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China Newsletter (Issue 81 – March 1, 2021)

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China Newsletter

What China Is Reading

Issue 81 – March 1, 2021

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In This Issue

The articles shared here do not necessarily reflect the views of China Newsletter or Dialogue China. All articles sourced from WeChat public accounts unless otherwise noted.I. Editorial

1. Beijing Continues to Provoke New U.S. Administration

II. Policy

2. The Causes of “Fragmentation of Emergency Management” and its Dissolution — Comparative Analysis Based on Two Governance Mechanisms: Conventional and Emergency

3. Institutional Deviation: Doctrinal Interpretation Based on the Relationship Between Procedural Justice and Substantive Justice

4. What is the “Grassroots”? — Expanding the Basic Concept of Current Urban Grassroots Governance

III. Politics

5. “Unprecedented Great Change”: World China and Historical China — Overlap and Response 

6. Is There Room for Maneuver in the U.S.-China Relationship?

7. U.S.-China Relations After the U.S. Election

8. How to Rebuild a Sustainable and Resilient U.S.-China Relationship under Biden’s Administration?

9. The Biden Era is Upon Us! Implications for the United States, China and the World

IV. Society

10. User-Friendly Government: How the Internet is Reshaping the Relationship Between the State and Society

V. Finance and Business

11. Why Did US and China Housing Markets Outperform Expectations After the Pandemic?

Editorial

1. Beijing Continues to Provoke New U.S. Administration

Wang Dan – Radio Free Asia Opinion – January 29, 2021

Well-known Chinese dissident Guo Feixiong* wanted to go to the United States to take care of his wife who had just undergone cancer surgery. On January 28, 2021 he was detained by the Chinese Communist authorities at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport. He was denied permission to leave the country on the grounds of “endangering national security.” Guo Feixiong is a free Chinese citizen, and the Communist Party has no good reason to stop him leaving the country to visit his family, whether on legal, human rights or humanitarian grounds. The Communist Party’s inhumane action is more proof that the regime is becoming increasingly fascist. Guo Feixiong has announced he has begun an indefinite hunger strike. We call on the outside world to follow this development closely, and on Western countries through diplomatic means to help Guo Feixiong fulfill his wish to visit his family in the United States.
* Guo Feixiong is the pen name of Yang Maodong, a Chinese human rights legal activist from Guangdong province. Guo is known as a dissident writer and “barefoot lawyer” who has worked on many controversial cases defending the rights of marginalized groups. Prior to his 2006 imprisonment, Guo worked as a legal advisor to the Shanghai Shengzhi Law Firm.

We need to see that this drama of blocking Guo Feixiong from leaving the country has the marks of Beijing’s smug calculation behind it. Why do I say so? We know that two weeks ago Guo Feixiong published an open letter to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, asking for permission to travel abroad to visit his family. According to people who know the situation, the Guangdong Public Security Bureau did not express strong opposition to Guo Feixiong’s departure from China at first, and even gave him a passport, which seemed to indicate that they were going to let him leave. However, the day before Guo Feixiong was set to depart, the Guangdong Public Security Department suddenly made a 180-degree turn and required Guo Feixiong to write a letter confessing to his crimes before he could leave the country. After Guo Feixiong refused, they said it was an order from the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing. Obviously, this time, the local government did not block Guo Feixiong from leaving the country, but the change of policy came from the relevant departments in Beijing.

Another rather strange thing is that if the authorities did not intend to let Guo Feixiong leave the country, they could have stopped him at Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou. Instead, the authorities let Guo fly from Guangzhou to Shanghai, and only formally stopped him when he was about to change planes to the United States. This is very unusual and seems to show a desire to make a show of their action. If this is the case, we have to ask: What are the Chinese Communist authorities trying to show by staging this drama around Guo Feixiong’s desire to leave the country?

In my view, Beijing’s direct involvement in the Guo Feixiong case, its order to block his departure from China, and its high-profile efforts to do so are all designed to show the new U.S. administration that the actual purpose is to test and challenge the bottom line of the Biden administration’s China policy. As we all know, the Democratic administration has always attached great importance to human rights issues in its past policies towards China. Beijing certainly has reason to worry that the Biden government will attack the Chinese Communist regime on human rights issues in the future. Therefore, the first step is to show that China will not make concessions to the U.S. on human rights issues and to warn the U.S. not to try to challenge China’s so-called “internal affairs.” Beijing wants to see how the Biden administration will handle the human rights controversy arising from the Guo Feixiong case, so as to prepare for future Sino-U.S. battles on human rights issues.

For some time now the Chinese government has been testing the new U.S. administration’s bottom line on issues such as the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and Hong Kong, including the passage of the new Maritime Police Law, which allows the use of force by the Coast Guard, the sending of more military aircraft to harass Taiwan, hinting it intends to install Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and completely cancel all elections in Hong Kong, etc. Now it is using the Guo Feixiong case to test the U.S. in the area of human rights. This series of probes, taking advantage of the transition between the old and new U.S. administrations and the complexity of the issues, constitutes a provocation to the United States. I believe that the U.S. government should take such provocative behavior seriously and take a strong stance at the beginning of the “reset” of U.S.-China relations.

Before he was taken away by the police, Guo Feixiong’s final appeal was for the U.S. government to help him get to the United States. In the face of such an appeal, the U.S. government should respond appropriately and demonstrate the U.S.’s firm position on universal values and the global human rights situation so as to counter the salami-slicing tactics of the Chinese Communist authorities.

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Policy

2. The Causes of “Fragmentation of Emergency Management” and its Dissolution — Comparative Analysis Based on Two Governance Mechanisms: Conventional and Emergency

Chen Kelin – Political Scientist – December 12, 2020

Why Read This?
How to strengthen government emergency management and improve the level of emergency management of local governments is a hot issue worthy of attention and discussion in the context of the pandemic. Based on the observation of local governments’ emergency management, this paper makes a comparative analysis based on two governance mechanisms: regular and emergency. In-depth analysis of the causes of the fragmentation of emergency management is presented, and measures to eliminate the fragmentation are proposed.(Read the full text

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Policy

3. Institutional Deviation: Doctrinal Interpretation Based on the Relationship Between Procedural Justice and Substantive Justice

Qiu Yun – Beijing Cultural Review – December 12, 2020

Why Read This?
System deviation is the phenomenon of deviation and conflict between the system or reform measures and the set objectives of the system in the actual operation and implementation. Then, what are the specific forms of institutional deviation? What are the mechanisms and underlying reasons for their formation? Based on the selection and appointment system of party and government leaders in China, the authors grasp the core conflict between procedural justice and substantive justice behind the phenomenon of institutional deviation and actively explore the countermeasures.(Read the full text

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Policy

4. What is “Grassroots”? — Expanding the Basic Concept of Current Urban Grassroots Governance

Ma Weihong, Yu Junyao – Political Scientist – December 21, 2020

Why Read This?
With the continuous development of the new pattern of grassroots governance, how to update the understanding of the connotation of grassroots? If we continue to define the grassroots in terms of geographic space, we will easily fall into the problem of confusing the grassroots with the community, and we will inevitably face the dilemma of resource allocation and governance of the grassroots. In view of this, the author hopes to reconceptualize the grassroots from the perspective of social cognition, emphasizing the “aggregated meaning” of people. This shift actually highlights the importance of the masses in grassroots governance and recognizes the value of the grassroots’ sense of belonging and participation.(Read the full text

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Politics

5. “Unprecedented Great Change”: World China and Historical China — Overlap and Response

Xu Yong, Zhang Huihui – Political Scientist – December 29, 2020

Why Read This?
China has encountered and faced two “unprecedented changes” in modern times. In the 19th century, China was involved in the globalization process under the unidirectional globalization and world competition system, and encountered “unprecedented changes.” In the 19th century, China was caught up in the process of globalization under a unidirectional globalization and world competition system. Due to the great inertia of historical relations, China was initially in a state of passive response to the great change. After more than 100 years of efforts, it has welcomed the “Greatest Change of the Century” and is being reshaped by unidirectional globalization. In this process, historical China is not just a negative factor.(Read the full text

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Politics

6. Is There Room for Maneuver in the U.S.-China Relationship?

Zhang Baijia – Great Nation Statecraft Think Tank – December 11, 2020

Why Read This?
One of the most basic lessons of great power games is that only when both sides recognize each other’s strengths and limits can fear be eliminated. China-US relations are undergoing a rapid change. We often say that China-US relations are the most important bilateral relationship in the world today, what does it mean? But when we say it is the most important relationship, it is only in the last decade or so, basically since we entered the 21st century. But in the Trump era, the relationship between China and the United States has deteriorated dramatically. So, is there any room for maneuvering in the U.S.-China relationship?(Read the full text

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Politics

7. U.S.-China Relations After the U.S. Election

Wang Jisi – Great Nation Statecraft Think Tank – December 23, 2020

Why Read This?
The substance of U.S. policy toward China has remained the same since Biden took office. China, not the United States, can reverse the direction of U.S.-China relations at this historical juncture. The resumption of economic and trade relations between China and the United States, or the resumption of people-to-people exchanges, will hardly change the new pattern of competition over cooperation in U.S.-China relations. There are already a lot of insights about the relationship between China and the United States, such as what kind of person Biden is, what his team is like, and what adjustments he will make in foreign policy and domestic affairs after taking office. Therefore, the author would like to talk about Sino-U.S. relations and its current state from his personal feelings about history.(Read the full text

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Politics

8. How to Rebuild a Sustainable and Resilient U.S.-China Relationship under Biden’s Administration?

Chen Dongxiao – Great Nation Statecraft Think Tank – December 29, 2020

Why Read This?
Many observers in the Asia-Pacific region believe that the Biden presidency will provide new opportunities for the U.S.-China relationship to return to a more stable and predictable trajectory. But the question is, how to rebuild a sustainable and resilient U.S.-China relationship? First, it is imperative to rebuild the common foundation of the relationship. The original framework of U.S.-China relations has been shattered in the past few years, and there is an urgent need to rebuild a new framework for U.S.-China relations. In the absence of a reasonable framework, U.S.-China relations can easily spiral out of control and become vulnerable to the growing number of specific bilateral disputes and disagreements.(Read the full text

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Politics

9. The Biden Era is Upon Us! Implications for the United States, China and the World

Ren Zeping – Zeping Macroview – December 17, 2020

Why Read This?
On November 23, 2020, the General Services Administration (GSA) approved the presidential transition process, and on December 14, 2020, the Electoral College voted for the President and Vice President of the United States. President Biden’s election will have a significant impact on the United States, China and the world.(Read the full text

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Society

10. User-Friendly Government: How the Internet is Reshaping the Relationship Between the State and Society

Xiong Yihan – Political Scientist – December 19, 2020

Why Read This?
The development of Internet technology has profoundly changed the relationship between the state and society, and different forms of Internet have different impacts on grassroots governance. So why does Internet technology have the dual effect of “empowering” society and “empowering” the state at the same time? With the development of the Internet, what changes have occurred in the way technology has shaped grassroots politics? The article provides answers to these questions.(Read the full text

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Finance and Business

11. Why Did US and China Housing Markets Outperform Expectations After the Pandemic?

Sha Ye – Beijing Cultural Review – November 29, 2020

Why Read This?
Despite the continued severity of the pandemic, the U.S. real estate market continues to rise, with record-high volumes and record-low inventories. China’s real estate market has largely achieved stable prices and positive sales volume growth. Why did both the U.S. and Chinese real estate markets grow beyond expectations when the risks and impacts of the pandemic have not yet fully subsided? How do you explain this according to the classic analysis framework of “real estate depends on population in the long term, land in the medium term, and finance in the short term”?(Read the full text

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