Monday, December 12, 2016

Edward Said Lecture Series :Arab Politics, U.S. Foreign Policy and Globalization - Tarik Yousef - Shanghai University

Center for Turkish Studies 
Edward Said Lecture Series

Arab Politics, U.S. Foreign Policy and Globalization

Director, Brookings Doha Center
Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development 

DATE: Tuesday December 13, 2016
TIME: 13:30 - 15:00 

Tel: 86+15000-465734

China’s Civilizational Diplomacy by Zaynab El Bernoussi

Zaynab El Bernoussi is Professor of International Relations at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University


IFRANE – China is quickly becoming a world power, capable of exercising considerable influence over other countries. And it is advancing to the center of the geopolitical stage just as – if not because – American and European leadership seems to be retreating into the wings.  China certainly has a receptive audience. One reason is that the “darker nations,” as the international-studies scholar Vijay Prashad calls global-South countries, feel greater kinship with China than with the United States and Europe. They identify with China’s history of anti-imperialist struggle, and even with Chinese people’s physical appearance. If you are an emerging superpower, there is a distinct advantage to having the majority of the world’s population hold such sentiments. 1972 Hoover Dam Trump and the End of the West? As the US president-elect fills his administration, the direction of American policy is coming into focus. Project Syndicate contributors interpret what’s on the horizon.  The way China plays its global role also differs notably from that of the West, because it emphasizes its similarities with the “rest,” to use the historian Niall Ferguson’s expression for the non-Western world. With this strategy, China has expanded its sphere of influence far beyond its immediate region.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

A New Report: China in the Middle East The Wary Dragon by Andrew Scobell and Alireza Nader

China in the Middle East: The Wary Dragon

by Andrew Scobell, Alireza Nader

RAND - December 2016

China is becoming increasingly active in the Middle East, just as some regional states perceive a declining U.S. commitment to the region. This study examines China's interests in the region and assesses China's economic, political, and security activities in the Middle East to determine whether China has a strategy toward the region and what such a strategy means for the United States. The study focuses on China's relations with two of its key partners in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Iran. The study concludes that China has adopted a "wary dragon" strategy toward the Middle East, whereby China is reluctant to commit substantial diplomatic or military resources to protect its growing energy and other economic interests. China does not pose a threat to U.S. interests in the region, and the United States is likely to remain the dominant security actor in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. The study recommends that the United States adopt a two-pronged strategy where China and the Middle East are concerned. First, the United States should encourage China, along with other Asian powers, to become more involved in efforts to improve Middle East stability. Second, the United States should work to reassure Middle East partners of an enduring U.S. security commitment to the region.

Key Findings
China Has Adopted a "Wary Dragon" Strategy Toward the Middle East
China exhibits wariness in its engagement with the Middle East. China endeavors to protect its expanding interests by not taking sides in conflicts and controversies.
China avoids the public articulation of a Middle East policy or strategy and the making of hard commitments to any states beyond what is required to maintain cordial business relations and pragmatic diplomatic and security ties.
China Has Four Key Interests in the Middle East
Energy security and economic stakes seem to be China's paramount interests.
China is also concerned with its geostrategic posture. China seeks to balance against U.S. influence in the Middle East, but China does not actively oppose the United States.
China wants to ensure domestic tranquility, which involves quashing any public criticism of Chinese policies, notably with regard to Chinese Muslims and the Uighurs of Xinjiang.
China aims to enhance its great-power status.
China Does Not Pose a Threat to U.S. Interests in the Region
China is correcting what has tended to be a lopsided eastward overemphasis in terms of economic development and national security protection.
China's rebalance is neither a reaction to the Obama administration's own rebalance nor a new phenomenon.
China and the United States have overlapping interests in the Middle East — both desire stability and unfettered access to energy.
Maintaining a modicum of stability in the region requires the vigorous efforts of outside powers. This is a role that China has not been willing or able to play. The United States is the primary actor fulfilling this role, and, for the foreseeable future, China seems amenable to this.
While China sees itself as locked in a great-power rivalry with the United States, it desires to maintain an overall climate of cordial and cooperative U.S.-Chinese relations.
The United States should encourage China, along with other Asian powers, to become more involved in efforts to improve regional stability.
The United States should work to reassure partners of its enduring security commitment to the region.
The Pentagon should be open to new thinking in the Middle East and new approaches to working to protect key U.S. interests, including the possibility of cooperating with China in the Middle East.

Monday, December 5, 2016



This document was made possible with support from the Chun & Jane Chiu Family Foundation


1. Since your humble servant [I] returned from the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in the 42nd year of the Republic [1953], I have called on you to present my report once, and it has been two years since I have presented myself in front of you to receive your instruction. On 13 January this year, I was summoned to see you but I happened to be ill thus I was unable to present myself for the meeting. I could only request to call on you in mid-June when I recovered. I wish to report and give suggestion on matters concerning the general conditions of and assistance to Xinjiang refugees overseas over the past year. But I was unable to do so as I had a relapse recently, which has gradually caused me to feel weary. I am afraid that this will be a lingering illness that will not permit me to call on you in the near future, which may delay your decision. Therefore I have compiled my reports and suggestions in writing for your reference and decision.
2. I am a junior official in a remote place and have neither learning nor skill. My only virtue is the determination to serve the party and the country, and I take it upon myself to fulfill Your Excellency’s long-cherished wish. Your Excellency is deeply aware that I have twice given up all my family possessions in aid of the country, and this time round I have even fled thousands of miles to Taiwan without anything. Our family has no choice but to depend on you for everything. Moreover, I have been in ill health all these years and am in constant need of medication. My health has taken a turn for the worse early this year, and I have been bed-ridden for seven months. I spent so much money that I find myself in serious debt, which I am unable to cope with. [For five nights, I wondered in shame?] Your Excellency’s loyal servant is shamelessly abasing himself to receive the charity of others. I would rather be honest with you to demonstrate my wholeheartedness. I urge Your Excellency to report the requests to...[meaning of following part of sentence unclear]


Turkey Looks East - Global Times

By Zhou Jiaxin

Global Times - 2016/12/4

Frustrated leaders decide nation may not have much in common with EU after all

Turkey's accession talks with the EU started on October 3, 2005, but the 11-year-long process of the membership bid has been stalled since the European Parliament's vote on November 24 criticizing the Turkish government's "disproportionate repressive measures" after a failed military coup on July 15.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan downplayed the non-binding vote and said his country has not yet given up on its objective to join the EU.
He also warned that Ankara may rupture the migrant deal signed in March to help Europe ease the flow of refugees from Syria and other Middle East countries.
Helmut Schmidt, former West German Chancellor, evaluated Turkey's EU membership in his book Perspectives for the 2oth Century, listing reasons why Turkey would not be taken to the EU including its cultural origins, growing population, the instability it causes within Europe and its economic performances.
After the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atuturk, embarked upon Kemalism in 1920s, the career military officer created a modern and secular nation state.
Atuturk's resolve has been followed, and Turkey has held the long-standing ambition to join the EU, thereby become part of Europe.
Turkey became an associate member of the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the EU, in 1963 and officially recognized as a candidate for full membership in late 1999. "This objective is not a purely economic ambition to facilitate more economic activities or trade," said Tugrul Keskin, associate professor at the Center for Turkish Studies of Shanghai University. "But it is rather rooted in the history of the late Ottoman Empire and the pre-existing social and cultural insecurity of the Turkish political and economic power elite."
Keskin sees the country's joining the EU as a symbol of modernity as the "deeper cultural objective."
In Turkey people see little or no translations from Chinese, Persian, Arabic and Urdu novels or books, but instead from German, French, and British sources.
The transcontinental country in Eurasia bordering Greece, Syria and Iraq would be the only Islamic country in the bloc if it received full membership.

American project
Despite the government's unremitting and protracted efforts to join the EU, the Turkish people had different ideas, long before the post-truth Brexit.
Adnan Akfirat, chairman of Shanghai-based Turkish-Chinese Business Matching Center, said that Turkish people are "against" EU membership, adding the membership is an "American project" while Turkey, in the role of a pawn, is already within the US "European Free Zone" plan. "It is more or less the common understanding in Turkey that the majority of Turkish people really don't believe that one day the state can become a full member of the EU," Ilker Basbug, the 26th chief of the General Staff of Turkey, told the Global Times, noting the EU hasn't treated Turkey "equally."
The former military head and nativist, once was jailed by the country's US-backed Fethullah Gulen group who allegedly organized and coordinated the failed coup, said that Turkey's border security was "violated" by the presence of terrorist groups like Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq, groups which have received safe havens in Europe and support from the US.
At the same time, Washington hasn't taken Turkey's "many proposals" regarding "terrorism elimination" into consideration, said Busbug.
The number of the refugees including Syrian, Iraqi and other nationalities have so far been up to 3.1 million and the cost for them has been estimated more than $12.8 billion since the beginning of the crisis, according to the European Commission report in September.

EU hardliners
The refugee problem is not just a critical issue for Turkey itself but also for major European countries like Germany, France and the UK whose leaders have been vexed by the migrant inflow.
The rising far-right trend in the West is also leaving little chance for the EU to accept the membership of the Muslim-majority Turkey.
Worries over terrorism and unemployment have been growing in Europe in recent years, as well as the xenophobic trend represented by Marine Le Pen, the far-right French presidential candidate, said Qin Hui, professor at the School of Humanities of Tsinghua University, noting the stigmatized Muslim community are deemed threats to Europe.
Keskin argued that the European attitudes would, in return, affect Europe's economy, saying that Europe needs Turkey to help resolve the problems of the refugee crisis.
Turkey 's location creates an convenient crossroads for 1.5 billion customers in Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa, with a combined GDP of $23 trillion, said Akfirat.
"If Turkey is not accepted into the EU, it will slide into the Asian bloc," Akfirat added.

SCO an alternative?
After the EU froze the accession talks, Erdogan said the government will continue by evaluating other "alternatives."
Erdogan referred to saying "goodbye" to the EU early in 2013 and said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) seeking regional security in Central Asia is "better and much more powerful," noting that Turkey has more "common values" with the SCO member states including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Erdogan hit similar tones late last month and China's Foreign Ministry welcomed the idea from Turkey, the current dialogue partner who will chair the SCO Energy Club in 2017, as the first non-member country to do so.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, however, clarified that the SCO was not an alternative to Ankara's EU ambition given that he, Erdogan and their AK Party represent the more Eastern perspective of Turkish culture.
"EU membership depends on good relations with NATO and Turkey is using the SCO as a bargaining chip with NATO," Keskin explained.
Akfirat believes that Turkey should continue Ataturk's resolve by uniting with rising Asia.
Turkey is an indispensable country for China's strategic Belt and Road initiative, Akfirat continued, pointing out the key cooperation between Turkey and China includes infrastructure development.
Still, sectarian tension incurred by Uyghur issue could cast a pall over Ankara-Beijing relations, said Keskin.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

US Foreign Policy and The Middle East - Geoffrey F. Gresh - SHANGHAI UNIVERSITY - December 9, 2016

Center for Turkish Studies 

Edward Said Lecture Series  


Department Head & Associate Professor 
International Security Studies College of International Security Affairs 
Washington, DC  

DATE: Friday December 9, 2016 
TIME: 14:00 - 15:30  
PLACE: A602 
SHANGHAI UNIVERSITY 99 Shangda Road, BaoShan District, Shanghai. 200444

Friday, December 2, 2016

China’s Rising Role in a Changing Middle East Since 2011 by Prof. Pan Guang

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies invites the public to a lecture on

China’s Rising Role in a Changing Middle East Since 2011 

by Prof. Pan Guang

Prof. Pan Guang is Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Center for International Studies, Director of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies Center, Dean of the Center of Jewish Studies Shanghai (CJSS), and Vice President of the Chinese Association of Middle East Studies. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 5:00 pm 
BESA Center Seminar Room (Building 203, Room 131) 

The lecture is open to the public. Faculty of Social Sciences Department of Political Studies 
Tel. 03-531-8959

Houthis go to China: Yemen's rebel delegation discuss peace-deal

The delegation flew to Beijing for a three-day visit

THE NEW ARAB - 1 December, 2016

A delegation of Yemeni rebels made a three-day trip to Beijing this week in order to discuss stability in the country, as a US-backed ceasefire fell apart last week.  Yemen's Masirah TV reports that the Chinese Foreign Ministry hosted a dinner in honour of the delegation from Ansar Allah, a rebel group led by the Houthis.  The delegation included Hamza al-Houthi, the head of the Houthi delegation at recent peace talks in Geneva; Mahdi al-Mashat, a party representative and Mohammad Abd al-Salam, a spokesperson for the rebel group. According to official reports, the two parties met Director-General Deng Li to discuss the ongoing conflict, after a US-brokered peace deal broke down after only 48 hours. The US-backed Saleh government said they had not been made a part of the deal and had no plans to stick to its terms.  China is increasingly looking to the Middle East as an important hub for its mega-investment project in international infrastructure – the so-called "Silk Road Economic Belt".


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Success of China’s Hui Muslims: Assimilation or Hyphenation?

By Haiyun Ma | Assistant Professor - Frostburg State University

MEI | Nov 10, 2016

With the increased international media attention on the plight of the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang, Western news magazines such as The Economist and Foreign Policy have started to also focus on the Hui, or Chinese-speaking Muslims. The Economist article, “China’s Other Muslims” (October 8, 2016) depicts the Hui’s success as owing to their assimilation into Han Chinese culture and society. The article states that the Hui are counted as an ethnic minority only “because it says so on their hukou (household registration).” This imagined conception of the Hui leads to other fantastical representations: Hui are “rarely to be victims of Islamophobia,” can “negotiate around the grey areas of China’s political system,” serve as “middlemen between China’s state enterprises and firms in China Asia and the Gulf,” and are even able to “practice Islamic law (sharia) to a limited extent.”
Unlike the Uyghurs’ recent incorporation into the Chinese state around 1750s, the Hui have resided and intermarried in China since the Tang dynasty (618-907). The historic Hui presence generates hybridity in their race, language, religion, and literature; as a result, modern Western scholars often deploy hyphenated terms such as “Sino-Muslim,” “Confucian Muslims,” and more recently, “Muslim Chinese” to refer to them. It is possibly because of this phenomenon that the Hui have been portrayed as the best example of civilizational dialogue between (neo) Confucianism and Islam, and thus promoted by contemporary Confucian scholar Tu Weiming and his Islamic counterpart Seyyed Hossein Nasr.[1]


International Workshop: OBOR and China’s overseas interest In Middle East - Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and Shanghai Jiaotong University December 10, 2016

International Workshop:

OBOR and China’s overseas interest In Middle East

Co-Hosted by:

Conference Venue
115 Conference Room, Headquarter of SASS
(622-7, Huai Hai Road(M), Shanghai ,China)

December 10, 2016 Shanghai, China

Saturday , December 109:30-9:50 Moderator :Wang Jian , Professor and Director of the Center for West Asia and North Africa Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, China
Opening RemarksWang Zhen, Professor and Vice President of Shanghai Academy of Social
9:50-10:00 10:00-11:00
Session I:
Sciences, China
Group Photo
Middle East Crisis Development and the Impacts of geo-political Relations in the Region
(In this session, lots of issues will be discussed , such as :The actual capability of Assad Government, the obstacles for the political reconciliation, the deadlock in negotiation between US and Russia, etc.)

Moderator:Wang Jian , Professor and Deputy Director of the Institute of History Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, China
Presentations (Each presenter has 15-20 minutes)
Tarik Yousef, Senior Fellow and Director, Brookings Doha Center, USA
Tugrul Keskin,Associate Professor of Center for Turkey Studies, Shanghai University
Commentary (Each Commentator has 8 minutes)Li Lifan , Associate Professor and Executive Deputy Director of the OBOR Research Center , Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

US Gambit
Free Discussion
Session II: The Destabilizing Trends in Middle East: China and
(In this session, We have focused on Regional powers such as Russia, China, Iran ,Turkey , what are their positions, and what role they should play in Middle East transition in and beyond 2016)

Moderator:Tarik Yousef, Senior Fellow and Director, Brookings Doha Center, USA
Presentations (Each presenter has 15 minutes)
Andrea Ghiselli, Research Fellow, T.Wai, Torino World Affairs Institute, Italy
Wang Chengzhi , Associate Professor, Institute of International Relations, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Commentary (Each Commentator has 8 minutes)Wang Jian , Professor and Deputy Director of the Institute of History Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, China

Free Discussion

12:00-13:00 Lunch

13:30-14:30 Session III: The US Security Strategy in the Middle East in the post-Obama era
(In this session, lots of hot issues will be extensively discussed, Mr. Trump, US President- elect seems to be cooperating with Russia on the grand issue of the Middle East, the uncertainty of the fate of Assad, the legitimacy of the Syrian government, whether Russia and the United States will jointly attack ISIS, whether the United States will tear up the agreement with Iran, etc)

Moderators:Li Lifan , Associate Professor and Executive Deputy Director of OBOR Research
Center , Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Presentations (Each presenter has 15-20 minutes)
Ma Bin, Assistant Professor and Secretary General of Center for Russian Studies, Fudan University
Geoffrey F. Gresh, Department Head and Associate Professor, International Security Studies, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, USA
Commentary (Each Commentator has 8 minutes)Chen Yiyi, Professor and Director of Center for Middle East Peace Studies, Shanghai Jiaotong University

Free Discussion

14:30-15:00 Coffee Break

15:00- 16:30 Session VI: The Protection of China’s overseas interest in the region of Mediterranean Sea and Middle East(In this session, we will be focusing on: The increasing risks and challenges faced by Chinese enterprises in "going global" increasing Political/economic/security/cultural risks accompanied with Chinese enterprises. The protection of overseas interests for both people and enterprises has huge urgent needs.)

Moderators:Geoffrey F. Gresh, Department Head and Associate Professor, International
Security Studies, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, USA
Presentations (Each presenter has 15 minutes)
Chen Yiyi, Professor and Director of Center for Middle East Peace Studies, Jiaotong University
Guo Changgang, Professor and Director of Center for Turkey Studies, Shanghai University
Wang Zhen , Associate Professor and Secretary General of Center for West Asia and North Africa Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Commentary (Each Commentator has 8 minutes)Li Lifan , Associate Professor and Executive Deputy Director of OBOR Research Center , Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences 16:30-16:45
Closing RemarksChen Yiyi, Professor and Director of Center for Middle East Peace
Studies,Jiaotong University

17:20 Dinner34th Floor, Jin Jiang Tower Hotel hosted by SASS

List of Participants
Wang Zhen, Professor and Vice President of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Wang Jian, Professor and Deputy Director of the Institute of History Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Wang Chengzhi , Associate Professor, Institute of International Relations, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Wang Zhen, Associate Professor and Secretary General of Center for West Asia and North Africa Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Li Lifan , Associate Professor and Executive Deputy Director of OBOR Research Center , Shanghai Academy of Social SciencesMa Bin, Assistant Professor and Secretary General of Center for Russian Studies, Fudan University
Guo Changgang, Professor and Director of Center for Turkish Studies, Shanghai UniversityChen Yiyi, Professor and Director of Center for Middle East Peace Studies, Jiaotong University
Tarik Yousef, Director of Brookings Doha Center, USA
Geoffrey F. Gresh, Department Head and Associate Professor, International Security Studies, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, USA
Andrea Ghiselli, Research Fellow, T.Wai, Torino World Affairs Institute, Italy
Tugrul Keskin, Associate Professor of Center for Turkish Studies, Shanghai University

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

China’s Muslims urged to resist extremism

Top religious official tells conference of Islamic leaders to build faith with ‘Chinese characteristics’

South China Morning Post - Sunday, 27 November, 2016

Chinese Muslims should oppose religious extremism and not blindly follow foreign doctrine, said China’s top religious official according to state media reports.  Speaking at a national congress of Muslims that began on Saturday in Beijing, Wang Zuoan, chief of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said Chinese Muslims should “firmly resist the penetration of religious extremism” and “always keep to the direction of developing Islam with Chinese characteristics”, said a report on the administration’s website.
Wang said Muslims’ beliefs and customs should be respected, but that religious interference in politics, justice or education was intolerable, Xinhua reported.  Addressing some 300 Muslim leaders at the congress, Wang said their followers should not simply follow the leadership of a foreign religion or treat foreign values as exemplary, China Daily reported.  China has an estimated 20 million Muslims. Many of them live in the northwestern provinces of Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai.  China’s vast Muslim world has come under a media spotlight in recent years after a series of deadly attacks in Xinjiang, home to more than 10 million Uygurs.


Monday, November 28, 2016

A Special Issue: Muslims in China

ARAMCO WORLD: Arab and Islamic Cultures and Connections
July/August 1985 - Volume 36, Number 4
After China cracked down on religion during the Cultural Revolution, its Muslim minorities had to maintain a low profile, and relations with most Muslim nations cooled. In the early 1980’s, however, China again reached out to the world. Some Arab countries responded; during his visit to the United States in February, King Fahd said Saudi Arabia’s athletes would compete in the 1986 Asian and African Games in China, and countries like Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates established economic and political ties. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports from China suggested that Islam had survived, and was flourishing, so Aramco World asked permission to send in a team to observe and inter- view Chinese Muslims.
For nine months, it was uncertain what China would say, but finally, on July 8, 1984, Contributing Editor John Lawton, photographer Nik Wheeler — sacrificing an assignment at the Olympics — and Nevim Lawton, John’s Turkish speaking wife, translator and Girl-Friday, set off on a 5,250 kilometer trip within China (3,225 miles) — including one flight that brought them a third of the way back to Europe and a three day train trip across the Gobi Desert.
The team — possibly the first to ever tackle this subject since the Cultural Revolution — got total support from the All-China Journalists Association, the group that arranged their tour. Wheeler said he was perfectly free to shoot whatever he wanted, and the Lawtons were able to interview Turkic speaking Uighur and Kazakh Muslims without any official interference.
"Whatever the problems in the past," said Lawton, "Muslims — and reporters — now seem to have a measure of freedom."   — The Editors
1.     Muslims in China: An Introduction Written by John Lawton
2.     Muslims in China: The Country Written by John Lawton
3.     Muslims in China: The History Written by Paul Lunde
4.     Muslims in China: The Mosques Written by Jill S. Cowen
5.     Muslims in China: The People Written by John Lawton

The Druze in China

One of the puzzling stories Seabrook relates about the Druze is their belief, not only in reincarnation, but that Druze are instantly reborn, and those Druze who are not reborn in Jabal Druze are reborn in China. In The Druze (1988), Robert Brenton Betts points out that reincarnation is a universal belief among the Druze, and that, while modernist Druze deny it, there is a popular belief in a paradise of some sort in China. These beliefs are easier to understand in context. As early as the eighth century A.D., the Islamic empire had pushed to the borders of China. The famous general Qutaiba ibn Muslim even crossed into that other great empire. There's an interesting article on the history of Islam here, in a a special issue of Saudi Aramco World dedicated to Islam in China. So China has long been on the cognitive map of the Muslim world, but why would Druze reincarnate there? The Druze are an offshoot of Ismaili Shi'a Islam. Their religion holds in high regard al-Hakim bi'Amr Allah, the tenth to eleventh century Fatimid leader known in the west as "the mad Caliph." Among other things, he was the leader of the Shiites, and went so far, some say, as to claim he was a manifestation of the divine. At the age of 36, he went on a journey and disappeared. Many of his followers believed he had fled the earth because of its sinfulness, but would one day return -- an idea very similar to the idea of the Shiite's Hidden Imam, the occulted Imam who would come back at the end of time as the Mahdi. As I write this, Baghdad has banned all vehicles in order to protect Shiite pilgrims headed to Karbala to celebrate the birth of the Twelfth Imam. Some of Hakim's followers believed he fled to China. Betts quotes The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, a book by Claude Conder, the British explorer of Palestine, who claimed that there was a Druze tradition that "El Hakem would re-appear, leading an army from their Holy Land in China, to which the good Druze was carried by angels when he died."

G20 can restore old bridges between China and Turkey - Muhammet Hamza Ucar

Middle Kingdom Review Scholarly Analysis of China Across Time, Space and Discipline - October 24, 2016

Muhammet Hamza Ucar
Turkey, International Politics and Law student at Yenching Academy, Peking University and Istanbul University Political Science Faculty.

Turkey and China have some similarities in their cultures. The Chinese and Turkish peoples are similar with their Asian roots and support traditional family values that favor strong networking ties in their daily lives and careers.
Turkey is half-European and half-Asian, which impacts how its people conduct their lives. They have adapted to a modern lifestyle just like the Chinese have. Turkey is located in Western Asia, but still a part of Europe. Turkey’s political life can be so variable, since it’s close to the Middle East, while China is more stable.
The two nations have enjoyed long-held strong ties in history, while academic researchers have taken note of Chinese historical documents that show close relations with Turkey. Both nations cherish their patriotism, historical characters as ordinary people frequently ponder such matters on a daily basis.
The two societies – China and Turkey – consist of different ethnic groups living together, which differ from a number of European countries where minorities do not play substantial roles.
Turkish people believe a patriarchal culture is best for their family and social lives. They show terms of endearment to non-family members, whom they consider friends, by calling them an “uncle.” Turkey’s president is called an uncle or father for their nation.
China and Turkey endorse rational relations among different groups. Developing deeper relations between China and Turkey will likely proceed in stages. News agencies from both nations should introduce one society to another. There should also be stronger economic ties to benefit both countries.
By encouraging more sustainable and confidential relations, the two governments can coordinate on academic support as well.
There can be a bridge between the two societies, such as the New Silk Road initiative, which was proposed by China in 2013.  Ancient Turkish sultans, kings and rulers had allowed for a series of Caravans traders and merchants to travel to and from China.
At the moment, many Turkish people do not know much about the Chinese and vice versa. The media from both countries should play a more effective role to introduce one society to another. They can solve this problem by debunking cultural taboos and helping each society respect the other.
Both sides should hold more meetings between the leaders and governments. As former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in his speech a year ago, “Turkey needs to open a China Studies Institute and China needs a Turkey Study Institute to develop stronger bilateral academic relations.”
The media, academia and governments are responsible for better relations between the two countries. Soon, China will host the 11th G20 Summit in Hangzhou on September 4-5, which would spur new global economic growth. Hangzhou and Suzhou in east China are picturesque and impressive cities, known as, “Heaven on the Earth.” Leaders from 20 countries are expected to participate.
Turkey  takes part in China’s New Silk Road, Belt and Road initiative, which can develop stronger economic and cultural activities with countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. Meanwhile, Turkey’s different ethnic groups have roots with neighboring nations and could develop deeper economic ties with its border countries.
Turkey’s southern borders are connected to Arabic countries and close to the Mediterranean Sea, which offers key shipping ports for business. Turkey’s northeastern border stands next to Central Asia and the northwestern border is right next to the Aegean Sea and Greece, a gateway to Europe.
Turkey is the most stable country in the region – economically and politically. The Turkish economy policy is opening its doors to other countries. A company from Turkey can do business in Arabic countries, Europe and Central Asia. To make better relations with other countries, Beijing should encourage its youth to get more involved.
Beijing is calling for more suggestions from academics and young people on how to boost ties with other countries. China would likely push for more economic and social projects. Summits with China and Turkey could develop better bilateral relations. The 2016 G20 Summit as a global economic summit is expected to offer new economic and political opportunities.
Turkey can play a leading role in Central Asia with its historical roots, and China can invest abroad, especially in Central Asia. The two countries stand united in Central Asia, especially economically.
They can build the Belt and Road together, which can establish new bridges for China with other countries. Beijing is bearing more responsibilities in Asia, while some countries in the region do not enjoy much stability. China can afford the risk for greater long-term benefits.
Additionally, the “Chinese Dream” or “the great renewal of the Chinese nation” put forward by China’s President Xi Jinping creates a choice for other countries, which are not strong enough to resist powerful nations. Middle East countries perceive China as friendly with win-win policies.
China should hold a cooperative friendship with Turkey to open up the Middle East and Europe for better economic and strategic ties.  More scholars can make new bridges with China and Turkey.  There’s a Turkish proverb saying, “actions speak louder than words.” Well, China acts more rather than speaks.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

China’s Rise : Consequences for China and the World

China’s Rise :  Consequences for China and the World
A two-day conference organized by the Centre d’Études de l’Asie de l’Est of the Université de Montréal, la Chaire de recherche du Canada en droit chinois et mondialisation (UQAM), and the Department of Political Science of Concordia University, with additional financing from the Ministère des Relations Internationales et la Francophonie (Québec), will examine the consequences of China’s rise to great power status on China and the world. 
Day 1, Saturday, December 3.  Venue :  UQAM, room D-200; Time :  10 :00 – 17 :00
Morning session, 10 :00-12 :15.  Discussion of the impact of China’s rise on Chinese liberalism, by Carl Déry (Université de Montréal) and David Ownby (Université de Montréal)
Afternoon session, 14 :00-17 :00.  Timothy Cheek (University of British Columbia), « China’s Directed Public Sphere », Qin Hui (Tsinghua University) « Liberalism’s Decline? Socialism’s Decline? Or Freedom’s Decline ?», David Kelly, « The Seven Chinas ».
Day 2, Sunday, December 4.  Venue :  Concordia University, Hall 1220; Time 13 :00-17 :00.
Hélène Piquet (UQAM) and André Laliberté (Université d’Ottawa), « Perspectives on Legal Reforms and the future of Ngo’s in China; Qin Hui, « Reflections on the Post Cold-War World ».
For further information, please contact david.ownby (at)

Chinese investors raising $50m for Israeli technology

CreditEase Israel Innovation Fund also hosting delegation of leading CEOs and businesspeople from China this week

By Luke Tress

TIMES OF ISRAEL - November 23, 2016

CreditEase China, one of the world’s largest microcredit and wealth management firms, is raising a $50 million fund to invest in Israeli business and technology. The group has made Israel a priority in its investment strategy. It partnered with veteran investors in Israel Tayman Kan and Benjamin Weiss to establish the CreditEase Israel Innovation Fund (CEIIF) last year, to create its first Israel-focused venture-capital/private equity fund. The group’s previous fund aimed at Israel amounted to $32 million. CEIIF is hosting a delegation of 37 Chinese business executives in Israel this week.


China-Israel Relations: When the Gate Opens


The Jerusalem Post -  11/22/2016

Success of a business, in the face of competition, depends on maintaining a competitive edge that may be embodied in superior quality products or services, price advantage, and others. Maintaining a competitive edge is also the driver for success of entire economies. While in years past, a competitive edge was gained through control of and access to food production, supply of raw material, ready availability of shipping solutions, access to and control of energy sources or of capital; in the modern, knowledge-based economy it is intellectual property, which is embodied, among others, in technology and know-how, and which is a product of human intellectual activity and creativity, that provides the key competitive advantage. And indeed, intellectual property, which accounts for about 80% of the value of publicly-traded companies, is the biggest wealth generator of all times. Israel is a classical case study for the importance of these factors for economic development.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A New Book: China and Central Asia in the Post-Soviet Era A Bilateral Approach Muhamad S. Olimat

China and Central Asia in the Post-Soviet Era A Bilateral Approach

Muhamad S. Olimat

Rowman, 2015

This manuscript examines Sino-Middle Eastern relations on a bilateral level. It highlights the depth of China’s involvement in Central Asia with each country on a five dimensional approach: security cooperation, energy security, trade relations, political relations, and cultural relations. Regarding each of these criteria, Central Asia enjoys a strategic significance to China’s national security, vital interests, territorial integrity, sovereignty, regime survival, and economic prosperity. China has been an integral part of the political developments on the Central Asian political scene for over the past two millennia. Their bilateral ties grew steadily since the independence of Central Asian republics in 1992, culminating into strategic partnership two decades later. China and its partners in the region have embarked on the construction of the most ambitious gas pipelines network, joint ventures in oil upstreaming and downstreaming, mammoth highway and railroad projects, trade zones, construction projects, and above all, strategic security coordination in reference to unified and an integrated response to regional security threats. Both sides are also engaged in a process of revival of the Silk Road in terms of its cultural diversity and trade relations. Sino-Central Asian volume of trade reached $50 billion heading steadily toward $100 in the coming five years.

A New Book: China and the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries Strategic Partnership in a Changing World by Muhamad S. Olimat.

China and the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries Strategic Partnership in a Changing World

by Muhamad S. Olimat.

Rowman, 2016

This book examines China’s relations with member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It highlights the depth of China’s ties with the region bilaterally and multilaterally on a five-dimensional approach: political relations, trade relations, energy security, security cooperation, and cultural relations. Regarding each of these criteria, the GCC countries enjoy a strategic significance to China’s national security, vital interests, territorial integrity, sovereignty, regime survival, and economic prosperity. China has been an integral part of the political developments on the Arabian Gulf scene since the 1950s. Their bilateral ties have grown steadily since the Economic Reform Era, culminating in strategic partnership two decades later. China and its Arab Gulf partners have embarked on an ambitious economic cooperation that includes joint ventures in oil upstreaming and downstreaming, mammoth highway and railroad projects, construction projects, and above all, strategic security coordination in reference to security threats. Both sides are also engaged in a process of revival of the Silk Road within the Belt and the Road framework. Sino-Gulf bilateral trade relations reached $159,419.20 billion in 2014. The two sides aim to increase it to $600 billion by 2020, a goal within reach given the fact that they are concluding the China-GCC Free Trade Agreement, which will transform their bilateral ties.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cao Jianming Meets with Turkish Attorney General Mohammed Akaka

TOP NEWS - November 22, 2016  
On the afternoon of November 21, the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Cao Jianming, met with Mohammed Akkha, Attorney-General of the Supreme Court of Appeal of Turkey in Beijing.  Beijing, 21 Nov (Xinhua) - The Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Cao Jianming, met here today with Mohammed Akkha, Attorney-General of the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeal.  He said that the friendly exchanges between China and Turkey have a long history.As early as 1,000 years ago, the ancient Silk Road put the people of the two countries in close contact with each other in the human Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in the early 1970s, the two countries have carried out extensive cooperation in the fields of politics, economy and trade, culture, education and law enforcement, and achieved fruitful results, especially in the promotion of bilateral relations in 2010. Since the two countries have maintained frequent high-level exchanges and maintained close communication and coordination in international and regional affairs, they have supported each other on issues of mutual concern, and political mutual trust has been further enhanced, while bilateral relations have been continuously enriched and improved. The two countries have also made in-depth exchanges in judicial and procuratorial areas, especially in the field of anti-terrorism and security cooperation, which has effectively safeguarded the stable development of the region, and will surely promote the exchange of judicial and law enforcement between the two countries. Pragmatic cooperation play a positive role in promoting.  The Chinese government is firmly opposed to all forms of terrorism and violent extremism, said Cao Jianming, vice-chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC), who said that the two countries are facing serious challenges to terrorism and crimes against humanity and social order. The two countries have reached important consensus on the cooperation in the field of security and counterterrorism and have made positive progress.Facing the increasingly complex and complicated international counter-terrorism situation, it is hoped that the law enforcement and judicial organs of the two countries can actively implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state Deepen and strengthen law enforcement and judicial security cooperation to jointly combat various forms of terrorist crimes, effectively safeguard their national security and regional stability, and constantly enrich the content of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations.  Mohammed Akaka thanked Attorney General Cao Jianming for his enthusiastic meeting with the Chinese procuratorial organs to enhance the joint efforts to crack down on terrorism and widen the area of judicial and judicial cooperation. He also tried to elevate the friendly relations between the procuratorial organs of the two countries to a new one. Higher level.  Turkish Ambassador to China Murat Ersoy attended the meeting.

China and Saudi Arabia: strengthening ties through education


DAILY SABAH - April 13, 2014 

Although ties between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and People's Republic of China started relatively late, today, the relationship between the two countries has developed beyond diplomatic, economic or political affairs.  Their ties have expanded further to different fields including culture and education. The bonds between Riyadh and Beijing in the fields of education and technology have developed rapidly and positively over the past few years.  Despite the fact that little has been documented on the number of students in both countries, it is believed that the number of students going to study overseas from Saudi Arabia to China, or vice versa, has been increasing recently. According to a report published in 2011, there were approximately 1,100 Saudi students enrolled in different universities in several cities across China, and the number is expected to increase this year. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is also encouraging their students to study at Saudi universities. It was reported that there are 270 Chinese students enrolled in a number of Suudi universities.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Yenching Academy Global Symposium

From: Hamza Ucar
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 12:21 PM
To: Tugrul Keskin
Subject: Yenching Academy Global Symposium

Yenching Academy of Peking University Organise Global Symposium. This year will be the second.
Here the link for apply.
Thank you

For over a century, Peking University has been the foremost domestic academic setting for understanding China. In 2014, the University founded the Yenching Academy, with the hope of shaping a new generation of global citizens with a nuanced understanding of China and its role in the world..
The Academy’s flagship event, the Yenching Global Symposium, is already one of the most selective conferences held in China and quickly becoming one of the world's most competitive and highly anticipated conferences. The 2016 Symposium, with an acceptance rate of 3 percent, received more than 1800 applications from over 130 countries with representation from Rhodes Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Gates Cambridge Scholars, Fulbright Scholars and other major fellowships and leading institutions.
Hosted on the Peking University campus from March 23-26, 2017, the next symposium (“Xinnovation: Identity of Innovation in China") will be a four-day event consisting of multidisciplinary lectures, panel discussions, site visits, and interactive sessions on Chinese innovation. It will feature prominent Chinese and international scholars as well as leading professionals who will challenge and expand previously held conceptions about innovation in China. The Symposium will select and invite approximately 75 students and young professionals to participate in the event as delegates. It will cover all fees associated with the trip—including flights, ground transportation, meals, and accommodation.

2017 Applications are now live.  Please submit your completed application by midnight (Beijing Time),
December 15, 2016. 

Snubbing NATO, China says ready to consider Turkey in SCO

BEIJING: China is willing to consider any application from NATO-member Turkey to join a Russian and Chinese-led security bloc, China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday, after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country could join.  China, Russia and four Central Asian nations -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighbouring Afghanistan.  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that Turkey is already a dialogue partner of the bloc and has for a long time closely cooperated with it, which China appreciates.  China attaches great importance to Turkey's wish to strengthen that cooperation, he told a daily news briefing. "We are willing, together with other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and in accordance with the rules of its legal documents, to seriously study it on the basis of consensus consultation," Geng added, without elaborating.  Erdogan was quoted on Sunday saying that Turkey did not need to join the European Union "at all costs" and could instead become part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.  Turkish membership of the bloc would be likely to alarm Western allies and fellow NATO members.  Having long been critical of Turkey's record on democratic freedoms, European leaders were alarmed by Erdogan's crackdown on opponents since a failed coup attempt in July, and Turkey's prospects of joining the EU look more remote than ever after 11 years of negotiations.  The EU is treading a fine line as it needs Turkey's help in curbing a huge flow of migrants, especially from Syria, while Ankara has grown increasingly exasperated by what it sees as Western condescension.  Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan speak Turkic languages, and Ankara signed up in 2013 as a "dialogue partner" saying it shared "the same destiny" as members of the bloc.  Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are observers, while Belarus, like Turkey, is a dialogue partner.

Tired of EU's delaying tactics, Erdoğan points to Shanghai Pact


SABAH DAILY NEWS November 20, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that it was time for Turkey to openly think about alternatives to the European Union, suggesting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the economic, political and military organization that counts China, Russia and the central Asian republics among its members, as a perfectly plausible substitute.  While Pakistan and India are also currently in the process of becoming full members, Turkey is a dialogue partner.  Turkey has more options than tying its entire future to the EU, President Erdoğan said, speaking to journalists at the end of his official tour of Pakistan and Uzbekistan.  "I mentioned my desire for Turkey to become part of the SCO with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [Kazakhstan President Nulsultan] Nazarbayev. Iran also wants to get in. Putin said it was under consideration. I believe if Turkey became a member, its room for maneuver will broaden considerably," he stated.


How Is Turkish Trade With China Going?

Haluk Direskeneli

EURASIA NEWS - November 21, 2016

Mr. Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, came to Turkey early last the week. According to the protocol, he first met with Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister, then the Prime Minister and then he visited Presidential Palace for the congregation. Then in order to clarify the main objective of his official visit, then the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, he had a long meeting with the Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources on November 14, 2016 in Ankara.
Commenting on the Chinese news agency website (, Chinese FM Wang Yi positively assessed the development of China-Turkey relations, saying that bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, security and combating terrorism are two important areas of bilateral relations. (We understand that there are serious concerns of the Chinese side on line-by-line interpretation, on security and terrorism).


China Turkey's 'friend in need': China foreign minister

In an exclusive interview, Wang Yi hails China's expression of 'immediate support' to Turkey in wake of defeated coup

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet and Satuk Bugra Kutlugun 

ANATOLIAN NEWS AGENCY - 14.11.2016  China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has stressed how
his country stepped up to demonstrate "immediate" support to Turkey after the failed July 15 coup bid.  Speaking to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview on Sunday in Ankara, paying an official visit, Wang said, "China immediately expressed support for the Turkish government’s efforts to uphold stability in accordance with the law and sent a vice foreign minister to visit Turkey”.  Asked about Turkey and China’s cooperation on security issues and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization's (FETO) activities in the country, Wang said, "Neither of us allows any activity on its soil that undermines the other's security and stability”.  He added, "China and Turkey have both suffered from terrorism; we are both firmly opposed to terrorism in all manifestations. Strengthening security and counter-terrorism cooperation serves the fundamental interests of our two countries”.  Wang added that since last year, the nation’s presidents, Xi Jinping and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have met three times and reached important agreements on protecting national security and fighting terrorism.  Ahead of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou this September, Erdogan and Xi signed three bilateral agreements in the areas of energy, nuclear security, and agricultural health certification.  "There is zero tolerance for any organization or individual that engages in such activities," Wang said, adding that China's support for Turkey in the wake of the coup attempt "proves that China is a friend in need”.  Wang touts bilateral diplomatic ties  On the state of Turkish-Chinese relations, Wang touted the two countries' 45th year of diplomatic ties in 2016.  "Our relations have made an extraordinary journey in these 45 years and reached a stage of maturity and steady development. Most notably, our cooperation in the areas of politics, the economy, security, and culture has deepened and produced tangible results," said Wang, hailing the guidance of two countries' presidents.  "Turkey is a major country in the region, an influential Islamic nation, a key emerging market, and a member of the G20," said Wang. "It has an important place in China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative”.  Wang also stressed the importance of China's Vice Premier Wang Yang's visit to Turkey last week for the first meeting of an inter-governmental cooperation committee.  "I am in Ankara to meet with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu," he said. "These two mechanisms were established pursuant to the important agreement reached between our presidents”.  The top diplomat added that having two-level high meetings in such quick succession "speaks to the strong commitment of both sides and the strength of Chinese-Turkish relations”.  Smaller Chinese tourist numbers 'temporary'  Asked whether China and Turkey could mutually ease travel visa requirements, Wang said China always welcomes its Turkish friends for tourism, business visits, and education.  "We would love to see Chinese citizens visit Turkey for sightseeing and investment," Wang said, adding that such visits would contribute to friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.  "Straddling the Eurasian continent, Turkey is a bridge between East and West. Turkey's long history, beautiful scenery, and rich heritage hold great appeal for Chinese tourists," Wang said.  The foreign minister said there have been Chinese TV documentaries on Turkey which are popular with viewers and help promote Turkish culture and tourism.  "Last year, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey exceeded 310,000, up 57 percent from the year before," said Wang. "Recently, the number has come down somewhat due to perceived security [concerns] and other factors”.  But he added that he sees this decline in tourist numbers as "only temporary”.  "Turkey has unique tourism resources to offer, so the number will pick up and more Chinese tourists will come your way," he said.  Wang also said China is one of the "hottest destinations" for foreign direct investment (FDI) and has attracted more FDI than any other developing country for 23 years.  "We welcome, as always, foreign investments including those from Turkey, and we will continue to make it easier for Turkish and other foreign businesses to invest and seek opportunities in China," he added.  Chinese firms talking Edirne-Kars railway  Asked if China’s interest in high-speed railway construction in Turkey, Wang said at the moment, Chinese companies are negotiating with Turkish partners about the Edirne-Kars high-speed railway.  "It is expected to link the eastern and western parts of Turkey, and play a big part in connecting China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative with Turkey's Middle Corridor initiative," Wang said.  The foreign minister cited China and Turkey's cooperation in high-speed railway building as "a prime example".  "Chinese enterprises were involved in phase II of the high-speed railway linking Ankara and Istanbul," Wang said. "It was applauded by the Turkish government and people of Turkey and demonstrated the strengths of Chinese construction”.  Wang mentioned that China operates over 1,900 bullet train units, the most in the world.  "The accumulated operational mileage has surpassed 2.77 billion kilometers, equivalent to six times the world’s circumference," Wang said. "On average 1 billion bullet train trips are made in China every year”.