Rural China’s economic model limps on

This picture taken on November 19, 2013 shows a farmer working in her rice field in the farming village of Gangzhong in China's eastern Zhejiang province. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Graeme Smith, ANU

‘Benghai’ was changing. Returning to my old office, my home for ten years of fieldwork in rural China, it was clear something was amiss. Gone was the grizzled caretaker, listlessly following his mop around the ground floor of the four-storey building. In his stead was a bank of impossibly cheerful uniformed women in their early twenties. Their smiles could signify only one thing: real estate. Read more…

The reign or reining in of Chinese monopolies

A steel worker at a mill owned by Dongbei Special Steel Group Co Ltd, 30 January 2014. DSSG was integrated by three former major state-owned enterprises in Northeast China in 2004. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Patrick Williams, ANU and PKU

Surprise raids by Chinese government officials on the offices of major multinationals in China to catch out monopolistic business activity have created perceptions of bias against foreign firms in the enforcement of the anti-monopoly law. Read more…

The arithmetic of Asia’s future growth

A Chinese worker surveys the production of steel at a steel plant in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province, 5 August 2014. China's industrial output growth by a less-than-expected 7.2 per cent in November from a year earlier, though retail sales expanded 11.7 per cent, beating forecasts, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday (12 December 2014). (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

While predicting the future of anything is a loser’s game, we do it automatically whether we know it or not. In our individual, social and our economic pursuits we routinely shape our thinking and behaviour on assumptions about how things might pan out tomorrow, next year or even a decade out. Read more…

Asiaphoria or Asiaphobia?

Chinese workers sew clothes at a garment factory in Huaibei city, 10 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Paul Hubbard, ANU

Those in the business of long-run GDP projections expect Asia, and particularly China, to keep growing above world trend rates for some years. The most optimistic — such as former Chief Economist at the World Bank, Justin Lin — have China growing at 8 per cent for at least the next decade. Read more…

Will China accept international law in the South China Sea?

A worker holds a new officially approved map of China that includes the islands and maritime area that Beijing claims in the South China Sea, at a printing factory in Changsha in south China's Hunan province. China has again rejected an attempt by the Philippines to challenge its territorial claims over the South China Sea through international arbitration. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Donald R. Rothwell, ANU

The ongoing disputes between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea are about to reach a critical point. In January 2013 the Philippines activated procedures under Article 287 and Annex VII of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) over a dispute about the validity of China’s ‘nine-dash line’ in the South China Sea. Read more…

Will Pope Francis affect the position of Catholics in China?

A statue of Jesus on the cross is displayed as Li Shan, the Chinese archbishop, performs the Christmas Eve mass at a Catholic church in Beijing early on December 25, 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Paul Farrelly, ANU

Reflecting on a letter he wrote to Xi Jinping on his election to the papacy, Pope Francis said of China ‘the relationships are there. It’s a big country that I love deeply’. Since his papacy began, Pope Francis has made headlines for shepherding the Catholic Church along a relatively more liberal path. Does this mean that reconciliation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) might be possible? Read more…

China’s digital dilemma

A picture made available 20 November 2014 shows Wang Xiaochu, Chairman and CEO of China Telecom, attending the first World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town in Tongxiang, Zhejiang province, China, 19 November 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Greg Austin, EastWest Institute

In February 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping was appointed Chair of the Central Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group, an agency which coordinates China’s cybersecurity and ‘informatisation’ policies. The move reflected deep dissatisfaction within the leadership of the pace of innovation in the country. Xi’s appointment reflects China’s willingness to change this — but only to an extent. Read more…

What should US policy be in the South China Sea?

A printing worker holds a new officially approved map of China that includes the islands and maritime area that Beijing claims in the South China Sea, at a factory in south China's Hunan province on 27 June 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Michael McDevitt, CNA

The South China Sea is not the central strategic element in the overall US–China relationship. It was clearly not a centrepiece of the November 2014 Obama–Xi summit in Beijing. Climate change, North Korea, Iran, Taiwan, trade, intellectual property theft and cyber security are all more important bilateral issues. Read more…

Tough times ahead for China–Japan–South Korea joint FTA

Chinese, Japanese and South Korean officials attend the Fifth Round of China-Japan-Korea FTA Negotiations in Beijing, China, 1 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jing Li, CASS

The fifth round of the China–Japan–South Korea Free Trade Agreement (CJK FTA) negotiations concluded in Beijing on 5 September. The three countries hope the negotiations will finish in 2015, but this partly depends on the progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Read more…

Abe’s fraught choice between China and the conservatives

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaches out to shake hands with China’s President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting held at the International Convention Center in Yanqi Lake, Beijing, 11 November 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Toshiya Takahashi, ANU

The meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping at the 2014 APEC summit was a temporary relief for both amid rising bilateral tensions over the last two years. This talk was the result of both governments’ efforts to repair the bilateral relationship, temporarily parking both the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute and the history issue. Both leaders agreed to resume their strategic relationship, starting talks over the creation of a maritime crisis management mechanism and the expansion of economic cooperation. Read more…

How does Asia perceive China’s new approach to international relations?

Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave to their police escorts during their recent visit to Australia. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Niv Horesh, University of Nottingham, and Emilian Kavalski, ACU

One day in June 2013, President Xi Jinping and his wife and First Lady Peng Liyuan touched down in Trinidad and Tobago. As the pair embarked the aircraft and strode down the gangway, there was something unmistakably ostentatious — a swagger even — in Peng’s turquoise attire and Xi’s matching tie. It marked a shift in China’s approach to international relations. Read more…

Getting the state out of economic enterprise in China

A Chinese paramilitary officer patrols Tiananmen Square after the Communist Party Central Committee's concluded its Third Plenum in Beijing on 12 November 2013. Implementation of the Third Plenum reforms that remove the shackles of the state in privileged sectors will create enormous new opportunities for private business, reduce waste of capital and lift medium term productivity and growth. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The relationship between the state and economic enterprise is a central choice that governments have to make in all economies. The role of the state and state-backed or state-owned enterprise in Asia’s economic modernisation is a question of special interest. Read more…

Private not state firms are China’s growth engine

Workers in an assembly line at a Goodbaby factory in Kunshan, China. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nicholas R. Lardy, PIIE. Washington

Virtually every dimension of China’s economic success over the past three-and-a-half decades can be attributed largely to the rise of markets and private businesses. Private firms account for almost all the growth in employment, most of the expansion of output and investment in manufacturing, and in recent years for over half of the growth in exports. Read more…