China Analysis Digest (March 24-31, 2021)
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China Wants a ‘Rules-Based International Order,’ Too (Stephen Walt)
[T]he distinction between the United States’ supposed commitment to a system of rules and China’s alleged lack thereof is misleading in at least three ways. First, it overlooks the United States’ own willingness to ignore, evade, or rewrite the rules whenever they seem inconvenient…Second…China accepts and even defends many principles of the existing order, although of course not all of them…Third, [some argue] that abandoning today’s rules-based order would leave us in a lawless, rule-free world of naked power politics, unregulated by any norms or principles whatsoever. This is simply not the case…
Dealing with a China that’s not like us (Editorial Board, East Asia Forum):
The United States would serve its own democracy and democracies globally best by self-improvement, and demonstrating how a great democracy can self-repair and improve. The creation of exclusive clubs of democracies, when many are faltering, will only lead to deepening polarisation and unstable geopolitical disequilibrium.
The Complex Legacy of China’s Cinematic Pirates (Wang Yan):
The debate in China over whether amateur subtitle groups deserve to be shut down…reflects a desire to overcome all the various obstacles that limit the transmission of knowledge. For many Chinese, the gray zones on the periphery of intellectual property law have long been a source of color in their lives. The piracy scene…might be on its last legs, but the rich cinephile culture it helped stimulate, the intercultural discussions and exchanges it sparked, and the up-and-coming creators it inspired aren’t going anywhere.
Costly Choices: Establishing the Facts of Australia’s China Policy Since 2016 (James Laurenceson):
With the relationship between Australia and China now in a stalemate and the possibility it could get worse, leading local protagonists have taken to telling a story of how things came to be. But it’s in no small part a self-serving tale, seemingly designed to deflect having to take some responsibility.
Taking cold war comforts from Alaska is unwise (James Curran):
Australian euphoria after the Alaska dialogue is based on the assumption that reborn US power will put the rising competitor in its place. But in fact an assertive China is the new constant…A new framework for [Australian] foreign policy will need to bring a revitalised understanding of the creative tension between its cultural moorings and geopolitical reality…It means…blend[ing] principle and pragmatism, agility and firmness where necessary; and recognition that inconsistency, too, is part and parcel of international affairs…Above all, it means casting a sceptical eye over absolutist theories that purport to offer a final picture of future events.
We stand with MERICS (Scott Kennedy, Bonnie Glaser, Jude Blanchette & Matthew Goodman):
Scholarly exchange with China has never been entirely open and straightforward…Although unwelcome, [these difficulties] are the expected obstacles to understanding phenomena in an authoritarian polity. But in the last few years, China has gone significantly further in obstructing independent research and constructive scholarly exchange…The damage caused by China’s actions is profound. These steps cannot but reduce mutual understanding, harm China’s reputation, and lead to greater negative reporting on China.
American Public Divided on Cooperating with, Confronting China (Karl Friedhoff):
Asked about priorities for the United States in Asia, majorities (65%) say it is ensuring economic growth (65%) and strengthening democracy (57%). Just one-third (35%) cite limiting China’s expansion in Asia as a top priority. At the same time, Americans are divided on dealing with China. Half (51%) say the United States should actively work to limit the growth of China’s power versus 47 percent that want to undertake friendly cooperation and engagement with China. This is largely unchanged from July.
Baizuo’ Is a Chinese Word Conservatives Love (Frankie Huang)
Anti-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) diaspora Chinese, especially Trump supporters, use the term [Baizuo] against those who don’t support Western conservative causes or politicians. Baizuo gets deployed in particular against anyone seen as putting progressive values ahead of being Chinese—which, in the mind of conservative immigrants, often includes people like Asian supporters of Black Lives Matter.
China Analysis Digest
Date range: March 24-31, 2021
Sources scanned: 74
Content: 199 publications from 48 sources
Download raw data (.csv)
Australian Financial Review:
China Digital Times:
Politico China Watcher:
Politico China Direct:
Protocol | China:
The Wire China:
European Council on Foreign Relations:
Center for Strategic and International Studies:
Center for New American Security:
Chicago Council on Global Affairs:
Center for Advanced China Research:
East Asia Forum:
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission:
Center for Security and Emerging Technology:
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:
National People's Congress Observer:
What's on Weibo:
Hong Kong Free Press:
The India China Newsletter:
Takshashila PLA Insight:
Observer Research Foundation:
Beijing to Britain:
END OF DIGEST