August 29, 2014
While communist legacies remain part of today’s Chinese government in the Leninist organization of the Party-state, it’s fair to say the country has moved on from Mao. What it hasn’t moved on from is nationalism.
In modern China, nationalism is a potent political force that the government willingly deploys and manipulates for its own ends. The Communist Party’s claim to having unified China in 1949 and kept the state intact ever since is one key source of its legitimacy, alongside its track record on economic growth.
“From 1978 to 2013 the total number of outbound migrants was 9.342m, compared to a mere 849,000 inbound migrants, according to the Annual Report on Chinese International Immigration 2014 (CII). The migration deficit measured up to 8.49m in 2013, compared to 3.71m in 1990. By 2013 China had become the fourth largest exporter of migrants in the world, behind only India, Mexico and Russia; while it ranked 7th in 1990 based on the Report on Overseas Chinese Professionals (OCP) published in 2014. “
“According to China’s 2013 Census 53% of China’s 1.3bn population are urban residents, of which 245m come from the rural areas, living and working as migrant workers. About 80% of these migrants are work as unskilled labourers and only 20% of them are able to bring their families with them. As a result, 61m children – one in five in China – are left behind in rural China, staying with grandparents or other relatives. Their education suffers, as elderly relatives are often uneducated and cannot help with homework.”
“As an increasingly commonplace trend that allows young women to explore their sexual attraction to male celebrities without the intimidating presence of direct personal involvement in the story, the culture of writing danmei is also an indicator of the remarkable level of emotional investment that Chinese fans dedicate towards the consumption of foreign cultural products like pop groups, television series and movies – as well as a testament to the burgeoning size and power of the Chinese market for international entertainment companies looking to expand their reach.”
“The perpetrators of almost all these attacks were male, poor and paying for their medical treatment. None had a criminal record or a diagnosis of mental illness, but all seem to have had a grievance against the hospital for problems associated with their treatment. The killings are all the more surprising given that the murder rate in China is amongst the lowest in the world.”
“Written Chinese has confronted some unique hurdles in the modern era. The first of these is the immense number of individual Chinese characters. Chinese is a logographic language, meaning each character represents a word or a part of a word. Thus 电 in Chinese means electric or lightning, and 脑 means brain, leading to the word 电脑 for computer. This is in obvious and stark contrast to most written languages such as Arabic, Hindi, or English, in which each character represents a sound. There are tens of thousands of Chinese characters, and reasonably well-educated people are expected to know at least 6,000 or so.”
“The bank – to be headquartered in Shanghai with an Indian president, a Brazilian chairman of the board, and a Russian chairman of the board of governors – will have an initial capital base of $50bn to be used primarily for infrastructure projects, with each of the five member states putting in an equal $10bn share. In time, it is hoped that the bank’s capital will eventually climb to $100bn. In addition, the bank will also establish a $100bn contingent reserve arrangement for protection against global liquidity pressures on BRICS currencies. Into this fund, China will contribute $41bn, the BRI nations $18bn, and South Africa $5bn.”
“For President Xi’s administration, the aim is to recreate China as the heart and hub of regional politics and economics, to develop China’s poorer border regions and to provide prosperity and opportunity for Chinese firms that are increasingly being pushed to go out into the world. In diplomatic terms, it is the beginnings of a realization in Beijing that it can no longer sit by and let international affairs happen in its neighborhood without taking any role. But as with all Chinese initiatives, it starts by focusing on confidence-building measures, discussion and economics.”
“The reason why these countries have aligned themselves with either Beijing or Taipei is simple: money, usually donated in the form of infrastructure construction or improvement. One only has to look at Antigua and Barbuda, a country that in 2013 began selling citizenship for economic contributions under its Citizenship by Investment Program, to see how such a struggling island nation can benefit from PRC patronage.”
“China already has the world’s largest elderly population, with 194m people (14.3% of the population) over the age of 60 in 2012, and predicted to rise to 300m by 2024. In addition, according to a recent report by the China-Britain Business Council, China’s population is ageing faster than almost every other society in the world; it is predicted that by 2050 the number of elderly will have risen to at least 400m, or more than a third of the population.”
“As strong cultural and economic forces draw South Korea and China closer, the political sphere remains much more complicated. Seoul will have to navigate carefully its political and economic relationships with Washington, Beijing and Tokyo. Meanwhile, Beijing’s best possible eventual outcome may be Korean unification, drawing a reunited Korea back into the Sinosphere. In the meantime, trade will boom, Chinese office workers will continue to watch My Love from the Star on their Samsung phones, and the two Koreas, armed with Chinese and American-made weaponry, will stare each other down across the world’s most militarized frontier. “