Thursday, July 31, 2014

Envoy: 21m Chinese Muslims fast in Ramadan

ARAB NEWS - July 24, 2014

An estimated 21 million Chinese Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadan and are allowed under the country's constitution to freely practice other Islamic rituals, according to the Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Li Chengwen told Arab News here recently that these Muslims are from 10 ethnic minorities in the country.
He was speaking to congratulate Muslims here ahead of upcoming Eid Al-Fitr celebrations.
“Freedom of faith is the legitimate right of citizens and explicitly protected by the constitution and other laws in China,” Li said.
He said that he understands the importance of Ramadan for Muslims, who fast to empathize with the plight of the poor, and engage in prayers and charitable acts to increase their spirituality.


China’s bad dream

By Gene Frieda 

Arab News — Thursday 31 July 2014

Since his first address as China’s president last year, Xi Jinping has been espousing the so-called “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation and individual self-improvement. But the imperative of addressing the unprecedented amount of debt that China has accumulated in recent years is testing Xi’s resolve, and his government is blinking.
The Chinese government’s uncertain ability — or willingness — to rein in debt is apparent in its contradictory commitment to implement major structural reforms while maintaining 7.5 percent annual GDP growth. Given that China owes much of its recent growth to debt-financed investment, often in projects like infrastructure and housing, meant to support the Chinese Dream, any effort to get credit growth under control is likely to cause a hard landing. This prospect is already prompting the authorities to delay critical reforms.
To be sure, China’s debt/GDP ratio, reaching 250 percent this month, remains significantly lower than that of most developed economies. The problem is that China’s stock of private credit would normally be associated with a per capita GDP of around $25,000, almost four times the country’s current level.


Iran condemns terrorist attack in China's Xinjiang

PRESS TV - JULY 30, 2014  

Iran has condemned a terrorist attack which triggered deadly clashes between ethnic people and security forces in China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang region.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic repudiates any act of extremism and violence.
Nearly 100 people have been reportedly killed in the clashes. 
There are conflicting reports about the Wednesday incident, with Chinese authorities describing it as a “terror attack” on a police station and a township, while a Uighur group has referred to it as an uprising “to resist China’s extreme ruling policy.”
The violence took place in Shache County, or Yarkand in the Uighur language, near the edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the west of the vast region.


China oil imports from Iran hit a record high

PRESS TV - JULY 22, 2014

Official data show that China imported 630,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude oil in the first six months of 2014.
Chinese customs data registered a 48-percent rise in comparison with the corresponding period last year, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to Li Li, head of research and analytics at Shanghai-based consultancy ICIS C1 Energy, the amount is the most amount of crude China has ever imported from Iran in any first half in history. Iran represented about 10 percent of China’s crude purchases in the first half.
Maziar Hojjati, managing director of the China office of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said he believes the partial relief in US-led sanctions against Iran has contributed to the surge.
China, which is Iran’s largest oil client, has been increasing oil purchases from the Islamic Republic in light of implementation of the 2013 interim deal between the Islamic Republic and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain – plus Germany.


Chinese hackers obtained info on Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system

Russia Today - July 29, 2014

In a raid seeking information related to Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, Chinese hackers infiltrated the databases of three Jewish defense contractors.
In addition to taking information on the Iron Dome, the attackers were also able to nab plans regarding other projects – including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, ballistic rockets, and “detailed schematics and specifications” for the Arrow III missile interceptor.
According to independent journalist Brian Krebs, the intrusion occurred between 2011 and 2012 and was carried out by China’s infamous “Comment Crew” – a group of cyber warriors linked to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
In May, the United States charged five members of this group with cyber espionage against American computer networks. The hackers reportedly infiltrated US systems in order to “steal information that would provide an economic advantage” for Chinese companies, including “Chinese state-owned enterprises.


Railway project speeds up Turkey-China economic ties

Xinhua - 2014-07-28

Economic cooperation between Turkey and China has continued to grow with Chinese firms helping finish one of the signature projects of Turkish government in connecting the capital of Ankara with the country's largest city Istanbul through the high-speed railway link.
On Friday, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the first high-speed train linking Ankara and Istanbul as part of government's efforts to modernize country's transportation infrastructure.
The railway was built jointly by Chinese-Turkish consortium including Chinese firms of China Railway Construction Corporation, China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation and Turkish firms of Cengiz Construction and Ibrahim Cecen Ictas Construction.


China Turkey's largest source of foreign capital in Q2

Today's Zaman - July 30, 2014

Recent figures from the Ministry of Customs and Trade show that China was the largest source of foreign capital found in Turkey during the second quarter of 2014.

China purchased or entered a partnership in close to 40 marble quarries in Turkey during that period. News reports from earlier this month indicated that China has purchased more than 100 marble quarries in Turkey over the last four years, establishing their presence in the sector to such an extent that it has created discomfort among local entrepreneurs, according to a statement from West Mediterranean Exporters' Union (BAİB) President Mustafa Satıcı.

In recent years, trade between Turkey and China has increased and Chinese entrepreneurs have increasingly set their sights -- and directed their capital -- towards Turkey. Figures from the Turkish Statistics Institute (Turkstat) indicate that the trade volume between the countries increased by 45 percent between the years of 2010-2013.


Long distance does not weaken close friendship By Xi Jinping

Long distance does not weaken close friendship

Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
July 15, 2014

Translated by Charles McKelvey

Professor Emeritus, Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina

Section on Political Science from the South, Division of Philosophy and History, University of Havana - Havana, Cuba

Global Learning, LLC -

Xi Jinping was born on June 15, 1953 in Beijing, China.  He became a member of the Communist Youth League in 1971 and a member of the Communist Party of China in 1974.  From 1975 to 1979, he studied at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, receiving a degree in Chemical Engineering.  From 1979 to 1982, he worked as secretary to the Secretary-General of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China.  From 1982 to 2007, he held various positions in the party and the government in the provinces of Hebei, Fujian and Zhejiang, including governor of Fujian from 1992 to 2002 and acting governor of Zhejiang in 2002 and 2003.  He was elected Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China in 2008, serving until 2013, during which time he was groomed to succeed Hu Jintao.  During his service as Vice-President, he made a number of international trips, including visits to the United States, Russia, and several Latin American and Caribbean countries.  He was elected General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on November 15, 2012, and he was elected President of the People’s Republic of China on March 14, 2013 by the Twelfth National People’s Congress, becoming the fifth president under the 1982 Constitution and the sixth Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China since the triumph of the Chinese Revolution in 1949.

In July 2014, Xi Jinping traveled to Latin America in order to participate in the VI Summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in the Brazilian City of Fortaleza and in a meeting with heads of state of the countries of Latin American and the Caribbean for the purpose of formally establishing the China-CELAC Forum (CELAC refers to Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; see “The Declaration of Havana 2014” 3/14/2014).  The Chinese president also made official visits to Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba.  On the occasion of his trip to Latin America, Xi responded to questions from journalists representing Valor Económico (Brazil), La Nación (Argentina), the Venezuelan News Agency, and the Latin American international news agency Prensa Latina (Cuba).  The questions of the journalists and Xi’s responses were published in
Granma, the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba, which serves as the daily newspaper in Cuba, on July 15, 2014, under the title “Long distance does not weaken close friendship.”  His responses are below, translated from Spanish into English.

For commentaries related to the China-CELAC Forum and China’s support for South-South cooperation, see “The fall & rise of South-South cooperation” 7/24/2014; “China-CELAC cooperation” 7/25/2014; “China treats Latin America with respect” 7/28/2014; “BRICS advances to South-South cooperation” 7/29/2014; and “The BRICS Bank of Development” 7/30/2014.

Note: The comments of the Chinese President are listed under subtopics that were established by the questions of the journalists.


Mutual political trust among the member countries of the bloc is increasing constantly.”

During the last five years, under the direction of the Summit of Leaders, a plan of cooperation covering many areas has been established.  Mutual political trust among the member countries of the bloc is increasing constantly, such that fundamental cooperation with respect to the economy, finance, commerce and development are continually deepening, and communication and coordination with respect to important international issues are continually increasing. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

22 attackers shot dead in Xinjiang violence as extremists wielding axes targeted civilians

Attack on government office and police station follows series of violent incidents in restive province

South China Morning Post - Wednesday, 30 July, 2014

Twenty-two attackers were shot dead and a further 41 arrested in a terror attack in Xinjiang on Monday in which at least 10 civilians died, according to sources and a report from a local party conference.
A group of assailants, wielding knives and axes, attacked the government office and police station in Elixku township in Kashgar’s Yarkand, or Shache, county in the early hours of Monday, Xinhua reported last night. Some attacked residents in neighbouring Huangdi township.
Local sources told the South China Morning Post that a conference was held among senior Xinjiang officials last night where 10 deaths and 13 injuries to civilians were reported. Six vehicles were also torched and another 31 sabotaged in the melee. No more details were given.
Police have described the incident as an “organised and premeditated” act of terror. They are still searching for other attackers.
The attack follows a series of violent incidents in Xinjiang in recent months.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A New Website: Xinjiang Review

Xinjiang Review

Xinjiang has again become the pivot of China, Central Asia, and even the world in this century in terms of political significance and security arrangements in Central Asia.  Scholars and observers from surrounding countries and beyond have begun to invest unprecedented efforts to illuminate the nature of historical and contemporary events there.  
However, due to various historical, linguistic, political, and academic traditions and taboos, studies on Xinjiang are highly fragmented and biased among ethnic and national lines.  It is well known that Uyghur scholars in China have little access, if not freedom, to current Xinjiang discourses that have been dominated by Han Chinese scholars.  While Chinese scholars themselves, however, have little presence and influence in English-language international academia in the field.  Dominant English scholarship on Xinjiang, on the other hand, has often been censored and English-speaking scholars have even been blocked from entering China (not to mention Xinjiang), as the recent Xinjiang Project in the U.S. and many counter projects in China indicate.
In short, academic inquiries into, and discourses on, Xinjiang have been politicized, sentimentalized, and even traumatized.  Xinjiang Review is founded exactly in such context as a platform for concerned Xinjiang scholars of various disciplines, regions, and nationalities.  It especially welcomes Uyghur and Han scholars from Xinjiang and China proper to contribute insights and exchange perspectives.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

China appoints special envoy for Afghanistan


Reuters -  Fri Jul 18, 2014

China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it had appointed a special envoy for Afghanistan, underscoring Beijing's concerns that the withdrawal of NATO troops will leave a hotbed of militancy on its doorstep.
Sun Yuxi, a former ambassador to both Afghanistan and India, has been named to the new position and will have "close communication" with Afghanistan and other relevant parties, the ministry said in a statement.
"China and Afghanistan are traditional friendly neighbors. China pays great attention to developments in Afghanistan and is committed to deepening both countries' strategic partnership, and so decided to appoint a special envoy," it added.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

China seeking Israeli counter-terror experts

Rise in attacks by Islamist-inspired separatists has authorities searching for new defense tactics

By AFP July 10, 2014

hina is recruiting foreign experts in counter-terrorism to assist the training of anti-terror personnel, state-run media reported Thursday, following a spate of deadly attacks which authorities blame on Islamist-inspired separatists.  Get the Start-Up Israel's daily newsletter and never miss our top stories   Free Sign up!  The People’s Public Security University of China will offer visiting professorships to top specialists in the field from countries including the United States, Israel, Pakistan and Australia, the government-run China Daily said. 
“The US and Israel have accumulated rich practical experience in fighting terrorism,” Mei Jianming, director of the university’s Research Center for Counter-terrorism, told the paper.  “The US is advanced in overall strategic research, and Israel is very proficient at tactical action in fighting terrorism.”  China has vowed a year-long crackdown on terrorism — and last month executed 13 people — following several high-profile attacks blamed on militants from the far-western region of Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority. 


Israel, China Ministers Meet, Plan Hi-Tech Collaboration

Group Established Following PM Visit to China last year, aims to advance Israeli Companies in China.

By Meir Halevi Siegel

THE JEWISH EXPRESS - July 4th, 2014

As part of ongoing efforts to advance economic ties between Israel and China, an inter-ministerial task force led by Israel’s National Economic Council along with a team from the Israeli Ministry of Economy headed by Chief Scientist Avi Hasson is meeting with Chinese counterparts from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to create opportunities for collaboration between Israeli and Chinese companies.
The Chinese delegation, headed by Mr. Ren Zhiwu – Deputy Director-General of the Hi-Tech Industry Department of the NDRC – arrived in Israel this week for the first working meeting with the Israeli group. It is the first time that the Chinese delegation has come to Israel.


Senior military officers of China, Turkey vow to promote co-op

Xinhua - 2014-07-08 

Mo Hong'e

Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Fan Changlong on Monday met with Bulent Bostanoglu, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces.
Hailing the healthy and stable development of the China-Turkey relationship since the two nations forged diplomatic ties 43 years ago, Fan said China attaches high importance to military-to-military relations with Turkey.
China is ready to further enhance defense cooperation with Turkey in various areas including exchanges between naval forces, Fan said.
He also praised Turkey's adherence to the one-China policy and support to China on counter-terrorism, expressing the hope that Turkey could continue to support China on issues concerning sovereignty and territorial integrity.


High-level visitors boost Israel-China business ties

Trade between Jerusalem and Beijing is important enough to both countries that government agencies are getting involved

By David Shamah

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL - July 6, 2014

Following up on recent visits to Israel by large delegations from the Chinese government and business sectors, top Israeli economic and scientific officials are meeting with their opposite numbers from Beijing. The intense activity reflects the desire of both countries to deepen their cooperation in commerce and technology. 
An inter-ministerial task force led by Israel’s National Economic Council along with a team from the Israeli Ministry of Economy headed by Chief Scientist Avi Hasson is meeting with Chinese counterparts from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to develop concrete plans to build on an already successful model.


Turkey looks to boost trade ties with US and China

The Middle East Monitor -  Saturday, 28 June 2014

Turkey is looking to develop trade ties with United States and China - the world's biggest and second-biggest economies - Turkish Development minister Cevdet Yilmaz has said.
During a meeting with Turkish businessmen in the Turkish consulate in Los Angeles, US,on Friday, Yilmaz said that Turkey had dramatically increased trade ties with Africa and Turkic Republics but had not done the same with the United States and China.
"We are looking for the ways how to develop the trade ties with these two countries", Yilmaz told businessmen as he sought their support.
The White House said in a report in 2013 that "in the last four years, US-Turkish ... trade reached record levels of nearly $20 billion in 2011, with US FDI in Turkey of over $5 billion and Turkish FDI in the United States of nearly $1 billion".


Cap on poppy seed import from Turkey, China

Importers to be allowed to bring in only 180 tonnes at a time
The Centre will permit imports of only 50 per cent of Turkey’s poppyseed production every year and fix a ceiling on consignments from China and the Czech Republic. Also, the Government will allow an importer to bring in only 180 tonnes or 10 container loads of poppyseeds at a time from Turkey.
These guidelines have been issued by the Department of Revenue on July 8 following an Allahabad High Court judgement on November 29, 2013 asking the Narcotics Commissioner to fix a ceiling on imports and register shipment contracts.

China and Turkey routes buoy Heathrow passenger traffic in June

Moodie Report - 11/07/14

By Dermot Davitt

London Heathrow Airport handled 6.6 million passengers in June, an increase of +1.1% on June 2013 and a new record for the month.
Of the key emerging markets the airport serves, traffic to and from Turkey was up +7.5%, Mexico was up +6.2%, and China increased by +5.7%.
Seats per aircraft increased +0.4% to 203.5, while load factors decreased 0.2 percentage points to 80.8%. Passengers per aircraft rose +0.2% to 164.5.
June also saw the opening of Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, almost 60 years after the original Terminal 2 opened as the airport’s first passenger terminal in 1955.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “The increase in both cargo and passenger volumes to emerging markets, demonstrates the strategic value of Heathrow in connecting Britain’s exporters with global growth. In June we successfully opened the new Terminal 2, the latest phase of the £11 billion privately funded transformation of the airport. My ambition is to take Heathrow from being one of the best airports in Europe to one of the best in the world and to connect all of Britain to global growth, and to do it sustainably, by expanding Heathrow.”


Stability at home should be the basis of China's diplomacy of peaceful engagement

Hu Shuli says the country's quest for peaceful external relations must begin with a resolve to meet its own development challenges

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chinese loans will counterbalance Russia’s influence in Kazakhstan

Micha’el Tanchum, Shalem College 

East Asia Forum - 10 July 2014

On 29 May 2014, the presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus signed a treaty establishing the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU). One week prior, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced investment agreements worth US$10 billion. The timing of the two events reflects Nazarbayev’s determination to use Kazakhstan’s burgeoning economic relations with China to counterbalance possible Russian domination. The most telling sign of this intention was the announcement of a US$1 billion loan from China to modernise Kazakhstan’s Shymkent oil refinery.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sino-Jordanian agreement against Turkish security services

China’s Ministry of State Security (Guoanbu) and the Jordanian General Intelligence Department (GID) have concluded an exchange of information agreement on the presence of Chinese nationals in Syria and Iraq.
The Chinese authorities strongly suspect that the Turkish national security agency, Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MIT), mobilizes Turkic Uighurs, gives them jihad training in Syria and Iraq, and sends them back to perpetrate attacks in China.


The Uighurs

The Uighurs: External exile Follow the story of exiled Uighur Muslims of Central Asia, many of whom fled Chinese control of their land in 1949.

Al-Jazeera - 10 Jul 2014

 Al Jazeera World The Uighurs: External exile Follow the story of exiled Uighur Muslims of Central Asia, many of whom fled Chinese control of their land in 1949. Last updated: 10 Jul 2014 08:22           Listen to this page using ReadSpeaker Email Article Print Article Share article Send Feedback  This film, which first debuted on the Al Jazeera Documentary channel in early 2014, follows the story of the Uighur people of the former East Turkestan, occupied by China in 1949, and renamed Xinjiang province.  It focuses primarily on the 30,000 or so Turkish-speaking Muslim Uighurs exiled in Istanbul. In this re-version, Al Jazeera English provides further context and background about the people and their predicament.  Once the majority in Xinjiang, they still consider the region their homeland and comprise around 45 percent of the population today.  In May 2014, explosives hit a crowded market in Xinjiang, and like similar previous attacks, China blamed Uighur separatists.  Under political pressure, large numbers of Uighur refugees have moved into exile abroad with many living in Istanbul.  Angered that their cause has received so little international attention, Uighurs want not only to maintain their rich Central Asian traditions, but also to free their homeland.


Chinese Uighurs defy Ramadan ban

The government's attempt to clamp down on religious expression has backfired among Uyghurs. Umar Farooq

Al-Jazeera - 05 Jul 2014

Kashgar, China - Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on Uighur Muslims during the month of Ramadan, banning government employees and school children from fasting, in what rights groups say has become an annual attempt at systematically erasing the region's Islamic identity. 
Chinese authorities have justified the ban on fasting by saying it is meant to protect the health of students, and restrictions on religious practices by government officials are meant to ensure the state does not support any particular faith.
Yet in Kashgar, in Xinjiang province, China's westernmost city, close to the border with Tajikstan and Kyrgyztan, Uighur Muslims say the restrictions have backfired. Not only have locals become more observant of Islamic practices, but many have found ways to flaunt Chinese laws restricting everything from who may attend the mosque, to which copies of the Quran are read.


John Kerry In Beijing: Four Good Reasons Why The Chinese View American Leaders As Empty Suits

Eamonn Fingleton

Forbes - July 9, 2014

It is hard to exaggerate the audacity with which China now kicks sand in Uncle Sam’s face. On everything from trade barriers to industrial espionage to intellectual property theft, Washington is regarded in Beijing as an empty suit.  Washington never finds the courage to confront Beijing. And the result is that American economic power has been ebbing away at a rate unprecedented in Great Power history.  Secretary of State John Kerry, who is currently in Beijing for an annual Sino-American summit, is unlikely to reverse the trend. Quite the contrary, he gives every impression that he has brought to Sino-U.S. relations the standard Beltway mindset. It is a mindset of fudge, compromise, and peacock-like strutting. It is a mindset that the Chinese have come to know and love. The betting is he will return from China with a panoply of Chinese assurances that both sides know are no more than empty posturing.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Revisiting the Silk Road

By Xinhua Writers Gui Tao and Zhang Chongfang  (Xinhua)   

CHINA DAILY - June 30, 2014

BEIJING, June 29 -- In northwest China's vast sun-scorched desert, a camel train plods along the ancient Silk Road. The caravan bells sound as beautiful as they did some 2,000 years ago.
The 7,000 km road linking the Orient and Occident, was once jammed with caravans of Chinese silk, Indian spices and Persian brocade. Now the camels carry tourists from around the world.
"Those merchants must have been expecting a good price for their goods after all this hardship," said Beijing accountant Guo Ying, 25, after her bumpy camel ride.
Centuries after war and competition from sea routes brought decay, the Silk Road is rising again.
It was along the road that explorers and pioneers -- most famously the Middle Kingdom's imperial envoy Zhang Qian and the Venetian merchant and traveller Marco Polo -- introduced to their own people the other side of the world.
Both East and West are looking again at the routes that maintained stability and prosperity from China to the Mediterranean for many centuries.


Chinese Uyghurs defy Ramadan ban

The government's attempt to clamp down on religious expression has backfired among Uyghurs. 

By Umar Farooq

Al-Jazeera - 05 Jul 2014
Kashgar, China - Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on Uyghur Muslims during the month of Ramadan, banning government employees and school children from fasting, in what rights groups say has become an annual attempt at systematically erasing the region's Islamic identity. 
Chinese authorities have justified the ban on fasting by saying it is meant to protect the health of students, and restrictions on religious practices by government officials are meant to ensure the state does not support any particular faith.
Yet in Kashgar, in Xinjiang province, China's westernmost city, close to the border with Tajikstan and Kyrgyztan, Uyghur Muslims say the restrictions have backfired. Not only have locals become more observant of Islamic practices, but many have found ways to flaunt Chinese laws restricting everything from who may attend the mosque, to which copies of the Quran are read.


Friday, July 4, 2014

A New Documentary: China Rising

A four-part series that gives a rare insight into the country on the move, with history in tow.

Al-Jazeera - 25 Jun 2014

After centuries of western dominance, the world’s centre of economic and political weight is shifting eastward. In just 30 years, China has risen from long-standing poverty to being the second largest economy in the world – faster than any other country in history. From angry farmers to weary migrant workers, powerful politicians and everyone in between, what China says and does has become of undeniable importance to the entire world.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

African migrants shunned in China even more than you think

Shanghaiist - July 2, 2014

For Africans living in the Middle Kingdom, the Chinese Dream is turning into a nightmare as they face increasing legal and economic discrimination.
Equality is a concept that apparently doesn't apply to Africans living in China. While Chinese companies are helping Africa develop and 1 million Chinese migrants enjoy great economic opportunities in countries like Nigeria and Kenya, Africans that have emigrated to China tell a totally different story. Al Jazeera reports:
There are an estimated 200,000 Africans in the megacity of Guangzhou, which has the largest concentration of African migrants in Asia. Unlike Chinese contractors in Africa, these migrants often go to China without the backing of a corporation or their home country. Legally, they are not able to buy land, open a shop, seek employment or start a factory in China. In order to engage in any commercial activity, many African migrants marry a Chinese wife and register their business in her name, while those with the financial capacity can open a representative office of a Hong Kong-registered firm.

Because of these constraints, many African migrants engage in export trading: They buy Chinese goods such as mobile phones, garments and construction materials in large quantities from Chinese wholesalers and ship them to their home countries [...].

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Post-sanctions Iran: The next China?

As Tehran and world powers inch closer to a final nuclear agreement, Iran is poised to become a major emerging power.

Al-Jazeera - 30 Jun 2014 

Richard Javad Heydarian

The lightning advance of the group now calling itself the Islamic Caliphate (formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and Levant) throughout the north and eastern portions of Iraq has rattled governments across the region and beyond. For the first time in recent memory, there is the possibility that a terrorist group could end up controlling the geographical heart of the Middle East, home to one of the world's largest hydrocarbon reserves.  Quite paradoxically, such a worrying prospect has pushed Tehran and Washington closer to each other, as the two powers contemplate a modus vivendi to contain the menace and aid the flailing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki-led government in Baghdad, which has been criticised for its lack of inclusive governance and increasingly authoritarian tendencies.  Given their shared strategic concern over the rapid proliferation of violent groups such as the Islamic Caliphate, there is a growing conversation about the possibility of a tactical alliance between the West and Iran - paving the way for a fundamental reconfiguration in the regional balance of power.