Global Governance

Global governance is not yet an issue for young Chinese people. Not even those who are politically and socially engaged are familiar with the expression. But once it was explained to them, they liked the general idea.

The questions we asked …

1. What role should China play politically in a concept of global governance?
2. What role should China play economically in a concept of global governance?
3. Does the education system in China teach anything about global governance?
4. What can you personally do to strengthens China’s role in a concept of global governance?

David Li
1. China should continue to develop a set of values out of its traditional political and cultural philosophies and experience accumulated over the past 30 years of development and promote them as part of global governance. China should hold on to some of the values that could counter mainstream Western narratives on global governance in terms of intellectual properties, patent systems and religion.
2. Traditional aid organizations and charities supporting developing countries have not worked. As a eveloping country and the world’s second largest economy, China has an opportunity to develop and provide more substainable economic models. This can be China’s contribution to global governance.
3. The school curriculum in China actually contains more information about other countries than the average western curriculum and thus prepares theChinese to participate in global governance. It’s a matter of building up their confidence.
4. I will continue to promote open manufacture and innovations which have emerged out of the necessities of a rapidly developing country like China in the past 30 years.

Huo Ju
1. China should take a more active part in international affairs and respect global conventions and universal values. We should stop saying “China is a special case!”
2. China should be more open. It should deregulate a large part of its territory, place fewer restrictions on social networks and the new economy, and get more in line with worldwide tendencies.
3. In conventional education this concept hasn’t yet been defined.
4. In all the IT and SNS businesses I have taken part in, we want to use a more open attitude to develop international cooperations, to push and intensify the Chinese people’s progress in integrated technologies.

Victor Qian
1. Corresponding to the economic boom, China should contribute “universal” values to global governance. Yet, China may not able to assume a greater role for a long time. Global governance is characterized by partnerships between states and non-state actors, and as for state actors, global governance tends to blur the distinction between international and domestic politics which is the last thing the CCP wants at this stage as it would theaten its monopoly of domestic political power. As for non-state actors, NGOs are still underdeveloped in China, thus far there is little Chinese presence in global civil society representing the interests and voices of Chinese society.
2. If the Chinese economy goes downhill, the global economy will be in trouble for at least 10 years, No doubt China must play an active role in global economic activities. It should have an independent and strong standpoint on domestic currency policies. The western world should respect more the values of developing or third world countries otherwise no true global governance can be achieved.
3. No, not really. There’re only a few scholars studying global governance.
4. I think in China individual roles could hardly help! Moreover China has too many internal problems to worry about at the moment.

Where’s communism?

For the first time in my life I went to Shanghai. And I love it!
Through my friend Isaac Mao I was very well connected there and I felt immediately at home. The city had a rhythym I could easily adapt. In my eyes the right city to become role model for the affiliation between “The West” and “The East”. Much more than Hong Kong I felt.

Hopefully the following blop posts will give you an idea why I think that way.

Shanghai, they say, isn’t China. But many Chinese cities in many ways are following Shanghai’s lead. So one day Shanghai could well become China. Why? Why not?

More than 50% of China’s population already lives in cities. By the end of the decade it will be over 70%. And it’s true that cities like Shenzen or Quanzhou or Xuzhou or Najing are following where Shanghai leads. So we need to take a closer look into what’s happening in Shanghai. In its economy, its politics and its society.

It seems that consumerism has ousted communism in Shanghai. People are consuming. Consuming like crazy. They no longer save their money because of fears about the future. The future they look into is bright and invites them to spend, spend, spend. They want to have fun, they want to be happy and they want to live their own lives. Not the lives some politician thinks they should lead.

You can feel something like a generational consciousness spreading among China’s youth. David Li, a 38 year old native of Taiwan, now a consultant and entrepreneur in Shanghai, puts it this way: “The biggest challenge for the young generation is that they have to find their OWN way between the traditions of the past and the new opportunities of the present and near future.” Cozy Ge, marketing manager at XinDanWei, the first co-working space in Shanghai, says: “The biggest challenge for me is to find out who I am – not who I am meant to be.” And a young fashion designer who just quit her job where she earned 1000 CNY (around 100 Euro) a month, to start her own business “The Third Hand” – re-designing second hand designer clothes originally produced in China, sold in the West and then returned as vintage to China – told me: “When I went to design school, it was like prison. I only ’survived’ because I wanted to study so badly! I wanted to study to change my life! And now I can do what I want to do! It’s not easy, but it feels good.” “It feels good” is a phrase I’ve very often heard from young Chinese. It’s surely one of the components of this generational consciousness openness and self-confidence, democracy, and the freedom to share, benefit, collaborate, explore and experiment are the others. And, it’s important to remember that the young Chinese have no role models to learn from. There was no generation like this before in China who could teach them how to build their own businesses, how to live “free”, how to express themselves, how to be a counterpart, how to eat healthy and much much more. They have to learn from their own mistakes, they have to share their experiences and find better ways of doing things. And this I believe is the great bond that unifies them.

Yet all this is not to say that people aren’t still very much under government pressure. A young woman being videotaped asked us to cut out the parts where she was talking about the government when we had finished. Others simply refuse to answer anything to do with politics. Or what I also frequently heard when I asked people about global governance and what it means and what they themselves could do to support it was that this kind of thinking and these topics were so completely new to them that they haven’t thought about them yet – meaning they were so stuck in their mindsets that they weren’t yet aware of the broad range of chances and opportunities global governance could open up. Another way of putting it is that they are still suffering from an education which brainwashed them.

“A one party system can be very effective economicwise …”

…, because it goes along with long term thinking. And this is what many governments in the western world lack,” says Marc van der Chijs, Chief Evangelist, SPIL GAMES ASIA is a serial entrepreneur, based in Shanghai. His China experience started 12 years ago when he came as Daimler employer to Beijing. 3 years later he quit the job, moved to Shanghai and started his own businesses. He is now deeply involved in online and mobile business … Just 2 weeks ago he proofed that the Internet IPO is back — Tudou, the YouTube of China, founded by Marc, saw its shares pop more than 100 percent in its IPO. His next “baby” will launch soon and has a fair change to disrupt the fashion industry … watch out for UnitedStyles.com!

E-Learning at Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University

Carsten Ullrich, native German, is living in Shanghai for almost 4.5 years now. He is working as a researcher at Jiao Tang University. His domaine: e-learning and web 2.0. The e-learning lab provides various online courses. In this interview he is talking about his challenges to get teachers and students much more involved in interactive features. Today, he says, most of the courses still reflect the traditional style of teaching: teacher standing in front of the classes and lecturing …
Also technical wise he has some hurdles to overcome.

Further links to Carsten’s work:
SJTU e-learning Lab
Carsten’s homepage

Clash of Cultures

David Li, native Taiwanese, studied in the US and now living in Shanghai is the founder of the first hackerspace in Shanghai: Xinchejan. I’ve been there today and I really liked the vibes: relaxing, innovative, geeky and free.

David is providing a space for people to come together, work together and share ideas. People there – they transform ideas into prototyoes, ready to market. Products like electronic motorbikes controlled by cell phones, urban farming or robots.

In this interview we speak about the overall economic, political and cultural situation in China.
For me, David is a representative of the generation which has no “home” in China. Too young to be “traditional, too “old” to be “hip” – but recognizing the tensions this fact is causing. A true clash of culture, I truly enjoyed my time speaking to him … inspiring and very thoughtful.

China after the Nobel Prize

“People are customized to follow in China!” says Isaac Mao, one of the first Chinese bloggers. He started blogging in 2002 and he soon became one of the young digital leaders in China. Since then he is expressing his views of a modern Chinese Democracy – both: peacefully and wisely.

In the passed years I have done a couple of interviews with him, but I’ve never heard him some relaxed and enthusiastic. The reason: The Nobel Prize for Peace Laureate: Liu Xiaobo. Liu was of course the mayor topic during our conversation, but we also talked about the influence social media has on activism and how big the chances are to overcome censorship in China:“I can see, that censorship in China will be gone within the next 5 years!”The interview was audiotaped via SKYPE, so please excuse that I cannot provide video. But I couldn’t resist the fact, that I am still running an unregistered version of SNAPshot on my new laptop and this is why I provide the still;-))