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The World Order Seems to be in Turmoil – What’s Going on?

September 5, 2023
Over the summer, there appears to have been a big upheaval in the international system, and I’m wondering what it all means. In August, the five existing members of the BRICS club — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, expanded it with invitations to Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (BRICISSUE-AE?). According to the

‘Anti-domestic violence little vaccine’: A Wuhan-based feminist activist campaign during COVID-19

September 23, 2020
Hongwei Bao argues that rather than seeing the pandemic as an obstacle to social movements, it can be a good opportunity to experiment with flexible and creative modes of social and political activism. This piece is a shortened version of a paper in the Interface Journal. From January to April, many Chinese cities including Wuhan were locked down in a
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How has Corruption driven China’s Rise? Yuen Yuen Ang discusses her new book

July 22, 2020
I sat down (via Zoom) this week with one of the most interesting observers of China, Yuen Yuen Ang. Her ground-breaking new book, China’s Gilded Age (see my review here), discusses the links between corruption and China’s stellar rise – and the real history of corruption and capitalism. DG: China disproves everything we hear from Western political scientists. People like
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How do recipient countries regard China’s aid? Two new papers shed light

July 14, 2020
Guest post by Hannah Ryder, CEO of Development Reimagined, and former head of partnerships for UNDP China What do the governments of countries like Cameroon or Cambodia really think of Chinese aid and loans? It’s a question few commentators and funders ask, and even fewer are interested in helping respond to the challenges they raise. Instead, the focus is typically

Podcast: How China Escaped the Poverty Trap, with Yuen Yuen Ang

November 3, 2018
  Finally managed to persuade Yuen Yuen Ang, author of one of my favourite books from last year (reviewed here and discussion of bicultural authors like Yuen Yuen here), to come to LSE, where she gave a barnstorming lecture on the book and its wider implications. The previous evening I managed to catch up with her for an FP2P podcast.

Two top authors compared: Hossain on Bangladesh and Ang on China

September 21, 2017
OK, so this week I’ve reviewed the two important new books on the rise of China and Bangladesh. Now for the tricky bit – the comparison. The books are very different in their approach. Where Yuen Yuen Ang focuses on the ‘how’ in China, Naomi Hossain is more interested in the ‘why’ in Bangladesh. Hossain traces the ‘why’ to the

Book Review: How China Escaped the Poverty Trap, by Yuen Yuen Ang

September 20, 2017
Update: this review is now available in Chinese Following on from yesterday’s book review on an account of Bangladesh’s success, here’s a great book on another developmental superstar – China. The macro-story on China is well known, but always bears repetition. Emerging from the carnage of the Mao era, China in 1980 had a GDP of $193 per capita, lower

Tortoise v Hare: Is China challenging the US for global leadership? Great Economist piece

April 12, 2017
Back from Australia and I’ve been catching up on my Economist backlog. The 1st April edition exemplified the things the magazine does really well (I don’t include its naff geek-humour April 1st leader supporting a tax on efficiency). There were the customary great infographics – here’s the map showing the extent to which countries export/import air pollution through their trade

Meetings with Remarkable Women: Shen Ye, Organic Activist and Chinese Rock Chick

June 14, 2016
Last post from my recent visit to Beijing If promoting organic farming through Oxfam partner Beijing Farmers Markets sounds a bit worthy, Shen Ye is anything but – she’s one of the funniest people I’ve met in years and during a morning spent visiting farms on the outskirts of the City, was both fascinating and reduced me to repeated fits of

How does Change Happen in China?

June 8, 2016
The honest answer is of course that I have no idea. Given China’s size, complexity, opacity and the language barrier created by being a non-mandarin speaker, a week of meetings and conversations can only leave a string of vague and often contradictory impressions. But here they are anyway: Is China’s development complex or complicated? The standard account of China’s extraordinary

What’s happening to inequality in China? Update from a visit to Beijing

June 7, 2016
Spent a fascinating few days in Beijing last week, at the invitation of Oxfam Hong Kong. The main topic was inequality, including a big seminar with lots of academics (NGOs are very research-based in China – it was a graphtastic, PhD-rich week). Here are some of the headlines: Income Inequality in China is changing fast. According to the National Bureau

Is China’s rise relevant to today’s poorest states?

November 5, 2015
Am I allowed to say that a meeting held under Chatham House Rules took place at Chatham House? Let’s risk it. I recently attended a fascinating conference on UK-China relations, which discussed the two governments’ burgeoning cooperation on development issues. This seems to be turning into a triangular relationship, in which the UK and China combine brains, money and experience