Saturday, April 30, 2016

Adhering to the Ways of Our Western Brothers: Tracing Saudi Influences on the Development of Hui Salafism in China

Mohammed Turki A Al-Sudairi
PhD Candidate, University of Hong Kong, 

Sociology of Islam, Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pages 27 – 58

This paper attempts to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Chinese Salafism. The paper traces, on the basis of a historical approach, the ways in which Wahhabi influences – doctrinal, ritual, and financial - have been transmitted into China since the late 19th century. It focuses specifically on the channels that had emerged following the 1970s and which have facilitated the spread of these influences including the Hajj, the impact of the Saudi-Chinese diaspora, the work of Saudi organizations and preachers operating within China, and study opportunities in the Kingdom. The paper argues that these influences have led to the strengthening of Salafisation tendencies within Muslim Chinese society on the one hand, and intensifying fragmentary pressures within Chinese Salafism on the other.

Chinese Soft Power and Green Energy Investment in the Greater Middle East

Chinese Soft Power and Green Energy Investment in the Greater Middle East

Juan R. I. Cole
Professor of History, 1029 Tisch Hall, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109–1003

Sociology of Islam, Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pages 59 – 72

Green energy investment is one avenue through with the Chinese government is beginning to create a new relationship with the Middle East. Chinese solar panel firms have research and production advantages in the world market, but face rising labor costs at home. The Communist Party under Xi Jinping has pursued two major policies, “Go out!” and “One Road, One Belt.” The first refers to Chinese firms creating factories abroad to benefit from cheap labor and from local low-tariff trade blocs. China will therefore set up solar panel factories in the United Arab Emirates and in Morocco. Both countries have strong national commitments to renewable energy, but also have access to a wide range of export markets. This sort of investment changes China’s relationship to the region from being one of buying hydrocarbons to a much more intensive set of interactions, including acting as employer for local labor.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Is China changing its policy towards Uighur Muslims?

Neighbouring states are questioning China's ability to treat its Uighur population fairly and halt terrorism.

Al-Jazeera - 25 Apr 2016

Has China just issued its first conciliatory statement towards the Uighur Muslim ethnic group, which has been persecuted for years? And has it done so out of fear or embarrassment that Uighur Islamic militants have now gone global, fighting for Islamic causes in many corners of the globe?
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, speaking to the Communist Party chief and party delegates of Xinjiang province, appeared to be acknowledging for the first time the deep frustration felt by young Uighurs, the eradication of Uighur culture and, most seriously, the lack of jobs in the province.
"Let the people, especially the young, have something to do and money to earn," he told them at China's annual meeting of parliament.
He urged private companies to invest in Xinjiang and for the majority Han Chinese population to mingle more with their Uighur brothers.
''Xinjiang's development and stability ... have a bearing on nation and ethnic unity and national security,'' he added (according to Reuters).

China's vision of the Middle East Beijing enters the Great Game

Geoffrey Aronson 

Geoffrey Aronson is a specialist in Middle East affairs.

AL-JAZEERA - 21 Jan 2016 

Xi Jinping's first visit to the Middle East since becoming China's president three years ago reflects three emerging, defining elements in the conduct of Beijing's foreign policy in the region. The basic building block of Chinese policy remains the development and expansion of economic and trade links. There is clear and long-standing evidence of an expanding Chinese economic presence throughout the region - from the massive energy markets of Saudi Arabia and the infrastructure developments in Iran to the domination of trade with Lebanon, Xi's visit is heavily weighted in this direction, highlighted by the effort to shape an international trade and development system in China's image. The "One Belt, One Road" plan, unveiled in 2013, is the centrepiece of Beijing's effort to place China at the centre of a new system of international trade.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

When a Sleeping Giant Wakes – A Neoclassical Realist Analysis of China’s Expanding Ties in the Middle East

Tugrul Keskin(1) and Christian N. Braun(2)

Between 1949 and the late 1970s, interactions between China (PRC) and Middle Eastern nations were limited. After China started to implement economic reforms in 1978, however, the country opened up to the global economy in general and the Middle East in particular. Since the 1980s, the new Chinese economic dynamic, as a result of its economic reforms, has significantly increased China’s footprint in the region. China’s distinct approach has been to secure access to natural resources and new markets while, at the same time, making sure not to get bogged down in the Middle East’s political conflicts. However, as we argue in this paper, China’s role has by now become so prominent that it will be increasingly difficult for China to maintain its low-profile role. By analyzing the development of China’s role in the region generally as well as its specific relations to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Israel, we conclude that China is likely to become a more active player in the region.

1: Maltepe University, Department of Political and Science and International Relations, Marmara Eğitim Köyü, 34857 Maltepe/İstanbul – Turkey, ; 
2: University of Durham, School of Government and International Affairs, The Al-Qasimi Building, Elvet Hill Road, Durham DH1 3TU, UK. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A New Issue: Sociology of Islam Journal: China, Islam and the Middle East - Volume 4, Issue 1-2, 2016

A New Issue: Sociology of Islam Journal: China, Islam and the Middle East - Volume 4, Issue 1-2, 2016

When a Sleeping Giant Wakes – A Neoclassical Realist Analysis of China’s Expanding Ties in the Middle EastAuthors: Tugrul Keskin and Christian N. BraunSource: Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pp 1 –26

Adhering to the Ways of Our Western Brothers:  Tracing Saudi Influences on the Development of Hui Salafism in China Author: Mohammed Turki A Al-SudairiSource: Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pp 27 –58

Chinese Soft Power and Green Energy Investment in the Greater Middle EastAuthor: Juan R. I. ColeSource: Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pp 59 –72

China and the International Non-Proliferation RegimeAuthors: Mohiaddin Mesbahi and Mohammad HomayounvashSource: Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pp 73 –92

Explaining Beijing’s Shift from Active to Passive Engagement in Relation to the Arab-Israeli ConflictAuthor: Guy BurtonSource: Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pp 93 –112

The Prospects for Turkish – Chinese Bilateral and Multilateral Security CooperationAuthor: Lenore G. MartinSource: Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pp 113 –128

China in Turkish Academic LiteratureAuthor: Seriye SezenSource: Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pp 129 –148

The Gulf Looks EastAuthor: Geoffrey F. GreshSource: Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pp 149 –165

Seek Knowledge Even If It Takes You to China (Via Washington)Saudi Arabia and China in the Twenty-First CenturyAuthor: Sean FoleySource: Volume 4, Issue 1-2, pp 166 –188

Friday, April 15, 2016

A New Book: Islamic Thought in China Sino-Muslim Intellectual Evolution from the 17th to the 21st Century

By: Jonathan Lipman

Edinburgh University Press - Jun 2016

How can people belong simultaneously to two cultures, originating in two different places and expressed in two different languages, without alienating themselves from either? Muslims have lived in the Chinese culture area for 1400 years, and the intellectuals among them have long wrestled with this problem. Unlike Persian, Turkish, Urdu, or Malay, the Chinese language never adopted vocabulary from Arabic to enable a precise understanding of Islam’s religious and philosophical foundations. Islam thus had to be translated into Chinese, which lacks words and arguments to justify monotheism, exclusivity, and other features of this Middle Eastern religion. Even in the 21st century, Muslims who are culturally Chinese must still justify their devotion to a single God, avoidance of pork, and their communities’ distinctiveness, among other things, to sceptical non-Muslim neighbours and an increasingly intrusive state.
The essays in this collection narrate the continuing translations and adaptations of Islam and Muslims in Chinese culture and society through the writings of Sino-Muslim intellectuals. Progressing chronologically and interlocking thematically, they help the reader develop a coherent understanding of the intellectual issues at stake.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

China’s Deepening Interest in Israel

Ties between Jerusalem and Beijing have never been this strong.

Aryeh Tepper   

Director of Publications and Online Educational Programming, American Sephardi Federation; Academic Director, Glazer-BGU Israel Studies Seminar for Chinese Students

The Tower -  Issue 30 September 2015

With its deepening investment in the Chinese economy, Israel has been watching closely as Shanghai’s stock market enters what appears to be meltdown mode. Indeed, people around the world are wondering if the “Chinese Dream” is turning into a nightmare.  The answer is: Not really. And Israel, in particular, doesn’t have much to worry about. This painful but inevitable correction in Chinese markets is unlikely to have serious effects on Israel’s burgeoning relationship with China. While Israel’s economic ties with Beijing are growing rapidly, Israel isn’t overly exposed to China’s troubles. More importantly, as The Economist noted, “Chinese stocks and economic growth have long had little to do with each other.” For example, while the Shanghai stock market was performing poorly from 2010-2014, China’s economy was the fastest-growing in the world. Goldman Sachs projects that China’s economy will overtake America’s as the biggest in the world in a little more than ten years.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Liu Yandong Attends China-Egypt University Presidents Forum


On the afternoon of March 26 local time, Vice Premier Liu Yandong attended and addressed the closing ceremony of the China-Egypt University Presidents Forum in Cairo, the capital of Egypt.  Liu Yandong said that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between China and Egypt. President Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to Egypt two months ago. Themed by the "Belt and Road" and China-Egypt People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges, the Forum is the practical action to implement the consensus of the two heads of state and will definitely build a new platform to promote bilateral cooperation in education and China-Egypt friendship. Both sides should give full play to the unique advantages of people-to-people and cultural exchanges, strengthen people's support for China-Egypt friendship, and inject new vigor and vitality into the "Belt and Road" construction.  Liu Yandong said that both sides should respect each other, advocate equal-footed dialogues among different civilizations, be open-minded and inclusive, and promote harmonious coexistence of diverse civilizations. The two sides should conduct mutual learning, enhance the strategic planning of people-to-people and cultural exchanges, deepen practical cooperation in fields of education, science and technology, culture, health, tourism and local governments, and promote win-win cooperation and common development. The two sides should improve exchange mechanisms. Under the framework of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the two countries should build brand projects, set up broad platforms, and expand the influence and coverage of people-to-people and cultural exchanges, so as to make the exchanges between China and Egypt the "engine" of boosting China-Arab and China-Africa people-to-people and cultural exchanges.


Israel, China announce NIS 260 million academic cooperation

3,000 Chinese to study in Israel; visiting Jerusalem, Chinese VP Liu Jindong starts talks on free-trade zone

By Raphael Ahren

Times of Israel - March 30, 2016

Israel and China have signed seven academic cooperation agreements with Chinese universities, it was announced Tuesday. The announcement comes as Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong is visiting Israel to co-host the second meeting of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation. The agreements include the establishment of joint Israeli-Chinese study institutes, as well as investments in student exchange programs.  According to Israel Radio, the program is expected to cost some NIS 260 million ($68 million) over nine years.


China and Israel hold the 2nd Meeting of China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation


On March 29, 2016 local time, Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel co-chaired the 2nd meeting of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation in Israel.  Liu Yandong expressed that deepening innovation cooperation is an important consensus of Chinese and Israeli leaders. Since the Joint Committee held its first meeting last January, China and Israel have made phased achievements in practical cooperation in the fields of science and technology, education, culture, health care, local cooperation and others. In particular, the innovation cooperation has displayed fruitful highlights. The institutionalization level has been enhanced constantly, the platform construction has been pushed continually and friendly exchanges have been intensified consistently. Both sides should further strengthen the function of overall planning and the role of coordination of the Joint Committee, and constantly expand the space for innovation cooperation. First, both sides should lift the height of strategic docking, improve the mechanisms for innovation cooperation, enhance the docking of innovation strategy, and propel the fusion of Israel's experience and technology of "country of innovation" with China's implementation of innovation-driven development strategy, so as to forge more growth points of cooperation. Second, both sides should extend the range of practical cooperation and explore new models and ways to constantly raise the cooperation level in multiple areas including modern agriculture, clean energy, biological medicine, advanced manufacturing and utilization of water resources. Third, both sides should increase exchanges and mutual learning, mutually draw on helpful experience, and reinforce the docking of innovation resources of the two countries such as science and technology, markets and capitals. Fourth, both sides should intensify collaborative problem-tackling, continue to strengthen frontier and original joint researches, co-construct joint labs, incubators for innovation and entrepreneurship, and platforms for commercial and trade cooperation so as to exploit global innovation market.  Liu Yandong and Benjamin Netanyahu jointly attended the release ceremony of the China-Israel Changzhou Innovation Park and other projects, and witnessed the signing of 13 cooperation agreements on visa facilitation, scientific research, agriculture, higher education, culture and others.


Pivot East Great Wall of China Great Wall of China

Itamar Eichner      

YNET - 04.01.16

Chinese Vice Primier Liu Yandong with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Haim Tzah) Chinese Vice Primier Liu Yandong with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Haim Tzah)    Get Breaking News Alerts to Your Desktop  Red email - send us news tips               Israel and China increase cooperation  A major Israel-China conference was held by the Israeli Foreign Ministry this week. Subjects discussed were increased inter-governmental cooperation, and mutual relaxing of visa restrictions.
Israeli citizens can now obtain a 10-year visa to China, joining a select group of nations with this privilege, which only includes the US and Canada. Chinese citizens will be entitled to obtain a parallel visa to visit Israel.  


When East Meets Mideast: China and Israel Expand Ties

John A. Oswald

FORWARD - March 31, 2016 

Israel and China struck several deals this week to boost tourism and business ties.  One of the biggest and most promising is the opening of the first Chinese tech hub in Israel, in Tel Aviv, reports Bloomberg Technology.  The hub is operated by Beijing-based TechCode, which also has operations in Silicon Valley, Seoul, and Berlin.  Reports the tech news site: “With four floors in the center of the Israeli city’s financial heart, the company wants to increase China’s technology prowess and offer an entrepreneurial gateway between both nations.”  The entry of TechCode into Israel will also work with Israel tech startups to help them enter the Chinese market, officials said.  In other developments: -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong started talks on a possible free trade deal. -The People’s Daily Online, meanwhile, reports that Israel will issue 10-year multiple-entry visas to China to boost both business and tourism.


Iran, China and the Silk Road Train

The Yiwu-Tehran train is a significant part of Beijing’s plans for regional integration.

By Sudha Ramachandran

The Diplomat - March 30, 2016

The freight train from China that pulled into Tehran a little over a month ago created history by becoming the first train to revive the ancient Silk Route between China and Iran.
Ferrying 32 containers of cargo, it left Yiwu in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on January 2, snaking its way through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan before entering Iran. It took the train 14 days to cover the roughly 10,399 km long journey to Tehran.
Part of the overland component of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, the Yiwu-Tehran rail link slashes travel time between China’s east coast and Iran. Its arrival “in less than 14 days is unprecedented,” the head of the Iran Railways company Mohsen Pourseyyed Aqai said. Ferrying cargo via the sea from Shanghai, which lies 300 km north of Yiwu, to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas takes 45 days in comparison.
The China-Iran “Silk Road train” will run once a month. Its frequency will increase as trade picks up. China’s economic co-operation with Iran, which deepened through the sanctions period – bilateral trade grew from $4 billion in 2003 to $53 billion in 2013 – is expected to soar in the coming years as Beijing and Tehran are eyeing stronger trade ties. In January, during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Iran, the two sides agreed to increase trade to $600 billion over the coming decade.