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February 4th 2012

Maths and Stats Building MS.01

University of Warwick

Hugo de Burgh

Linda Yueh

Martin Jacques

Kerry Brown

Jonathan Fenby

Professor of Journalism, Director of China Media Centre, University of Westminster

Economics Correspondent, Bloomberg Television, World Economic Forum Council member

Writer, Former Editor of Marxism Today, Founder of Demos Think-Tank

Head of Asia Programme, Chatham House, Former FCO First Secretary of Beijing

Managing Director, Former Editor of The Observer & SCMP, Author of FT Book of the Year

“Chinese Grassroots Democracy”

“2012: China’s Big Transition Starts, but what will it Bring?

Talk “With Jeremy Paxman in China”


“Enterprising China: Business, Economic and Legal Reform since 1979”

“When China Rules the World”

Also featuring Economist Intelligence Unit Guest Speaker Duncan Innes-Ker



Contents Page


Editor’s Note

Editor and Writer Profiles 4

30 Sponsors

Career 7

Interview with Jacky Leung

by Hugo Chim

Education Confessions of a Chinese Graduate 8

by Eric Mu

11 Cross-

cultural Achievement Gaps

by Amanda Mitchell

Business 12 Moving Forward by Yang Li 14 China as the Next Greece? By Dai Ming



16 The Tragedy

22 Damming of the Thai Neighbours Chinese by Bill Dodson

by Karn Gil Bulsuk

23 Two-sided Power 18 A Divided Struggle China by Moritz Reithmayr By Lin Lin 24 China: Handle 18 The Power of Carefully Chinese Youth by Leighton Hughes By Ya Ning Li 26 Of Black and 19 God, China White Cats and the Spiritual by Melissa Yeo Revolution by James White 28 Contextualising the Rise of China 21 Childhood in by Liu Xiaowei

15 Company: Fifth Avenue by Yafei Sun

the Cultural Revolution

by Peilin Luo

29 Politics in China by Zichen Xu


Editor ’s Note

However, China in Focus has always believed that the opinions of students and nonprofessionals are equally if not more interesting and valid than those of famous China experts, but are often not given sufficient opportunity to be expressed and heard.Therefore, this year the China in Focus team decide to form the China in Focus Magazine, which will give students from Warwick University, Oxford University, Peking University, Hong Kong University and others a chance for their opinions to be heard. Their articles will also be contrasted with feature pieces by and interviews of corporate executives working in China and journalists who spend their waking days commenting on China’s rapid development. I would like to thank everyone on the China in Focus 2012 Executive Team for being so enthusiastic about embarking on a new project, which involved the devotion of many hours. The editors of this magazine have also worked tirelessly to source, interview and edit all articles. The University of Warwick Vice Chancellor, Dr. Nigel Thrift, must be given special thanks, as without his support, China in Focus would never have known where to start. Thanks also to the Warwick SU for providing the resources and guidance for everything we do.

Thank you and enjoy the issue.


t is hard to find many universities with a community that is more international than that of the University of Warwick. It is because of this that China in Focus can exist. The plethora of opinions and viewpoints ensures that we always have interesting debates and are able to explore new knowledge. The flagship event for China in Focus each year is ‘The China Forum’, which tries to form an unbiased platform for the discussion of Chinese domestic and international events. In previous years we have invited key speakers such as former governor of Hong Kong, Sir Chris Patten, and founder of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, Martin Lee. This year ‘The China Forum’, if anything, has raised the calibre of guest speakers at Warwick, by inviting former Foreign and Commonwealth Office First Secretary in Beijing, Kerry Brown and Jonathan Fenby CBE who was the former editor of the Observer and Reuters World Service.


Yang Li President University of Warwick China in Focus

Editor and Writer Profiles Editorial Team Rajan K. Randev

Rajan K. Randev is an Executive Senior Advisor for China in Focus. He has actively participated in numerous projects based in the UK and China over the last four years, which have been centred on the promotion of intercultural interaction and academic exchange of ideas. His notable contributions, with particular reference to aiding the establishment of the now annual China Forum, were formally recognised by receipt of a Deloitte Warwick Global Advantage Award in 2011. Being a chemistry graduate has allowed him to embark upon various industrial as well as academic collaborations based both domestically and internationally while working as a research assistant at the University of Warwick. His personal contributions to scientific projects have been acknowledged in a number of peer-reviewed academic journals.

Peilei Xu

A second-year student from mainland China, Tiffany is now studying Accounting and Finance at Warwick. She has great interest in cultural studies, astronomy and Korean variety shows. She would like to serve in the Chinese civil service in the future.

Xianjun Wang

Xianjun Wang, a second year student of Economics and Industrial Organization and Vice President of China in Focus. Exuberant and attentive, she constitutes a spirited and integral part of the editorial team.

Yang Li

Yang Li is a BA Hons Sociology student at the University of Warwick. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and returning to Beijing every year has made instilled in him a passion for learning about different cultures. As a result, he enjoys travelling very much and has been to over 100 countries in the world. As president of China in Focus, he hopes that he can help more people gain a better understanding of the rapidly developing China.

Hugo Chim

Hugo Chim is currently pursuing an MSc in Economics at Warwick. His interest in China arose not only because of China’s economic miracle but also his personal experience with the increasing integration between Hong Kong and mainland China. For many people outside China, this is a country of mystique, a juxtaposition of an ancient fantasy and an awakening modern giant. He is glad to have this opportunity to learn more about China and share with you what the editorial team has discovered.

Yi-ling Chow

Yi-ling Chow is from Singapore. She is currently in her second year studying PPE at Warwick.

Aiko Dong

Aiko Dong is a BSc Hons Economics, Politics and International Studies student at Warwick University. Being born in China, raised in Japan and currently undertaking an undergraduate degree in the UK, she is fascinated by the impact of her culture on individuals. Through her continued studies of international affairs and economics, she has broadened and enriched her insight and understanding of global events. At the forefront of her interest is the ever intensifying Chinese economic dominance, as well as the waning economic position of Japan in a globalized world.


Ivan Leung

Nicole Tan

Leighton Hughes

Liu Xiaowei

Leighton Hughes is a first year undergraduate at Lancaster University studying History and Politics. His principal interests include the study of empires and the role of the state.

Liu Xiaowei is currently the Communications Director for Shell Companies in China and is going to be relocated to Singapore from Jan. 1 2012 to become the Asia Pacific Communications VP for Shell. Xiaowei worked and lived in China, UK and the Netherlands.

Ivan Leung is a second-year undergraduate studying Politics and International Studies. Originally from Hong Kong, Ivan lived in mainland China for over 6 years. During those six years he developed a whole new understanding and interest in China. It is one of his greatest pleasures to share and discuss his views on China with everyone.

Nicole Tan is a second-year Economics student from Singapore. She spent several years living and studying abroad, in Beijing, China, the US and the UK. Her years spent in China and abroad have deepened her passion for Chinese socio-economic issues, in the wake of China’s rising influence in the global arena.

Writers China: Handle Carefully

Contextualizing China

Moritz Reithmayr

Two-sided Power Struggle Moritz Reithmayr studies Politics, Philosophy and Economics at one of the top universities in the UK, and this has provided him with a unique set of skills to analyse complex and fast developing issues around the world. He is passionate about China and its enthralling, unprecedented pace of development, which he hopes through exploration will better inform him and others.

A Divided China Lin Lin, an aspiring student of the finance, has studied Business Administration at ICN Business School as well as Finance at the East China University of Science and Technology, giving her an informed and invigorated insight into the many challenges facing the rapidly developing nations of Asia.

Zichen Xu

Bill Dodson

Zichen Xu has both visited and stayed at numerous academic institutions such as Peking University, HKU, University of North Carolina and many more. This motivation for this is that he may be able to better understand the world and himself.

Bill Dodson is the author of China Inside Out: 10 Irreversible Trends Reshaping China and Its Relationship with the World, and chief editor of

Politics In China


Lin Lin

Damming Neighbours

Yafei Sun

James White

Born in Sichuan in the 70s, Ms Sun used to be a journalist, civil servant and writer. After graduating from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, she worked as a chief investment officer on Wall Street. At the end of 2008, she gave up the high-paying job and became the founder and CEO of “Fifth Avenue” - a luxury online retailer.

James White is a first year undergraduate at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, studying economics. His interests include development economics and the relationship between Christianity and the state.

Company: The Fifth Avenue

Dai Ming

China as the next Greece? Dai Ming is a MPhil student of Economics at Oxford and was previously educated in Hong Kong. He originally comes from Jiangsu, China.

God, China and The Spiritual Revolution

Melissa Yeo

Of Black and White Cats Mellissa Yeo is a second year Politics and International Studies (PaIS) undergraduate. Her interests in politics include areas such as international security and development. In her spare time, she enjoys films, music and a good amount of travelling.

Ya Ning Li

The Power of the Chinese Youth Ya Ning Li is a Form 3 student living in Shandong Province. One of her biggest honors is to be acknowledged as one of the outstanding students in the region twice. Furthermore, she has been voted as the most all-rounded class monitor. She has great interest in social development and China matters, and wishes to see a more harmonious world one day.

Karn Gil Bulsuk

The Tragedy of the Thai-Chinese Karn is an American-born, Hong Kong-bred, Japan-experienced management consultant working at a big-four professional services firm in Bangkok. He definitely considers himself Chinese, but can’t really put a finger on which type. In his free time, Karn loves to write and regularly pens his own column at

Peilin Luo

Childhood in the Cultural Revolution Graduating from the China University of Political Science and Law, Peilin has a unique view of life in Hong Kong, UK and her childhood in mainland China during the Cultural Revolution. She hopes in her lifetime that the world will be able to better understand China and China will better understand the world.

Amanda Mitchell Cross-cultural Achievement Gaps

Amanda Mitchell is a current Teach for China teaching fellow in rural, southeastern China. Previously, she studied Chinese language at Beijing Foreign Studies University and worked as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. She has a BA in economics from Stanford University.


Interview with Jacky Leung by Hugo Chim


acky Leung was a Warwick Economics student who graduated in 2006, and is soon to be the Vice Chair of WAHK (Warwick Alumni Association in Hong Kong). Originally from Hong Kong, he has extensive banking experience in many parts of the world. After gaining experience in prominent companies like J.P. Morgan, ABN AMRO and RBS, he is now an Associate Director at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong. In his free time, Jacky likes to play golf and get involved in the political scene in Hong Kong.

purpose at the moment, but I intend to put in place some sort of structured mentorship program in the future. For now, Warwick graduates in Hong Kong can attend events like our alumni dinners and network with established alumni. You really need to put yourself out there and be thick-skinned and network with as many people as possible. It is also important that you make sure you keep in touch with them on a regular basis. Use common sense and avoid being too annoying.


Do you have any general career advice for our Warwick students?


To my knowledge, you will be the Vice Chair of the Warwick Alumni Association in Hong Kong (WAHK). For Warwick students who plan to kick off their career in Hong Kong/ China, does WAHK have any measures to help them?

I cannot emphasize networking enough. Being active in student activities is also beneficial. In fact, my first banking internship at J.P. Morgan was through an alumni referral. I got acquainted with this alumnus running an SU activity. She offered me valuable advice on how I should build my CV and shared with me her experience at work. That said, you really need to put in most of the effort. At the end of the day, you need to demonstrate that you ought to be recommended.


Moreover, a lot of students take a make-or-break attitude in job


Frankly, we do not have a structured program for this

seeking. In this economic climate, there are not many reasons to be picky. Big companies, small companies, it does not matter as long as you are given the opportunity to learn. Apply to as many positions as possible to maximize your chances.


How do you see Warwick’s standing in the rest of the world?


Undoubtedly, Warwick has a great reputation within the City and of course most parts of Europe; however, the same story does not quite apply to the Far East. In China, in particular, Warwick is still lacklustre, if not obscure. In Hong Kong, nonetheless, Warwick is building its reputation among top-tier employers. In the US, Warwick is largely unknown among employers.


Does this mean Warwick students will have an advantage in Hong Kong?


It is very hard to say. In Hong Kong, employers rank graduates as follows: Ivy league graduates > Oxbridge graduates > LSE, Imperial and Warwick.


Should Chinese overseas students at Warwick apply to the financial sector in the UK or are they better off applying to Hong Kong/ China?


It really depends. Let’s put it this way: let’s look at what you have actually done during your time at Warwick. Have you been mostly hanging out with the locals or mainly with other Chinese? Did you try to engage in projects and school activities with British and European students? If you have no experience working with locals and Europeans, how can you convince your interviewers that you are capable of teamwork in a bank in the UK, whose workforce is largely British and European? Also, you really


The fact is that despite the bleak financial prospects and diminishing advantages of being a graduate, the competition to become one has never been any more severe.

by Eric Mu


hen I was a kid, university graduates were as rare as unicorns, now they are more like popcorn: cheap and plentiful. No big surprise, considering there are millions of fresh ones every year to join a large pool of millions of existing ones. All are desperate for white-collar jobs that are not easy to come by in China’s manufacturing economy. The problem of university graduates finding jobs has been debated in the media as a difficult social issue for at least a decade, and it has not improved.

Again, it really depends. First, let’s talk about why it is not a good idea for British and European students to go East. Perhaps I should focus on Hong Kong, but the scenario pretty much applies to China as well, if not more so in some cases. The first problem you will run into is language. True, Hong Kong is a self-professed international city,

My father is a cleaner at a local paper mill. In his mid-fifties, without any professional skills, he works for 50 yuan a day. What can 50 yuan buy? Two cups of coffee at this not-toofancy coffee shop in Beijing where I am typing these words. But if you are a college graduate and want to find a job in my hometown, you can expect to start with an even lower salary than my father. Earlier this year when I went back to my home village, my parents told me that a girl in the village had gone mad. Why? She went to college, where she studied English for four years, and the best job she could get was to peel shrimps with coworkers, who finished

Again, if you are open to immersing in another culture, willing to mix with the local people on an equal footing and pick up Mandarin then it will be a great experience for both short and long-term career development.


Confessions of a Chinese Graduate





Furthermore, it pretty much depends on what you want to achieve. If you really want some international experience, you should try to stay behind in the UK as you can always go back home to find work, especially when China is growing very quickly. You will also learn much more in London both in terms of breadth and depth than in Hong Kong; experience in London and New York is much more valued than that in Hong Kong, even though Hong Kong is picking up really quickly. Work

You have talked extensively about Chinese students, what about British and European students at Warwick?

but its main language is Chinese. It has a very inward-looking culture. Bear in mind that Hong Kong is not Singapore. I would say a European fresh grad has pretty much no chance surviving the recruitment process in Hong Kong, unless they have had some outstanding experience and can demonstrate the willingness to immerse themselves in Chinese culture. Knowledge of Mandarin is almost a must. Even for the Hong Kong graduates, preference is given to people with a mainland Chinese background because banking is a people business and connections do matter.


experience in Europe is special beyond compare in that it is truly multicultural with colleagues from various parts of Europe. Yet, bear in mind that what you learn in the West may not apply very well in Hong Kong, which is increasingly focused on China and the rest of Asia.


should assess your own language ability. Would you be able to speak and write English at least as well as an educated native speaker? Ultimately, it boils down to your personality: are you more outgoing or more reserved as a person? Are you willing to break out of your comfort zone?

middle school and were at least four years younger than her. So, a college degree, once a coveted holy grail, a glamorous passport to a fulfilled and secure life, has lost its luster, right? So people are shunning it and pursuing happiness through a different course, right? The fact is that despite the bleak financial prospects and diminishing advantages of being a graduate, the competition to become one has never been any more severe. My high school life, which was not so long ago, might give you a small glimpse into the real situation: How too much competition poisons people’s relationships, 8

and how when you feel that the guy sitting beside you is your potential enemy who may rob you of a lifetime of happiness, altruism is not going to be your guide. Students hold to themselves and are reluctant to help others. If you have a math question you cannot crack, you keep it to yourself, because all the students are very proprietary about their learning. To offer your knowledge or even your questions for free is not only time consuming but an aid to your enemies. I have to say that high school is a monastery and an army boot camp combined. Eleven classes every day. We had to rise before dawn and went to bed after 11. After the last class, we were encouraged to use any bit of extra time for study. There was one student who would go to read his lessons every night in the toilet, because that was the only place where the light would be kept on 24 hours. Everyone hated him, because his breach of a delicate equilibrium that is vital for us to live in peace with each other — he studied just a little too hard. The school encouraged us to be frugal with our time. It had a slogan hanging from the main building: “Time is like water in a sponge; if you squeeze harder, there is always more.” Even though you can always squeeze, even God may need to take a day off every week. For high school students, it was every four weeks. The day was meant for us to go home to pick up some spare clothes and money to sustain us for the next four weeks. But it also offered a rare chance of leisure. One day, think about it, ten hours of freedom, plus undisrupted sleep. How wonderful! I always anticipated the day so much that I kept planning and planning: Going to the bookstore to read the history book that I hadn’t finished? Going to the noodle place in the market to have noodles with lamb soup? When the day eventually came, not a 9

single second passed without causing great anxiety in me like a stingy man counting every penny that he has to shell out. Teachers are a mixture of army training sergeants and Amway salesmen. The former abuses, the latter promises. A teacher is not only expected to teach, he also needs to motivate. Some male teachers were very good at that, capable of evoking in their subjects the deepest sense of shame that even a Freudian would admire. They did it with verbal ingenuity that a rapper would envy. I remember a teacher once warned us that if we didn’t work hard we would “go and poke a dog’s teeth,” What he meant was that we would end up being tramps or beggars. Now many years have passed but the image of myself with a beggar’s pole trying to fend off a bunch of barking dogs still haunts me. The first few days of my high school life I was pumped up by a sense of triumphalism and I was a bit stuck up. After all, I had just passed a very difficult exam, I thought. My teacher spotted that dangerous tendency and he talked to me about it. At first he was using metaphorical language, telling me how a full bucket cannot take any more water. When he found out that I was not improving, he called me an ingrate and a mistake of my parents. It was only later that I realized that the teacher didn’t say that only to me. He said it to most students with the exception of the very best and the very worst in the class. The top ones were treated with respect and the worst didn’t deserve his time because it wouldn’t make a difference anyway. It was not only the students dealing with a lot of stress, but the teachers as well. A teacher’s salary was correlated with how many of the students that they were responsible for went to university. Even the school

principal would be evaluated on such statistics. At my junior year, a girl committed suicide. Not a big surprise. There are always weak ones who just can’t make it. That is how natural selection works. The cause of the suicide was that the girl’s head teacher asked her to forgo the college entrance exam. Not that he hated her personally. He simply talked to all the students who were deemed hopeless and would only dilute the average results of the class. The girl refused. The teacher told the girl something that must have been very humiliating, and she drowned herself in the sea that afternoon. Three years of running this strenuous marathon. The inevitable climax was more of an anticlimax. The test didn’t turn out to be as I had imagined it – a grand battle. I had been seeing myself on stage, with a war bugle blowing and bullets whizzing by and here I was, a soldier crouching in his trench and ready for a bayonet charge, to take my fate by its throat. The reality was much duller though. A room packed with 40 students huddling in front of their small desks, under the scrutiny of a surveillance cam and two chatty supervisors. We were no warriors but prisoners. If we were fighting for anything, it was just for our own survival. During the few days prior to the exam, some interesting changes took place. My head teacher seemed to have a personality transplant. He appeared to be a different person. He was now such a nice guy that I barely recognized him. In our final class, he gave us his goodbye speech. He told us how pleasant it had been working with us for the past three years, that he had been proud of us and would never forget us. I had been thinking the exact opposite – that we were the worst class he had ever taught and that he had always hated us — particularly me, the

“I love you.” was the signal for the end of the speech, a rather clichéd wrap-up. “We love you too.” The students yelled back. Liars! But a ritual like this worked. Reconciliation was achieved. Damages were forgiven. Grudges healed. Even I, the most foolhardy, unrelenting hater, felt that it might not be fair to blame the guy for his offensive remarks about me. He was, after all, doing his job.

But I just said bye to my dad, throwing the tin can as far as I could, and strode into the exam room, ready to take my destiny by the throat, or, be taken by my throat. The three days of examinations proceeded without incident, except occasionally the kid in front of me who snuck a look or two at my exam sheet and the teachers there pretended not to see it at all, or they were too involved in their chat. But how can I let my three years of hard work be stolen by this sneaky bastard? I stared back at him with my hard, venomous eyes, covering my sheet up. The thief turned his head back. Then everything was over. I walked out of the room feeling like an abandoned condom, used

A month later, I got the admission letter from a university, my family was exhilarated. But I was only relieved to have my burden removed, if only temporarily. I knew intuitively that university would by no means be as wonderful as the teacher depicted to me. Compared with three years ago, I was now older and in no small measure, wiser. My feeling was vindicated; university life was but another cycle. We would go through another round of anxiety, angst, boredom and disillusion, only with different tokens for goals: then it was about passing the exam and going to university, now it was about becoming a Party member, finding a girlfriend and getting a job.

Career Education

But next year. How many next years am I going to have?


All theatrics aside, the message was clear to me: “I know I abused you but I don’t want to be hated. Now, as you are about to leave, there is no point for me to be harsh any more. What can be done can’t be undone, and it is all the past, so let’s move on and forget it and be friendly to each other.”

“We can try again next year if you fail.”

and hollow. Exhausted too. All I wanted to do was to catch up on all the sleep that I had missed over the past three years. It was not only because I was so sleepy, I wanted to sleep away the horrible three years, to forget them like a bad dream. When I woke up again, I hoped that I would find myself a fresh person with a new life.


He proceeded with his emotioncharged speech. “If I ever hurt any of you, it was not my intention. As a teacher , I always had my students’ best interests in mind.” Some girls were moved to cry. “One day as a teacher, a life as a father,” he quoted an ancient saying, which gave me a feeling of embarrassment for the hypocrisy.

My teacher? My teacher doesn’t care about me at all. All he cares about is statistics.


sullen mean type who just won’t cooperate — and wanted to wipe us from his memory as soon as we are gone.

The teacher told the girl something that must have been very humiliating, and she drowned herself in the sea that afternoon.

The morning before the exam started, I walked through a crowd of students’ parents. They were anxious and gazing expectantly at their children, praying that they would ace the test. My dad was there too. He brought me a can of Red Bull. “Son, don’t be nervous.” My dad passed me the can. How can I not be nervous seeing you wimpy like that? I was thinking, gulping down the liquid. “Your teacher said you are good. He said you have no problem.” 10

Cross-cultural Achievement Gaps By Amanda Mitchell


n a Sunday, I rode my bike into town. I needed to make some copies of study materials for my students, and I needed to find a place that could do it cheap. The first few places I stopped in gave me an outrageous price, so I kept peddling. Eventually, I ended up further away than I’d been before, and pulled over when I saw a print shop that looked like it might have big enough equipment to do the job without straining my measly monthly stipend. The woman who opened the door was in her sixties, and, like most people her age, didn’t speak Mandarin. I asked her how much 140 doublesided copies would cost, but she didn’t understand, and neither did I understand her. She asks me to sit down for a cup of tea, which is a common command in this part of southern China. Standing up and not drinking tea is enough to make anyone nervous around here. Eventually, her husband and some other friends or family members – such boundaries are often unclear around here – returned and saw the documents I wanted to print. They recognized I was a teacher and offered to print at cost price for me. They were teachers at a nearby school, in which my program, Teach for China, had four teaching fellows. We discussed these fellows at their school and my principal over some tea as the shop owner copied my documents. The old lady expressed great dismay upon learning that I had yet to lunch and promptly offered me some freshly home-made lotus root soup – a dish I was unacquainted with prior


to coming here, and which I now eat pretty much every day. After some chatting about the weather, tea, and my limited knowledge of the local dialect (they were delighted to find out I could speak a few words), one of the local teachers mentioned he was interested in knowing what I thought about the difference between inequalities in western schools (American and European) and in Chinese schools. I suggested fundamentally, they face the same situation: in any country, wealthy people will find a way for their children to enjoy a quality education, while poor people cannot. The same for both, wealthy people are not only seeking a quality education, they also seeking an education that will allow their children to remain upper-class, to remain ahead of children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. This is the challenge that brought me to Teach for China in the first place. What’s different, I told him, is the mechanism by which wealthy people on each side keep poor students at the bottom. In the west, we have open access to quality education - think affirmative action policies in the US, which seek to attract low-income students at the college level. If a student from a low-income family can show a university that she can succeed, she can get in with a scholarship. She can even have lower test scores than her upper-class counterparts, because everyone will acknowledge that she hasn’t had the same opportunities. Upper class Americans will even cheer on her progress, and some will even contribute to the scholarship fund that finances her education. The problem, however, is that lowincome students often face such a terrible quality of education at the primary and secondary levels that an acceptable achievement for college enrollment is largely

impossible. Only those very few who are very talented and motivated can survive the system and make it to college. Bad teachers in the west can be very very bad. In America for example, accountability widely varies: at the best schools, teachers are very accountable to a school system or a principal and are (often) very talented educators, but at the worst schools, we often see very low standards and very few formal assessments. While there are of course many talented and dedicated teachers at bad schools, the chance of spotting bad teachers at those schools is far higher. If a poor student gets unlucky enough to have a series of bad teachers in primary school, chances are, he or she will never catch up. As I’ve personally witnessed as a government-run school primary teacher in rural China, the standards for even the bad teachers in China is much higher than it is in the West, mostly due to a very rigidly standardized curriculum and job requirements. All public school teachers (including myself) follow a set curriculum and even a standard timeline, with unit, midterm and final exams provided by the county. I can give my students the unit exams whenever I feel they are ready, but the midterms and finals are on a set day and proctored (and graded) by a different teacher. I am required to designate a test-review day, a test day, and a post-test debrief day for each unit exam, and to issue standardized classwork and homework. In this way, even a terrible lazy teacher in China can only get away with so much. Students at my school, who are predominantly from the working class, take the same exams as their counterparts at wealthier schools. While my school’s passing rate is much lower, students still have access to the same topics, exam questions, and practice workbooks that students at the best schools in the area have.

Mozilla in China makes promoting and localizing products more convenient and efficient.


competitors such as 360 Browser and Sogou Browser.

Either way, the local teachers at the copy shop and I concluded that poor students anywhere face terrible challenges in their academic pursuit. This is the reality for all less-fortunate children of the world, a reality that I came here to change—however insignificantly.

Moving Forward An insight into the unique challenges faced by Mozilla China and what China is going to look like in the future.

by Yang Li


ozilla China was founded in 2005 and is a non-profit organisation that is affiliated with Mozilla Foundation, which is renowned for developing the free and open source web browser Mozilla Firefox. Mozilla China is trying to introduce and promote Mozilla products in China, which already has the world’s largest number of Internet users. China has a very unique market in which not only does Mozilla China need to remain competitive against the usual global competitors such as Google Chrome, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer but also need to face stiff competition from domestic

Consequently Mozilla China has implemented unique methods to market Mozilla products such as a very active online community that does more than publishing press releases and providing mundane company info. In order to gain a better insight of the fast developing Chinese market, the challenges a Company like Mozilla China faces and what China’s technology world is going to look like in the near future, I interviewed Mozilla China’s Chairman & CEO Dr. Gong Li who was formerly the General Manager of MSN China.


Why does Mozilla need a separate China based organisation? What makes the Chinese market so unique?


The reason is mainly because of the special Internet environment in China, including both the government issues and the local Internet companies. Running a subsidiary company of


How does Mozilla China differ when compared to Mozilla Japan and Europe, who are organisations that also help promote Mozilla products?



Yet, a big problem with China’s education system is this: the education system in China is deliberately designed to keep poor students away from

So I’m left with this conclusion: a smart poor child in America has a fair chance of admission to top universities, given the kid has the tenacity to succeed in a terrible primary and secondary school system full of lousy teachers; whereas, a smart poor child in China has a much better shot at having a quality primary education, but almost no chance in being able to advance beyond it.


I would therefore argue that a talented child in poor rural China has better access to a quality education than a talented, poor child in an inner city or rural school in a Western country (the ways that non-talented children are left behind in both systems is a topic for another article).

advancement opportunities. The top universities are in big cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, and these universities will sharply favor applicants from that area. To enter the same university, a poor student from another province will need to achieve higher test scores than his/her wealthy in-province counterparts. To a Westerner, that seems absurd: a poor child needs to achieve a higher test score than a wealthy student to gain admission to the same university. Yet, that is exactly how the system ends up working out for the kids of rural China – no matter how hard they work, they are often going to be edged out by a city kid who’s not as smart but was born in a moredeveloped area.


In other words, the instruction is so rigid and standardized in China that, perhaps a blessing in disguise, bad teachers aren’t allowed to fall too far behind a proper national standard.


Generally, there is no fundamental difference between the three companies; they are all subsidiaries of Mozilla Corporation. Each has their own local strategy based on various market conditions.


What has been the most rewarding part of your job as the CEO of Mozilla China?


Since starting Mozilla in China, we have increased Firefox users based in China by at least 6-7 times. We also brought the value of Mozilla, that puts “user first”, to a wider audience throughout China.


Mozilla China does many campus events at Chinese 12


Universities; what do you hope to achieve by hosting these events?



According to data from Baidu (March 2011) Firefox has a web browser market share of 1.6% whilst Google Chrome, launched 3 years ago has a market share of 2.5%. What is Mozilla China doing to remain competitive in China?

Yes, we had many campus events in Chinese universities during the past years. We would like to attract Firefox fans and developers in the universities and help them influence more students to get involved in Mozilla and Firefox.



Mozilla China has a very strong online community; how has this helped Mozilla China achieve its goals?


Each government has their own regulations for the internet and these are often beyond the realm of Mozilla.

Firstly, we are not familiar with the Baidu data regarding browsers’ market share. Secondly, our biggest competitor in China is not Chrome, but IE6. And we have been trying our best to encourage people to give up IE6 and use the modern browsers.




To a large extent, Mozilla is community driven. And we maintain the online community to help users, to arrange events, and also to deliver the fresh news of Mozilla Firefox. It is a platform for Mozilla China to communicate with our users and for community members to participate.


The internet has radically changed the world and according to the CNNIC, there is already over 485 million internet users in China. What developments do you see in technology and Mozilla in the next 10 years as a result of this huge and growing amount of internet users in China?


If we have a crystal ball, we will see two major trends for the internet in the next decade. The adoption of HTML5, the new version of the public standard from W3C, will be ubiquitous. This helps everyone (device manufacturers, system integrators, content creators, and users) to shed any dependencies on proprietary standards such as Flash. And it will bring about a more level playing field and will spark on an even greater wave of innovation.The vast majority of internet access will be from handheld and other non-PC devices. Today, the mobile world consists of a few silos segregated and monopolized by a few major players such as Apple (iOS), Google (Android), and Microsoft (Windows Phone). The


hard won battle on the internet risks being lost again. Therefore, Mozilla must renew the battle to keep the mobile world free and open for all to participate. Considering Mozilla Firefox is all about being open source and free, does the Great Firewall of China not go against the ethos of Mozilla?

In recent years there has been an influx of start-up technology companies entering the Chinese market such as Groupon, Wimdu and Zynga, to name a few. How do you think this will affect internet usage in China?


The Internet market of China is quite different compared to the US and the Europe. The top Internet companies in China are almost local companies. Therefore, it is difficult to forecast the influence of those start-ups in China. In other words, it is not easy to win market share in China. In fact, so far, no Western player has notable success in China.


Older versions of Internet Explorer are still very popular in China which has security vulnerabilities and poor performance, why is it that despite being faster, safer and more stable, Firefox still has not gained a dominant market share?


There are many reasons for this phenomenon. First, Windows XP still dominates the Chinese market, which delivers IE6 with it. This is because XP is the last easy-to-pirate version of Microsoft Windows. Second, it is related to the users’ education background, Internet skills and many other factors. Third, compatibility issues are a big problem in China, especially with the e-banking service area.


According to the CNNIC, by 2012 China’s mobile internet users will overtake traditional PC internet users. What is Mozilla’s strategy in this regard?


Mozilla has already released its mobile browser on Android in this Market and Mozilla China will keep delivering localization add-ons and editions of Firefox mobile for Chinese users.


Mozilla China opened in 2005, in hindsight would you do anything differently?


It is hard to play the whatif game, because the assumption that “all other things remain equal” simply does not hold. Nevertheless, one obvious thing that we would have done differently is to be involved in community building more aggressively, instead of the original approach to support existing community groups to grow and form a larger and more coherent community; however, these small groups did not grow significantly or work together as we hoped. As soon as we launched the new community portal on our own initiative, we got the largest and most effective Firefox community group in China. Sincere thanks to Dr. Gong Li and the Mozilla China Team for making this interview possible. Please visit for more information and updates on what Mozilla China is working on.

hile the Eurozone Debt Crisis is now catching all the attention in the world, very few people realize what is going on in the other side of the world: China. In fact, the risk of insolvency in China is in no sense lower than that of Europe. According to the Chinese Minister of Finance in 2011, more than 20% of China’s municipal governments are running debts of more than 100% of their GDPs. Victor Shih from Northwestern University even estimated that the Chinese government’s contingent liabilities, rather than explicit debt on the books, exceeded 150% of its GDP. Meanwhile in Europe, only the two worst countries, Greece and Italy, have debts comparable to this: 142% and 119%. The situation is certainly alarming. People may still have fresh memories about China’s stimulus package of 4 trillion Yuan in 2008 against the financial crisis. But few people know that although Beijing announced the package, it was the regional governments that were actually responsible for raising funds and implementing the projects. In fact, the Chinese economy is very decentralized in the sense that the regional governments coordinate most of the economic activities. With money spent on massive public infrastructure constructions such as highways, high-speed railways and airports, the current accounts of regional governments were worsened to unprecedented levels. Ironically, though the regional governments are responsible for running most of the public

Fortunately, the local governments possess sufficient access to a valuable collateral: land. In China, according to the constitution, land is owned by the country. Individuals only own the right to use the land; no one but the government can legitimately convert land from agricultural use to commercial uses. Facing an increasing demand for commercial land as the economy grows, the exclusive right of land conversion is extremely valuable. A type of pseudo-firms: the so-called financial platforms, are invented as “white gloves” to facilitate the local government to raise funds through land conversion. They receive commercial land assigned by the government, and then use the land as collateral to apply for loans from the banks. Finally they transfer the loans back to the governments. Through this manipulation, the regional governments raise debts to implement fiscal projects. As long as property prices continue to go up, the same game can be played forever, using new debt to roll over old debt. As a result, local governments have an interest in keeping property prices high. This has accelerated the surge of housing prices in China. Average housing

prices have more than tripled in most cities since 2005, making housing unaffordable for most local families. Although Chinese culture and tradition may have something to do with the strong and persistent demand for housing, the exercise of monopolistic power of local governments in land supply is also responsible for the ballooning bubble. Behind the skyrocketing housing prices, there are numerous transfers of wealth from the general public to property developers and government officials. Facing growing public demand for accountability and social justice, the central government has become increasingly aware that, if left alone, the incessant rise of house prices may give rise to social unrest. Many national policies have been enforced to cool down the property market. For instance, the plan to build 10 million units of public housing was announced earlier this year. These policies have partly achieved their common goal: since the third quarter this year, property prices in Shanghai and Beijing have stabilized, or even dropped.

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projects, they do not control much of the tax revenues. The fiscal reform in 1998 greatly strengthened the share of fiscal revenues controlled by the central goverment. At present, only around 40% of the total tax revenue is retained locally. This subjects the local governments to a difficult situation: despite having less money in their pockets, they are required to do even more than before. As a result, they turn to the banks for funding.


by Dai Ming


Regional Debt and Housing Price

The cancerous expansion of regional debt might eventually lead to the overall collapse of the Chinese economy.


China as the next Greece?

It is very likely that the nightmare for both the regional governments and the banks will soon arrive. Without the continually growing property market, how can local governments borrow enough to meet existing debt obligations? What should the banks do with the potential massive bad loans? Will China turn into another Greece? As Lifan Zhang, a scholar in Beijing, said to Voice of America, the cancerous expansion of regional debt might eventually lead to the overall collapse of the Chinese economy. It is time to start worrying. 14

Company: The Fifth Avenue by Yafei Sun


You used to report political news in ‘Nan Fang Zhou Mo’ and ‘Chinese News Weekly’. How has your journalistic experince, as well as your experience of Wall Street, influenced your current career?


From my journalistic experience, I have acquired the ability to learn fast and gauge the essence of complex issues. Working in investment banking, I learned to conduct industry analyses and be comfortable with numbers.


I would say that the good thing is that we understand each other well and there are no bad feelings after arguments. On the other hand, the bad thing about it is that it is easy to forget about our core values and break the rules.





During your time working in the highly competitive Wall Street environment, did you have any experience with racial discrimination or sex discrimination? If so, how did you cope while making sure that other people recognized your ability? Wall Street is a meritocratic place. I never experienced any serious sexual or racial discrimination. Everyone, regardless of who they are or where they came from, needs to prove his or her ability.


What were the reasons behind your decision to give up your role as the chief investment officer of a Wall Street firm to start your own business: The Fifth Avenue?


I wanted to try something new and I wanted to see whether I could build something from scratch.


You and your sister established The Fifth Avenue. What, in your opinion, are the pros and cons of running a business


with family members?

During recent decades, Chinese demand for luxury goods has grown exponentially. What’s your view on this phenomenon? Also, more and more young people are obsessed with brand names; how do you see this?

China has only few homegrown luxury brands; what do you think of this? Is it possible for China to build its own luxury brands in next ten years?


The reasons for the lack of home-grown luxury brands lie not with the lack of good designs but with the scarcity of good concepts and inept branding skills. Besides, Chinese people are increasingly drawn to Western goods. I believe the situation will improve more or less in the next ten years but only to a very small extent.


Has the rising price of luxury products had any impact on your business?

Online shopping is still a new concept to many people in China. The majority of Chinese people are still concerned about quality issues associated with Chinese online shopping websites. They prefer shopping in Hong Kong and duty-free shops, and asking friends abroad to buy things for them. What’s your strategy to tackle this consumer behavior? Will you consider spending more in advertising?



The transition from irrational brand obsession towards rational consumption choice is an inevitable developmental process. This is a necessary process and we should not sensationalize it. However, I don’t suggest young people overspend.


Prices of luxury goods vary differently per annum due to variations in raw material prices and market conditions. It does not however affect our sales significantly.


Chinese people have all kinds of luxury goods to buy while

I believe the situation will improve in the future. The market is large; the mainstream will still consist of domestic consumption.


The market for e-commerce of luxury goods is expanding; facing more and

In June, famous CCTV broadcaster , Rui Cheng Gang, denounced luxury consumption and criticized

The Tragedy of the ThaiChinese by Karn Gil Bulsuk


acing around in the city in his shiny black BMW, he stops arrogantly at a traffic light to push up his Ray Ban glasses. He’s at the top of his game: custom made shoes, brand name clothes, and a six million baht apartment right beside the BTS skytrain station, in a country where the average middleclass, fresh graduate annual wage is a mere 250,000 baht (UK

So far Chinese consumers are still in the early stage of the consumption pattern transition, in which people tend to show off. However, as our consumers mature, they will become more rational. Besides, the Chinese

£515). He spends his Friday nights dancing away at clubs and drinking Johnny Walker with Coca Cola, spends thousands of baht more on meals at classy restaurants and hangs out with his friends, who basically do the same thing. Most likely than not, he and his friends would be around 20 years old, university students, and most telling of all, Thai-Chinese. It is a comic-tragedy on epic proportions.

The Spoilt Generation In Thailand, the Chinese have long been regarded as entrepreneurs and the business people of the Kingdom. In fact, this image is more or less true: more than half of the largest businesses in Thailand were founded by Chinese and


Be down-to-earth and work hard to build a sound foundation. Always think and act professionally. In whichever sector, only solid experience and knowledge will set one apart.

are still run by their descendents. The same admirable stereotypes that are accorded to the Chinese globally also apply to ThaiChinese: that they are frugal, work exceptionally hard and are excellent business people. In general, they are highly successful and well off both in the economic and political realms. Many of the stories from first and second generation Chinese illustrate these positive stereotypes. Your correspondent’s grandmother first came toThailand from China when she was a child. To raise a family of 6, she needed to sell pork at the local fresh market, working 16 hour days every day. Her husband, also equally successful, owned a construction company which built roads in the south of Thailand during the height of the Cold War. Armed to the teeth with M-16 machine guns, bazookas and shot guns in addition to tarmac and tractors, construction was a stop and go affair as they battled communist insurgents, who attempted to prevent road construction to stop the Thai Army from advancing. Decades of hard work paid off, and they were able to send all six of their children to university. Today, they are a proud member of the upper middle classes: well off and able to fully relax in their old age.


Do you have any suggestions for the entrants to this industry? How about for people who want to work in finance or business or journalism?






We pride ourselves in our thorough understanding of the industry and we guarantee quality. We are still in the development stage and we will not stop the improvement of our service.

market still has many untapped areas, and so there is enormous room for growth.



some international luxury brands, saying that luxury goods encouraged vanity. What’s your take on that? How long do you think Chinese people’s fervor for luxury goods will last? Will the market face a downturn any time soon?


more competition, what would you consider to be the main advantages of your website?


While these stereotypes may have held true in the past, they are quickly being eroded away by the current and upcoming generation which have squandered their parents’ gain and hardship, ironically all with the blessing of their parents. It is the Thai version of the “Little Emperor” problem seen in mainland China, but without child control policies, an exponentially larger issue. A typical child born in Thailand to third-generation Thai-Chinese would be coddled since birth. From an early age, parents would act as chauffeurs to send their children to school, extra-curricular activities and most importantly, tutorial schools in the evenings and weekends. Many are not expected to do housework, and even until adulthood, will not have ever cooked, cleaned or ironed a shirt. All meals would be provided by the domestic helper, while clothes would be placed into a basket and magically appear clean, pressed and on hangers the following day. Once they pass through high school and prepare for university exams, many parents will provide their children with an incentive: a car if they manage to enter into a good university. Common brands include Toyota Camry or equally often, a Mercedes Benz or BMW. In a country where a 300% import tax is slapped onto imported cars such as a Mini Cooper, they are extremely expensive, clocking in at least 3 million baht (UK £61,776) to over 8 million baht (UK £164,737). Rarer but still common, richer parents may choose to purchase a sports car such as a Porsche for their offspring to race around the traffic clogged streets of Bangkok. All throughout university, parents would provide their children with an all expenses paid experience. There is no culture of working part time as a student: all fuel, food and tuition costs would be borne by their parents. If they choose to live in dorms, those expenses would be paid as well. They would receive monthly allowances to live 17

comfortably, never having to work for what they spend. At the average age of 21, these children would graduate from university and get a job, which would pay around 18,000 to 24,000 baht a month (UK £370 to £494). As incentive for graduating with a good Grade Point Average (GPA), or just because parents want to ensure that their children do not need to suffer to travel to work, many parents will choose to purchase apartments for their children, conveniently located near one of the new MRT underground or BTS skytrain system. On average, such apartments start at 3.5 million baht (UK £72,000) and reach for the sky. The amount of money they make for the first 10 years of their career will never be able to pay back the cost of their apartments, let alone a BMW. Even then, many of these former children would have the ability to spend every single penny of their salary, as their parents will continue to support them with gasoline fees and in some cases, even provide an allowance for their children. It is common to see fresh graduates carrying Louis Vuttion bags with a BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad tagging along. After around two years in the work force, the pattern goes that these Thai-Chinese will go to graduate school to obtain

their Master’s degree in some subject, related or unrelated to their work. Many choose to go to the United Kingdom, where all expenses from allowances, luxury accommodation, food and tuition fees are fully paid by their parents. Upon graduation, the majority choose not to stay in the UK where they may earn back the cost of their tuition, but choose to immediately return to Thailand to take up a job which may pay between 30,00040,000 baht per month (UK £618 to £823), while continuing to live in their parents funded apartment and drive their parents bought car. Others may continue to live at home and work in their family business, eating food bought by their mum, using their water and electricity, and never quite leaving the nest. We are rapidly losing the basic values which have made the Chinese so admired and successful throughout the world. The hard work and spirit of perseverance which defined the very core essence of being Chinese has now gone, leaving us with a generation which are very good at spending money, but not so good at making it. A generation which does not understand that hardship and hard work come before comfort. A generation that does not understand what it is to be Chinese. And that in itself, is the greatest tragedy of all.

The Power of Chinese Youth

However, the majority of China remains undeveloped and in poverty. People living in the inland provinces of Shanxi, Gansu, Henan for instance lead totally different lives from those in big cities. This gap between the rich and poor is endangering


of the rich and powerful. In truth, the list of Student Council members had already been predetermined behind closed doors. The entire exercise was just so that guileless youth may be deceived. This is but a microcosm of Chinese society at large. You cannot begin to apprehend the complicated labyrinthine nature of the Chinese society, beneath its resplendent, glorious exterior. Yes, this is the real China.

I know the application form I hold to be utterly void of meaning. I have long watched with deadened eyes, this mere farce that draws, all at once, both laughter and tears – a mere show directed by the rich and powerful, starring the descendants

A teacher once told us “do not fixate on the flaws in society, after all, our societal doctrine is by and large successful.” In school, probing at the problems in society is typically dismissed as mere youthful angst. Such an accusation cannot be further from the truth. The pursuit of betterment, driven by healthy discontent should in fact be every Chinese citizen’s responsibility. As the poet Ai Qing puts it: “Why doth mine eyes water frequent

by Ya Ning Li

walk the school grounds at autumn’s end, assaulted by waves of bitter cold. And yet it is the healthy buzz of flourishing life that greets me at the school’s notice board, now freshly furnished with the list of Student Council members for the upcoming term.

so? For deep is my love for thy land.” In the same way, there are present-day Chinese youths who habour that very same deep love for their land. We agonise over the fate of our people, we can change China for the better, we are in fact China’s greatest asset.

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Those inland cities, with their splendid natural resources, have the potential to become as developed as those big cities too. This gap can be attributed to reasons like the internal citizenship (Hukou) institution, social security system and the divided rural-urban land policy. And there are historical reasons as well as political reasons. Economic development in China is fairly unbalanced and there are many deep-rooted problems, despite its high GDP growth. So despite its beautiful facade, China should take immediate action to make it a better living environment for the majority of its people.



he world has witnessed the fast development of China and is surprised by its high GDP growth rate and strong fiscal power, strong enough to be a candidate to give financial assistance to Europe. However, many people see China only from the perspectives of the big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. These developed cities give the world a glorious impression of China. The coastal cities are stepping quickly to the western world and embracing globalization and fast economic development. The infrastructure of these big cities, such as the

the stability and sustainable development of China. A small minority of the population enjoys all kinds of privileges. Equality in society is challenged and it is a regrettable under-utilisation of human potential if the rest of China remains poor.


by Lin Lin

transportation, streets, shopping centers, are very advanced and developed compared to many other cities in the world. Take Nancy, the city in France in which I am currently living, for example, there’s no subway here; neither is there any other form of mass transportation; the pace of life is much slower and the cost of living is also relatively lower. In contrast, you can find anything in Shanghai: the fantastic subway, the very quick living pace, the painfully expensive living cost. In a word, some cities in China “seem” to be more developed than many in the developed countries.


A Divided China

“To verbally abuse and to intimidate is not to fight” was how the great philosopher Lu Xun put it. He went on to say that “where there once was no path on the ground, paths emerge when enough men trace out a common route.” I think I can no longer avert my gaze either to the cloudless skies above, or clear waters below; but with each prudent step direct both my feet on solid ground. I shall keep marching on, that my feet may join that of other persevering and spirited youths. And together, as we beat out a new path with each firm footprint, our light shall shine forth and impact the future. 18

God, China and the Spiritual Revolution

These days Wenzhou is named the ‘Jerusalem of China’, with over a thousand church buildings and some estimates that as many as 30% of the population is Christian.

by James White

lurked. The church was not gone; it was alive and kicking, and about to burst into action.

the growth of Christianity remains the most startling and impressive religious development.

These days Wenzhou is named the ‘Jerusalem of China’, with over a thousand church buildings and some estimates that as many as 30% of the population is Christian. However, this spiritual phenomenon is not just limited to particular regions. Whilst Christianity is struggling to find momentum in the West, in China it is booming, growing exponentially and far faster than population increases. Although estimates vary (much religious practice is still underground), a conservative guess is that there are at least sixty-five million Protestants and twelve million Catholics in China – totalling to more believers than there are members of the Communist Party. Some estimates are even higher. By 2050, it is thought that China will be the most Christian nation on earth – an incredible transformation from 1979, when there were no churches and when Christianity in China seemed moribund.

It seems that Christianity, with its myriad forms - from American evangelism to traditional Catholicism to charismatic Pentecostalism – is best suited to being able to adapt to all the different facets of Chinese culture. Much of Christianity’s growth in China can be attributed to the influence and proximity of South Korea, a nation with a strong and passionate Christian population and the world’s largest church in the world,Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, with a membership of approximately one million. South Korea is hugely influential on the global scene, with only the US having more missionaries; and with about 1,100 more being sent out from South Korea each year, many expect it to overtake the US in the near future. Many of South Korea’s missionaries are sent to China, bringing with them the story of Jesus Christ but also the ability to apply it to the East-Asian society in which they live. The Koreans have a far better understanding than most Westerners of what is needed to adapt the Christian faith to a Chinese backdrop.


t all started in 1868, when the Scottish Protestant missionary George Stott first set foot in Wenzhou, a port on the southeastern coast of China. He had a strong passion to spread the message of Christianity to new territories, yet received immediate and fierce hostility from the Chinese authorities, still bitter from the recent Opium Wars and subsequent ‘unequal treaties’ imposed by Great Britain and other European powers. Nevertheless, George Stott continued his work fearlessly, and soon opposition calmed. A small church was formed, and seven decades later in 1949, there were a remarkable 70,000 Christians in Wenzhou, a tenth of all the Christians in China. However, the creation of Mao Zedong’s ‘People’s Republic’ proved to be its fiercest test. By 1952, all missionaries had been told to leave. The Church, meanwhile, continued to be persecuted, with many pastors sent to labour camps and politically ‘reeducated’. By 1958, most churches were closed and Wenzhou was later named an ‘atheistic zone’. By 1979, it seemed that all sign of Christianity, and religion in general, had disappeared. Mao’s atheist utopia seemed to now be fully manifested, and the efforts of George Stott and other evangelicals seemed completely futile, with their achievements forgotten in the intricacies of history and washed away like grooves in the sand. Yet below the veneer of irreligion something


In fact, this revolution is not just limited to Christianity. Islam is also booming, with conservative estimates being that there are as many Muslims in China as Saudi Arabia and twice as many as in the whole of the EU. China could even come to be the world’s largest Muslim nation by 2050 as well as the largest Christian one. Religion is still an interesting mixture in China, with Buddhism a mixture of spirituality and ancient folklore, and Taoism a mixture of spirituality and ancient philosophy in the form of Confucianism. The world’s major religions are currently in a ‘scramble for China’, with the outcome far from certain. However,

These developments pose big dilemmas for the Chinese government. Christianity, and religion in general, remains a tricky issue. There are still only five official government religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism and Catholicism) and they are tightly regulated. Some still associate religion, and in particular Christianity, with insurrection, and this stereotype is proving hard to brush off. Also, many Christians are beginning to take their beliefs to the political

Yet this phenomenon also reveals interesting truths about the nature of Christianity. Why does it succeed in the places where it seems most unlikely to, whilst faltering in nations with a strong Christian heritage? In China, Christianity was heavily and brutally persecuted for thirty years, yet at the very same time, in the dark backstreets of Beijing and Shanghai, a revolution was afoot. Similar growth is occurring in South America, Africa and other parts of Asia, including Russia,

where attempts to eradicate religion in the 20th Century also took place, like in China. By contrast, Western Europe suffers from stagnant if not declining numbers of religious people – church attendance on the average Sunday in the UK is now down to 6%. Yet paradoxically, Christianity has far more political power in the UK than could ever be imagined in China. Why is this so? People have long said that religion and power are a dangerous mix. This is often true – from Israel and Palestine to Iraq to Northern Ireland, religious belief often provokes horrific violence and suffering. However, both history and current events suggest that political power, when given to Christianity, in fact does it a huge disservice. Just look back at where Christianity was most successful. Perhaps uniquely amongst major world religions, the centre of Christianity has changed throughout the modern era. First it was Jerusalem; then the first missionaries took the message to Rome, Athens, Alexandria and North Africa, the centre for many centuries; then it shifted to Northern Europe, and was then exported to North America during colonisation, considered the centre of Christianity today. Yet now the

Looking back at the character of Jesus himself, perhaps it is not all so surprising. He shunned political power when it was offered to him, he lived and ate with the outcasts of society, and he constantly sided with the marginalised and oppressed. He was then tortured and crucified by the authorities. If Jesus sided with the outsiders, then it is hardly surprising that modern Christianity also is most appealing to those with the least power. Jesus’ message that ‘blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God’ and 
’blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied’ is far easier to understand in an impoverished world rather than a rich one. Jesus’ order ‘come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ is far more pertinent to the oppressed than the oppressors. And Jesus’ proclamation that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ is far more appealing to those suffering under a cruel regime than those in power themselves. Christianity proclaims, and the Bible portrays, a God who is always on the side of the marginalised, the sufferers, and the poor, and tells us of a God who, through Jesus Christ, came to earth and suffered just like those suffering now. No wonder Christianity is most alive in the places where we least expect it.

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arena. However, among some the opinion is changing. Certainly the authorities believe that some moral code is beneficial for a society, even from a source such as Confucianism (condemned as ‘feudal’ by Mao). In fact, in 2007 the Communist Party altered its constitution to urge its members to “rally religious believers in making contributions to economic and social development”. The Chinese government has a key decision to make: whether to subvert religion in all its guises, or to work hand in hand to bring economic and social prosperity to the nation. In a country where religion, particularly Christianity, is seen by many as ‘modern’ and ‘progressive’, it will be a crucial aspect of the Chinese economy in many years to come.


centre appears to be migrating east and south. Astonishingly, the majority of Christians now live in the Southern Hemisphere. It seems that every time Christianity becomes too powerful in a nation, its centre shifts elsewhere. Now the heart of Christianity is moving away from the developed world and towards the developing. Why is it that Christianity seems to move away from power and towards the places that seem the most unlikely and inhospitable? Perhaps, as the historian Andrew Walls noted: ‘…there is a certain vulnerability, a fragility, at the heart of Christianity. You might say that this is the vulnerability of the cross.’


Childhood in the Cultural Revolution by Peilin Luo


n 1955, my father moved to Beijing. He was the first in his family to make it to university and become a teacher. He left behind his home in Anhui province, with its rolling hills, rice paddy fields, and gracefully built houses with upturned eaves, and landed himself a job teaching in a high school in Beijing. Chemistry, the subject he taught, was considered somewhat of a new fangled subject back then, and at 21 years old, he was younger than even some of the students that he taught. Still, there was an excitement that abounded in Beijing at that time. Emerged fresh from the rubble of decades of tumult, war and civil war, the air was heavy with hopeful anticipation. Our home was in a traditional quadrangle on the east side of town, with one family living on each side of a central courtyard. The side we lived on had in fact been converted from a cowshed, but my younger sister and I, we loved the place. In the little plot behind our living quarters, our mother taught us how to pluck out the weeds, rake the crumbly soil and grow our own celery and kale and many other vegetables. Come winter, we would be able to savour the tomatoes and aubergines that we had dried and salted when the days were still warm. Childhood was a simple thread of uninterrupted serenity. In long, idyllic days drenched in thick sunshine, we chased butterflies and cartwheeled onto mounds of coal. Nobody locked their doors, and we could wander into the kitchen of “Chubby Auntie”, our neighbour who always cooked 21

hearty stews or Grandpa Liang, the kindly, silver-haired old man who taught us how to play the melodious erhu and told us stories from classic literature like the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the Water Margin and the Dream of the Red Mansion. Of all the things, it was lunch brought back by my father that I most looked forward to. With my mother working long hours in a car engine factory, it fell to my father to bring lunch home to me. Every day, he would rush back on his shiny black bicycle, bringing with him baozi, jiaozi and thick, stir-fried noodles glazed with soy sauce. All these treasures he tucked away in the wire-woven basket of his bicycle. “Slow down, kid, it’s all yours,” he would chuckle at me as I stuffed the meat-filled baozi into my mouth.

Gradually though, I began to notice that he would come back later and later. Sometimes he wouldn’t come back at all. Meetings, he would tell me, meetings about the revolution, about “the right path”, tearing down the old, building the new. Always the endless meetings. I remember eagerly peering at the road, desperately hoping that the next figure emerging from the last bend would be him, only to be disappointed again. One day, when he didn’t come back, I decided to go to his school to find him. I knew the way, and I had visited the blocky school buildings before, so the place was familiar to me. As I approached the walls, however, I noticed the huge posters that were pasted on the walls. One of these posters had my father’s name scrawled on it in thick, ugly, black strokes. I

Everything descended into a maelstrom of Communist red, literally and figuratively.

Damming Neighbours by Bill Dodson


urma’s military junta in October 2011 took the unprecedented step of cancelling a US$3.6 billion project to construct a hydropower dam in Myitsone, near the country’s northern border with China. The dam was a joint project between the Burmese and Chinese governments. The Burmese government cited the project would destroy the homes and livelihoods of thousands of local residents. The cancellation enraged the Chinese leadership. The Myitsone dam, however, was not the first of China’s hydropower projects to upset China’s neighbors. Unfortunately for the south -Asian neighbourhood, China’s plans to dam upstream sources of Asia’s greatest rivers will not be easily foiled. China’s energy needs are insatiable and growing.

In 2010, electricity generated through hydropower made up 20-percent of China’s power portfolio, or nearly 200gigawatts. The Three Gorges Dam project alone generated nearly ten-percent of all China’s hydroelectricity, enough to power more than 20-million American-style homes. China believes it will need to double its power generation capacity by the year 2020, nearly 400-gigawatts of which it intends to come from hydroelectric sources. Relentless urbanization, industrialization and consumerism will accelerate the country’s search for and construction of power generation facilities, conventional and alternative. Hydropower is low-hanging fruit, from an engineering point of view: the rivers are open and accessible, and China has already built the largest power generator in the world on theYangtze River by way of the Three Gorges project, so it has a great deal of experience with the heavy industry involved with such efforts. The plan has not been lost on southeast Asia, which already blames Chinese hydroelectric

dams along the Mekong river for reducing the torrent to a trickle downstream. The Mekong (Méigong hé, in Chinese) starts in the great glaciers of the Tibetan plateau and reaches into Yunnan Province, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. More than 60 million people rely on the river for their livelihoods, which is the world’s largest inland fishery, according to the Mekong River Commission. Some analysts also blame the dam projects in part for the drought that parched southeast China in the spring of 2010 and 2011: waters that would otherwise flow freely were made into reservoirs to conserve water, not irrigate the land. During the China droughts water levels along the Mekong dropped several meters in Southeast Asia, to their lowest levels in recorded history, killing off fish and plant stocks. The drought crippled hydropower stations in Yunnan province and essentially took offline 90 percent of hydropower stations in next-door Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Guangdong’s electrical supply was debilitated in 2010 because it received a substantial portion of its power from the Guangxi

Career Education

Through all the chaos though, my father kept on telling me one thing: that the resilience of the human spirit would survive. He never complained about the denouncements or the injustices he suffered, only saying that we were far luckier than many. It was true, what he said, and it was by holding this belief that we made it through that decade of the Cultural Revolution.


In time, I would see far worse than those posters smearing my father’s name. Everything descended into a maelstrom of Communist red, literally and figuratively. Schools stopped altogether and factories ground to a halt when workers spent more time on “criticism sessions” than on manufacturing. The Red Guards beat up and killed many intellectuals in their unbridled zeal. Even Grandpa Liang disappeared one day. When he returned from jail months later,

he was a broken man, his face drawn and his stories gone. They had accused him of spreading feudal ideas, and never again did he charm us with his tales of warriors and battles of the past.


Indignant and with my cheeks flushed with anger, I ran home as fast as my legs would carry. My eyes were smarting with tears of hurt, as I couldn’t believe it that the teenaged Red Guards would do this to my father. He had been their teacher, going over their

homework and always giving them the benefit of the doubt when he graded their papers.


had just learnt to read, but even I knew what the poster said: that my father was a counterrevolutionary. The reason? Solely because of his name, which meant “to maintain and protect” in Chinese. They said that his name, something that he didn’t even have a choice in, was clinging onto the old and rejecting the new revolution.


hydro-stations. Despite – or because of – recent setbacks in power generation in Yunnen province, the central authority has its sights set on yet another natural water source. The Salween River (Nù Jiang, in Chinese), one of the longest free flowing rivers in the world, is still undammed.The river runs through Burma and Thailand. China would like to change the state of affairs, placing several hydropower projects along its reaches. Numerous political obstacles – cross-border and internal to Burma and Thailand – have seen the hydro-projects repeatedly delayed. However, in the summer of 2010 the Chinese central government approved projects on the river that it had formerly mothballed, an indication that the Salween’s days of remaining untouched are numbered. At the end of 2010 China began work on the highest hydropower project in the world. Engineering teams dammed the Yarlung Zangbo River in the Tibetan Himalayas to build the first in a series of hydropower dams to meet the energy needs of a developing Tibet. The river flows from the glaciers of the Himalayas into India as the sacred Bhramaputra river. Sinohydro Bureau No. 8 began damming the river on November 8th. The project was the first of its

Two-sided Power Struggle by Moritz Reithmayr


China believes it will need to double its power generation capacity by the year 2020. kind in Tibet. The 7.9 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) investment would provide a total installed capacity of 51-megawatts. Understandably, Indian officials are disturbed by developments on the Yarlung Zangbo River, as they have been barred from the construction site, which is located in Gyaca county, 325 km southeast of the Tibetan capital Lhasa. The project is the first of four, which are located very near the border of a territory longdisputed by the two countries, Arundal Pradesh.


he build-up for this year’s USChina human rights dialogue was marked with extraordinary amounts of tension as both nations accused each other of serious human rights breaches. Far from being novel, the disagreement between the US and China in regards to human rights has seen an extensive recent history with little to show in terms of actual movements.

Most Chinese citizens are oblivious to the project, in sharp contrast to the Indian population, which is watching the development with some anxiety. Current and upcoming Chinese projects touch a deep vein of devotion to the Brahmaputra. China’s designs on some of the most vital rivers in the world have all but convinced downstream neighbors like India, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Burma that China has eschewed its policy of “Peaceful Rise” in favor of one of “Energy - Whatever the Cost”.

It is time to explain why human rights have taken up such a prominent role in the US-China dialogue and whether the future will produce any significant results. To any attentive spectator, the reason for the continuous importance of human rights in USChina relations is obvious. With China finding hardly any interest

China: Handle Carefully by Leighton Hughes


hile European and American economies flounder like a great flailing goldfish, China seems like an ever more real alternative. The rolling rates of seemingly perpetual Chinese economic expansion are notably juxtaposed with the gloomy austerity packages adopted – almost forcibly - by Western governments.

Communist party’s power struggle and China’s identity The Chinese communist party officials, on the other hand, cannot yield to the US critique as that would mean loosening its control of political power and threatening China’s self-image. Only accustomed to leading with force and discipline, improving the human rights situation, so fear Chinese politicians, might ignite a series of events that lead

The Chinese success story, its economy registering an average 10% growth rate, is however a perennial issue for Western governments. Those most cynical would characterize Hu Jintao and ‘his cronies’ as cackling like hyenas at the unravelling of the West; a West they deem ideological foes and a hindrance to their mad and bad plan for World Domination. Hyperbolic, certainly, but this does re-affirm the important question of how Western countries should interface with China; particularly at this moment of substantial global re-structuring. Should they be scared at the swift consolidation of this nascent power, or embrace the myriad economic benefits that it proffers?

Thus, looking at how much both nations have to lose, it seems highly improbable, if not impossible that any bilateral talks will result in actual improvements in regards to human rights. While this stalemate signifies a draw for the two nations, it means defeat for human rights.

Career Education

Moreover, the resistance to US pressure on human rights issues has another benefit to China’s political leaders besides aiding the party’s power struggle. With China’s emergence as a key political and economic actor came its desire to become a global superpower that is considered an equal by the world’s most powerful nation, the US. Since China would interpret meeting the US demand for a significant improvement in regards to human rights as a sign of submission, it is also China’s self-image as a strong and independent state that is at stake and will not be risked.


However, the main reason why the US keeps pushing human rights on the agenda of its bilateral talks is much simpler: The US administration just has to. No US government can avoid reproaching China for its miserable treatment of human rights without experiencing a considerable fall in popularity. From the eyes of the American public and the national media, China is the devil in respect to human rights commitment and they both expect their

to the end of the Communist party’s tight control of political power in China. Thus, any spark of dissent is immediately extinguished.


No-choice policy

government to denounce China’s disregard of human rights whenever political actors of the two nations come together. Ignoring this tradition would practically constitute a confession of the US administration’s own disrespect of human rights and a failure to dictate the political agenda. Given the pride America takes from dominating the global political scene, the US administration will not miss this chance to appear in a powerful position, handing it the possibly decisive reason to keep on pursuing the human rights issue in bilateral talks.


in this subject, human rights are mainly pushed onto the bilateral agenda by the US whose motif for pressing this delicate issue is twofold. First, the US government aims to soothe domestic political pressure by blaming China for its ignorance of human rights rather than remedying its own, far from commendable, human rights situation. With the miracles in terms of human rights promised by Barack Obama’s campaign still awaited for, rebuking China for its human rights failures is regarded as an effective distraction tactic.

Sino-Western relations have been greatly inconsistent through this modern era: frosty, scary, positive and, in this particular moment, confusing. Fundamentally, the axis on which this relationship spins is a balance between the political and the economic. China needs America and Europe to consume its cheaply produced manufactured goods so as to continue its export-driven surge in growth, while Western economies require these very affordable goods to maintain a standard of living. The narrative of the Chinese economy makes dazzling reading, and the West, especially America, has enjoyed gargantuan levels of imports. The UK imports a striking £22840m 24

worth of goods and services from Chinese industry. To the benefit of the West, businesses have been able to re-direct these savings made on imported Chinese goods, which has released additional money for investment elsewhere. On this basis, it seems like a win-win situation: there is a clear interdependence. A “We can work together, for each other!” attitude. Oded Shenkar, author of ‘The Chinese Century’, highlights this point with much greater gravitas than I, considering the bond to be “symbiotic”; essentially meaning that we need one another for own survival or well-being. Despite this, it would be quixotic to assume that it does – and will - function smoothly ab aeterno. Conflict could arise: grandstanding could take over. This is where political difference envelopes the issue of a pragmatic relationship. Despite its market-system, it is important to re-call that China is, oxymoronically, a Communist country, and this clear political and ideological difference naturally casts a cloud over the sort of bridge that can be built between this Asian power and the West. Despite China’s radical shift from a harsh collectivism to a much more business-friendly country encouraging huge foreign investment, it is clear that political control is absolutely imperative to the Party. It is often said of China that you are free to make as much money as you wish, so long as you do not challenge the authority of the government. The dispensation of economic liberty has made protection of political power the clear focus, and that is why there is such a hard-line, totalitarian operation in China. The crushing outcome of the Tiananmen Movement 1989 is paradigmatic of this ruthless, Machiavellian approach. Even a few months ago there was the arrest of the reactionary artist Ai Weiwei, described by US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, as “the 25

conscience of China”. China is certainly not exhibiting the extent of its potential and promise if it persistently compromises a multitude of its most vibrant and illustrious citizens, simply for presenting a case study for political reform and the end to human rights grievances – both of which are at the very minimum arguable. Symptomatic of China’s desire to focus on its own problems, the West is not the one potentially under threat in this situation. China is not a USSR; and this is a good thing, however China still presents a great danger to its own citizens. The Chinese economy is of course the motor for its relationship with America and Europe. British Prime Minister Harold Wilson stated that “He who rejects change is the architect of decay”. From a man who clamoured for ‘The White Heat of Technology’, this is certainly a message that the China of today takes to heart. China has long gotten off the path of weak growth, and has modernized; having jettisoned outmoded practices, and created new zones for enterprise. According to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, nine of the 10 urban areas that will experience the highest GDP growth from 2007 to 2025 are in China. It is clear that globalization has really aided China.

However, in the face of all this success, the West seems an irascible child. Envious of its creditor’s success, the estimated twenty-year time frame for China to usurp the Old Order drives much of the West into self-pity. Even America the world superpower is dangerously positioned. Its problems, however, derive from within. While the West is engulfed by indecision and debt contagion, China is floating above the fray. China does have a budget deficit of approximately $137billion but it is managing it confidently and by means of stimulating growth, which should increase tax revenues. Of course, it is also important to re-call that America, in a fashion, is beholden to China. Their $1.16 trillion in Treasury holdings are second only to the Federal Reserve’s, and the Asian power has not been shy about expressing its concern over the state of American public finances. The US has been reckless, with quantitative easing, excessive stimuli, and the financing of a great budget deficit. Then again, the distortive pegging of the Yuan Renminbi has altered trade in a way that makes American and European exports considerably less attractive. The fact that China can manipulate trade and currency markets to this extent shows its strength, but it can by no means dictate proceedings. So it works both ways: it’s a sticky relationship.

political clout internationally. Yet there seems to be an inadvertent trade-off between China’s material successes and the development of its socio-political climate. While this does not necessitate ‘Westernisation’ in any way, it merely suggests the need for the Chinese authorities to objectively review its stance on democracy, human rights and change.

since the Cold War; Resistance against the Western sphere of influence would thus also require a rejection of Western norms and values namely freedom of speech, political opposition and citizenship rights. It does not help that America’s constant interventions in regional or civil conflicts have tarnished its image as a superpower eager to extend its own interests through fighting wars of ‘liberation’ against oppressive regimes. Democracy has, in a sense, been unfortunately politicized so as to represent the political agenda of the West.


Of Black Cats and White Cats:


Chinese government word-punch their way through conferences with sunny rhetoric, signalling that their destiny is assured, but China still has a long road to tread. Fenby did state that China actually “can’t” save the world from its woes. Nonetheless, despite the numerable deficiencies studded in its governmental system and its social fabric torn and divided by a host of reasons, China shows great promise. Like Henry Luce’s ‘American Century’ in 1941, it now seems The Century of the Dragon is very much on the horizon.


at this crucial moment would be hugely self-defeating; neutering its own potential for growth, by constricting export markets – which have been indispensable to its success. Jonathan Fenby, writes in The Telegraph, that China “can’t - and won’t - save the world”.Their economic success story, Fenby states, has “masked China’s failure to craft a coherent political or economic global policy”, and this shows that there is still immaturity in this emerging power; not wholly identifying the wider picture. Hu Jintao and the ministers of


Branding the US a redundant force would of course be sensationalistic, however China is proving an ever increasing match to its American counterpart. Dogma can come from both sides; and both sides can make mistakes. China, seeing the West flailing, could choose to become an isolated presence: going it alone, and focussing on its own state of affairs. China mustn’t do this. It shouldn’t do this. For the world economy and for itself. Ignoring the clear and current failings of the world economy


Why China should reconsider the case for socio-political change.

by Melissa Yeo

It doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white; as long as it catches mice, it is a good cat.


hus declared former Chinese chairman Deng Xiao Peng in his famous rebuttal justifying the legitimacy of non-democratic governments. In his defense, the Chinese brand of socialist governance has indeed been remarkably effective over the past few decades; In particular, Deng’s very own policies of trade liberalization facilitated the advancement and growth of the economy at a phenomenal rate. The world was forced to recognize China as a rising global power, and this has in turn increased China’s

Chinese Democracy ‘Democracy’ has become a strongly Western-laden term especially


On the other hand, the Chinese have always been fiercely nationalistic in the face of Western pressure. Traditional Confucian values of placing society above the individual for instance, remain influential and have become justification for policies of censorship and military intervention, in order to preserve stability for the overall benefit of society. Stability is of prized virtue, and freedom of speech is perceived as its anti-thesis by the authorities— inherently antagonistic to social cohesion, and prone to unruly uprisings. Implementing it might even be a covert admittance of the superiority of liberty over ‘Asian values’ of filial respect and obedience; Hence the cautious skepticism of the government towards allowing greater scope for individuality. Yet there is a distinction between stability and stagnation, as there is between freedom to question and incitement to irrational upheaval. One can certainly argue that society has to reach a level of competency to ensure meaningful public debate, but competency is something acquired naturally through experience and has to be supported by key institutions such as schools and the media. The bottom-line is that it can and should be built up instead of repressed. After all, as much as it is human to err, it is also human to think and to thirst after knowledge. Censorship of opinion is simply ignorance that opinions exist; Cultivating conformity is removing what makes us intrinsically human, and that is insidiously chilling. As Lu Xun described after writing Diary of a Madman, “Imagine an iron house without windows, absolutely indestructible, with many people fast asleep inside. But you know since they will die in their sleep, they will not feel the pain of death”. Ultimately, the important thing to ask is if the fear of madness is costlier than the fear of not even knowing what madness might be. 27

Ultimately, the important thing to ask is if the fear of madness is costlier than the fear of not even knowing what madness might be. A Maturing Citizenry China has seen an increasing wave of civil activism from prominent figures such as Ai Wei Wei and Liu Xiao Bo, to simple online portals where netizens post comments or critiques on various issues including civic responsibilities and accountability. Public furore over food safety scandals for instance, has pressured the authorities to take hard action against officials responsible. Similarly, the tragic case involving the injured toddler Yue Yue whom passers-by failed to attend to has sparked a reexamination of morality and civic consciousness within society. If these could be of any indication, it shows in the least that there are higher expectations of social and government behavior; a desire for progress, an acknowledgment perhaps, of the need for (democratic) change? In any case, the ease of exposure to, and exchange of, knowledge in the modern age, would undoubtedly pose a stiffer challenge to the government to justify its hold over the people.

The World Watches On… Whether or not China harbours any real intentions of becoming a world leader on the ranks of the US for example, does not discount its potential to do so, hence attracting attention to its every move. From its economic development to the unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang, China has consistently been monitored in the news. Hence, its responses to various crises would prove crucial in shaping its global identity. It is for this very reason also that China should re-look its existing policies, since an improvement in political and economic clout could only be beneficial to its status and external relations.

On the issue of ethnic unrest for instance, China should realize that the forceful suppression of revolts will not remove the inherent resentment felt by minority groups, who perceive themselves as being marginalized by the administration. Seeking to engage and integrate them would be a more meaningful attempt at resolving the problem for both sides. While the government is certainly not obliged to bow to external pressures on internal affairs, it should understand the influence and responsibilities that came with its rise to power. More importantly, democracy should not be undermined by the interpretations of Western governments. The ideology, in its purest form, was designed with the preservation of individual dignity at its core. Unless the Chinese government is able to prove convincingly, that its model of socialism is superior to, or on par with, the discourse of democracy, they should begin a re-assessment of their beliefs for the sake of their own people. The problem with Deng’s quote lies in its assertion that different forms of government are permissible as long as they are able to function as governments; yet surely there are better forms of governance than others, just as how Deng himself embraced economic liberalization over communist closed-door policies. His statement risks indifference towards alternatives and the constant pursuit of higher ideals, which can be counter-progressive. One genuinely wonders how much longer China would be able to resist reforms of intrinsic value to each of its citizens. Otherwise, it would undoubtedly have the capacity to become a respected world leader in its own right.


Contextualizing the rise of China

Economically, China has experienced substantial growth over the last 30 years, with annual GDP growth rates close to 10%. Now, China is the world’s second largest economy, with a total GDP of 4.9 trillion USD in 2010. Despite this, China is still ranked 93rd in the world for GDP per capita in 2011. The three major cities - Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou - and many other provincial capital cities, especially those in the East coast, resemble any other cosmopolitan city in the world. However, as a popular saying in China goes ‘Looking from the East to the West, you see high risers and prosperity as in the first world; looking from the West to the East, you see poverty and underdevelopment with high risers as a remote background’, the disparity of development is huge between the East and the West, and between urban and rural areas. Many Western Europeans

are surprised to see Chinese on holiday in Europe spending millions on luxury goods, while at home, those who still live in poverty (as per international standards) number a staggering 254 million - this equals to the total population of the US. The rapid economic development in China mainly comes from massive infrastructure developments, which makes China number one in the world for steel, cement and energy consumption, and carbon dioxide and sulfur emissions. This bears huge implications for environmental conditions; many cities in China are suffering from deteriorating air quality, further exacerbated by the rapidly increasing number of cars on the road. In 2011, China produced 18 million cars – far exceeding the total car production of the US (5.7 million) and Japan (7.93 million) combined in the same year. These environmental issues prompt both normal citizens and policymakers to think that perhaps we have paid too high a price for the fast development, and to consider the urgent need to switch to a more balanced, sustainable and low carbon development pathway. In the last two decades, we have seen environmental awareness on the rise. For instance, there are currently thousands of environmental NGOs operating at various levels, a significant improvement from the two local environmental NGOs that existed during the mid-1990s.

We see social transformation too, taking place in China at an equally rapid pace. Traditional social fabrics are broken down in both cities and rural areas. With the one child policy enforcement since the 1980s and the rise in private property, it is rare to see a family with 3 generations living under one roof in cities. Men from rural areas are drawn to work in cities, leaving behind an army of ‘386199’ (women, children and elderly)1. The recent population census in 2010 indicated that China’s population is aging faster than expected – 20 per cent of Beijing’s population will be over 60 years old by 2015. Many are now concerned that “China will grow old before it becomes rich”.


s the end of 2011 is fast approaching, China is expected to play a role in helping to alleviate the Eurozone debt crisis – clearly, the rise of China has put the country in the spotlight for world affairs. Is China really ready for its leadership in the global arena? What do the Chinese think of the rapid changes that have been taking place over the past 30 years and where do they expect the country to be heading? These are questions too big to be answered in a short piece of writing, and each Chinese individual may have a different answer to give. That said, I’d like to offer some of my personal observations and reflections as a Chinese growing up in the changing times of China.





by Liu Xiaowei

As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to give a full account of the changes in China and its implications for the Chinese population and the world in a page or two. The snapshots above paint an objective picture about the rise of China. As China experiences condensed development, its people are forced to adapt to the rapid economic, environmental and social changes, and one can only hope that the country grows stronger and better in a more sustainable manner. 1 38 refers to women, as March 8th is the Women’s Day; 61 refers to children as June 1st is the Children’s Day and 99 refers to elderly as Sept. 9th in the Chinese lunar calendar is the day to show respect for the elderly.


Politics in China by Zichen Xu


he current legislative and political systems in China are based on the French model. After the failure of implementing the American model in the early days of the Republic of China, the Chinese laid its political foundation based on the French model. This regime has mostly been carried through to today’s People’s Republic of China. With regard to the legislature, the National People’s Congress is responsible for legislation and has the final say in the interpretation of the Constitution, which dictates the people’s rights and obligations, as well as all aspects of the national institutions. The Congress also appoints the Chinese President. In relation to the executive body, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, a.k.a. the Central Government, is the supreme executive authority in China. One important feature is that under the current Chinese constitutional framework the executive branch is subordinate to the legislature. That is, the executive branch has to follow the instructions dictated by the legislature. This is identical to the French system and differs from the American system in which the executive, judicial and legislative branches are separated and have equal power. In China, the President of the Congress appoints the Premier to head the State Council. To the contrary, in the United States the highest authority in the executive body is the President, who comes into office through general election. In terms of military power, the chairman of the Central Military


Commission controls the national armed force. The chairman is directly responsible to the National People’s Congress. On the contrary, in the US, the president is the Commander in Chief. In terms of the judiciary, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate are responsible to the National People’s Congress, whereas in America the Supreme Court is self-sufficient and hence does not answer to the legislature. In a nutshell, within the current institutional framework of China, the legislature is the most powerful political entity in China. Such an arrangement carries with it a revolutionary flavor with the legislature ensuring that the power lies with the people. In turn, it has created a situation in which the President (Hu JinTao) is mainly responsible for international relations whereas the Premier (Wen Jia-Bao) mainly focuses on domestic issues.

The Status Quo and the Awakening of the Public Consciousness The major difference between a traditional and a modern society is in their governance. The main characteristic of a traditional society is what Marx and Weber categorized as belonging to the ‘penal law’ system, which is repressive in nature. On the other hand, modern governance is mainly characterized by ‘contract law’, which is restitutive in nature. Contemporary China still has a strong traditional flavor in its

governance: with the national institution as the mechanism to enforce social stability at the expense of individual freedom. As argued, modern societies are built upon social contract. National institutions are the product of social consent, providing services in accordance to the contract. In this regard, the developmental impact of trade has gone beyond commerce to foment social change. Each transaction between people in the market is an equal exchange of goods and services, fundamentally fulfilling an unwritten but valid contract. As people come to appreciate the market mechanism, the awareness of the need for improving the existing governance system will arise. China already has all the necessary legal foundations to run a modern society. The problem lies with the execution. For example, in recent years there has been a growing interest in participating in the election of the representatives in the National People’s Congress. Although some groups did not follow the rules and maliciously obstructed the process, in the recent district elections (2011) we have seen some active independent candidates. I believe that it will take China about 20 years to become a democracy. In twenty years’ time, young people who will have grown up with the values of the market system and have accepted the rules of modern society will run the country. Ultimately, they will change China, and change the world.

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