Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Chinese tech moves into the Middle East

The Middle East's e-commerce fundamentals emerging far more like China's ecosystem than Silicon Valley's

 By Sam Blatteis


Chinese tech company Tencent just burst into the $500bn club this week, surpassing $531bn and becoming more valuable than Facebook. For those of us in the region, the timing is fascinating, coming at a time when Tencent’s subsidiary – e-commerce giant and Amazon rival – just sent its international president to the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s “Davos-in-the-desert” to explore the country’s $8bn e-commerce market.  Importantly, the timing comes as US President Trump seems to be adopting a de-facto “withdrawal doctrine” pulling America out of the Paris Climate Accord, re-negotiating NAFTA, and de-certifying the Iran nuclear deal. As these changes are taking place, Chinese premier Xi Jingping is attempting to reshape its relationship with Arab countries according to its new “march west” strategy, becoming the single largest foreign investor into the Middle East last year with $29.5bn in foreign direct investments.


U.S., Japan Express Concern Over China’s Interest in Saudi Oil Giant

Officials urge international offering for Aramco, rather than selling a stake to Beijing, which they fear would boost its standing in Middle East

By Sarah McFarlane, Summer Said and Mayumi Negishi


The U.S. and Japan have urged Saudi Arabia to pursue an international listing for oil giant Aramco, fearing the possible sale of a stake to China would give Beijing too much sway in the Middle East, people familiar with the matter said.  Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, was slated to become the world’s largest-ever public offering, with a domestic and international listing next year. More recently, Riyadh has instead considered selling a private placement to a Chinese consortium of state-held entities, people familiar with the matter said.  U.S. and Japanese concerns come amid increased tensions in the region, where Saudi Arabia and its allies are facing off against Iran and Riyadh is dealing with domestic political turbulence.


Huge Chinese trade boost for Middle East in the pipeline?


ARAB NEWS — Sunday 10 December 2017 

LONDON: China aims to ramp up its economic and soft power in the Middle East as part of a wider offensive to bolster trade and national security, experts told Arab News. The move is contingent on the development of a massive new trading hub at Gwadar port in Pakistan which lies at the southern extremity of the much-touted $55 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The corridor is Beijing’s flagship infrastructure project which involves building an oil pipeline, refineries, power stations, roads and railways to boost trade from Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, northwards into western China. CPEC is one of the most important elements of Beijing’s new global network of Silk Roads, dubbed One Belt, One Road. Critically, construction of the corridor and development of Gwadar is a way to convey crude and liquified natural gas (LNG) from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf into the Middle Kingdom, instead of having to go the much longer way through the Malacca Straits and South China Sea, a journey that takes at least an extra week for container ships.


China says it stands behind Palestine in building an independent state

THE POINT -Tuesday, December 12, 2017  

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has says it supports efforts to handle the Middle East-related issues including the status of Jerusalem in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.  The country says it stands behind Palestine in building an independent, full sovereignty state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.  Below is the Statement from the Chinese Embassy in Banjul:  “Q: US President Trump announced on December 6 the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. I know that you expressed China’s concern yesterday. I am wondering if you have anything to add today?  A: The status of Jerusalem is one of those issues at the core of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. As a complicated and sensitive issue, it touches the emotional string of different ethnicities and religions. To seek its final solution through dialogue has always been the universal consensus of the international community.


China renews interest in playing larger role in Middle East

Unclear whether Beijing's moves in the region show a desire to play bigger role


THE NEW PAPER - Dec 13, 2017

China has expressed renewed interest in playing a larger role in the Middle East peace process, a move that some see as invaluable given how the latest US action has unnerved the region.  At a forum in Beijing last Saturday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated China's willingness to bring Israeli and Palestinian representatives together for a dialogue by year end.  The offer came just a month after its special envoy on Middle East affairs, Mr Gong Xiaosheng, concluded a visit to Israel and Palestine, and said both parties welcomed China's involvement in the peace talks and were ready to work with China to find a solution.  China had proposed a trilateral dialogue with Palestine and Israel in July, following separate visits by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Beijing.


Experts split over China's moves on the Middle East following Trump's decision on Jerusalem

Lim Yan Liang China Correspondent 

BEIJING - China has expressed renewed interest in playing a larger role in the Middle East peace process, a move that some see as invaluable given how the latest US actions have unnerved the region.
At a forum in Beijing last Saturday (Dec 9), Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated China's willingness to bring Israeli and Palestinian representatives together for a dialogue by year end.
The offer came just a month after its special envoy on Middle East affairs, Gong Xiaosheng, concluded a visit to Israel and Palestine, and said both parties welcomed China's involvement in the peace talks and were ready to work with China to find a solution.
China had proposed a trilateral dialogue with Palestine and Israel in July, following separate visits by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Beijing.

Time for China to join the Middle East Quartet

By Emanuele Scimia

ASIA TIMES - December 13, 2017

New diplomatic opportunities are being created for China in the Middle East after US President Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there.  Trump’s announcement has broken the consensus inside the international community on a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states, with the holy city to Jews, Muslims and Christians as capital of both Israel and Palestine, along the borders of 1967. Now more than ever, Washington is no longer perceived by many Arabs as an honest broker in the dispute. And as Trump’s decision has also alienated Washington’s allies in Europe, the European Union could be considering more coordination with Beijing on the issue.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Zheng He - the Chinese Muslim Admiral

The Beijing Olympic Games started on Friday 8 August 2008 with a dramatic opening ceremony featuring a cast of thousands performers that celebrated the arts and achievements of China's long history. Among the tremendous events narrated by the ceremony was the evokation of Zheng He, the Chinese Muslim admiral of the 15th century. Blue-robed oarsman enacted seafarers travelling between Southeast Asia and the coast of Fujian, in southern China. Their oars became sails, painted with the "treasure ships" of Zheng He who reached Africa in the Ming Dynasty. On this occasion, we republish the following short outline of Zhen He's life and achievement.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Welcome to the course - Winter 2017-18 – China and the Middle East (WEEK -1): Readings, Newspaper articles, and Documentaries

China and The Middle East
Thursday 13:00 – 16:30
101 Graduate School, East Campus

Dear all, 

Welcome to the China and the Middle East class. I am your instructor for this course. During the semester, we will attempt to explore and understand the social, political and economic relations between China and West Asian (Middle East) countries.

You will find the draft version of the course syllabus at the following homepage:

For the next week, (Week 1) you should read the following articles before the class:

Yitzhak Shichor. The Middle East in China's Foreign Policy, 1949-1977

China looks to bolster its Middle East reach - Inside Story

Rising superpower: Why are Middle Eastern leaders coming to China?

NEWSPAPER ARTICLE PRESENTATION: Please bring RECENT newspaper articles. Articles SHOULD BE related with China and Iran . Other subjects will not be accepted. PLEASE VERY BRIEFLY SUMMARIZE YOUR ARTICLE IN THE CLASS!

I need a print copy (First page) of your article, and please include your full name on it. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

Best to all,

Tugrul Keskin

Friday, December 8, 2017

4th China and The Middle East Conference - Nevsehir Haci Bektas Veli University Cappadocia - TURKEY - June 20-22, 2018

Call for papers:
4th China and The Middle East Conference: 
China and West Asia: Economic Development; and Social and Political Cooperation 
Nevsehir Haci Bektas Veli University
Cappadocia - TURKEY 
June 20-22, 2018

Organized by 


Description and Objectives: 
Over the last two years, with the One Belt One Road initiative, we have seen the increase of Chinese political and social activities in the Middle East region. As a result of this new political strategy, the PRC started to play a more active role within the Middle Eastern political arena. Hence, Xi Jinping visited Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Chinese social and cultural activities began to appear more visibly within universities and educational institutions in the Middle East. Hanban Institutes started to open and finance Confucius Institutes in the region that facilitate Chinese cultural and language classes and promote mutual understanding between China and the Middle East. For example, these institutes have arisen in Turkey, Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, UAE, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Morocco. China has also become one of the largest economic and trade partners with Middle Eastern states such as Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, and Israel. Therefore, we would like to make this academic initiative a permanent conference meeting, and each year, we will organize a China and the Middle East Conference in different countries in collaboration with other universities. We organized three very successful academic conferences on this topic in collaboration with Beijing University, on March 17-18, 2015, Qatar University, on March 23-24, 2016 and Shanghai University, on June 7-8, 2017 
This year we have expanded the conference topic to the broader context of West Asia and Central Asia. All submissions should be related to contemporary themes of global studies, sociology, economics, political science, international relations, history and anthropology.

We therefore invite submissions on the following and related topics:

The Making of Middle East 
Modern Middle East and Modern China
China’s Foreign Policy Toward Middle East/West Asia
Society and Culture
Economic Integration 
The Belt and Road Initiative

Nevsehir Haci Bektas Veli University, Shanghai University and Cappadocia University (Co-Sponsored) invite interested scholars and advanced graduate students to submit proposals for the conference below. The event will take place at Nevsehir Haci Bektas Veli University, June 20 - 22, 2018. Please submit your proposal to Dr. Tugrul Keskin ( by APRIL 16, 2018. We acknowledge receipt of all emails and will reply to all. If you do not receive a reply, please resend your abstract. 

Please include the following in your email:

-Author full name;
-Email address;
-Abstract in Word format (200 to 300 words);
-Title of your paper
-A short BIO (NOT A CV)

Acceptance notices will be sent by April 20, 2018.

In case your abstract is accepted, a draft paper of around 4000 words is due two weeks prior to the beginning of the conference. We intend to compile an edited volume with the best papers for publication in an international reference publisher.

There is no fee for this conference. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL COVER YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS (5 nights: June 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23, 2018) AND FOOD DURING YOUR STAY IN CAPPADOCIA.

Please note that this is an academic conference only, no non-academic presenters will be accepted. 

Any additional queries should be sent to

Organizing Committee:
  • Dr. Mazhar Bagli, President, Nevsehir Haci Bektas Veli University.
  • Dr. Guo Changgang, Professor - Shanghai University, China. 
  • Dr. Hasan Ali Karasar, President - Cappadocia University.
  • Dr. Ertan Ozensel, Vice President - Nevsehir Haci Bektas Veli University.
  • Dr. Mohammedmoin Sadeq, Professor - Qatar University, Qatar. 
  • Dr. Gokhan Bozbas, Assistant Professor – Necmettin Erbakan University
  • Dr. Fatih Kaleci, Assistant Professor – Necmettin Erbakan University
  • Dr. M. Cüneyt Özşahin, Assistant Professor – Necmettin Erbakan University
  • Dr. Chen Hao, Assistant Professor – Shanghai University, China. 
  • Dr. Tugrul Keskin, Associate Professor - Shanghai University, China. 
  • Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, Professor - University of California at Santa Barbara, USA. 
  • Dr. Tarik Yousef, Senior Fellow and Director, Brookings Doha Center, Qatar. 
  • Dr. Sean Foley, Associate Professor - Middle Tennessee State University, USA. 
  • Dr. Mojtaba Mahdavi, Associate Professor - University of Alberta, Canada. 
  • Dr. Nissim Otmazgin, Professor – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.  
  • Dr. Juan Cole, Professor - University of Michigan, USA. 
  • Dr. Yunus Emre, Associate Professor – Kultur University, Turkey. 
  • Dr. Geoffrey Gresh, National Defense University, USA. 
  • Dr. Yang Chen, Post-Doctoral Fellow - Shanghai University, China. 

Conference Program

June 20, 2018

9:15 - 9:30 Welcome Speech and Introduction by the president of Nevsehir Haci Bektas Veli University

9:30 - 9:50 Keynote Speech by ALEV ALATLI

  1. Panel 1: 10:00 – 11:45

12:00-13:00 PM Lunch

  1. Panel 2: 13:15-15:00 

  1. Panel 3: 15:15-17:00

DINNER 18:00 - 20:00

June 21, 2018

  1. Panel 4: 10:00 – 12:00

12:15-13:15 PM Lunch

  1. Panel 5: 13:30 – 15:30
  1. Discussion for future projects and Closing Remarks by TBA 16:00 – 17:00


June 22, 2018


Edward Said Lecture Series - Political Islam in Central Asia - Islam in Central Asia and China - Shanghai University December 18, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Call for papers: First Turkish-Chinese Academic Forum - March 27, 2018 Istanbul

First Turkish-Chinese Academic Forum
March 21, 2018

Dear all, 

In collaboration with Dogus University (Istanbul, Turkey), the first Turkish- Chinese Academic Forum will take place on March 27, 2018. 
In this forum, we will focus on social, economic and political subjects concerning Turkey and China. The forum will have the following three panels: 

First Panel: The language of the panel will be Turkish and its subject will be social, economic and political issues between Turkey and China.

Second Panel: The language of the panel is Chinese and its subject is related with Chinese language teaching in Turkey and Turkish language teaching in China. 

Third Panel: The language of the panel is English and it focuses on social, political and economic issues between China and Turkey. 

If you are interested in participating in this forum, please email me the following information:

Title of your paper
Short abstract (250-300 words)
Short bio (NOT CV)

All academics, especially advanced graduate students are encouraged to apply!
This is a purely academic forum; therefore, non-academics should not apply to participate in this conference. 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

The forum is organized and co-sponsored by the Center for Turkish Studies at Shanghai University; and organized and hosted by Dogus University (Istanbul). 

Professor Sami Sener, chair-Sociology Department, Dogus University
Professor Guo Changgang, Shanghai University 
Associate Professor Tugrul Keskin, Shanghai University
Assistant professor Yang Chen, Shanghai University
Ms. Linlin Liu