Sun. Jan 20th, 2019

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Xi calls for collective effort to energize global economy

Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies observe a minute of silence in memory of victims of the Paris attacks before a working session at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey. Kayhan Ozer / Reuters President proposes models based on reform, innovation President Xi Jinping has pledged to seek collective efforts to give new impetus to the global economy and deliver a fruitful G20 summit next year in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, by working with the member states in an open, transparent and inclusive manner.

Urbanites move to make Haikou home

Attracted to its amiable weather, clean air and affordable housing, Haikou is the new home for a growing number of Chinese migrating to the capital of Hainan, China’s southernmost province. According to a recent joint research from the National Bureau of Statistics and China Central Television, Haikou ranks first among the top 20 “happiest” cities in the country.Haikou Mayor Ni Qiang said the sense of well-being comes from the quality of transportation, prices, lifestyle, healthcare, education, ecology and air quality. “Haikou takes residents’ feelings as the top priority and strives to optimize every aspect related to living,” he said.Statistics show the city has a population of only 2.04 million, a stunning difference between Beijing’s 19 million and the 8.7 million in Zhejiang’s provincial capital Hangzhou.In another ranking to assess cities, the 2014 Chinese Cities’ Competitiveness Blue Paper by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, placed the city third among 289 cities. Haikou’s appeal was also captured by the Wall Street Journal, which reported that Chinese property purchasing goals have changed from investment to enjoyment as they pour money into Zhuhai, Haikou, Taipei and Hong Kong for their second and third properties. Statistics show that non-locals bought  a combined 1.31 million square meters in 2013, or 12,952 units, 43.14 percent of Haikou’s total residential sales.According to the Haikou Statistics Bureau, the city’s average property price hit 8,109 yuan per square meter last year, up 14.73 percent year-on-year. At the same time, the average price in Beijing was 45,000 yuan per square meter for second-hand homes

China Property – Global real estate groups eye Asia-Pacific investments

Karsten Kallevig of Norges Bank Investment Management Several international real estate firms are betting on the Asia-Pacific region for growth and global expansion. London-based property investment manager TIAA Henderson Real Estate (TH Real Estate) recently announced its strategy to strengthen its foothold in Asia, especially in Singapore, Japan and China. The joint venture company, which manages about USD71 billion in properties and assets worldwide, is already doing business in Asia with USD550 million worth of projects through United States-based financial services firm TIAA-CREF and Henderson Global Investors of the United Kingdom, including commercial properties in Tianjin, Shanghai and Foshan, Guangdong in China

Parsing Xi Jinping’s Words

One of the striking aspects of Xi Jinping’s first domestic outing in early April at the Boao Forum in Hainan with his full suite of power roles now (Party head, president and head of the military) was the highly abstract way in which he spoke. Attendees of the conference from the head of state level down, and the large number of journalists there, were most eager to hear what he might say about the recently increasingly truculent North Korea. But unlike the Australian Prime Minister, keen to stretch her wings now the country has a seat on the UN Security Council for two years, who explicitly referred to the DPRK, President Xi said nothing direct. His sole offering was a general reference to the need to preserve regional stability. Initially, this was taken by analysts as a coded warning to the “little brother” in Pyongyang to step back and calm down. But an editorial in the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, by the end of the week seemed to put pay to this idea by forcefully pointing the finger at the United States, saying that it was provoking the DPRK, that it was playing politics in the region and that the onus was now on it to reengage and speak directly to the North Koreans rather than igniting war games around them. Xi in his speech did refer to the “China Dream,” but in similarly vague language. Is this his gambit to try to capture and inspire the emotions of the Chinese people in ways which his predecessor Hu Jintao with his mechanical, dry talk of “scientific development” signally failed to do? And is the “China Dream” the preparation for a more viscerally nationalistic polity in Beijing, and one that will really start to cause problems both for the neighbors and further afield? Perhaps we are imputing President Xi with too much ambition and influence too early. He failed to refer directly to the DPRK not because he didn’t want to, but because with the complex affiliations and feelings about this in the Party elite, he simply couldn’t. Speaking ambiguously in this context offers the best protection. And as a domestic move, dishing the Americans will always have more traction than turning on the DPRK – at least publicly. On the China Dream too, before we get excited by taking this as evidence for an imminent onslaught of Chinese nationalism, we have to remember the domestic context. China Dream sounds bold and ambitious, but in the end, for the people Xi is really talking to, those in his own country, the China Dream is no more than something approaching the lifestyles that people in the West have been enjoying for the last half century. The China Dream in that sense is simply a snappier way of reduplicating the talk in the Hu period of “the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.” All we can really learn from Xi’s talk is that in this period where China is so globally prominent, we have to get sharper at sifting apart the language aimed at domestic issues, and that which is really addressed to the outside world. China still behaves like it is a little surprised, and only slowly getting used to, its new international prominence. Most of the time, it acts like a country turned in on itself. People dream dreams for themselves, however, and rarely on behalf of others. And the dream that Xi has been talking about sounds more like it is focused on people trying to have a better life within, than a country about to embark on expansionist challenges to the U.S. or any other imperium that might surround it. Kerry Brown is Executive Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and Professor of Chinese Politics. He was previously