Monday, December 10, 2007

Analysis on the Recent Billion dollar Oil Contract between Sinopec and Iran

On December 10, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by Voice of America on the implications of Iran's $2 billion contract with China's Sinopec to develop Iran's huge Yadavaran oil field. The full report is here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

China Flexes Its Muscles on Wall Street

On November 29, 2007, Dr. Jiang was invited by the Jamestown Foundation in Washington D.C. to write about the impact of China's emerging financial power in the world political economy. Here are the two-part series that appeared in the China Brief. (Part I) (Part II) (Part III)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Japan PM arrives in China to forge warmer ties

On November 27, 2007, Dr. Jiang was quoted by the Reuters on the coming visit to China by Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. Read the full report here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

China cabinet to get energy law draft by early 2008

On October 25, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by Reuters energy affairs correspondent Emma Graham-Harrison to comment on China's energy law draft. Read the article here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chinese Firm To Buy Big Stake In Bear Stearns

On October 24, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by the Washington Post to comment on China's Citic Securities' pending acquisition of up to a 9.9 percent stake in Bear Stearns. Read the article here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Is Ottawa closing door?

On October 12, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by the Globe and Mail to comment on the increasingly strained relationship between China and Canada. Read the article here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Abe resignation signals new era of instability

On September 19, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by the Globe and Mail on former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent resignation from his post. He noted that the Chinese leaders would be disappointed as they had strong hope that they could work together with Abe to improve bilateral relationship damaged during Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi's term.

Read the article here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

China-free shopping

On August 8, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by the Vancouver Sun on the safety concerns over goods and food products produced in China and marketed in North America. Read the article here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Current and Potential Uses of Alternative Fuels

On July 31, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by Global Journalist Website on the Current and Potential Uses of Alternative Fuels.

Listen Online: please go to Global Journalist Website for downloading the audio file in real player format.

Chinese firm still interested in oilsands

On July 31, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by CanWest News Service on Chinese firm's continuing interest in Alberta's oilsands. China National Petroleum Corp. has made an extensive study on oilsands resources and technology, and acquired exploration rights to 11 oil blocks in Alberta early this year. Read the article here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Chinese have hesitation about entry into oilsands

On July 10, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by Canada East Online on China's interest in Alberta's oilsands. He noted that Canada should be trying to develop a strategy to persuade Chinese investment in projects like refineries to get better value out of oilsands crude, rather than shipping it to the United States for processing. Read the article here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

On July 9, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by the Vancouver Sun on consumer products safety recalls on Chinese manufactured goods. He noted that the fundamental problem is that China's government is simply unable to monitor safety standards in the way richer countries do. Read the article here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

CBC Radio One Coverage on the 3rd Canada-China Energy Cooperation Conference (with Audio link)

By CBC News
(Jun 27, 2007)
Duration: 00:09:15

When executives from some of China's biggest oil companies touch down in the "Gateway to the Rockies," you know they're not in town just to hit the West Edmonton Mall. Instead, they've got their sights set on Alberta's bounteous tar sands.

It's no secret that China needs oil and lots of it. And Alberta has the reserves to quench its thirst. But the question remains: at what cost? Well, the "China-Canada Economic Cooperation Conference -- Energy and Beyond," may provide some answers. The conference kicked off in Edmonton today. This is the first time the conference has taken place in Canada and not Beijing.

Listen to Part 3 of As It Happens.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dangerous trade

By Wenran Jiang
(Jun 25, 2007)
Citizen Special

The spectacular rise of China as an economic powerhouse in the past three decades has brought countless consumer products to the world market, ranging from Christmas decorations to household electronics to many Father's Day presents that were opened last Sunday. Yet a flood of reports of late indicate that some of the Chinese exports are unsafe, contaminated and environmentally unfriendly, especially in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.

In March, pet food from China contaminated with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics, was recalled after the illness and death of large numbers of dogs and cats in North America. Melamine was also traced to feed additives from China for chicken, fish and hogs. Last month, Canada also found shipments of corn gluten from China contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid. Then allegations came that some Chinese-made toys, makeup and pottery contain significant amounts of lead that may pose a health hazard.

The United States has banned Chinese toothpaste imports after a number of other countries detected diethylene glycol, a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze, in shipments. And in April, the United States turned back more than 230 Chinese food products at its borders, labelling most of them simply as "filthy."

There are good reasons for the rest of the world to be worried about such troublesome developments, especially health-conscious consumers in Western countries where food and drug regulatory regimes are facing the growing challenge of rapid globalization.

China's industrialization process has created unprecedented high mobility, with some 150 million people on the move from rural to urban areas for jobs and new economic opportunities. Reforms have weakened the central government's ability to effectively control or monitor an explosive market, now primarily driven by hundreds of thousands of private enterprises.

Cut-throat capitalism and pure greed for profits, 19th-century style, are raging in the world's fourth-largest economy. Longer working hours, lower wages, higher education costs, a collapsing health-care system, and destruction of the environment are just a few challenges among many. And some have ignored the rules and engaged in fake substitutes and cheating, just to make a buck.

Despite recent international complaints about the safety of China's exports, the Chinese people themselves, not foreigners, are the primary victims of many tragic food and drug scandals. Fake food and drugs are often found in the marketplace and are even sold to hospitals. Food and environment-related poisonings have caused many illnesses and deaths in recent years. In 2004, fake baby formula with little nutritious value caused severe health problems in many infants in central China, resulting in the loss of up to 60 young lives. And since 2005, the rate of malignant tumors, listed as the No. 1 killer in China, has shot up 18.6 per cent in the cities and 23.1 per cent in the countryside.

So it is pure sensationalism, if not Sino-phobia, for some U.S. pundits to pose such questions as "Is China trying to poison Americans and their pets?" In fact, Chinese consumers have become more vocal over the years about the country's public health and environment issues. Many Chinese media outlets, under threat of censorship, have produced large exposes on China's increasing food, work and environment safety weaknesses.

Ironically, it is the outcry of North America's pet owners that puts China under international pressure to pay more attention to the country's health risks. Chinese leaders now understand that China stands to lose hundreds of billions of trade dollars if it does not restore worldwide consumer confidence.
Chinese officials used to treat international complaints as isolated incidents or, in some cases, tried to avoid responsibility. But there are indications that China is taking the public health issues, domestic or international, very seriously.

First, it has acknowledged some of the problems reported in the press, and promised to investigate and resolve them.

Second, the Chinese leaders have launched a nationwide crackdown campaign. A Beijing court just sentenced the former head of the Chinese food and drug regulation administration to death for accepting bribes to certify manufacturers of fake drugs. And a range of investigations in response to reports of fake food and pharmaceutical products is going on.

Third, the Chinese government announced earlier this month a set of new regulations that are aimed at enhancing the nation's food and drug safety system. Based on measures first revealed in April, the State Council stressed that the new national monitoring system, to be put in place by 2010, will be able to trace products, deal with accidents, and handle food recalls.

For Canada and other countries, these are encouraging steps. But no one should take safety measures of other countries for granted. Canada should consider putting in extra resources and exercising greater caution in our overall food and drug inspection capabilities.

That should include not only more vigorous border checking and import control, but also lending a hand to China to share Canada's expertise in the food and drug safety area, so China can enhance the rule of law and speed up the process of establishing a robust monitoring system that will benefit both Chinese and people around the world.

Wenran Jiang is the director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta and a senior fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation. He has been working with Canada's PrioNet Research Network on food safety monitoring in Asia.

A cooling off in Sino-Canadian relations

On Jun 25, 2007, Dr. Jiang was invited by the Edmonton Journal to write an Op-ed piece on the recent development of Canada-China relations.

Since the Conservatives ousted the Liberals and formed a minority government in early 2006, however, Sino-Canadian relations have entered a period of uncertainty. In this article, Wenran touched on a number of issues baffling both sides, including the Celil case.

You can read the article here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Energy conference boosts relations with China

On June 20, 2007, Dr. Jiang was interviewed by the U of A ExpressNews on the 3rd Canada-China Economic Cooperation Conference. As the event organizer, Wenran said the event will explore a wide range of issues in bilateral energy relations. He believes Canada and China have a great deal to gain from one another. Stronger economic relations would help Canada diversify its economic activities, for instance.

You can read the article here.

Monday, June 04, 2007

China says climate policy must make room for growth

On June 4, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by Emma Graham-Harrison from the Reuters on China's climate policy.

China went on the global warming offensive on Monday, unveiling a climate change action plan while stressing it will not sacrifice economic ambitions to international demands to cut greenhouse gas pollution.

Wenran commented that "this is more of a mobilization rally to draw the battle line as the G8 approaches. Beijing wants to make sure that China is not the target of world opinion on global warming issues."

You can read the article here.

In China, 'cutthroat capitalism' often means cutting corners

On June 4, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by International Herald Tribune on China's food safety issues. The recent melamine-contaminated pet food marketed in North America and poisonous syrup sold to Panama have triggered world-wide concerns.

"This is cutthroat market capitalism," said Wenran, "but the question has to be asked: is this uniquely Chinese or is there simply a lack of regulation in the market?"

You can read the article here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

True test of China's diplomatic intentions lies ahead

On May 28, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Globe and Mail, commenting on China's diplomatic deadlocks with the West on Darfur and North Korea issues. Wenran said China's leaders have gone through an evolution in their thinking on Darfur in recent years. At first they knew little about Darfur, focusing instead on Sudan's advantages as a reliable source of oil. Later there was growing awareness of Darfur, followed by internal debates and a greater willingness to be a "responsible power" on the issue.

Read the article here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

An Export Boom Suddenly Facing a Quality Crisis

On May 18, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the New York Times on the tainted Chinese pet food discovered in U.S. market, threatening to undermine the credibility of this booming export.

Dr. Jiang argues that China is going through a radical transformation and it’s hard to manage. "The state just doesn’t have the expertise to keep up with these things,” he said.

You can read the article here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

China's African venture is risky business

On May 6, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Australian on China's emerging oil interest in Africa. The Chinese public is expressing growing concern about the number of attacks on the rapidly increasing Chinese workforce in Africa, as Beijing's success in the global war for access to oil and other key commodities comes at a growing price in lives.

As an expert on China's role in Africa, Wenran said that some Chinese companies operating there use Chinese labour, others local labour, and yet others, both. There is no single model. But there is clear-cut economic logic for using Chinese labour. It is cheap, disciplined, well-trained, and easy to manage. He cautioned that if Chinese invested companies want to be there for the long run, they need to have local support.

You can read the article here.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Oil-field raid highlights danger for China

On May 3, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Globe and Mail on a recent armed attack toward Chinese-run oil field operation in eastern Ethiopia. Wenran said Chinese companies are only now coming to grips with the political risks that are associated with doing business in violence-prone countries. “The Chinese leaders are becoming more and more aware of the severe situation in these unstable countries where they have put in quite a bit of investment,” Wenran noted.

You can read the article here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Canada not part of Olympic torch route

On May 1, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Vancouver Sun on China's decision to exclude Vancouver, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and former host cities Montreal and Calgary from its torch relay route.

Wenran noted that Vancouver, like San Francisco, has a huge ethnic Chinese population and would be a logical choice if Canada-China relations were strong. "But I'm not surprised that no Canadians cities were included," Wenran said. "I think the colder relationship definitely is a factor which might have contributed to Canadian cities not being included."

You can read the article here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New temper marks Wen visit

On April 11, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by Reuters on recent China-Japan relationship.

In a sign of Chinese government's changing tolerance level for public displays of nationalism, one of the student leaders from 2005 first accepted and then declined an interview, citing his university's more stringent regulations on speaking out on the issue. When Abe sparked an outcry last month by saying there was no proof of government or military involvement in the use of sex slaves during World War ll, the reaction from China was subdued.

"This is an issue where you could jump in, but they didn't do that," said Wenran. "The recent coverage shows clear guidelines not to make inflammatory editorials or comments."

But Jiang also thinks the 2005 protests caused a change in Japan. "It served as a shock, not only to the Japanese public, but also to the conservative- leaning political elites," he said. "The raw emotions expressed simply could not be explained away by pure manipulation by the Chinese party."

You can read the article here.

Japan and China put old hostilities aside

On April 11, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the London-based newspaper Telegraph on the improving relationship between China and Japan. This week, Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, lands in Japan amid mutual effusions of satisfaction at improvements in the two countries' relations. It is the first visit by a Chinese premier to Tokyo in seven years.

Dr. Jiang said Mr Abe had played a clever hand by making his first public move on China an offer to co-operate on energy conservation and security.

You can read the article here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

China's Hu heads to Russia urgently seeking fuel

On March 25, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by Reuters on Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Moscow aimed at seeking oil, gas and assurance as the two countries eye each other's resurgent power.

"Both sides know they need to keep control of their energy resources, and new (Russian) rules to enhance state control are the same as what China is doing," said Wenran.

You can read the article here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ottawa abused powers, Gao says

On March 13, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Global and Mail on Chinese fugitive banker Gao Shan's expatriation case heard in Canada. Lorne Waldman, Mr. Gao's representing lawyer, said Canada is trying to circumvent extradition law by removing the former banker for a minor offence.

Mr. Waldman said evidence provided by China is unreliable. "Until China can create a legal process that is respected, any country like Canada and any lawyer like me is going to do exactly what I'm doing," Mr. Waldman said. "You can't send people back to a judicial system like China."

Wenran said that Mr. Waldman's questions about the legitimacy of the Chinese judicial system fail to take into account the reforms the country is undergoing.

You can read the article here.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Democracy can wait, Chinese PM says

On March 2, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Global and Mail on China's Prime Minister's recent comments ruling out any dramatic political reforms for the foreseeable future.

Wenran noted that the Chinese leaders are convinced that they should keep the one-party system and they're not ready for the issues of political reform. "They want to show the world that 'We're in charge, we're in control, and don't expect any dramatic changes,' " said Wenran.

Mr. Wen's comments are also a sign of China's increasing certainty in itself. "There's a growing confidence in the Chinese model of development," Wenran said. "The Chinese leaders are confident that they will be able to stick to their existing model."

You can read the article here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

China diplomat: North Korea gets 'money and respect'

On February 22, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by CNN on the North Korea nuclear issue. "China does not wish to see an implosion that would send North Korean refugees streaming into its borders," said Wenran. "Neither does it like to sit beside a unified Korea loyal to America."

You can read the article here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Flaherty, Emerson praised for China visit: The two ministers 'said all the right things'

On February 6, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Vancouver Sun on federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Trade Minister David Emerson's recent China trip. The senior Conservatives visited Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to promote trade, but mainly to revive a diplomatically strained relationship between Canada and China.

"[But] it has to come from the highest level," said Wenran, who rejected the idea that Canada can take a two-pronged approach in dealing with China; that is, to be hot on trade and to be cold on politics.

You can read the article here.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

China oil demand growth ends strong 06 on modest note

On February 3, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by Reuters on China's oil imports growth in the year of 2006.

China's oil demand rose a modest 2.6 percent in December, the slowest rate since last January, but enough to bring full-year 2006 growth to nearly 8 percent despite official efforts to curb consumption and boost efficiency. Dr. Jiang commented that the government is "putting in a lot of effort, but good intentions may not produce all the results."

You can read the article here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

China keeps mum despite furore over missile test

On January 24, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Strait Times on China's recent anit-satellite missile test. Professor Jiang said the test was a 'calculated, strategic decision'. 'It sends an unmistakable message that China has precision technology and in the event of a military confrontation, has the capability to strike at the heart of the US military intelligence,' he said.

Beijing confirms missile test on satellite

On January 24, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by Chicago Tribune on China's recent test of a new anti-satellite missile. Dr. Jiang observes that China wants military parity with the U.S.. "The question is how fast and how will it get there," he said.

You can read the article here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chinese missile strikes satellite

On January 19, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Los Angles Times on China's anti-satellite missile launch. Last week, the Chinese military shot down one of its own aging satellites with a ground-based ballistic missile, demonstrating a new technological capability at a time of growing Bush administration concern over Beijing's military modernization and its intentions in space.

Dr. Jiang noted that China's space modernization effort is part of a campaign to defend itself against the U.S. government's missile defense program, which officials in Beijing view as a militarization of outer space.

You can read the article here.

It's a mistake to blow hot and cold on China

By Wenran Jiang
(Jan 19, 2007)
The Globe and Mail

Finally, a long overdue positive development in Canada's bumpy relations with China: International Trade Minister David Emerson's current mission there, with a good number of Canadian businesses in tow.

For most of 2006, the Conservatives paid little attention to China. And when they did, controversy was the norm. Remember Foreign Minister Peter MacKay's comments that Chinese spies were engaging in industrial espionage in Canada; some Conservative MPs' seemingly intense interest in participating in Taiwan-organized activities; the offering of an honorary Canadian citizenship to the Dalai Lama, to name just a few?

Then came the confusing story of whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper would meet — or not meet — with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the APEC summit last November. Mr. Harper's chosen polemic has since become the signature of the government's China policy position: Canada will not sacrifice human rights on the altar of the “almighty dollar” in its relations with China.

Such grandstanding, while celebrated by some as principled, is both intellectually flawed and politically manipulative. It is intellectually flawed because establishing and imposing such a false dichotomy between trade and human rights demonstrates a poor understanding of China's development dynamics. It is politically manipulative because the statement was designed as a partisan shot to show the Conservatives are different from the Liberals who had “sold out” Canadian values to seek closer economic ties with Beijing.

The real problem is that the Conservatives have done little beyond partisan politics to promote Canadian national interests in our relations with China. As the months pass, it becomes clear the minority government has not formulated a coherent China policy. It behaves more like it's in opposition, holding hearings rather than making and implementing policies.

Take human rights, for example. The Conservatives have criticized previous Liberal governments for neglecting China's human-rights issues, suspended the annual government-level human-rights dialogue, and positioned themselves on a moral high ground. Yet, they have no programs in place for Canada to promote effective and meaningful changes in China.

Granted, the government's annual human-rights dialogue was not working well and a new approach was needed. But there have been a range of CIDA programs and good governance projects in China that have, over the years, made significant contributions to the rule of law and human-rights improvements. The Conservative government's throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach has created confusion for our diplomats who work on these projects.

Now, certain policy-makers in Ottawa are flirting with the idea of pursuing “hot” economic relations with Beijing, while maintaining “cold,” winter-like political relations. They argue the Chinese “should not be rewarded” for bad human-rights behaviour and that they should learn to live with political criticism; they reason Beijing will accept such a formula due to commercial concerns.

Hence, the federal government dispatched its ministers of agriculture and natural resources to Beijing in recent months, signalling business as usual. And now, with both Mr. Emerson and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in Beijing, the Conservatives are seeking new momentum in China that was lost for most of the past year.

But the idea of separating politics from economics in dealing with China does not serve Canada's national interests well. Nor will it work. Globalization will spur commerce between the two countries, but when it comes to large projects, it is the countries that have positive political relations with China that will be given priority.

Furthermore, political disengagement will shut Canada out of China's reform process, making it impossible for Canada to play a constructive role in promoting human rights and democracy in China, a goal this government has stated is a priority in its foreign policy platform.

While Mr. Emerson may have succeeded in reversing the negative trend of Canada-China relations, the real challenge for the Conservative government is to go beyond the “rights versus trade” dichotomy, develop a China strategy beyond partisan politics, manage to engage China positively on both economic and political fronts, and develop a vision that not only serves Canada's own interests, but also generates change inside China that can move that country toward democracy and a better protection of human rights.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ottawa aims to rebuild frayed ties with China

On January 17, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Globe and Mail on Harper government's recent push to rebuild ties with Beijing, including plans to target China as one of 10 markets that will be the focus of Canada's trade efforts. But Wenran said the notion that two nations can have "cold" political relations but "hot" economic relations will not fly in Beijing. "That is not going to work with Canada and China," he said. "We have cold politics and lukewarm economics." He said the Chinese can take criticism but not "grandstanding statements" such as the ones Mr. Harper made last year.

You can read the article here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Canada Seeks New Chinese Investments in Oil Fields

On January 16, 2007, Dr. Wenran Jiang was interviewed by the Bloomberg on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent assurance to Chinese officials that the Asian country remains a welcome investor in Canada's energy industry. Two of Harper's senior cabinet ministers -- Trade Minister David Emerson and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty -- are in China this week canvassing for more Chinese investments and seeking to ensure better business ties.

"Canada believes it can move on with a relationship cold on the political side and warm economically," said Wenran. "That has some risks in it. The Chinese are interested in Canadian energy and resource sectors, but not to the extent they are going to die for it."

You can read the article here.