On the Rack: China Brief

English: Gordon G. Chang 中文: 章家敦

English: Gordon G. Chang 中文: 章家敦 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

China Brief
The Jamestown Foundation

Of all of the free publications circulating about China, the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief has frustrated me the most – but in a good way.

Let me explain.

When I first started reading China Brief, I was struck by the number of authors who were unrepentant Panda Punchers, people like Gordon Chang (pictured) who seemed more interested in foisting a negative perspective on the PRC than on adding insight to the debate.

There is still some of that, as Chang remains a contributor and Willy Lam is a columnist. Under the editorship of Peter Mattis, who comes out of the National Bureau of Asian Research and the U.S. Government, the publication has become less shrill but much more insightful.

The tone is serious but not so academic that it is off-putting. The style strikes a balance between the insider insight of The Economist and the deep-diving thoughtfulness of professional and academic journals. In short, it belongs in the inbox of any regular reader of The Peking Review.

I have to confess that the fortnightly arrival of China Brief means that I don’t always get to read through the whole publication, but I feel intellectually naked if I don’t at least scan its pages.

The China Brief is a free download.

Beijing’s Response to the TPP

“China’s Free Trade Agreement Strategies”
Guoyou Song and Wen Jin Yuan
The Washington Quarterly
Fall 2012

Song and Yuan from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) suggest that China sees the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade famework being driven by the United States as an implicit threat to its foreign policy goals. The authors argue that the TPP is seen by Beijing as a soft-power aspect of the US “pivot to Asia,” and that the agreement would undermine Asian economic integration.

While China wants to respond with a free-trade agreement (FTA) series of initiatives on their own, the authors argue that domestic politics will make that impossible. Unlike their counterparts in the developed world, domestic Chinese enterprises, SOEs, and other commercial interests see FTAs as a net negative. Too much of Chinese industry still relies on protection at home for competitive advantage, and FTAs would undermine the “safe base” aspect of SOE global growth strategies.

The end result is that the U.S. is quietly creating the framework for Asia’s economic future, and it puts the U.S. smack at the center of that future. Chinese companies, for their part, will be left to fight for new regional markets rather more hobbled.

Reading: it’s all about Asia this week…

  • A decent article, and I like Bob Pickard’s quotes. I wonder, however, if the problem with social media shouldn’t have been extended to a larger problem with communicating generally. The social media issue is a symptom, not the problem.

    tags: socialmedia asia companies transparency

  • Hackers aren’t so cute anymore, are they?

    tags: computer net security

  • A fascinating read. What I am trying to decipher is whether this is a brilliantly-staged character assassination on the part of a gigantic corporation and its expensive hired guns, or whether in fact this fellow Donziger is, in fact, a caricature of an ambulance-chaser. Almost as good as a Grisham novel

    tags: oil environment legal biography

  • There are good articles about the internet in China, and there are great articles about the internet in China. This, sadly, is neither. Rather than provide a nuanced view of why local internet companies do well in China and why the foreigners fail, the authors go instead for the Single-Factor Soft Kill: those darn protectionist Chinese.

    Unfortunately, because this is BW, it will likely become a meme.

    If only Tiff Roberts or Bruce Einhorn had written it.

    tags: china internet foreign investment

  • George Monbiot’s writing this in a Guardian blog is a guaranteed flame-magnet, but it is important that the debate around nclear power does not devolve into an environmentalist rout. Hard, hard questions have to be fully answered about HOW we move forward before we start pulling the plug on every single nuclear plant out there.

    I have yet to see someone prove, using figures in BTUs, that renewables are the answer to the problem given current and projected generation capabilities. What this crisis should, and I think will do, is push funding of alternative energy research to the top of the priority list.

    tags: japan nuclear crisis environment energy

  • Of all of the conservative pundits of the Neocon generation, George Will remains my sole favorite because he is the most intelligent of the group. This editorial, while interesting in its perspective from the Naval War College, does little to actually address Chinese intentions. It merely points to the importance of China’s focus on developing a blue water navy.

    Which, frankly, is good, because we really need to go no further at this point. To bang the gong and rend our clothing over China’s construction of a small aircraft carrier would be foolish. But to take note that China, traditionally a land power, has finally acknowledged that its rise demands a maritime dimension, is necessary and appropriate.

    Now if only the U.S. Navy could figure out how to buy ships and planes without bankrupting the nation, we’d be in great shape.

  • The Guarddog offers a remarkably even-handed discussion of the events and makes some salient points, primarily that TEPCO’s biggest error was not screaming for help much sooner. Never, never, let the guys appointed to run the business day-to-day handle a crisis of any magnitude. Get experts immediately.

    All of Japan will pay the price of TEPCO’s face.

    tags: japan nuclear crisis

  • Samuel Wade at China Digital Times does an excellent job wrapping up reports of China’s plans to review its nuclear program.

    tags: china nuclear energy

  • In what I think is one of the best pieces he has ever written for the Wall Stret Journal, Boalt Law professor Stanley Lubman obliquely raises a compelling specter: if the Party and the government do not compel local governments to start protecting consumer interests as a first priority, they are allowing a vacuum into which non-governmental forces could step.

    This prospect scares the daylights out of the Party, because they believe that the emergence of popular non-governmental associations could form the nexus of a viable political opposition. One need look no further than Poland’s Solidarity movement to understand their fear.

    tags: china consumer protection party politics

  • An entertaining review of Ron Rosenbaum’s “How the End Begins,” a pessimistic but thought-provoking book about the prospects of nuclear war in a post-cold war world.

    tags: books

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Today’s Reads 03/15/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Today’s Reads 03/14/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.