jump to navigation

China happy with “smooth” Russian election 4, March 2008

Posted by thegulfblog.com in China, Russia.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

China left themselves firmly in the minority when they unequivocally welcomed the election of Dmitry Medvedev as Russia’s new President. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that China was pleased to see that the election went smoothly. To be honest, one wonders which election he was referring to. Smoothly is about the last adverb that ought to be used to describe Medvedev’s victory.

However, China’s reaction is not in the least surprising given their utterly rigid policy of non-interference and criticism of other country’s domestic affairs. Indeed, it is just this kind inflexibility and apparent choice to be immoral, as opposed to amoral, that lands them on the wrong side of international opinion so often.

China’s Russian future? 3, March 2008

Posted by thegulfblog.com in China, Russia.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

Simon Elegant over at Time’s China Blog wrote an interesting article suggesting that China might look towards Russia’s blueprint for its political future. Elegant suggests that the CCCP in Beijing would look favourably upon Russia’s current ability to ‘democratically’ guarantee power to the main party. Russia has, after all, all but turned into a one party state with but a fig leaf of democratic cover. This notion of democratically guaranteeing one party rule would surely be the panacea for China’s elite. All the benefits that they currently enjoy of their restrictive system and a modicum of democratic cover: perfect.

Indeed, it has never really mattered if the world believes than an election is fair, far from it. It is manifestly obvious that Medvedev’s election is questionable at best and a travesty of democracy at worst and it certainly didn’t matter to the various despots and dictators who got themselves returned to office with a miraculous 99.9% of the vote in the past. All that matters is that there is the figment, the notion, the light wafting of democracy in their general direction. The rest of the world carps for a while and then must put such notions aside as they need to have a working relationship with the country in question. 

Elegant suggests that there are two ways to achieve such a “managed democracy” result. Firstly, you simply need to emasculate, knee-cap, and generally destroy any opposition parties. Cue absurd arrests on pathetic pre-texts, complete marginalisation of said candidates or parties by your state controlled media, and, if all that fails – just kill them. Secondly, you need to co-opt the people. In Russia’s case, Putin feeds on the notion that Russians crave stability and prestige after the destruction wrought by the 1990’s. Putin fulfils these criteria superbly, particularly addressing the Russian need to feel like a superpower. In China’s case, Elegant suggests that the Chinese people could be co-opted by the desire to keep the economic boom booming. The CCCP could play on the notion that the ‘opposition’ (suitably emasculated, obviously) are a threat to the Chinese economic miracle and can not be trusted. 

Thus, just across the border, China have a ready made system on which they can base their next stage of political evolution if they so choose. The allure of democratic righteousness is surely a powerful one for Beijing, especially with Taiwan expertly (and infuriatingly) showing just how well Chinese characteristics, democracy and economic growth can go together.

 

 

China is building up its soft power in Russia 17, January 2008

Posted by thegulfblog.com in China, Soft Power.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

China are setting up a new television channel aimed at promoting China and its culture in Russia, it was announced. This is one aspect of a vast programme that China has been undertaking for years now to expand the attractiveness of China as a brand and to make China an easier, more approachable, more understood place to trade and work. This kind of programme has been especially prevalent in South East Asia in recent years. There are countless examples of exchanges of diplomats being offered as well as scholarships being set up for students and officials from various countries to go and study in China. The idea being that the more familiar foreign officials and foreign nationals are with China the more they will trade with them and come to rely on them as a whole.

“The channel will focus on news about Sino-Russian relations, how to do business in China, programs teaching the Chinese language, series on China’s art, culture, history, places of interest, and also well-chosen Chinese movies, teleplays, and cartoons. There will also be talk shows on hot issues discussing problems emerged during Sino-Russian exchanges.”

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-01/17/content_7434371.htm