China Beat Archive



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July 30, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright July 30, 2009. Used by permission.


1. The new Journal of Current Chinese Affairs is out—and all its articles are available for free in PDF at its website. Those of possible interest to CB readers include:

“Beijing Bubble, Beijing Bust: Inequality, Trade, and Capital Inflow into China” (by James K. Galbraith, Sara Hsu, Wenjie Zhang); “Realpolitik Dynamics and Image Construction in the Russia-China Relationship: Forging a Strategic Partnership?” (by Maria Raquel Freire, Carmen Amado Mendes); “The Regulation of Religious Affairs in Taiwan: From State Control to Laisser-faire?” (by André Laliberté); “Nationalism to Go – Coke Commercials between Lifestyle and Political Myth” (available only in German, by Nora Frisch); “China’s Employment Crisis – A Stimulus for Policy Change?” (by Günter Schucher); and others.

2. The 60th anniversary assessments have started to roll out. At The Daily Beast, two commentaries stand in contrast to one another. First, Peter Osnos’s optimistic take in “Why China Eclipsed Russia” (Osnos is the Washington Post’s former Moscow correspondent):

…when it comes to comparing China today with the Soviet Union at a comparable stage, it feels safe to conclude that China is a country with a much stronger foundation for progress than its predecessor Communist behemoth. This is mainly because it has abandoned Marxist-Leninist economic principles without meaningful political reform, a trade-off its own people seem largely to accept. The simple way to summarize the difference is that the Soviet Union, for all the immense nuclear strength and apparent self-regard of its heyday, was really a facade, behind which was an economy that, at its pinnacle, was shallow and shoddy. Neither the industrial nor the agricultural system was of a size or quality to fill its needs. Most of its international trade was essentially in barter, particularly with its Eastern European satellites. Those were the early years of the computer age, but for all the engineering and scientific talent in its population, the Soviets were way behind the West in most areas, except the military—even as the United States, in particular, chose to portray the Soviet Union as being on the verge of overtaking it in crucial ways.