Crossing the river by feeling the stones: democracy’s advance in China

Written by Yu Keping. To say “democracy is a good thing” means that democracy can benefit the people. Yet if democracy is to benefit the people, a precondition is that social order must be maintained and hardship shouldn’t burden them. If democracy causes unrest, the people will lose hope, corruption will go unchecked. Under these …

How China is rolling out the red carpet for couples who have more than one child

Written by Stuart Gietel-Basten. A rather remarkable turnaround has occurred in China. For a country famous for having the most comprehensive sets of policies designed to limit births, it is now introducing new policies to support parents who have a second child. In November 2015, China announced it would abandon its one-child policy and switch …

The Current Status of Ethnic Policy in China

Written by Wenshan Jia. This post discusses China’s Ethnic Policy since the 18th Party Congress. Analysis of literature on evolving theoretical and policy discourses on ethnic relations in China between the founding of PRC in 1949 and the 18th Congress in 2012 reveal the following: The so-called “first generation” of ethnic policy discourse represented by scholars such …

Comparing Tibet and Xinjiang through the structural dimensions of socio-economic change

Written by Andrew Fischer. The similarities between Tibet and Xinjiang are compelling in many respects. Besides the obvious religious differences between Tibetans and Uyghurs, both are minority nationalities struggling with an influx of Han migrants in a context of discriminatory and authoritarian majority rule and heavily subsidized development strategies. However, careful examination of certain structural …

What Explains the Rise of Ethnic Minority Tensions in China?

Written by Reza Hasmath. Ethnic minority tensions have been on the rise in mainland China. In mid-September 2015, a knife-wielding attack in Aksu, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) claimed the lives of nearly 50 individuals and injured another 50. This followed numerous outbursts of ethnic violence between Uyghurs and Han in Kunming (March 2014), and in …

Confusing Public Diplomacy and Soft Power

Written by Barry Buzan. There is little doubt that in relation to its size, wealth, and culture, China underperforms in the area of soft power, is conscious of that weakness, and wants to improve its performance (Li, 2008). Soft power is about the non-coercive ability to change the preferences of others, to make them want …

China, Soft Power, and the Politics of Attraction

Written by Todd H. Hall. Possibly no concept to emerge from the field of international relations in the past several decades has been quite as influential within policymaking circles as that of “soft power.” And the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been no exception to this trend. No less than the General Secretary of the Communist Party …

The true nature of Xi Jinping’s power

Written by Kerry Brown. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was fond of using a simple drawing of what he called a `duck-rabbit’. From one angle, it looked like a rabbit’s head. But when an observer looked at it a little longer the ears came to resemble beaks, and the whole picture looked like a duck facing …

A Review of China’s Record on Torture

Written by Margaret Lewis. When visiting Washington DC in November 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that “China has made enormous progress in human rights. That’s a fact recognized by all the people of the world.” The statement is true when viewed against the glaring human rights abuses committed under Mao Zedong. Yet the December …

The Future of Green Construction in China

Written by Sha Yu. China, as the world’s largest carbon emitter and energy consumer, also has the world’s largest construction market. In the past five years, China has added around 3 billion square metres of building floorspace annually (China Statistical Yearbook 2014, Table 10-7). The building floorspace in China today exceeds that of the United …