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By Jessica Batke*, Julia Breuer and Matthias Stepan


Beijing has made good on its promise to make a greater number of high-level government documents available to the public. Yet the principle of CCP rule will ultimately define the boundaries of transparency.

Chinese security policy experts use potential threats to BRI projects, such as recent terrorist attacks in Central Asia, to highlight the necessity of a globalized security posture.

Donald Trump‘s election victory was met in China with a mixture of triumphalism and concern about the consequences. Trump’s win is seen as both, a victory for democracy and a symbol for the demise of the US.

Michal Makocki

Central European countries vie to position themselves as transit hubs in China’s ambitious Eurasian trade corridors. The enthusiasm is tempered by concerns that the new transportation lines will ultimately increase the region’s trade deficit with China.

Anna Wang and Matthias Stepan

China struggles to rein in the accumulation of public sector debt at the provincial and municipal level through new financing vehicles. The promotion of public-private partnerships (PPPs) will not solve the problem as long as many of the “private” partners in such infrastructure funding projects are state-owned enterprises.

Chinese media consumers turn to overseas Chinese language websites for political news beyond Beijing’s propaganda. China’s leaders fear these outlets for their open reporting, but many use them to test political proposals or to leak information about intra-party rivals. The complex imbroglio is a result of the lack of press freedom and the opaqueness of Chinese politics.

Cheap internet-connected devices made in China are becoming a major threat to global IT security. China will have to regulate the “Internet of Things” so that everyday household items cannot be used to launch cyber attacks.

European efforts to build up ASEAN as a strategic partner are thwarted by Beijing’s increasing economic and diplomatic influence on individual South East Asian governments.

China has made impressive strides to increase the coverage of social policy programs like health insurance and old age pension plans. Yet slower economic growth and China's demographic challenges might make it difficult to continue the success Story.

Several studies show the correlation between China’s growing impact on the world’s economies and political populism in the US and European societies.

China’s leaders place high hopes on the vibrancy of the economy’s service sector, but in reality it has not been able to fill the void left by the decline of manufacturing. The inability of services to pick up the slack in turn creates a temptation for the government to delay overdue structural reforms while maintaining a reliance on investment-driven growth.

At first glance, China is not a factor in this year’s US presidential election, despite Donald Trump’s occasional efforts to make it one. Yet in the toxic brew of American politics, the economic relationship with China plays a role that seems set to grow and might increasingly poison the bilateral relationship.

The Chinese leadership’s campaign against Western lifestyles flies in the face of the growing number of young Chinese who study abroad or engage in youth exchanges with Western countries.

Lecture by Kevin Rudd

China’s president Xi Jinping follows a grand strategy when he talks about a multipolar world and reform of global governance, according to former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd. In a lecture in Berlin, Rudd described China's efforts to push for change within the United Nations or through the creation of institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure and Development Bank (AIIB). „China is in the business of changing international institutions,“ said Rudd.

Xi Jinping’s programme to reform the Chinese military has been characterized as a high-risk venture by a strongman leader and as a radical break with the past. But this dominant narrative is flawed. Xi has avoided overt confrontations, and the management of the reforms so far is in line with historical precedents.

Interview with Zhang Jieping

The online platform “Initium” is one of several media start-ups in Hong Kong that defy tighter censorship and media controls in China. Within a year it has attracted more than two million regular readers although the site quickly got blocked on the mainland. Chief editor Zhang Jieping says there’s a huge appetite for independent journalism. In this new podcast she talks about how to keep up journalistic principles in a restrictive political environment.

The International Monetary Fund’s decision to add the Yuan to its basket of Special Drawing Rights currencies honors the Chinese currency's ongoing internationalization. The Yuan will soon play a bigger role in Asia and in financial markets for development aid. But it will take much longer for it to become accepted as a reserve currency in private markets.

After decades of silence between the Vatican and Beijing, Pope Francis has reached out to China’s Communist leaders to negotiate over the status of China’s party-led state church, the ordination of priests and the appointment of bishops. But many Chinese Catholics are rightfully sceptical whether their concerns will be considered.

The Chinese government claims to have made stunning progress in improving the human rights situation in the country through reforming its judicial system. But its new White Paper titled “New Progress in the Judicial Protection of Human Rights in China”, published on 12 September 2016, is a jumble of selective statistics and unsubstantiated Claims.

There is a growing risk that China will be the origin or epicenter of global economic turbulences. To prevent negative spillover effects from homemade shocks, China has to improve the quality of economic data, set more realistic targets, improve communication and rely on market signals.

Interview with Kaiser Kuo (via Young China Watchers)

Kaiser Kuo sees China's powerful Internet companies on a course of collision, not collusion with the central government. In this partner post, the former international communications director of Baidu, co-host of the Sinica podcast and founder of the rock band Tang Dynasty shares his views on the future of the Chinese tech sector and on his mission to build cultural bridges between China and the US.

As host of the G20 summit in Hangzhou China showed unprecedented initiative in shaping global economic governance - and to ensure that the results reflect China’s domestic economic priorities.

When Hong Kong voters take to the ballots to elect their parliament, they are bound to change the political dynamics between their city and Beijing. No matter which camp wins, tensions in Hong Kong are likely to flare up again.

The upcoming G20 summit is a powerful symbol of China’s rise. But the struggles of pro-democracy forces ahead of Hong Kong’s elections are a reminder that China’s increasing international integration has not brought political liberalization at home.

After an international tribunal rejected China's maritime claims surrounding its outposts in the Spratlys, China could try to use a number of planned offshore power platforms to justify the creation of expansive safety zones for their protection.