China Analysis

To keep our readers up to date, EAI is releasing and compiling the executive summary of its latest background briefs as useful insights for some of the latest development in China and the region.

Latest Insights

PARTNER ASSISTANCE AMONG CHINA’S PROVINCES (II): REDUCING POVERTY IN THE WESTERN REGIONS
ZHOU Na, 8 February 2019

China has employed intergovernmental assistance and cooperation at the provincial level for poverty alleviation. It initiated Cooperation between Eastern and Western Regions in Poverty Alleviation (CEWRPA) to lift out of poverty, all rural people living below the current poverty threshold and all impoverished counties by 2020. The CEWRPA develops from partnered assistance programmes that have paired eastern affluent provinces with western backward ones to tackle east-west economic inequality. In the CEWRPA, the assistance and cooperation between Fujian and Ningxia are outstanding in four areas, including holding annual joint conferences, prioritising industrial development, constructing infrastructure and facilitating mutual visits. The CEWPRA has generated huge assistance to western regions and significantly contributed to reduced poverty.

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PARTNER ASSISTANCE AMONG CHINA’S PROVINCES (I): AN OVERVIEW
ZHOU Na, 8 February 2019

China’s inter-provincial support network has initiated rounds of partner assistance programmes (PAPs) to pair wealthy coastal provinces with backward inland ones, with the former mobilised to offer assistance. It aims to balance the unequal development between the east and the west. Through the PAPs, local governments have provided different forms of assistance, including technological cooperation, investment, projects construction and professional training in education and medical organisations. Besides helping economic and social development, inter-provincial partner assistance has also been used for supporting national major projects, disaster relief, poverty alleviation and so on. Unlike vertical transfers that the central government collects and reallocates fiscal resources among provinces, horizontal transfers through the PAPs have directly benefitted receiving provinces though challenges remain in practice.

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IDEOLOGIES IN CHINESE CYBERSPACE
SHAN Wei & GU Yongxin, 30 January 2019

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has taken considerable efforts at unifying ideology. Yet ideologies in Chinese society are far from unified, especially in online debates. There are 10 over ideological clusters in Chinese cyberspace. Politically, netizens debate on whether the country should maintain the authoritarian system. Economically, debates are around the role of the state in economy. In foreign relations, netizens hold different views on nationalism. The diversified ideologies are a product of increasing heterogeneity of Chinese society. Globalisation and internet economy are also factors. Vibrant pop culture has facilitated netizens’ political expressions. Ideologies are rarely incited in offline collective action and therefore not a direct threat to the regime. As the CCP has reinforced ideological control, the sustainability of ideological diversity is still in question.

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ISLAM IN CHINA: “PAN-HALALFICATION” AND ISLAMOPHOBIA
SHAN Wei & Ryan HO, 30 January 2019

The “Pan-Halal” tendency in China in recent years refers to the phenomenon of food and services which traditionally are not halal becoming halal. This has increasingly generated heated Chinese online debate, inciting islamophobic sentiments from certain segments of the Han Chinese population. The rise of social media today has further stimulated Islamophobia among certain segments of the Han Chinese. As a result of this, the Chinese government has sought to deal with the “pan-halal” tendencies and Islamophobia with repressive control as they seek to promote national unity and do not tolerate behaviours that may lead to ethnic tensions.

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CHINA’S RISING FINANCIAL RISKS AND LIQUIDITY PROBLEMS
LI Yao, 24 January 2019

To manage high financial risks, China’s financial authorities and other relevant departments have issued nearly 160 new regulations and adopted nearly 70 flexible temporary policies since 2017. However, China’s financial sector seems to be increasingly trapped in dilemma: the urgent risk management in the financial sector and the lack of liquidity in the real economy. The frequency of events involving financial risk has increased sharply since early 2018. The first half of 2018 witnessed the peer-to-peer platform crash in the field of internet finance. On the other hand, the financing difficulties of real economic activities in China are also increasing. There are still many fundamental problems in China’s financial market and regulatory system. The role of the government and the market is unclear. Financial regulators cannot effectively supervise local government’s illegal financing behaviour in the financial market. The segmented markets of financial transactions reduce the liquidity of products and the boundaries of the responsibilities of the regulatory authorities are unclear. The intertwining of regulatory policy transmission and information disclosure has caused confusion in financial market operation and regulation.

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For previous insights please refer to our background brief list