A China Gazer’s Random Musings – No. 2

Kishan S. Rana (IFS Retd.), Emeritus Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi

China in Africa

As a second secretary at the Indian Embassy in 1963-65, I occasionally visited Peking University (Beida), always in the company of African diplomats, who went to meet students from their countries at that great institution. I sometimes accompanied a friend from the Egyptian Embassy, circumventing the tight surveillance that we as Indian Embassy officials faced. That first indirect exposure sparked my interest in Africa. Little did I anticipate that I would spend nearly ten years in Africa (Algeria, Kenya and Mauritius and, later Namibia).

How is China seen in Africa? Given that in 2016 China committed itself to US$100 billion by way of credits and loans for African states – significantly more than the World Bank – what has been the impact? Glib talk about neo-colonial actions aside, the reality is rather complex. Continue reading “A China Gazer’s Random Musings – No. 2”

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The Many Ironies of India-China Economic Relations

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

Pickpockets are not uncommon in crowded places in India. Victims are generally realists and tend to resign themselves to their misfortune quickly often not even bothering to go to the police. Not so, however, actor-turned-politician Manoj Tiwari, head of the Delhi unit of India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party. When he lost his iPhone Seven Plus at a demonstration, he promptly complained at the local police station. Politicians in India are often able to get the police to expend extra effort on their behalf, so Tiwari’s response was not really surprising.

What was surprising was the fact that the politician had lost his phone at a protest against Chinese-made goods organized by an affiliate of the BJP’s parent organization, the right-wing hyper-nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. And as American as Steve Jobs might have been, the iPhone is the quintessential made-in-China product.

Such ironies are a dime a dozen in the India-China relationship. Continue reading “The Many Ironies of India-China Economic Relations”

Work and Workplaces in the ‘New Era’: Labour Issues at the 19th Party Congress

P. K. Anand, PhD, Research Associate, ICS

In the week preceding the beginning of the 19th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), state-run media trumpeted the increase in minimum wage levels in 17 regions & cities in China in 2017. Out of these, four major cities namely, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin, have set the minimum wage levels at 2,000 RMB per month. The increase in the minimum wage levels does not carry a linear narrative, however. Some provinces have expressed reluctance to implement minimum wages, wages are also not commensurate with rising house rents, increasing costs of travel from home to the workplace, etc. On the other hand, the increase in wages also adds to the rising labour costs for investors and enterprise managements. In this scenario, the Party-state has the task of striking a fine balance between maintaining economic growth and encouraging investments, while also increasing the material wealth and ensuring the well-being of the workforce.

Xi Jinping’s political report to the 19th Party Congress is reflective of the apprehensions and disquiet of the Party-state in the need to undertake this balancing act Continue reading “Work and Workplaces in the ‘New Era’: Labour Issues at the 19th Party Congress”

China’s 19th CPC Congress: Redefining Economic Growth

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

There are several aspects of the recently concluded 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) that are noteworthy for India.

First, CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping has attempted to redefine what acceptable economic growth is in China. The expression ‘contradiction’ is an important one in the Chinese communist lexicon and until the 19th Party Congress, the ‘principal contradiction’ was the one between ‘the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production’ or, in other words, China’s inability to provide for the basic material needs of its people. Following nearly 40 years of economic reforms, this challenge has now been met with China eradicating poverty at the most massive scale and at the quickest pace in human history.

This process has, however, also resulted in rising income inequalities between individuals and between regions in China, and massive environmental damage and health crises across the country. Continue reading “China’s 19th CPC Congress: Redefining Economic Growth”

China and Globalization: Time for New Beginnings?

He Fan, Professor of Economics, HSBC School of Business, Beijing, Director of Maritime Silk Road Research Center
Zhu He, Postdoctoral Scholar, Peking University & Assistant Director of Silk Road Research Center
Li Chaohui, Research Assistant, Haitian Silk Road Research Center, HSBC School of Business, Peking University

This article was originally published in the Business Standard as China’s version of globalisation’, 14 October 2017. This is part of a series by Chinese economists facilitated by the ICS. The original text in Chinese follows below the English version.

In the past 40 years, China has achieved sustained high rate of economic growth after the implementation of the policy of reforms and opening up. This has generated worldwide attention for the “Chinese miracle.” In 1980, China’s exports amounted to only 5.9% of GDP and its foreign investment abroad was only just over US$1.6 billion; by 2013, the latter figure had increased to US$290 billion.

China’s integration into the world economy essentially began in the 1990s. Continue reading “China and Globalization: Time for New Beginnings?”

China Diary: First Impressions

Monish Tourangbam, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University, Karnataka & South Asian Voices Visiting Fellow, Stimson Center, Washington D.C.

As an academic actively teaching and writing on issues of international relations and geopolitics, visiting the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has always been a priority on my bucket list. So, when an opportunity came to visit the PRC, I embraced it with an open mind, with an intention to listen, observe and learn. A trip spanning less than two weeks is hardly an adequate time to even start scratching the surface of a country that is often associated with opacity. Hence, these are mere first impressions that in no way can be seen as definitive impressions.

One is often struck by the geographical nearness of China to India, and yet the political distance, in terms of a complex adversarial and competitive relationship, and divergent political systems. Continue reading “China Diary: First Impressions”

Regional Economic Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP): Implications for India and Partner Countries

Debashis Chakraborty, PhD, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Kolkata*

A version of this article was originally published in Chinese as ‘印度谨慎推进RCEP的理由’ [Yindu jinshen tuijin RCEP de liyou], Diyi Caijing, 27 August 2017. This is part of a series by Indian scholars in China’s top business affairs news portal facilitated by the ICS. The English version follows the Chinese text.

从1991年开始采取外向型发展模式以来,印度始终稳健地推行着自由化进程,以此促进外商直接投资 (FDI)的流入和出口。直到2003年,印度还主要依赖由世贸组织(WTO)主导的旨在促进出口的多边贸易改革,此后的一段时间,印度开始参与一系列的区域贸易协定(Regional Trade Agreements ,RTAs)。

印度最早在2005年和新加坡达成了双边综合经济合作协定(CECA),此后又陆续在2006年达成了南亚自由贸易协定(South Asian Free Trade Area , SAFTA),在2010年在商品贸易方面和东盟达成了自由贸易协定(FTA),与韩国达成了双边综合经济伙伴协定(CEPA),并在2011年分别与日本和马来西亚达成了双边综合经济伙伴协定(CEPA)以及双边综合经济合作协定(CECA)。印度还参与了多项区域贸易协定谈判,例如,与欧盟的双边贸易投资协定(BTIA)、印度加拿大经济伙伴协定。然而,现如今,印度正处在关于亚洲泛区域性协定——区域全面经济伙伴关系协定(Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ,RCEP)的十字路口上。 Continue reading “Regional Economic Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP): Implications for India and Partner Countries”