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Sep 6th, 2017 by Gao

Sidney Leng: China’s dirty little secret: its growing wealth gap (South China Morning Post)

China’s wealth gap has widened for the first time in five years, a fact Beijing chose not to mention in this year’s economic report.
The Gini coefficient, a gauge ranging between zero and one that measures income equality, increased slightly to 0.465 last year, from 0.462 in 2015, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) this week…
A study from Peking University last year found that the poorest 25 per cent of mainland households owned just 1 per cent of the country’s aggregate wealth, while the richest 1 per cent owned a third of the wealth.

He Huifeng: In China’s richest province, a yawning gap exists between the haves and the have-nots (South China Morning Post)

The coexistence of great wealth and abject poverty in Guangdong shows why narrowing the income gap is a priority of China’s leadership…
Shenzhen’s per capita GDP is now on par with Portugal’s, but the per capita GDP in Qingyuan … was less than a quarter of Shenzhen’s last year, and lower than the national average. Eleven other cities in Guangdong … were also below the national average last year, and in Meizhou, Heyuan, Shanwei and Yunfu per capita GDP was even lower than in Guizhou, China’s most impoverished province…
Guangdong’s wealth gap has grown in the past couple of years, according to Zheng Zizhen, a sociologist and economist with the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank in Guangzhou.
“The wealth of families in [major] cities is soaring, driven by the rapid growth in residential property prices,” he said. “But the poorer areas of Guangdong lack the ability to attract enough capital and talent to bring an industrial boom.”
By the numbers, the Pearl River Delta, which includes some of China’s most developed cities, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Foshan, covers only 23 per cent of the province but last year it accounted for 79.3 per cent of Guangdong’s economic output, according to official data, up from 79.1 in 2015. The province’s 12 impoverished cities reported average GDP growth of 7.4 per cent last year, according to the provincial development and reform commission, while the Pearl River Delta’s grew by 8.3 per cent.

Zhang Pinghui: Why Xi Jinping cares so much about ending poverty in China: the political significance behind the campaign (South China Morning Post)

Medienkritik
Nov 22nd, 2016 by Gao

Yoav Haifawi: The Economist in China’s Wonderland (Free Haifa)

On November 12th 2016 The Economist published a short report from Shenzhen about what seems as a totally boring subject: Chinese courier firms. It comes, as usual, under a patronizing title “China’s express-delivery sector needs consolidation and modernization”. But it contains such a glaring and laughable combination of contradictions that I found it worth bringing here to you.

Arbeitsrecht
Okt 19th, 2016 by Gao

Aaron Halegua: Who Will Represent China’s Workers? Lawyers, Legal Aid, and the Enforcement of Labor Rights (U.S.-Asia Law Institute)

In the past decade, China has made considerable progress in legislating new legal protections for workers, expanding their access to arbitration and courts, and paying for more lawyers to represent them. Nonetheless, in China, as elsewhere, labor violations persist and a substantial “representation gap” remains between legal needs and services.

Chun Han Wong: Protecting Workers’ Rights in China: Q&A with Aaron Halegua (Wall Street Journal)

Labor unrest is on the rise in China, fueled by unpaid wages and mass layoffs amid a sputtering economy. Part of the problem, experts say, is the government’s relatively weak enforcement of labor rights and inadequate access to legal services for aggrieved workers.

Arbeitskämpfe | Sprachenpolitik | Inselstreit
Aug 28th, 2016 by Gao

Tricky Footwork-the struggle of labour rights in the Chinese shoe industry (Globalization Monitor)

Collected in interviews conducted in 2015 for this study, testimonies attest to the fact that labour law violations are still a common phenomenon in the Chinese leather and footwear industry. The people who work at the factories that supply European brands such as Adidas, Clarks and ECCO told us of, among other infringements, salaries that are far below a living wage, involuntary overtime, insufficient protection from health and safety risks, insufficient protection for young workers, disrespectful treatment of workers, no right to assembly, state violence to suppress strikes, unpaid social insurance contributions and insufficient severance payments.
All of the above is happening despite the fact that China has very progressive labour laws, especially in comparison with other producing countries.

Matthew Carney: The Labours of Mr Zhang (ABC)

Zhang Ziru has lost count of how many times he has been arrested. One week he remembers it was five times. He lives under constant police surveillance. He has moved away from his family to keep them safe.
Such are the occupational hazards for the labour activist who has helped organise some of China’s biggest strikes.

Gerald Roche: The politics of language on the Tibetan plateau (Little Red Podcast / Soundcloud)

The South China Sea is an important world energy trade route (U. S. Energy Information Administration)

Stretching from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca chokepoint in the southwest to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast, the South China Sea is one of the most important energy trade routes in the world. Almost a third of global crude oil and over half of global liquefied natural gas (LNG) passes through the South China Sea each year.
The Strait of Malacca is the shortest sea route between African and Persian Gulf suppliers and Asian consumers. The strait is a critical transit chokepoint and has become increasingly important over the last two decades. In 1993, about 7 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and petroleum products (20% of world seaborne oil trade) passed through the Strait of Malacca …

Jeremy Bender: The only chart you need to see to know that the South China Sea is one of the most militarized regions in the world (Business Insider)

China, by far, has the largest military force in the region. As such, Beijing could force its claims over the South China Sea against the wishes of the other nations involved in the dispute due to both its economic and military size.

Pepe Escobar: The Real Secret of the South China Sea (Sputnik)

The South China Sea is and will continue to be the ultimate geopolitical flashpoint of the young 21st century – way ahead of the Middle East or Russia’s western borderlands. No less than the future of Asia – as well as the East-West balance of power – is at stake.
To understand the Big Picture, we need to go back to 1890 when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.

Below the Winds: What Do the Island Disputes Really Mean to Vietnamese & Chinese Workers? (Chuang)

Chinese control over the South China Sea would to some extent entail Chinese control over Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese capital. These three countries are longstanding American allies, and it stands to reason that should China be determined to dominate the South China Sea as a territorial water, thereby dominating one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, an American allied coalition may be dragged into conflict.

Peter Symonds: The Hague ruling: A dangerous step toward war (World Socialist Website)

In the wake of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s sweeping ruling on Tuesday in The Hague, negating all Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea, there has been a chorus of US-led condemnations of China’s “illegal activities,” demands that Beijing abide by the court decision and calls for US diplomatic and military action to enforce the verdict.

Robert Fitzthum: Der Konflikt in der South China Sea im geostrategischen Kontext (PDF, Labournet Austria)

Mehr als 11.000 km vom amerikanischen Festland entfernt proben US-Flugzeugträger, Lenkwaffenkreuzer sowie EP-3 Spionageflugzeuge in der South China Sea die ‚Freedom of Navigation‘. Erstaunlicherweise passieren jährlich ca. 100.000 Transportschiffe und viele Verkehrsflugzeuge dieses Gebiet, ohne dass man bisher von Problemen in der Freiheit der Passage durch die South China Sea gehört hatte. Die USA werfen China aggressives Verhalten im Zusammenhang mit der Schaffung von künstlichen Inseln und ziviler und militärischer Einrichtungen vor. Ein Jahrzehnte alter, regional allseits bewusst niedrig gehaltener Konflikt über die Hoheits- und Nutzungsrechte an Inseln, Riffen, Felsen, Meeresgebieten u.ä. wird derzeit als großes Problem hochgekocht und man fragt sich, warum ist das der Fall.

Jacques deLisle: The South China Sea Arbitration Decision: China Fought the Law, and the Law Won….Or Did It? (Foreign Policy Research Institute)

When the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague issued its unanimous decision on July 12 in the case that the Philippines had filed against the People’s Republic of China two and a half years earlier, the Court set forth: a stunning repudiation of several of China’s key legal arguments and much of its real-world behavior in the disputed South China Sea; a remarkable affirmation of the core elements of US policy and strategy toward the contested maritime region and China’s claims and actions therein; and a striking assertion of the reach and capacity of international law and formal dispute resolution procedures. Yet, as with so much else concerning the South China Sea, China’s relations with its neighbors, US policy toward China, and international law, the implications of the decision are a good deal more ambiguous and ambivalent. In the aftermath of the decision, China is faced with difficult choices, the US with complex dilemmas, and international law with substantial peril.

Minxin Pei: Why China’s elites worry about the country’s future (Nikkei Asian Review)

[I]f you meet Chinese businessmen, academics or government officials who are willing to share their candid opinions in private, most will tell you they have no idea where China is going. Several recent important developments create the same sense of bewilderment about China’s overall direction.

Walmart-Streik | Mao-Biografien | Auslandsaufklärung | Yanhuang Chunqiu
Jul 28th, 2016 by Gao

Nandita Bose: U.S. and Chinese labor groups collaborated before China Wal-Mart strikes (Reuters)

OUR Walmart, the American worker group, has taken the unusual step of collaborating with a group of Chinese Wal-Mart workers trying to fight work schedule changes and low wages.
OUR Walmart and the Wal-Mart Chinese Workers Association (WCWA) discussed strategy for recent strikes in China on a Skype call last month using a translator

Statement from Hong Kong labour groups on the prosecution of labour activists in Guangdong (Globalization Monitor)

Guangdong labour activists Zeng Feiyang, Meng Han, Zhu Xiaomei and Tang Huanxing, who were arrested by Chinese police on 3rd December, 2015, were charged with “disturbing social order” by the People’s Procuratorate of Panyu District, Guangzhou Municipality in June and will be on trial in the near future.
In the December incident, more than 50 activists were interrogated and seven were detained or went missing. This prosecution is part of President Xi’s crackdown on labour activists and gravely threatens the survival of civil society in China.

Letzte Woche fand am Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften der Universität Wien eine Konferenz mit dem Titel „Mao Zedong: Exploring Multi-Dimensional Approaches to Biography“ statt. Unter den Teilnehmer_innen waren u.a. die Autor_innen von Mao-Biografien Jīn Chōngjí 金冲及 (Máo Zédōng zhuàn 《毛泽东传》, 6 Bde.), Alexander V. Pantsov (Александр Вадимович Панцов: Мао Цзэдун. 2007, ²2012; englische Übersetzung von Steven I. Levine: Mao. The Real Story. 2012.) und Felix Wemheuer (Mao Zedong. 2010.). Auch Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik und Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer arbeiten jeweils an einer Mao-Biografie.
Burkhard Bischof: Die Entschlüsselung des „Großen Steuermanns“ Mao Zedong (Presse)

Fionnuala McHugh: What drives Frank Dikötter, chronicler of China’s insanity? (South China Morning Post)

Chinese thief of US military secrets given four years‘ jail (Guardian)

A Chinese businessman who admitted taking part in the hacking of US defence secrets has been given nearly four years’ jail.
Su Bin, 51, was convicted of taking part in a years-long scheme by Chinese military officers to obtain sensitive military information, targeting projects including the F-22 and F-35 fighter jets and Boeing’s C-17 military transport aircraft.

Chinese wegen Cyberspionage in den USA zu Haftstrafe verurteilt (Standard)

Wegen Cyberspionage bei US-Rüstungsfirmen ist ein Chinese zu drei Jahre und zehn Monaten Haft verurteilt worden. Der 51-jährige Su Bin muss außerdem 10.000 Dollar (9.000 Euro) Strafe zahlen, wie ein Gericht in Los Angeles am Mittwoch entschied.

Johnny Erling: Feindliche Übernahme von Chinas liberalem Reformmagazin (Standard)

2014 war auf Anweisung des Propagandaministeriums die Nationalakademie zum Aufpasser der Zeitschrift ernannt worden. Sie sollte die „Yanhuang Chunqiu“ disziplinieren. Weil die sich aber redaktionell nicht dreinreden ließ, blieb nun nur die Übernahme.

Walmart | Japan
Jul 11th, 2016 by Gao

Kevin Lin: In China, Walmart Retail Workers Walk Out over Unfair Scheduling (Labor Notes)

About 70 Walmart workers began a wildcat strike July 1 against an unpopular new flexible scheduling system. They are reacting against a campaign of intimidation by Walmart China, which has been trying to coerce store workers to accept the new schedules since May…
From 1996 to the mid-2000s, Zhou says, Walmart workers were comparatively well-paid—making more than three times the average salary of workers in Shenzhen, a factory city created to produce for export.
But with rapid inflation over the past decade, Walmart’s real wages and benefits have fallen to only a third of the Shenzhen average. The same is true elsewhere in China.
Today Walmart wages are not significantly higher than local minimum wages. After paying their social security contributions, worker may even be making less than minimum wage—and certainly way below a decent living wage.

Strikes at Walmart stores in China begin to spread (China Labour Bulletin)

More than 200 workers from at least three Walmart stores in China went on strike over the weekend in protest against the company’s introduction of a comprehensive working hours system. The workers also called for new trade union elections.
On 1 July, at least 130 workers at Store No. 5782 in Nanchang, Jiangxi, began marching through the store, chanting “Walmart Workers Stand Up!” and “No to the Comprehensive Working Hours System!” Workers had discovered the previous day that the company had unilaterally enforced the new working hours system against their wishes. The workers said management might now use the new system to punish activists by cutting their overtime pay.
In solidarity, some 30 workers at Store No. 2039 in the same city and another 60 employees at Store No.0209 in Chengdu, Sichuan, walked out on 2 July and 4 July respectively.

Made in China, 2. Ausgabe (PDF, chinoiserie.info)

A Quarterly on Chinese Labour, Civil Society, and Rights

Lily Kuo: African migrants are returning from China and telling their compatriots not to go (Quartz)

When Lamin Ceesay, an energetic 25-year-old from Gambia, arrived in China last year, he thought his life had made a turn for the better. As the oldest of four siblings, he was responsible for caring for his family, especially after his father passed away. But jobs were few in his hometown of Tallinding Kunjang, outside of the Gambian capital of Banjul. After hearing about China’s rise, his uncle sold off his taxi business and the two of them bought a ticket and a paid local visa dealer to get them to China.

William Nee: China’s Disturbing Detention of Hong Kong Booksellers (Diplomat)

A recently returned bookseller has decided to speak out, with some disturbing revelations.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: World faces deflation shock as China devalues yuan at accelerating pace (Telegraph)

China has abandoned a solemn pledge to keep its exchange rate stable and is carrying out a systematic devaluation of the yuan, sending a powerful deflationary impulse through a global economy already caught in a 1930s trap.
The country’s currency basket has been sliding at an annual pace of 12pc since the start of the year. This has picked up sharply since the Brexit vote, suggesting that the People’s Bank (PBOC) may be taking advantage of the distraction to push through a sharper devaluation.

Alexander Billet: Super Official Marx (Jacobin)

The Chinese Communist Party put out a hip-hop track praising Karl Marx. It’s as bad as you would expect.

Streiks | Việt Nam
Apr 11th, 2015 by Gao

Didi Tang: Strikes proliferate in China as working class awakens (Yahoo/AP)

In March, workers returning from the Chinese New Year break to the thousands of factories in the Pearl River delta region near Hong Kong staged three dozen strikes at companies such as Stella Footwear, Meidi Electronics and Hisense Electronics.
In this image taken from APTN video shot on March 26, 2015, Shi Jieying talks from her sickbed after …
Some fight for mandated severance pay, some for back social security payments and some for equal pay for out-of-town workers who typically earn less than local city residents. All of these actions have been on factory grounds because workers have grown impatient with government mediation rooms or courts.

Việt Nam kennt ähnliche Probleme wie China:
Thousands on strike in Vietnam over insurance law (BBC)

The ongoing strike in Ho Chi Minh City is one of the largest and longest that has ever happened in Vietnam. It is also unusual as the protesters are rallying against the government’s labour policies rather than working conditions or pay…
The dispute is over the government’s move to effectively convert an unemployment welfare scheme into a retirement savings scheme.
Currently, workers pay a monthly premium into a central fund, and when they become unemployed they receive a lump sum payout equivalent to premiums paid.
Under the new law, workers will only receive payouts when they retire, and the amount will be given on a monthly basis rather than as a lump sum. Only a small minority will be eligible for unemployment payouts.

Wukan | Shan-Staat | Immobilien
Mrz 16th, 2015 by Gao

Lynn Lee, James Leong: Wukan Votes (AlJazeera)

In late 2011, Wukan, a village in southern China, captured international attention when it rose up against decades of corrupt leadership.
The odds appeared insurmountable – Chinese authorities are not known for tolerating dissent. Still, despite a crackdown and the death of a leading activist, the unthinkable happened.
The Village Committee fell and democratic elections were announced. So what happens after a successful uprising?
This two-part series Wukan Votes begins as the elections get underway and China’s extraordinary experiment in grassroots democracy begins.

China warnt Myanmar vor erneuter Grenzverletzung (Zeit)

China hat mehrere Kampfjets an die Grenze zu Myanmar geschickt, nachdem die Explosion einer Bombe in der südwestchinesischen Provinz Yunnan am Freitag vier Menschen getötet hatte. Die Luftwaffe wolle Flugzeuge aus Myanmar über chinesischem Gebiet „verfolgen, beobachten, warnen und vertreiben“, sagte ein Sprecher. …
Die Bombe schlug in einem Zuckerrohrfeld in der Stadt Lincang ein. Vier Arbeiter wurden getötet, neun weitere verletzt. In die Region sind 60.000 Menschen aus dem nordöstlichen myanmarischen Bundesstaat Shan geflüchtet, seitdem die Streitkräfte dort gegen Rebellen vorgehen. Der Aufstand in Shan begann am 9. Februar. Die Regierung hat inzwischen den Notstand ausgerufen.

David Barboza: In China, a Building Frenzy’s Fault Lines (New York Times)

As the real estate market in the United States was collapsing in the mid-2000s, Wall Street went in search of new terrain, and found it in China. All across the country, from Beijing to Shenzhen, sprawling housing developments and business districts were popping up, seemingly overnight. Real estate prices were soaring. Western banks, hedge funds, private equity firms and other investors wanted a piece of the action.
Billions poured into Chinese real estate, and big foreign financial firms hunted for the next hit — the small bet that investors could ride to great heights.

Foxconn | Liu Han | Hongkong | Xinjiang
Feb 11th, 2015 by Gao

Yi Xi: Four years later, still a graveyard of Chinese youth (libcom.org)

In 2014, on the eve of China’s national day celebrations, scenes recalling those of four years ago appeared in Chinese headlines. Foxconn became known to the world four years ago when thirteen of its young workers jumped to their deaths in quick succession. The death of young Foxconn worker and poet Xu Lizhi reminded us that in this Fortune 500 company that produces some 40% of the world’s electronics, the cruelty and hopelessness of workers‘ situation has not changed. But most of us are unaware that Xu is not alone. At least five other workers, and likely more than that, have joined him this year. Many other workers have taken their own lives since the famous 13.

Yi Xi: Union Official Links Foxconn Deaths to Excessive Overtime (LaborNotes)

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions—never distinguished for its advocacy protecting workers—has taken the unusual step of publicly criticizing Foxconn for excessive overtime.
Foxconn, the largest private employer in China, employs 1.2 million workers and produces a huge share of the world’s electronics.
On February 2, ACFTU Party Secretary Guo Jun publically criticized Foxconn’s excessive overtime work arrangements. Guo connected these problems to the series of worker suicides and deaths by overwork at its massive factory complex.
In an open letter response on February 3, Foxconn had the audacity to claim that “there is no relationship between constant overtime and incidents of death from overwork or suicide,” and referred to its infamous 2010 serial suicides as “unfortunate incidents with a few individual workers.”

Chun Han Wong: China Labor Ties Fray as Grievances Rise, Economic Growth Slows (Wall Street Journal)

For four years, a labor-research center here in the heart of China’s southern manufacturing belt helped to drive scholarship and debate on industrial relations in the world’s second-largest economy.
Then late last year, the International Center for Joint Labor Research, the first institute of its kind in China, was shut down, with little warning or explanation, people familiar with the situation said.
Its demise has alarmed labor experts, including some union officials, who see it as a setback for industrial relations just as China is dealing with rising worker grievances and slowing economic growth.

China executes mining tycoon Liu Han, who had links to ex-security tsar Zhou Yongkang (South China Morning Post, auch via Google News)

A Chinese mining tycoon linked to former security tsar Zhou Yongkang has been executed, according to state media.
Sichuan native Liu Han, 48, was found guilty of 13 charges – including murder, organising casinos, running a mafia-style gang and illegally selling firearms – and sentenced to death in late May.
He was executed on Monday morning together with his younger brother Liu Wei and three associates, Tang Xianbing, Zhang Donghua and Tian Xianwei, Xianning city intermediate court in Hubei province said.

AP: China executes mining tycoon Liu Han (Guardian)

Ernest Kao: Pepper spray and arrests as Tuen Mun parallel trader protest ends in chaos (South China Morning Post; auch via Google News)

Justine Drennan: Is China Making Its Own Terrorism Problem Worse? (Foreign Policy)

Beijing says radicalized members of its Uighur minority are terrorists with ties to the Islamic State and al Qaeda, but its repressive policies may be helping to fuel the violence.

Und außerdem:
Grace Tsoi: Taipei’s Fiery New Mayor Knows Whose Culture Is Best (Foreign Policy)

“For the [world’s] four Chinese-speaking regions — Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mainland China — the longer the colonization, the more advanced a place is. It’s rather embarrassing. Singapore is better than Hong Kong; Hong Kong is better than Taiwan; Taiwan is better than the mainland. I’m speaking in terms of culture. I’ve been to Vietnam and mainland China. Even though the Vietnamese are seemingly poor, they always stop in front of red traffic lights and walk in front of green ones. Even though mainland China’s GDP is higher than that of Vietnam, if you ask me about culture, the Vietnamese culture is superior.”

David Volodzko: Was Colonialism Good for Asia? (Diplomat)

In controversial remarks, Taipei’s new mayor argued that colonialism is the secret to “more advanced” culture today.

Streiks | Islam
Aug 13th, 2014 by Gao

Patrick Boehler: Strikes peak in China with new generation of interconnected blue-collar workers (South China Morning Post)

A record number of workers have gone on strike in China so far this year.
China Labour Bulletin, a workers’ rights group in Hong Kong, has documented 235 incidents of strikes or worker protests in the second quarter of 2014. This represents a 49 per cent hike over the same period last year, and 180 per cent more than in the same period in 2012.
In April, some 40,000 workers went on strike at the Yue Yuen shoe factory in Dongguan, the largest known strike in China in recent years. In June, worker rights activists marked a rare victory in Shenzhen at a time when the government is pursuing a crackdown on dissenting rights activists, lawyers and bloggers. Prosecutors dropped charges against Wu Guijun, a 40-year-old migrant worker, who has became a towering figure in the workers‘ movement.

Hannah Beech: If China Is Anti-Islam, Why Are These Chinese Muslims Enjoying a Faith Revival? (Time)

Beijing bans some Muslims from observing Ramadan, or boarding public transport while veiled, but it allows millions of others to practice their religion without hindrance…
“The way [the government treats] the Uighurs and the Hui is completely different,” says a foreign scholar who studies the Hui, requesting anonymity. “The standard line for the Uighurs is that everything is oppression and violence and conflict, and the standard narrative for the Hui is that they are complicit with state power and that they are not real Muslims. The Hui are considered the good Muslims and the Uighurs the bad Muslims.”

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