Jan. 28, 2015 |
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21st Century China Opinion
China's rise as seen from the Philippines
From the source

Our take

The following excerpt was transcribed from an interview conducted Jan. 21.


As a Filipino - and like many Filipinos - I am rather apprehensive about Chinese intensions in the South China Sea, or what we in our corner of that body of water have redefined to be the "West Philippines Sea." We went through this renaming a couple years ago in what was to us an important political step in asserting sovereignty in that area. Filipinos are fearful not of Chinese business, but of its military, and we don't know how those two operate with each other. We're hoping the business side prevails.

Those of use who look into this issue more closely have come to see the so-called "Nine Dash Line" as a laughable, spurious proposition with no real historical grounding whatsoever. Besides, when you look at the two most contested areas, the Spratly [Islands] and the Scarborough Shoal, they are both about 150 miles off our coast and about 550 miles off the nearest Chinese island. So it is with a great sense of injustice that we respond to these Chinese intrusions.

The reality on the water is that the Chinese have all the power to deploy, and they have deployed it. Philippine navel ships have been brushed off by much larger, much more powerful Chinese vessels ostensibly to protect their own fishing vessels. So our tiny navy has been very hard pressed to protect our coastal waters, which are quite considerable. ...

Now, enter the United States. We hear a lot of talk about pivoting towards Southeast Asia, and of course that's music to some Filipinos' ears. But I would be the first to caution my countrymen against actually believing that the U.S. will lift a military finger to defend the Philippines. A question like "will the U.S. come to the defense of the Philippines in a conflict with China?" is the wrong question to ask.

For me the right question to ask is what's in it for the United States that will involve the Philippines someway. So we need to rethink this issue too, not as a matter of Philippine-American friendship, but of American interests in the South China Sea which might happen to coincide with ours.


Field Notes from China:
Selections from
Chinese-language Media

Xi stresses adherence to dialectical materialism

SummaryRemember when China was a country run by economic and political pragmatists? Remember the days of "practices is the sole criterion for truth," as the saying went throughout much of the 1980s when the CCP under Deng Xiaoping was looking to cast off the ideological straightjacket imposed by Mao Zedong? The return of ideology has been apparent since the beginning of Xi Jinping's tenure two years ago, but any restraint he showed in the early days is now gone. Case in point is the above-the-fold headline from Saturday's edition of The People's Daily, declaring the importance of dialectical materialism for the economic reform process. Reading the article, it's not clear how exactly dialectical materialism will help sort out the thorny issues of reform, but one suspects the piece was never meant to help. The return of this type of ideological framing for pressing issues should not be brushed aside as meaningless Apparatchik-speak, as many of the most important battles in China have been fought in the realm of ideas.


Excerpt from the story"Xi Jinping pointed out that we must study and grasp the basic tenets of the movement of material contradictions, incessantly strengthen our consciousness of problems, and vigorously face and analyze contradictions we meet during our progress. Problems are the forms in which material contradictions manifest themselves, when we stress that we must strengthen our consciousness of problems and persist in a problem-guided orientation, this is to recognize the universality and objectivity of contradictions, and means that we must be good at making understanding and dissolving contradictions into a breakthrough point for beginning our work."


Source: 新华网

Two-thirds of China's provinces miss
2014 GDP growth targets


SummaryDespite some gloomy economic news coming from China, Premier Li Keqiang has been on a public relations offensive, boasting of the economy's job-creating potential. As China Daily recently reported, Li said 10 million new jobs would be created in the coming 12 months, even as China's GDP growth is expected to show further signs of slowing. As Li told attendees of the recent World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, "The Chinese economy will face downward pressures in 2015 but the Chinese economy will not head for a hard landing."


Excerpt from the story"Among the 22 provinces and regions that have released macroeconomic statistics for 2014, only the western region of Tibet managed to meet its target of 11 percent growth. Chongqing, in the southwest, also managed double-digit growth, of 10.9 percent, but fell short of its 11 percent goal. The coal-rich northern province of Shanxi was among the worst performers in terms of GDP growth, reporting expansion of 4.9 percent, 4.1 percentage points off its target. Coal production in the country fell by 2.1 percent year on year to 3.52 billion tons in the first 11 months last year, the Security Times reported on Jan. 23, citing data from the China National Coal Association."


Source: 财新《新世纪》

China Talk: Interviews, Lectures and Events
Why is the Chinese leadership talking
about the rule of law now?
Benjamin van Rooij, the director of the John S. and Marilyn Long U.S.-China Institute for Business and Law at UC Irvine, spoke at a Jan. 14 forum on legal reform in China hosted by the 21st Century China Program and held at UC San Diego. In his remarks, he asks why the Chinese leadership has recently begun to stress the importance of the rule of law at the same time it continues to centralize political power.
Click on the image to launch the audio.


School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
21st Century China Program
Questions? 21china@ucsd.edu
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