Bill Clinton is left waiting for solutions, December 4:
At the Clinton Global Initiative in Hong Kong, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi’s initial speech was much what you’d expect from a government official, peppered with references to China’s “peaceful rise” and its commitment to environmental causes despite being a developing nation with low per capita emissions. In the subsequent panel discussion, there were further nods to Beijing’s plans to cut energy intensity and emissions, and an acknowledgment that much still needs to be done.
Points for effort are not enough for Bill Clinton, however.
“What I think we need more of is not just good intentions, but an understanding of how to do this in an economically beneficial way,” he said. “We have to make this a user friendly and economically beneficial thing.”
To be fair to Yang, it wasn’t the time – and he doesn’t have the authority – to unveil new environmental initiatives. If there were something new in the pipeline, Beijing would make the announcement on its own stage.
Jerome Cohen on China’s legal reforms, December 9:
Sensitive legal issues have been in rich supply in China over the last month or so, but a Politburo meeting held at the end of November looked at judicial reform in terms of the needs of the masses rather than headline cases. Reform is required to ease increasing public dissatisfaction with the government, which is seen as a threat to social stability.
Jia Qinglin, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative, made it clear that China would “absolutely not copy Western-style democracy and judicial system word for word.” In short, the Communist Party will remain king.
There have been many reports of sporadic unrest in response to job losses in manufacturing hubs that are feeling the brunt of the downturn in exports. Perhaps now more than ever, Beijing has to win the hearts and minds of the people as it seeks for ways to ensure the cash continues to flow into their wallets.