No. 28 | 09.01.2022
Aerial photo taken on April 28, 2020 shows a view of a poverty-relief relocation site for the Baiku Yao People in Nandan County, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Xinhua/Cao Yiming]
Understanding the evolution of the New Cold War
Wen Tiejun
Wen Tiejun (温铁军) is an expert on China’s rural issues and a professor at Renmin University.

Faced with the confrontational "New Cold War" launched by the United States in recent years, Wen Tiejun analyzes its characteristics emergence, and the historical evolution of the original Cold War. First appearing in 2001, the concept is rooted in Samuel P. Huntington's "clash of civilizations," who argued that wars in the post-Cold War would be fought between cultures rather than countries. The New Cold War became an ideological concept formulated by a group of US politicians, especially around 2018 and 2019, who had experienced the Cold War, including Bannon and Pompeo. The New Cold War era is marked by irrational incidents, including the closure of Chinese consulates in the US and restrictions on the entry of family members of Communist Party of China cadres. Unlike the Cold War, which took place in the stage of industrial capital, the New Cold War is occurring in the era of financial capital. The global financial system is dominated by the US dollar, which has become the settlement and reserve currency of global trade. In addition to its currency, the US maintains its hegemony through its military, discursive power, and institutional system. However, the credibility of the US dollar has declined since the 2008 financial crisis. On the other hand, China has increased its production scale, capital expansion, and internationalization of the RMB, posing a challenge to the US dollar. For example, with the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has established bilateral currency swap agreements and invested substantially in Africa and Latin America. These actions have made the US view China as its enemy. According to Wen, due to the prevailing worship of the US ideology and institutions, China is not prepared to deal with the challenge of the irrational New Cold War from an ideological, institutional, and discursive standpoint. Wen suggests that China should take the lessons from the Western sanctions seriously, make comprehensive adjustments in ideology, action, and strategy, and be prepared for three years of difficult times as the central government has proposed.

Why there are no urban slums in China
Lu Xinyu
Lu Xinyu (吕新雨) is a professor and the director of ECNU-Cornell Center for Comparative Humanities, East China Normal University.

The Chinese government is committed to rural revitalization and to reducing the urban-rural income gap and developmental imbalance. Lu Xinyu points out that the problem of uncoordinated development between urban and rural areas still exists globally. No country, not even developed countries, has ever entirely completed its industrialization process and urban-rural integration. For example, the racial conflicts in the US today are rooted in agricultural and peasant issues. As agricultural modernization pushed farmers out of southern plantations and into cities, rural issues were transformed into urban and racial conflicts. In China, however, people have not seen the emergence of urban slums, but instead, there has been a narrowing gap between urban and rural areas. According to Lu, this reality indicates that China is not adhering to the Western path of urbanization. Two kinds of land ownership systems are implemented in China’s urban and rural areas: urban land is state-owned and rural lands are owned by rural collectives. Thanks to the socialist housing distribution system, urban housing was equally marketized and capitalized so that everyone had a place to live. In rural areas, since the contract responsibility system was officially established in 1982, collective ownership of rural land has been an essential part of China's socialist system, in which peasants' land ownership rights and the community are protected. China is currently pushing forward the transfer of management rights of contracted rural lands in order to maximize the return on increasing idle rural land caused by rural-to-urban migration. The author warns that the move could lead to slums emerging in China cities if a large number of landless farmers would flow to cities without employment. She proposes a concept of "Neo-ruralism" as a way to rebuild urban-rural relations and address the problem of uncoordinated development.

The politics behind the “metaverse”
Xiong Jie
Xiong Jie (熊节) is a senior researcher and digital transformation expert at the Sichuan Institute of Quality Development.

The anti-monopoly law saw its first amendment in 13 years, responding specifically to monopolistic practices in the digital economy. While there are legal experts that say anti-monopoly penalties for digital platforms lack operability, Xiong Jie responds in an interview that governance in China has always been a process of guidance, experimentation, and response. The law will become a new challenge for platforms, especially in the definition and management of data ownership. Given that data and traffic are created by users, and platform companies are also data collectors and users, where are the boundaries of using data? Legislation helps to teach the public, the platforms, and all the parties involved about the "games" they are all playing in. In this process, boundaries are clarified and new rules are generated, and this is a manifestation of socialist democracy. Recently, the concept of "metaverse" (元宇宙 yuán yǔzhòu) – pushed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – has gained a lot of attention. According to Xiong, this concept is part of a colonial mentality that seeks to create a "lawless land" in order to define the rules and monopolize the interpretation of those rules. In China, the internet is not a place outside the law, it is an integral part of the entire social space, and the country has to regulate it with the principle of fairness, democracy, and common prosperity. While promoting the "spirit of the internet," Western internet giants have intervened in politics, manipulated presidential elections, and maintained close ties with the government and the military. Google, for example, is closely associated with research funded by the US military. Xiong believes that the root of internet governance lies in rationalizing the property rights of data, and in allocating the rights of ownership, use, disposal, and revenue derived from it. Compared to the West, China has the advantage of a political system that can make innovations and breakthroughs from the fundamental interests of the broadest number of people, using a scientific governance model and the advantages of information infrastructure.

Starlink program’s challenge to international space security
Yu Nanping
Yu Nanping (余南平) is a professor at the Institute of International Relations and Regional Development, East China Normal University.
Yan Jiajie
Yan Jiajie (严佳杰) is a doctoral student at the Institute of International Relations and Regional Development, East China Normal University.

Satellites from SpaceX – US aerospace manufacturer founded by Elon Musk – have approached the Chinese space station twice in 2021, posing a danger to the security and health of astronauts on board the Chinese space station. The Starlink program, the satellite internet constellation proposed by SpaceX in 2015, is a key step in the implementation of the US' strategic space plan. The program expects to launch 12,000 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites by 2027, reaching a total of 42,000 satellites in the threephase project. As of March 24, 2021, the company had successfully launched 25 batches of a total of 1,385 satellites. Yu Nanping and Yan Jiajie noted that the impact of the Starlink program on national and international security issues has not been given enough attention. With a long-standing relationship with the US military, SpaceX has adopted a "civilian-to-military" (民转军用 mín zhuǎn jūnyòng) model rather than the "military-to-civilian" ( 军转民用jūn zhuǎn mínyòng) of the US aerospace industry in the 20th century. For example, on October 5, 2020, SpaceX signed a US$149 million contract with the US Department of Defense Space Development Agency to build four ballistic missile and hypersonic missile detection and tracking satellites for the military. The Starlink program, therefore, has significant strategic and military implications behind it. If the Starlink program is applied to the military on a large scale, it will further enhance the US military's satellite communications and unpiloted combat capabilities. According to the authors, 40,000-plus satellites – equivalent to 40,000 high-definition cameras hanging in the air forever – could pose a considerable threat to the national defense security of other countries. All overseas satellites covering a third country are qualified to carry out satellite internet services within that territory, without being subject to its national supervision and regulation. Therefore, Starlink – as a US satellite internet service – can obtain information regarding other countries, challenging their national sovereignty.The huge number of satellites in the Starlink program will be a great challenge to the peaceful use of space, threaten the existence of other satellites, and affect humanity's plan to launch higher orbiting satellites into space. It will also significantly affect the exploration and scientific research of the astronomical community, which will negatively affect natural disaster prevention and meteorological observation.

Zhou Enlai’s Legacy in the Belt and Road Initiative
Han Tongyou
Han Tongyou (韩同友) is a member of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee and vice president of Huaiyin Normal University.
Xu Zhengfei
Xu Zhengfei (徐正飞) is director of the Academic Affairs Office of Huaiyin Institute of Technology.

January 8 of this year marks the 46th anniversary of Premier Zhou Enlai's death. In their article, Han Tongyou and Xu Zhengfei point out that during his tenure as Premier(1949-1976) and Foreign Minister(1949-1958) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), Zhou personally visited more than 18 countries along the "Belt and Road" (一带一路 yīdài yīlù) and established diplomatic relations with over 36 countries. This created a new path for China's diplomacy and has had a practical impact on implementing today's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and promoting a community with a shared future for humanity(人类命运共同体 rénlèi mìngyùn gòngtóngtǐ). Han and Xu highlight three major features of Zhou's foreign affairs activities along the Belt and Road. Firstly, Zhou epitomized the unity of patriotism and internationalism. In the early years of the founding of the PRC, China pursued an imbalanced foreign policy, only building international relationships within the socialist camp. Zhou advocated for the spirit of internationalism, the establishment of a united front, and active support for independence and liberation struggles of the Third World, such as resistance to France in Vietnam, to the US in Korea, and the UK and France in Egypt. He also helped provide economic and technical assistance to Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, and other Asian and African countries, and put forward the Eight Principles in foreign aid, including "no conditions attached." Secondly, Zhou emphasized the importance of learning and advocated learning from the strengths of all countries – not only from the Soviet Union – including peaceful and neutral countries. For example, he told the performers of the Xinjiang Song and Dance Troupe who went to Africa that they should learn from the continent with an open mind and should never have a great power mentality. Thirdly, Zhou Enlai was committed to creating a peaceful and stable international environment. Building off of Lenin's idea of peaceful coexistence, Zhou creatively put forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (和平共处五项原则 hépíng gòngchǔ wǔ xiàng yuánzé), which he used to solve border problems with neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Nepal, and Afghanistan. The authors point out that Zhou's diplomatic ideas deeply influenced Chinese politics. Among them, Zhou's ideas of peaceful coexistence and common development are the fundamental, long-term goals of China's BRI. Furthermore, Xi Jinping's vision of "building a community with a shared future for humanity" is also a continuation of Zhou's ideas of peaceful diplomacy.

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