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Europe as key destination for China overseas investment

Written by Alain Sepulchre.

For years, China has been known as a destination for foreign direct investment, as multinationals flocked there to build export platforms and take advantage of its fast-growing market. Now, however, it is China’s outbound foreign direct investment (OFDI) that is shaping the world. In the first quarter of 2015, China claimed its largest-ever share of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A), with Chinese companies’ takeovers of foreign firms amounting to US$101bn, or 15% of the $682bn in announced global deal activity. In just three months, China recorded more outbound investment transactions than in the whole of 2015, when US$109bn in deals were announced.

Continue reading “Europe as key destination for China overseas investment”

Of washing powder, Afrophobia and racism in China

Written by Roberto Castillo.

Is Afrophobia really on the rise in China?

Roughly two months have passed since the Qiaobi detergent advertisement went viral. The advert, in which a Chinese woman shoves a black man into a washing machine only for him to emerge as a shiny, clean, Asian man, prompted Western media to call it “the most racist ad ever”. At the height of the controversy, commentators from all over the world quarrelled endlessly over whether or not the advert was evidence of China being a racist society. Eventually, the Chinese government intervened and the company behind the offensive advert issued an apology. Continue reading “Of washing powder, Afrophobia and racism in China”

Europe, AIIB and reconfiguring the geography of capitalism

Written by Leonardo Ramos.

The creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was a milestone in the contemporary world order. Presented as a new source of financing to the emerging Asian economies, particularly on infrastructure issues, it includes fifty seven countries as founding members. The AIIB and the New Silk Road (NSR) are central elements in China’s development strategy of “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR), which includes the establishment of a network of regional infrastructure projects, trade liberalisation and financial integration, with important consequences for the political economy of Asia and the rest of the world. In this context, the European Commission signed a memorandum of understanding with China in June 2015 in order to coordinate the European Commission’s Trans-European Networks strategy with the NSR. Continue reading “Europe, AIIB and reconfiguring the geography of capitalism”

China and the UN Convention Against Corruption: A 10- year appraisal

Written by Konstantinos Tsimonis.

The tenth anniversary of China’s ratification of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) offers a timely opportunity for an appraisal of its engagement with the global anticorruption regime. Two questions are important in this regard. Has China’s socialization in the UNCAC framework initiated the adaptation of its anti-corruption policies to international standards and best practices promoted by the Convention? And what is China’s role in UNCAC’s institutionalisation  process? 

UNCAC is the most comprehensive international anticorruption instrument. Its 71 articles, compared to just 17 in the OECD Anti-bribery Convention, significantly expand the definition of corrupt activities, provide a framework for states to address cross-border corruption, and create a platform for international and bilateral cooperation in asset recovery and extradition. The Convention has 140 signatories and includes key countries, notably China and India.  Continue reading “China and the UN Convention Against Corruption: A 10- year appraisal”

Individual Rights and Corporate Identity in Xi’s China

Written by Ryan Mitchell.

Not long ago, in a coastal Chinese city, I encountered a sight that struck me as remarkable, and perhaps as a subtle marker of social change. Somewhere on the eastern seaboard, I passed by a middle-aged, apparently middle-class person on a boardwalk, in the full light of day, performing what were very clearly the gentle Tai Chi-like exercises of Falun Gong. Not far away, a police officer casually walked his rounds. Neither seemed to take much notice of the other – a situation that, just a few years ago, would have seemed highly unlikely (and just a few years before that, in the full heat of the anti-Falun Gong crackdown, more or less unthinkable).

Though popular religion, along with any form of non-Party sanctioned social movement, ideological discourse, or group affiliation, remain serious sources of paranoia for the Communist Party, what is targeted for repression is often not the mere expression of divergent views, but rather any forms of expression that seem to have the likelihood of sparking mass action and mobilization. Even more than in the pre-Xi era, the Party currently seems able to tolerate anything that seems sufficiently private – like doing one’s exercises alone by the seashore – or even just sufficiently ambiguous that it cannot be read as any kind of call to action. Continue reading “Individual Rights and Corporate Identity in Xi’s China”

Europe and China after Brexit

Written by Paul Irwin Crookes.

This article discusses the potential implications on political and economic relations between Europe and China in the wake of the United Kingdom’s (UK) decision to leave the European Union (EU) after its referendum of 23rd June 2016 – an event colloquially known as “Brexit”. Despite the pledges from both EU and Chinese political elites at the recent EU-China Summit in Beijing that Britain’s departure from the European club of nations will not harm ties between the two economies, there are real and pressing issues that need to be analysed that will shape future policy priorities for China, for the EU, and for the UK. Three aspects stand out: economic instability and currency depreciation in China’s European export markets, the balance of power within the EU between free-traders and inherent protectionists over decisions that shape the EU’s trade relationship with China, and the challenges facing the UK as it gears up to take on direct bilateral negotiations in many policy areas hitherto pooled as a community competence to Brussels. Continue reading “Europe and China after Brexit”

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