The CSS Blog Network

Melting Expectations

Iceberg, Alaska, photo: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton/flickr

Iceberg, Alaska, photo: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton/flickr

With the Copenhagen conference on climate change only two weeks away, it remains doubtful whether a legally binding agreement on climate change will emerge.  Here a run-down of the (mostly vague) pledges made by key greenhouse gas emitters in the wake of the conference:

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A Close-Up of China

Screenshot of the Atlantic magazine

Screenshot of the Atlantic magazine, map of China

The Atlantic and Patrick Chovanec have published an excellent region-by-region analysis of China with an interesting historical/socio-political angle.

Too often, Chovanec reminds us, China is seen, analyzed and treated as a monolithic entity, while the truth is much more interesting: “China is a mosaic of several distinct regions, each with its own resources, dynamics, and historical character.”

He divides China into Nine Nations and analyzes the historical character, make-up and challenges of each ‘nation’ in turn. They’ve added a snazzy map to the analysis too. I highly recommend reading the whole text though, it gives invaluable insight into the unique challenge China faces as a historically, ethnically and socially complex country with a massive population and a vast geography.

It’s a learning opportunity and one that proves that with China in particular, myths- both accidental and self-generated- have to be questioned in order to “understand the Nine Nations and the role each of them is playing in shaping China’s future.”

Amen to that.

And if you’re still hungry for more, remember to check out our Special Report on US-China relations.

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ISN Weekly Theme: US-China Relations

Obama and Mao T-shirts, photo: Shea Hazarian/flickr

Obama and Mao T-shirts, photo: Shea Hazarian/flickr

Obama’s three day visit to China is expected to breathe new life into the US-China partnership. With deep economic and financial links, as well as responsibility for 40 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, the US and China are under immense pressure to deliver on the promise of great power cooperation and progress on a daunting set of challenges.

Those Immigrants…

Photo: Tom Godber, flickr

Photo: Tom Godber, flickr

Migrant integration in Europe is one of the hot topics on the continent, especially concerning Muslims. A number of Muslim immigrants in France arrived from Algeria in the second half of the 20th century due to the colonial relationship that lasted until 1962.  In France, and the rest of Europe, its the cultural-religious differences between devout Muslims and the secular majority that gives sociologists and right-wing politicians a lot to write about.

As one of the interesting side effects of globalization, Algeria itself now seems to have some problems with non-Muslim immigrants. There are an estimated 35,000 Chinese who live in the country who seem to be unwilling or unable to assimilate to the cultural norms of their hosts.
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CCTV (In-)action

Screenshot of CCTV Arabic logo on website

As China gears up to cash in its credibility tokens, accumulated as a result of its unexpectedly efficient handling of the global financial crisis, it’s more eager than ever to educate the world about itself on its own terms. Through its vast and disciplined state-controlled media machine China is engaging in a massive public relations exercise, presumably to make existing businesses around the world run more smoothly, and to prepare for world domination. Well, not quite.

Like any rising star, China is looking to expand its network of media outlets and to contextualize these so that audiences outside its cultural and linguistic sphere get their daily dose of Chinese news in their local language. It has reportedly budgeted nearly $7 billion for global media expansion and upgrades.

The most recent addition to the Xinhua-People’s Daily-CCTV family is CCTV Arabic, a channel purported to reach nearly 300 million Arab speakers via satellite in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Undoubtedly it considers this to be a major addition to its current portfolio which, in addition to its monopoly over Chinese media, includes CCTV in English, Spanish and French (plans are in place for Russian and Portuguese channels too).

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