China Watching

A cura di Fabrizio Perretti

2020-02-24 Emanuele C. Francia

The Chinese Model of Internationalization. The case of ChemChina-Pirelli

Despite a slowdown in direct investment in the past two years, China's international expansion activities will continue at a strong pace[1] due to both the activism of large Chinese groups (that are often state-controlled), and due to the effect of the super-ambitious plan renamed the BRI-Belt and Road Initiative (or the "New Silk Road"). This advance is often perceived by foreign companies and their managers as a true attack on their economic system. In that regard, it is proper to ask whether this represents only a threat, or whether opportunities exist as well. The Chinese economic system is ...

2020-02-12 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

The Economic Consequences of the Coronavirus

"When China sneezes, the global economy catches a cold," it was said in Napoleon's time. And now, faced with a epidemic that the People's Republic of China is attempting fight by limiting the movements of 1.4 billion people as much as possible, the entire world is waiting with bated breath. The numbers of people infected and deaths have exceeded those of the nine months that between 2002 and 2003 shook East Asia with the SARS epidemic (1). People try to make comparisons today, but at the time China had just joined the WTO, while today it is the second largest economy in the world, representing ...

2020-01-29 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Coronavirus: What Beijing Isn't Saying

Almost three thousand cases in 16 countries and over 80 deaths. (1) 16 cities under quarantine, for a total of approximately 56 million people cordoned off (slightly less than the total of the Italian population, to get an idea). In Wuhan there are complaints of empty supermarkets (2) retail prices that have tripled, face masks and disinfectants now impossible to find, overflowing hospitals (3), and insufficient beds and medical personnel. And while state TV celebrates the figure of Liang Wudong, the retired doctor called back to face the emergency, who was infected and died "on the field," social ...

2019-12-23 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Digital Surveillance

The market for surveillance technologies will have a value of 62 billion dollars by 2023 (1), and it seems that in this field as well, China will be dominant. Eight of the ten most surveilled cities in the world are in the People's Republic (2) where facial recognition is already used in many rail stations, banks, airports, in some school buildings, many hotels, and in subway systems. And that is not all: starting this month, whoever wants to a SIM card will be required to submit to a facial scan (3). This is the result of an ambitious government program launched in 2017 (4) that foresees covering ...

2019-12-03 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

The Dark Side of Beijing

When a semester ends, Chinese students usually return to their home regions to spend time with their families. For some years, though, those who return to the extreme western region of China, Xinjiang, find that friends, relatives, and neighbors have disappeared. "They are in a training school set up by the government," the police and Communist Party officials explain, also stressing that the interned people cannot leave, despite not being criminals. The officials then have to add: "I'm sure that you will support them, because this is for their own good, and also for your own good." These recommendations ...

2019-11-05 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

If Beijing Goes to War (against Pollution)

The smog of large Chinese cities no longer makes the front pages of the newspapers. And this time it's not due to censure. According to a recent report from the UN, emissions in China have fallen by 70 percent since 2013, and atmospheric pollution by 36 percent (1). How did this happen? The political will was enormous, and goes under the slogan of "Environmental Civilization" launched by the Communist Party of China in 2007 and revived by Xi Jinping as a war against pollution. Coal-fired heating has been prohibited, factories have been moved outside of cities, and the most heavily polluting companies ...

2019-09-25 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

China: A 70-year-long March

A military parade will mark the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. On October 1, in Tiananmen Square, the communist leadership will delight in showing the world the progress made since Mao Zedong declared the birth of the New China: from a poor agricultural society to a global economic power in less than a century. Those who were around when the People's Republic was founded cannot fail to remember the food-rationing cards, the hunger, and the crude political purges that reached their apex during the decade of the Cultural Revolution. And then the 1980s, when the economic reforms ...

Hong Kong
2019-07-17 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Messages from Hong Kong

It has been called the last battle of Hong Kong. Two million demonstrators out of a total of seven million inhabitants, practically one out of three, took to the streets to oppose the approval of a law that would permit extradition to China for crimes punished with a minimum of seven years in prison. They won: the discussion in the legislature was postponed to some future date. But the war to maintain “HongKongitude” didn’t just start, and won’t end anytime soon. In reality, the last word is scheduled for 2047, when the former British colony will definitively lose all of the autonomy it ...

Cina e Italia
2019-06-11 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

What’s in the New Silk Road

Italy was the first G7 country to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with China. The framework is that of the so-called New Silk Road, the colossal investment plan launched in 2013 by the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, with the idea of exploiting the trade routes of antiquity to move goods from one side of the Eurasian continent to the other, by sea and by land. In essence, the goal is to cultivate and strengthen the economic links between China and the participating nations through a new network of infrastructure that will potentially favor the creation of an important ...