Thursday, June 26, 2014

SCO members to stage anti-terror drill in China

BEIJING, June 26 (Xinhua) -- The member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will stage an anti-terrorism military drill in China from August 24 to 29, a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
Code-named "Peace Mission 2014",the joint drill will take place at the Zhurihe training base in Inner Mongolia, Yang Yujun told a monthly press briefing.
Founded in Shanghai in 2001, the SCO groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It has Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers and Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka as dialogue partners.


Call for Papers: China in the Middle East - Indiana University China Office, Beijing, March 17-18, 2015

Indiana University’s Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Chair invites interested scholars and advanced graduate students to submit proposals for the conference below. The event will take place at the Indiana University China Office, Beijing, March 17-18, 2015. Please submit a 200-word paper proposal along with your CV to ksilay (at), tugrulkeskin (at), and zantao79 (at) by October 1, 2014.
Indiana University Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Chair Presents
An International Conference on
China in the Middle East
March 17-18, 2015

Organized by
Dr. Kemal Silay, Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Chair, Indiana University, USA
Dr. Tuğrul Keskin, Portland State University, USA
Dr. Zan Tao, Peking University, People’s Republic of China
Keynote Speech by

Dr. Pan Guang, Shanghai Center for International Studies 
Conference Program
March 17, 2015
IndianaUniversity China Office (Beijing)
9:00 - 9:30 AM Opening Ceremony
9:00 - 9:15 AM Welcome Speech by President Michael McRobbie (Invited), Indiana University
9:15 - 9:30 AM Opening Remarks by Dr. Kemal Silay, Indiana University
9:45 - 12:00 Panels
1.     Panel 1: Cultural Exchange between China and the Middle East
In this panel, we will explore social and economic history between China and the Middle East before and after 1949. Trade and commerce between China and the Middle East has a long-standing mutually beneficial history of exchange, which has created social and cultural bridges between these societies. The panel will examine the role of cultural exchange between Chinese and Middle Eastern Societies based on trade and commerce. 
2.     Panel 2: Sino-Turkish Relations: Past and Present
Unlike other Middle Eastern societies, the relationship between Chinese and Turkish societies is a historic one, based on social, political and economic diversification. Social and political connection can be clearly seen in the history of Turkish people in Mahmud al-Kashgari and Yusuf Khass Hajib’s writings and ideas; however, following the emergence of nation-states in the 20th century and the economic globalization of China after Deng Xiaoping, these two societies and states have established a more economic based exchange which has become the core of their relationship. Over the last 20 years, Chinese economic growth led to much attention in Turkish economic circles. As a result, more Turkish and Chinese business communities began to engage in trade exchanges. Turkey, as a member of NATO, and wanting membership in EU, began to seek economic and political partners in the globalized world. In this panel, we will examine the Chinese-Turkish relationship in the modern era with these factors in mind.
12:00-13:30 PM Lunch
14:00-16:30 PM Panels
3.     Panel 3: Sino-Iranian Relations: Past and Present
One of the examples of a stable relationship between China and a Middle Eastern state can be the mutually beneficial friendship between China and Iran. Iran has had a long historical and diplomatic relationship with the PRC in the 20th century; however, today, Sino-Persian ties are mostly in trade and commerce. With the growth of the Chinese economy and the search for more energy resources, the PRC began to shift its foreign policy towards the Middle East, specifically Iran. This panel explores current social, political, and economic trends in the Sino-Persian relationship.                  
4.     Panel 4: Sino-Israeli Relations: Past and Present
Although Israel was one of the first nations to recognize the PRC as a legitimate government, China did not establish its diplomatic relationship with Israel until 1992. However, since then, both countries have developed commercial and military links based on mutual benefits. An interesting aspect of the Sino-Israeli relationship is that the Chinese accepted Holocaust survivors escaping from Nazi persecutions. The panel investigates Sino-Jewish relationships in the contemporary era.          
March 18, 2015
Peking University 
5.     Panel 5: Sino-Arab Relations: Past and Present
Chinese and Arab-populated states are the product of the colonial conditions in the 20th century. However, both Chinese and Arab societies have an economic and social exchange which predates Islam. This exchange has created mutual understanding and led to mutual benefits. Chinese interests in Arab-populated societies are purely based on economic investment and energy resources. On the other hand, Arabs view China as a new global partner, not replacing the US and Europe, but rather as a new relationship in the globalized era. This panel focuses on social, political, and economic exchange between the PRC and Arab states in the modern era.    
6.     Panel 6: China’s Energy Security Strategy and the Middle East
The Middle East is considered an American backyard for energy resources; however, with the increased need of oil for newly emerging economies, the Middle East has received a lot of attention from states such as China. After 2020, US domestic oil production will eliminate the need for foreign oil sources; therefore, the US will play less of a role in the Middle Eastern oil market. However, current trends in the Chinese economy point to their increased need for foreign energy in the future. This panel will examine the overlapping interests of China and the United States in the Middle East.
Closing Remarks by Dr. Wang Enge, President, Peking University (Invited)

The Chinese model and the AKP

Cihan News Agency - 09.06.2014 

Twenty-five years ago in June, the world was witnessing the astonishing end of the Cold War. In the Soviet Union, President Mikhail Gorbachev was busy implementing glasnost and perestroika, while East Germans defied the Berlin Wall and the regime in Poland abruptly came to an end.  While these momentous events were unfolding, all eyes then turned to China's Tiananmen Square, where a popular protest movement was gaining momentum. Twenty-five years ago, on June 4th, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) decided to take action and brutally crushed the protest. The exact numbers are still unknown, but thousands are believed to have been killed when the army fired on civilian protesters. The majority were probably students.  In a tragic way, the crackdown worked. While the Soviet Union has disappeared, the CCP is still running China. Yet, the Chinese one-party regime and the police state are still haunted by what happened 25 years ago. The clearest evidence of this fear was the extraordinary measures taken by the Chinese police in Tiananmen Square this week. No locals or foreign press were allowed into the square by Chinese authorities who feared attempts to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the massacre. The Gezi protesters who were not allowed into Taksim Square last week to commemorate the first year anniversary of their movement would have felt right at home in Beijing where police measures kept people out the city's main square.


A Different Global Power? Understanding China’s Role In The Developing World

By Xiangming Chen and Ivan Su

EURASIA REVIEW - June 20, 2014 

Over the past three decades, China has lifted over 500 million of its people out of poverty.

China is now the largest trading nation is the world, with strong ties to Africa, Latin and America and the Middle East. This once impoverished and isolated nation has lifted several hundred millions of its own people out of poverty and is now reshaping the developing world. This article looks at China’s involvement in four developing regions to assess China’s influence as a rising global power.  The China where the first author grew up through college in the early 1980s was the largest and one of the poorest developing countries. The China where the second author left to attend high school in the United States was about to pass Japan to become the world’s second largest economy, in 2010. Over the past three decades, China has lifted over 500 million of its people out of poverty. Globally, China has just surpassed the United States to become the largest trading nation in the world and is expected to soon overtake the latter as the world’s largest economy (in terms of purchasing power parity or PPP). More importantly regarding the focus of this essay, China is now the largest trader and investor in Africa, with its footprints spreading and seeping into all corners of the developing world.


JCPA analyst: 1,000 Chinese jihadists training in Pakistan


The Jerusalem Post - 06/25/2014

Analyst was speaking to a delegation of high-level Chinese visitors, including members of the
Communist Party's central committee.

Some 1,000 Chinese jihadists are receiving military training at a base in Pakistan, as an indeterminate number of Chinese nationals are already fighting inside Syria, Jacques Neriah told a top-flight delegation from China visiting the country.
Neriah, a Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) who was formerly foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, presented material to his guests on the role of thousands of Chinese jihadists in the Syrian civil war, as well as on the involvement of volunteers from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states surrounding China.


China-Russia gas deal likely to challenge Middle East’s grip over Beijing

Tom Arnold

The National - June 1, 2014 

China’s recent deal to secure gas from Russia is the latest step in its effort to diversify its energy sources, a trend likely to challenge the Middle East’s dominance of the Chinese energy supply chain.  Qatar may be the most immediate loser after the US$400 billion deal inked last month that involves Russia’s energy giant Gazprom supplying China National Petroleum with 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas over 30 years. Qatar has been increasingly redirecting LNG exports from Europe to Asia, partly to achieve a better price for its deliveries. An estimated 16.4 per cent of China’s gas came from Qatar in 2012, according to BP, the energy company. Barclays estimates about 10 per cent of Qatar’s gas is delivered to the world’s second biggest economy.


Putin brings China into Middle East strategy

Dr. Vitaly Naumkin

Al-Monitor - June 9, 2014 

President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China on May 20-21 culminated in the signing of roughly 50 agreements ushering in a period of unprecedented convergence between the two countries. Does this affect the situation in the Middle East and, if so, in what way? 
Everything seems to indicate that the answer to the first part of this question is yes. Seemingly, the Middle East was not the focus of the talks between the two leaders. For all the obvious asymmetry in interests, however, the consensus between Russia and China seems to allow the two parties to seek further coordination in their actions, thus taking each other's concerns into greater account. Such consensus includes Syria, despite Beijing’s lesser involvement on this issue, relative to Moscow; Iran, within the P5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program; the fight against terrorism and extremism; the creation of a weapons of mass destruction-free Middle East; the condemnation of external intervention and the strategy of "regime change" as well as the push for "color revolutions;" the policy to reach a settlement in the Middle East; and relations with the new Egyptian regime and with respect to the Sudanese issues.


China Seeks Expanded Role in Middle East

At the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, Beijing will step up its involvement in the Middle East. shannon-tiezzi

By Shannon Tiezzi

The Diplomat - June 04, 2014

On June 5, the sixth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum (CACF) will open in Beijing. This year’s meeting will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the CACF, which was created in 2004 during then-President Hu Jintao’s visit to the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. The CACF provides a formal dialogue mechanism between China and the Arab League, which includes 21 member states from the Middle East and North Africa. Foreign ministers from 19 of these countries plan to be in Beijing for this week’s forum, according to CCTV.
China’s turn toward the Middle East in some ways is the mirror image of the U.S. pivot to Asia. The U.S. pivot comes as Washington turns away from a decades-long fixation on the Middle East and its surrounding regions. China, meanwhile, has a vested interest in the area for the same reason the U.S. does: oil. China is already the largest importer of Persian Gulf oil, and will soon be the largest importer from OPEC as a whole (if it hasn’t already passed the U.S. in that category). China’s vital energy interests in the region have given it reasons to take a larger interest in regional security, especially as the U.S. turns its focus elsewhere.


Turmoil could thwart China's Middle-Eastern strategy

By Robert Gottliebsen

Business Spectator - 20 Jun, 2014

China’s stake in the Middle Eastern turmoil is staggering as it seeks to restore a 21st-century version of the Silk Road.   Two decades ago, the US was dependent on the Middle East. Now there is much less US dependence, hence America's changing role. Now it is China that needs the Middle East, and the planned Chinese role in the troubled region goes way beyond simply oil.   The US fought the Iraq war and led the drive for sanctions against Iran. But it is the Chinese who plan to capitalise on the fall-out from the American strategies. China won the peace -- at least until now.  China is investing billions in both Iraq and Iran not only to secure China’s need for more oil but also to make China the major player in Middle Eastern trade. Fortunately most of the Chinese investment in Iraq is in the south, which has so far has escaped the fighting.  The biggest single Chinese investment is in the remarkable Rumaila oil field in southern Iraq. Rumaila is a 50-mile-long deposit of sweet crude with estimated reserves of 16 billion barrels.


China's May Iran crude imports up 36 percent, 2nd highest on record


Reuters - Mon Jun 23, 2014

China's Iranian crude oil imports expanded 36 percent in May from a year ago to the second highest on record, customs data showed on Monday, and imports in the first five months of 2014 gained nearly 50 percent over the same year-ago period.
China, Tehran's largest oil client, has since late 2013 been stepping up purchases from the OPEC country after a landmark November nuclear deal eased some sanctions on Iran, making up the main portion of Asia's higher imports since then.
Asian buyers are expected to import about 1.25 million-1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil in the six months through June, mostly owing to China's increases, industry and government sources have said.


Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue Wu Sike Visits Palestine

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China
From Office of China to Palestine - 2014/06/23

On June 19, 2014, Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue Wu Sike met in Ramallah respectively with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah of Palestine, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat, and Ahmed Saadat, member of the central committee of Fateh and responsible person of reconciliation affairs. Qian Wei, Charge d'Affaires ad interim of Office of China to Palestine, was present at the meeting.  Wu Sike extended congratulations to Palestine on its achievements of internal reconciliation and establishment of new government in recent years, hoping that all parties in Palestine continue advancing the following-up works in a steady manner. Wu Sike said that the peace talks are a path of irresistible tide of history that was chosen by the people. As neighbors adjacent to each other, Palestine and Israel should stick to the strategic choice of peace talks no matter how the situation develops and how much difficulties the two sides are confronted with. The peace talks between the two sides are like a boat sailing against the current. It must forge ahead or it will be driven back. Both the Palestinian and Israeli sides should hold a sense of urgency, and the international community should intensify its efforts in promoting the peace talks, so as to join hands to light the prospect of the peace. China always regards the promotion of the realization of the Palestine-Israel peace as its duty and hopes the two sides could meet each other halfway, make efforts in establishing and accumulating mutual trust, and strive for an early resumption of peace talks. The Chinese side will keep promoting peace talks via various channels and make its unremitting efforts for a just and reasonable settlement of the Palestinian issue at an early date.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Debate Over Confucius Institutes


China File - 06.23.14    

Dressed in ancient costume, people kneel in front of a statue of Confucius during a ceremony to mark his birthday in Changchun, Jilin province.  Last week, the American Association of University Professors joined a growing chorus of voices calling on North American universities to rethink their relationship with Confucius Institutes, the state-sponsored Chinese-language programs whose policies critics say are anathema to academic freedom. We asked contributors to discuss the debate. Specifically: the costs and benefits of having a Confucius Institute on a university campus; the economic forces at play; and the role of China in university life more broadly.  —The Editors


Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Former Chinese Ambassador to Iran might be assigned to Turkey.

A Former Chinese Ambassador to Iran might be assigned to Turkey.

Ambassador: Mr. Yu Hongyang - April 29, 2014 

Chinese President Xi Jinping has appointed three new ambassadors, according to a statement issued by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) on Tuesday.
Xi made the appointments in line with decisions by the Standing Committee of the NPC, China's top legislature.
Gu Xiaojie has been appointed ambassador to Nigeria, replacing Deng Boqing.
Pang Sen has been appointed ambassador to Iran, replacing Yu Hongyang.
Wang Kejian has been appointed ambassador to Syria, replacing Zhang Xun.

Iranian, Chinese firms agree to jointly produce cars

The Iran Project - March 10, 2014

ILNA: Iranian Saipa and Chinese Changan car manufacturing companies have agreed to produce two models of cars jointly.  The two sides signed an agreement in this regard at the Changan factory’s site, located in the city of Beijing.  The two models of car will be produced in Saipa Kashan, a subsidiary of Saipa, which has the capacity to produce 180,000 cars per annum.  Iran produced 502,273 cars in the first three quarters of the current Iranian calendar year, which started on March 21.  Iran exported 4,824 sedans during the first nine months of the current solar year, which indicates an 88.97 percent decrease compared to the same period of last year.


Iran views China ties as strategic: Offical

The Iran Project - April 8, 2014

A senior Iranian official has hailed the relations between Iran and China, saying that Tehran views its ties with Beijing as “strategic and long-term.”  Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi made the remark in a Monday meeting with outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Tehran Yu Hongyang.  The Iranian official pointed to a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, held on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek last year, and underlined the necessity for continued cooperation between the two countries within the framework of their joint economic commission and the exchange of visits by their senior officials.  Yu Hongyang, for his part, said that senior officials in his country are strongly determined to strengthen ties with Iran.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is 'infiltrated by foreign forces': anti-graft official

Party discipline officer says Chinese Academy of Social Sciences also engages in 'illegal collusion', in online remarks quickly removed

South China Morning - Sunday, 15 June, 2014  

Adrian Wan

A senior party discipline inspector has accused one of China's most influential academic research organisations of being "infiltrated by foreign forces" and "conducting illegal collusion during [politically] sensitive times".
The criticisms were made by Zhang Yingwei during a visit to a research institute for modern Chinese history on Tuesday.
They were posted in an article on the institute's website that was removed yesterday.
Zhang heads a group sent to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Cass) by the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
He had asked the academy to "remain alert to some politically sensitive issues", the article said. It did not say whether he named the "foreign forces" or what he meant by "illegal collusion during sensitive times".
The warnings to Cass, an influential government think tank, come at a time when President Xi Jinping is tightening his grip on the media and has launched sweeping anti-corruption and ideological campaigns targeting the civil service and state-owned enterprises, as well as an intense crackdown on liberal intellectuals and activists.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Two Days Workshop: China and Europe's Changing Roles and The Mediterranean Region - June 27 and 28, 2014

The 2014 China Room Conversations conference will be focusing on China’s evolving role in the Mediterranean space, that is – to innovate from Chinese geopolitical jargon – at the 南欧西亚北非 intersection of Southern Europe and the West Asia – Northern Africa region.
Here follows the structure of the conference. To view the updated profile of speakers, please scroll down.


A New Report: Sino-Turkish Economic Relations in the context of Globalization (Turkish)

Sino-Turkish Economic Relations in the context of Globalization

Sadık Ünay and  Altay Atlı

SETA Foundation, June 2014

Abstract (Turkish):
Son yıllarda dünyanın en büyük ikinci ekonomisi haline gelen ve giderek yüksek teknolojili ve katma değerli üretim alanlarına yoğunlaşan Çin Halk Cumhuriyeti ile yeni diplomatik ve ekonomik ilişkiler geliştirme iradesi taşıyan Türkiye arasındaki ilişkiler hızla yoğunlaşmaktadır. Dünya ekonomisinin başlıca büyüme motoru olarak görülen ve hem önde gelen bir üretici, hem de genişleyen bir pazar kimliğiyle küresel yönetişim platformlarında ağırlığını arttıran Çin ile proaktif dış politikası ve ekonomik açılımları ile bölgesel bir çekim merkezi olarak dikkat çeken Türkiye arasındaki ekonomik ilişkilerin her yönüyle detaylı olarak ele alınması büyük önem taşımaktadır. Zira özellikle büyük çaplı kamu altyapı ve enerji yatırımları üzerinden Çin’in Türkiye’deki ekonomik mevcudiyeti hızla güçlenmekte; karşılıklı ticarette Türkiye’nin verdiği açığın yönetilebilmesi için yeni stratejiler geliştirilmesi gerekmektedir.  SETA İstanbul’dan Doç. Dr. Sadık Ünay ve Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Asya Araştırmaları Merkezi’nden Dr. Altay Atlı tarafından kaleme alınan “Küreselleşme Sürecinde Türkiye-Çin Ekonomik İlişkileri” başlıklı analiz; başta karşılıklı ticaret dengesi, doğrudan dış yatırımlar, teknoloji transferi gibi kritik konular olmak üzere pek çok açıdan Türkiye-Çin ilişkilerini masaya yatırmaktadır.

Download the report......

Monday, June 9, 2014

Panel: Küreselleşme Sürecinde Türkiye - Çin İlişkileri, 10 Haziran 2014

Panel: Panel: Küreselleşme Sürecinde Türkiye - Çin İlişkileri

10 Haziran 2014
11:00- 13:00 
SETA Istanbul

Son yıllarda dünyanın en büyük ikinci ekonomisi haline gelen ve giderek yüksek katma değerli üretim alanlarına yoğunlaşan Çin Halk Cumhuriyeti ile Türkiye arasındaki ekonomik ilişkiler hızla yoğunlaşmaktadır. Dünya ekonomisinin büyüme motoru olarak görülen ve küresel yönetişim platformlarında ağırlığını arttıran Çin ile proaktif dış politikası ve ekonomik açılımları ile bölgesel bir çekim merkezi olarak dikkat çeken Türkiye arasındaki ekonomik ilişkilerin her yönüyle ele alınması büyük önem taşımaktadır. Zira özellikle büyük çaplı altyapı ve enerji yatırımları üzerinden Çin'in Türkiye'deki ekonomik mevcudiyeti hızla güçlenmektedir.
SETA İstanbul'dan Doç. Dr. Sadık Ünay ve Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Asya Araştırmaları Merkezi'nden Dr. Altay Atlı tarafından kaleme alınan “Küreselleşme Sürecinde Türkiye-Çin İlişkileri” başlıklı analiz; başta karşılıklı ticaret dengesi, doğrudan dış yatırımlar, teknoloji transferi gibi kritik konular olmak üzere pek çok açıdan Türkiye-Çin ilişkilerini masaya yatırmaktadır.
SETA İstanbul tarafından 10 Haziran 2014 tarihinde düzenlenecek panele Türkiye ve Çin'den değerli akademisyenler, işadamları ve diplomatlar katılacaklar; toplantı ikili ekonomik gelişmelerin detaylı olarak tartışılacağı önemli bir platform olacaktır.

Panel Bilgisi Icin:

Chinese Official: Israel “Best Place For China to Invest”

By | 05.25.14 

As “China week” continues in Israel, a Chinese official, Yongjie Chen, granted an interview yesterday to David Shamah of the Times of Israel.
Chen told Shamah of China’s warming relations towards Israel in recent years and declared that Israel is “the best place in the world for China to invest:”

“It’s true that, in the past, the government favored the Arab side more, but in recent years the emphasis of the government has been on rapid technology development,” said Chen, “and that is why cooperation with Israel, which has that technology, is growing.” Chen could not promise that China would always vote Israel’s way on UN Security Council resolutions, “but you can see that, in recent years, we have conducted a much more positive political policy towards Israel.”
Chen and nearly two dozen other Chinese government officials were here for the first-ever Israel-China Economic Summit. Nearly all of them were in Israel for the first time, taking in the sights and scenery of the Start-Up Nation and shopping around for technologies they can take home to help solve China’s manifold problems. The summit was attended by several MKs, including Robert Ilatov, David Rotem and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, and was organized by a group called the Israel China Interflow Association (ICIA).

Former Chinese Ambassador to Iran: Iran has a unique status along the Silk Road

By Du Mingming 

People's Daily Online - June 09, 2014

"Iran plays an important role in the two-thousand-year history of the Silk Road, and its unique status remains irreplaceable even today," said Liu Zhentang, former Chinese Ambassador to Iran, at a seminar in Beijing last Tuesday.
The "21st century China-Iran Silk Road Seminar", jointly hosted by the Cultural Counsellorship of Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran, the Donggan (Hui ethnic group) Central Research Institute at Minzu University of China, Beijing Ethnic Education Association, and Beijing Huimin School, involved nearly 50 experts, scholars, and representatives from China and Iran.
Liu explained his idea as follows:
Firstly, it is commonly accepted that Xi'an was the starting point of the Silk Road, and the end was Rome. Persia was located in the middle, which served as a bridge to link the two sides. A large number of Chinese archaeological discoveries have confirmed this point. More than 95 percent of foreign coins unearthed in China date from Persia's Sassanid Dynasty (3rd century to the 7th century AD).


Saturday, June 7, 2014

81 Sentenced for Terrorism as Incident Rattles Beijing

China Digital - June 7, 2014

Following a series of deadly attacks attributed to Uyghur extremists, 81 people in China have been sentenced on terror-related charges, nine of them to death, while 29 new suspects have been arrested. From Christopher Bodeen at The Associated Press:
Four high-profile attacks on civilians since late October have handed a major security challenge to President Xi Jinping during his first 15 months in office. The attacks have been blamed on extremists from the Xinjiang region’s native Turkic-speaking Uighurs seeking to overthrow Chinese rule and inspired by global jihadi ideology.
Since a vegetable market bombing that killed 43 people on May 22, officials have issued a flurry of announcements citing more than 300 arrests and scores of rapid prosecutions resulting in stiff sentences including the death penalty — raising concerns among some human rights advocates that the prosecutions may be trampling legal rights.
David Zweig, a political scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the Chinese government feels threatened by the attacks and wants to show the public it has the means to stop them.
“They would be quite concerned that the general population is afraid that they can’t manage the situation,” Zweig said. “They probably feel that if they go and arrest a lot of people very quickly and lock them up, that they might have a chance of breaking the cycle.” [Source]
Thursday’s was the latest in a series of mass sentencings which Human Rights Watch’s Maya Wang commented last month “gives an uncomfortable sense that it might be about [putting on] a show and warning people rather than delivering justice, and makes people question to what extent due process is being upheld.” The proceedings seem intended to deter extremists while reassuring the people; public tension was illustrated on Thursday when a minor incident on the Beijing subway spawned rumors of a new attack. From James T. Areddy, Te-Ping Chen and Liyan Qi at China Real Time:


Cairo in Chinese


China File - 06.02.14

When Shen Yitong left her home in China to study French at Cairo University in 2008, she didn’t know that she would come to think of Egypt as a second home, or that she would see revolution come upon the country so suddenly. Her parents came from peasant backgrounds and they devoted everything to supporting her education, including moving from a smaller city in Jilin Province to the capital city, Changchun, in 2004.  I met Shen while in Cairo for an arts festival in the spring of 2013. Interested in how Mubarak’s toppling reverberated through the small Chinese expat community (whose members number in the thousands), I was drawn to how Shen and others perceived the joy and despair that Egypt has undergone. Outsiders to the factional disputes, Chinese expat fates are still intertwined with their outcomes—in part because they live in Egypt but also because they are Chinese citizens, for whom the tradeoff between political freedoms and the uncertainty of regime change has immediate resonance.  I thought Yitong and her friends’ stories would reveal a side of globalization that American audiences don’t often think about—a globalization that is not centered on the West—and would help illuminate the Egyptian revolution’s global significance.  I filmed Shen last January and February as part of a larger project I am working on. She has since left Cairo to start a Master’s degree in Paris. This short film produced for ChinaFile focuses on a conversation Shen has with a close Egyptian friend, Asma El Nagar. El Nagar works for a Chinese company in Egypt after having studied Mandarin at Cairo University. The two friends laugh over a meal of Lanzhou noodles and converse in rapid fire, relaxed Mandarin with occasional Arabic mixed in.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Saudi-Iran thaw bodes well for Middle East

By Zhao Jinglun, May 30, 2014

Barely one year ago, the Saudis urged Washington to "cut off the snake's head," meaning to attack and vanquish Iran. They were mortal enemies, rivals for influence in the Middle East.  We are now seeing a major change taking place in the Middle East: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has invited his Iran counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to Riyadh. The Iranian foreign minister has already visited several other Gulf Arab states, but has not yet been to Saudi Arabia.  The ruler of Kuwait, Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, will undertake a state visit to Iran.  Ten years ago, in 2004, Jordan king Abdullah II warned about a "Shiite Crescent" stretching from the Levant via Iran to the Persian Gulf and into the Arabian Peninsula, embracing Iraq, Lebanon and Syria backed by a resurgent Iran -- a new regional force that would alter the traditional balance of power between the two main Islamic sects the Sunnis and Shiites, and pose new challenges to the interests of the United States and its allies.  For an entire decade, the struggle between the two Islamic sects intensified, with Iran supporting the Shiite government of Iraq, the Bashar al-Assad Baath government of Syria, the Shiite protesters in Bahrain, the populist Muslim fundamentalists in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, and the Hizbullah in Lebanon, humiliating the famous Israeli Defense Force (IDF).


UAE aims to boost trade with China

The International Magazine on Arab Affair - June 2, 2014

 by Atique Naqvi, Dubai

The UAE is the largest market in the Middle East for Chinese products, and the trade between the two countries is set to expand further in the next few years as officials held discussions to increase economic cooperation.  Last year, trade between the UAE and China topped AED169.67 billion ($46.23bn) in 2013, compared to AED148.27 billion ($40.4bn) in 2012.  More than 4,000 Chinese companies are registered in the UAE as of Q4 of last year.  Recently, UAE’s minister of state Dr. Sultan Al Jaber visited China to hold talks and find ways to enhance trade between the two economies.  The visit laid the groundwork for increased economic activity between the UAE and China, which is growing at more than 14 per cent annually.  The talks explored opportunities for collaboration and investment across sectors of mutual interest, including energy, infrastructure and technology.


Turkey, China in talks on $10-12 billion energy investment: minister

By Orhan Coskun 

REUTERS - Mon May 5, 2014

Turkey and China are in talks on a $10-12 billion investment deal for the Afsin-Elbistan coalfield and power plant project in southern Turkey, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters.  Turkey is keen to make the most of its coal resources to reduce its imports of natural gas and signed a deal with Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) TAQA.AD on the project in January 2013.  However, TAQA said in August it was delaying investment and Turkey subsequently began talks with other companies.  "There will be an investment of $10-12 billion in the Afsin-Elbistan field. This will include use of the coalfields. We are in talks with China for a deal on this subject," Yildiz said late on Sunday.  It was not possible to say when any deal with China might be signed, he said.  The Afsin-Elbistan region holds up to 45 percent of Turkey's lignite reserves and the project includes the construction of a 8,000 megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant.  "This is a big project. We have to set up the Afsin-Elbistan field project correctly. We have a big store of information. We are working with China on this," he added.


More Iranian oil may be heading to China and Turkey

Zaman Today - May 30, 2014

Iran's crude oil exports increased in May after a decline in April, according to sources who track tanker movements, moving above the level allowed by November's interim deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear program.  The increase, which appears to be led by higher sales to China in particular, could revive concerns in Washington that a softening of sanctions has given Tehran's economy a bigger boost than planned. Iran's exports have averaged 1.38 million barrels per day (bpd) in May, one of the sources said. That represents an increase from 1.1 million bpd in April, as estimated by the Paris-based International Energy Agency. "Overall exports have increased in May," the source said. "We have seen more vessels paying visits to Turkey. China has increased imports this month." A second source, who also tracks Iranian exports, also noted that loading data pointed to a rise in Iranian shipments in May, including robust shipments to China. "Exports are up, and China does not seem to be listening to the sanctions," the source said. China's crude imports from Iran more than doubled in April against the same month last year to a record of nearly 800,000 bpd, Chinese customs data showed last week. 
Bolstered coffers 
Under an interim deal signed in November between Iran and six world powers, which came into effect in January, Iran's exports should average 1 million bpd through to July 20.


Iran, Turkey and China’s Middle Eastern Pivot

Thanks to events in Russia and Syria, Turkey lost its rivalry with Iran to be China’s Middle Eastern pivot. Here’s how.

By H. Akin Unver

The Diplomat - May 30, 2014

For a long time, China’s main foreign policy in the Middle East was non-intervention in the internal affairs of other sovereign states. That’s why Beijing was able to establish cordial relations with Middle Eastern regimes that have grown resistant to American interventionism after 9-11. China’s suspicion of its own internal opposition worked well with the way Middle Eastern autocrats dealt with their own internal dissent and this Westphalian “mutual understanding” emerged as the foundation of China’s political overtures in the region.
The Arab Spring changed this dynamic. Middle Eastern regimes of limited legitimacy were brought down in a domino effect, changing established power relations and cooperation patterns, and presenting China with a dilemma: pursue its low-risk, low-payoff approach to the Middle East in this post-Westphalian dystopia, or opt for a more ambitious track in which the use of regional pivots and military interests prevailed?
Energy dependence determines the foreign policy activism of any industrializing country and China is perhaps the prime example of this rule. Egypt’s political future is uncertain, Saudi Arabia and Israel are too close to Washington, Iraq is barely holding it together, and Syria is in much worse shape. Nonetheless, China has invested heavily in Iraq since 2003, buying almost half of the country’s oil production; it has established close trade, oil exploration, and construction ties to Saudi Arabia, and it is already the top buyer of Iranian oil as Beijing is expected to become the world’s top net monthly buyer of oil in 2014. Beyond that, though, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria are too unlikely, weak, or pro-U.S. to be targets for potential Chinese pivots. However, two countries have emerged as possible candidates for Chinese overtures: Turkey and Iran.