Feb. 11, 2015 |
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21st Century China Opinion
Is Alibaba's honeymoon over?
From the source

Source: Fortune
Guest opinion

As a long-time buyer on Alibaba's Taobao, China's answer to eBay, I'm not terribly concerned with who wins and who loses in the current scuffle between the 

e-commerce giant and Liu Hongliang, the director general of China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC). In the end, the results won't have much effect on how I use the site.

But as someone with many contacts in the company, I'm inundated with information that makes it difficult for me to watch from the sidelines. Many Alibaba Group employees have taken to their WeChat accounts to complain about the unfair treatment by Hongliang and SAIC. The employees feel aggrieved, and the company seems to have organized a social-media campaign against the official in question.

The Chinese government may be criticized for its overbearing behavior sometimes, but it is ill advised that such an intense social-media campaign is targeting individual officials. Jack Ma, the most popular new-generation entrepreneur in China right now, has always pushed Alibaba to create miracles. Unfortunately, he may have inadvertently helped to create a company culture where business ethics are not taken seriously.

One might say the long-standing issue of counterfeits is not Alibaba's fault, as the market is replete with unscrupulous elements. Yet two other Chinese companies, Lenovo and Huawei, have come of age in this far-from-perfect Chinese market, and their founders, Liu Chuanzhi and Ren Zhengfei, have taken the path of responsibility when facing similar situations. That's why they have earned widespread respect.

China should still value entrepreneurs like Jack Ma. But for those who believe a fair market under the rule of law is more important than any single company, Ma and Alibaba need to do more to restore the confidence of consumers in the wonderful marketplace they have created so far.

Field Notes from China:
Selections from
Chinese-language Media

Students who disrupted model UN were correct: Taiwan isn't a country

SummaryA delegation of Chinese students participating in the Harvard University Model United Nations this past January caused a disturbance after they discovered that Taiwan was listed as a "country" in the program handbook. One student who attended the conference told the Global Times that "The organizer needs to apologize to Chinese participants" for the perceived slight. Several of the students were kicked out of the meeting after the organizers threatened to call the police. News of the event spread rapidly after an eyewitness account was posted on renren.com, leaving it to the reliably nationalist Global Times to weigh in on the matter.


Excerpt from the story"Taiwan isn't a country, and does not enjoy all the rights of a country. To fly its flag and list it as a country in a public forum such as this will create problems, something that should be considered diplomatic common sense. Although there are some NGOs and companies that consider Taiwan a 'country,' under most circumstances when the Chinese point out the problem, most parties will make the necessary correction and the problem goes away. Yet there are also some unfortunate circumstances in which the other party refuses to correct their mistake. Some do this because they are stubborn or because they wish to see the Chinese unhappy, or even because they seek to provoke a problem and thus raise the profile of their event."


Source: 环球时报

China's new three ring diplomacy


SummaryFor most of the past three decades, China's foreign policy has focused on managing relations with large powers, most importantly the United States. Yet under Xi Jinping, some see a shift in this formula, with China's relations with its immediate neighbors occupying an increasingly important role. Is this an attempt to shut the U.S. out of the Pacific region? Or merely an attempt to calm the jittered nerves of those smaller Pacific countries concerned over China's rise?


Excerpt from the story"But according to Professor Wang Yiwei from Renmin University of China, China has gradually been adopting an updated version of the 'three-ring' doctrine since President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2013. If the old 'three-ring' diplomacy centered on the Sino-U.S. relationship, the new approach takes a more China-centric perspective, devoting more diplomatic resources to countries that are geographically and strategically closer to China. According to Professor Wang, at the core of this new three-ring diplomacy are China's neighbors, which he argued have been given foremost priority under China's new approach. In the middle ring is the developing world, with regions like Africa and South America receiving comparatively more attention. Meanwhile, the rest of the developed world has effectively been relegated to the outermost diplomatic ring. Wang argues that by attaching different priorities to these three rings, China is showing that it has a new set of goals regarding its relationship with these countries."


Source: 《中国新闻周刊》

China Talk: Interviews, Lectures and Events
Does Xi's rise signal a turning point for China?
During a free moment at a recent UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation conference on Chinese politics, UC San Diego Ph.D. student and China Focus advisor Jack Zhang spoke with Boston University's Joseph Fewsmith, one of the foremost experts on elite-level politics in China. Click on the image to launch the audio.


School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
21st Century China Program
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