China Takes to the Blue Water

China Takes to the Blue WaterThe recent well-publicized venture by China’s first and so far only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning outside of its familiar coastal waters into the western Pacific and off the coast of Taiwan, is a signal event in China’s ambition to field a true blue-water navy.  When China’s navy looks beyond its coastal waters, which it increasingly…

Pakistan Begins to Learn Chinese Development Cost

Pakistan Begins to Learn Chinese Development CostDespite the official narrative in both Beijing and Islamabad, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) an ambitious US$51 billion plan to expand and upgrade Pakistan’s infrastructure that is an integral part of Beijing’s “one belt-one road” regional master strategy, is failing to yield the expected results.   With China-Pakistan bi-lateral trade tilting heavily to the former’s…

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to China

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to ChinaChina’s gift for buying foreign political leaders has scored another triumph with the visit to Beijing of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose ingratiating tone of remarks in China at least give the impression that Malaysia’s foreign policy has veered farther away from its traditional informal alliance with the US.  In the end that may…

China Turns the East Red

China Turns the East RedAt the height of the Cultural Revolution, “The East is Red” became the de facto national anthem of the People’s Republic of China. The composer, reportedly a farmer from Shaanxi province, had, of course, no way of knowing that his song was in fact a harbinger of things to come.  Some 50-something years later, “The…

Is China’s High Savings Rate a Curse?

Is China’s High Savings Rate a Curse?The average savings rate in China is over 30 percent – that is above-average measured by any global average. In other words, a third of the income of a household does not flow back in the economy but stays blocked in a bank-account or somewhere else. Many, including the Chinese government, see this as a…

China’s Rising Pile of Infrastructure Debt

China’s Rising Pile of Infrastructure DebtWhile China’s emergence as the world’s second biggest economy has led many developing countries to Beijing as the panacea for all economic issues, especially those related to infrastructure development, the country’s leaders are awakening to a new reality: underperformance and debt heading for a crisis. A recent Oxford University titled “Does infrastructure investment lead to…

China’s Stressed Youth

China’s Stressed YouthWedding photography in China is like no other: creative, elaborate and theatrical. A couple pose next to a bucolic Tuscan hillside with its bubbling fountain and clear skies, as the photographer clicks away. Next to them is a Victorian gentleman's drinking club and a salon straight out of the Palace of Versailles. Also within view…

The Naming of Seas is a Practical Matter

The Naming of Seas is a Practical MatterTwo centuries or more of western domination of much of the world has not only redrawn the global political maps but in many cases determined place names. If that seems arcane, it is not. It was western powers that named the South China Sea, for instance. It is a name that China is now using…

Claiming Dominance, China Sheds Pretense of Peaceful Rise

Claiming Dominance, China Sheds Pretense of Peaceful RiseThere was a time when China tried hard to convince the world its rise is peaceful. That pretense was abandoned seven years ago when in the wake of Great Recession China thought its time had come to claim its place as controlling "all under heaven," or tianxia in Asia. Like all great powers in history, China's emergence…

Arms Race Threatened on India-China border

Arms Race Threatened on India-China borderNew Delhi's decision to deploy the BrahMos supersonic missile – the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, which can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound – in the disputed northeast state of Arunachal, has left its rival and neighbor fuming as big-power tensions flare between China and India.  Within days of the announcement by…