florian Butollo from Jena University in Germany investigated whether China’s attempts at industrial upgrading in response to the crisis have also resulted in ‘social upgrading’ for its workforce.

Continue reading The End of Cheap Labour in China?

US and China’s Climate Deal: Leadership or Laggardship?

By Katrina Kelly 

The recent climate deal between the US and China is being hailed as ground-breaking; the pivotal moment that the entire climate community has been waiting on baited breath for. Unfortunately, if you look outside of the American media circus it becomes quite difficult to find the enthusiasm that seems to be building behind Obama’s most recent pledge to climate leadership. Considering the advent of less carbon-dense American gas supplies, it is hard to understand how America and China’s agreement could be anything other than a weak indicator of future climate regimes. Although the US and China’s pledge is important in emphasizing the need to implement carbon-targets, stronger targets are needed to make an impact in global carbon emissions reductions.

Continue reading US and China’s Climate Deal: Leadership or Laggardship?

China’s neighbors embrace asymmetric warfare

By Michal Thim

Asymmetry is the new black, at least among defense analysts dealing with the Asia-Pacific. Asymmetrical warfare is an age-old concept. Recently, however, it has been mostly associated with insurgent groups or guerrillas capitalizing on their familiarity with irregular terrain in hit-and-run operations against regular government forces. As employed by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Irish Republican Army, asymmetrical strategies and tactics were ideally suited to small groups standing against well-equipped government forces in their efforts to pursue a particular political agenda.

In the Asia-Pacific region, asymmetry is more commonly associated with the military disparities between nations. It is often expressed as the concept of Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD), which is primarily referenced in relation to preparations by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to prevent access—and consequently deny unhindered operation—to the US Navy and America’s other forward-deployed forces stationed in Japan. Decades of Chinese military modernization has given the PRC the capability to project force a much greater distance from its shores, with an eye toward eventually deploying a blue-water navy. Despite this, A2/AD remains at the forefront of China’s efforts to establish itself as a potent military power. Continue reading China’s neighbors embrace asymmetric warfare

Transnational Water Security in Asia: A Leadership Role for Rising Powers?

Written by Katherine Morton for the China Policy Institute

Water security is one of the most intractable challenges confronting Asia’s future. It is widely recognised that climate change combined with other stress factors relating to population growth, urbanisation, and unsustainable development are leading to negative impacts on the availability and quality of the region’s water resources. Equally worrying are the lack of formal multilateral mechanisms to encourage water sharing on a region-wide basis. Under these conditions, the potential exists for water conflicts to escalate, and even the spectre of water wars between states seems possible. But a worst-case scenario is by no means inevitable. A critical question is whether Asia’s emerging powers – China and India – will take a leadership role in building cooperation.

Continue reading Transnational Water Security in Asia: A Leadership Role for Rising Powers?