Category Archives: Goulard, Sebastien

Foreign-owned hospitals in Chinese cities?

Flag_of_the_Red_Cross.svgChina allows foreign-owned hospitals in more cities

 

China has allowed private hospitals solely owned by foreign investors to open in seven cities and provinces, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced on Wednesday.

Wholly foreign-owned hospitals are permitted in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan, according to a statement jointly issued by the MOC and the National Health and Family Planning Commission dated July 25.

Foreign investors can either set up a new hospital or take part via mergers and acquisitions, it said.

Full article online

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

A coal free Beijing?

Beijing to ban high-polluting fuels by 2020

by Zheng Jinran, China Daily, August 6, 2014

Beijing will ban the consumption of high-polluting fuels in downtown areas by 2020, the municipal environmental protection authority said. The Economic and Technological Development Zone in Yizhuang, Daxing district will be the first area with zero consumption of high-polluting fuels by the end of this year, according to a new plan for the ban on such fuels in the capital.

Full text available online

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Outdoor activities in gated communities

The development of gated communities in Chinese cities has been studied by several researchers such as Pow Choon-Piew1. In a recent article, Wu, Wei and Wang chose to focus on the use of outdoor open space in these communities, choosing a gated community in Xiamen for their case study2. This community contains several different housing types (low-rise, medium-rise and high-rise buildings) surrounded by different designs for green spaces. They conducted their research by distributing a questionnaire to the residents gathering information on their outdoor activities within their gated communities (walking, practising sports, walking their dog, swimming…) and correlated their answers with their profile (age, gender, education, job, family income).

According to these findings, children, housewives and retirees benefited most from outdoor spaces. This study also shows that residents living in communities with large open spaces, and have a high annual income, are not more likely to take advantage of this feature and do not necessarily practise more outdoor activities. Therefore, we can argue that residents see green space more as an indicator of social status rather than something that meets a real need for outdoor activities.

  1. POW, C.-P. (2009). Gated communities in China: class, privilege and the moral politics of the good life. Abingdon and New York: Routledge []
  2. WU Caiwei, WEI Yongping, and Mark Y. WANG (2014). Planned gated communities in urban China : outdoors activities and designed leisure spaces. In Mark Y. WANG, Pookong KEE, and Jia GAO. Transforming Chinese cities. London UK and  New York NY: Routledge []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

How global are Chinese cities?

The global aspect of Chinese cities has been widely studied, but the originality of Su, Xue and Agnew’s article is their focus on the political dimension of Chinese cities’ global status1.

This article does not look at where international companies’ headquarters are in China, but instead scrutinizes the location of international organisations, diplomatic agencies, and international non-governmental organisations and media agencies. For obvious reasons, most of them can be found in Beijing. Cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou also host a significant number of international organisations, but the authors notice that many smaller Chinese cities have also recently gained political influence on the international scene.

This article shows that the expansion of international organisation offices and their presence in China is a consequence of the central Chinese authorities’ political evolution over the last thirty years (new diplomatic relations and economic opening-up). After conducting interviews in Guangzhou, the authors argue that at the local level, the implantation of international offices is also motivated by several factors including a city’s regional position, its historical ties and the presence of a large international business community.

This study reveals the interconnection between economic and political influence on ranking global cities.

Furthermore, Chinese second-tier cities can strengthen their global status further as China improves its regional relations. A city like Kunming will gain more influence with the consolidation of the Greater Mekong region.

  1. SU Nian, XUE Desheng, John AGNEW (2014). World cities and international organizations: political global-city status of Chinese cities.  Chinese Geographical Science, 24(3), pp.362‒374. Retreived July 15, 2014 from  http://egeoscien.neigae.ac.cn/fileup/PDF/20140310.pdf []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Holly Ming’s book on Chinese migrant children’s education

 

MingBookEarlier this year, Holly H. Ming (senior researcher at the Youth Foundation, Hong Kong) published an interesting book on migrant children’s education in China.
This book is actually adapted from her PhD dissertation that she prepared at the Harvard Kennedy School.
This book is structured in four parts. Each of them starts with a migrant’s story and educational aspiration. The author has chosen to adopt an empathic tone; it is clear she cares about these people and their issues. It would be misguided to think that her approach is not academic enough. Actually, Holly Ming’s demonstration is backed with strong references, and she conducted numerous interviews to prepare this book.
She first introduces readers to the status of migrants and their children in cities, and then in a second part, described migrant children’s quest for identity. Most migrant children do not remember their early life in their mother province, but still need to find their own place in their host city.
In a third part, the author studies the career decisions of migrant students and the obstacles they face in pursuing their professional ambitions.
According to her findings, some progress has been made toward the integration of migrant children in public schools (although migrant schools – private schools for migrants delivering low quality courses – still exist in several cities). Several host municipalities reduced paperwork and so more migrant children can attend these schools. But the persistence of the hukou system still prevents many of them from taking the senior high school entry examination. Most migrant children have to choose between taking this exam in their home province, where the syllabus is different from the one followed in their host cities, or leaving school and searching for low-wage jobs, repeating their parents’ fate.
She ultimately presents several policies that could help second-generation migrants to get the education they deserve.
After reading this book, written with heart, we can argue that China does not properly nurture talent. This second generation of migrants faces too many obstacles to succeed. Without proper policies, they will suffer from the same social exclusion their parents experienced.
These children and their families show an incredible thirst for education; they know education is the key to social advancement. More funds and programmes need to be allocated to migrant children to reduce social inequalities and insure a real meritocracy where second-generation migrants and fuerdai (富二代) (the second generation of the upper class) will receive the same education and compete for high social status.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Migration in China and Europe

In a paper published last January Cheng Jianquan, Craig Young, Zhang Xiaonan and Kofi Owusu attempted to compare internal migrations in the EU and in China1.

The authors acknowledge that comparing migrations in China and in Europe is problematic because of the different nature of both regions (a single country vs. a group of states), and because of their political and socio-economic diversity. This explains why few scholars have adopted this comparative approach. The authors justify their comparison with the size of both entities, and the restrictions and absence of restrictions (hukou, Schenghen area) on movement in both regions.

In spite of these limitations, through means of a solid review of modelling used in previous studies, the authors list several key variables that could be used to compare internal migrations in Europe and China, namely: population size, distance (for example, their first results found that European migrants are more affected by cultural distance, language, history, than Chinese migrants), contiguity, GDP per capita, income difference, unemployment rate, migration network, and migration restriction.

The authors argue that comparing migration patterns in China and Europe could be a useful exercise, but they found that data sets need to be harmonised on the European side, and that there needs to be more cooperation between both regions to study this phenomenon.

  1. Cheng Jianquan, Young Craig, Zhang Xiaonan & Owusu Kofi (2014). Comparing inter-migration within the European Union and China: an initial exploration. Migration studies, January 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014 from http://migration.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/01/06/migration.mnt029.full []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Chengdu: China’s most liveable city according to ADB

ADB ChinaLast week, the Asian Development Bank released a report on China’s  most liveables cities. According to their findings, Chengdu ranks first, followed by Guangzhou and Ningbo. Cities in Southern China or on Eastern coast and enjoying higher economic development, obtained better scores than other cities.

This study explores the concept of environmental liveability and proposes the Environmental Livability Index (ELI) that looks at several environmental issues (namely water quality, water resources, air quality, solid waste, acoustic environment, ecosystems, environmental management, climate change and urban development).

In spite of constant improvement since 2000, China still face severe environmental challenges that could threaten economic development and people’s well-being.

Full report available online

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Beijing attracting less tourists?

Last year, the number of foreign visitors to China dropped, including in Beijing, which attracted fewer international tourists. Last month, the China Daily published an interesting article on this slowdown1 in which the author presents three main reasons for this decline.

The first, and most important, reason, according to this article, is the pollution and bad air quality in Beijing. We at UrbaChina have already highlighted the possible damage of pollution on China’s global aspiration. Foreign visitors have seen the grey skies of Beijing on TV and simply do not want to experience it in reality.

The second consists of the economic crisis and Yuan appreciation. China has become more expensive to visit for foreign visitors, especially those coming from Europe.

The third reason raised by this article is that Beijing is no longer exotic. China is not as “mysterious” as it was a few years ago, and Beijing is no longer a dream destination. Although this argument should seem inadequate, the demolition of many “hutong” and the rapid modernisation of the city have negatively influenced foreign tourists, who prefer romantic destinations with fewer skyscrapers and more traditional districts.

However, there may be other reasons for this slowdown. Several articles rightly pointed out that the decline of tourism in China could also be caused by political tensions between China and her neighbours. Heather Timmons from Quartz2 showed that this decline mostly concerns tourism flows from Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia, countries involved in maritime disputes with China. The slowdown is much less significant with tourists from Europe and North America.

If Beijing and Shanghai want to become global tourist destinations, they must make attracting visitors from neighbouring countries a priority, as they are more likely to pick them as week-end destinations. It should be noted that in the case of Paris half of international visitors actually come from Europe.

This means that, for China to host more inbound tourists, more integration is needed in Asia. Since 2003, Japanese tourists can visit China (up to 15 days) without a visa, but this is not enough. There need to be more campaigns targeted at the Japanese and other nations explaining that China welcomes every visitor. This will help Beijing attract more foreign tourists while waiting for grey skies to turn blue once again.

  1. Zhang Yuchen (2014). The city that’s not forbidden, just avoided. China Daily, 13 May 2014, accessed 30 May 2014 from http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-05/13/content_17502797.htm. []
  2. Heather  Timmons (2014). Pollution isn’t the only thing killing tourism in Beijing. Quartz, 14 January 2014, accessed 30 May 2014 from http://qz.com/166554/pollution-isnt-the-only-thing-killing-tourism-in-beijing/. []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Chongqing the biggest city?

Reno, Nevada claims to be “The Biggest Little City in the World”. Chongqing is simply known for being “the biggest city in the world”. For Chongqing, just like for Reno, this epithet may be slightly exaggerated.

Yes, on paper, Chongqing looks like a giant: 30 million people officially live in Chongqing and the city is as large as Austria. A city that big would be very hard to live in.

The reality is a bit different. The municipality of Chongqing should be considered only an administrative level, as it covers both rural and urban lands. The “urban city” is still huge compared to European ones, with central districts covering 1,400 km² and home to 4.5 million inhabitants.

Chongqing is still “big” in China for several other reasons. Firstly, Chongqing is considered a strategic hub for energy, water (with the three gorges reservoir) and river transportation.

Furthermore, Chongqing is one of the engines that will bring growth to Western China. Beijing is trying to reduce regional inequalities and rebalance development between eastern and western provinces and Chongqing has a role to play in this plan. Chongqing aims to attract more foreign investments with low labour costs.1

The city is more and more connected to the world, illustrated, for example, by Finnair operating a direct route from Europe to Chongqing since 2012.

Chongqing is also a laboratory for reform. It is in Chongqing where some of the most advanced policies regarding land reform have been implemented with, for example, the establishment of the first rural land exchange centre in 2008. It is for this reason Chongqing was chosen as one of the cities where UrbaChina members should conduct research on urbanisation in China.

  1. Luo Wangshu, Ji Jin (2014). Foreign investment eyes Chongqing’s connections. China Daily, 21 January 2014, accessed 19 May 2014 from http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2014-01/21/content_17247691.htm. []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

More green spaces in Chinese cities?

Wind-powered streetlights in a green park in Haikou (China), Goulard Sébastien

A few months ago, I wrote a short post on urban forests in China based on research conducted in Shenyang. The question of green spaces in Chinese cities is one which draws the focus of many scholars. An interesting article was published recently in “Urban forestry & urban greening”. In this article, the authors Yang Jun, Huang Conghong, Zhang Zhiyong and Wang Le1 analysed the evolution of urban green coverage in Chinese cities. They based their reasearch on satellite images of 30 Chinese cities. According to their finding, Chinese cities, unlike European and North American cities, have become greener over the last twenty years. However their results also show that original green areas have not been preserved. Changes in green coverage  are even more acute since 2000, and are caused by several factors including economic growth, climate change and greening policies.

According to their research, in the case of urban areas, both older and newly developed districts have become greener. But the overall urbanisation has caused a loss of vegetation coverage: large areas of agricultural lands have been transformed into more urban areas.

The authors also point an important turn-over of green areas. Because Chinese cities have been through constant and intensive redevelopment, the vegetation has not had enough time to grow: older trees were cut, and during the last twenty years, parks have been redesigned, redeveloped several times. So the usual benefits of vegetation in cities, such as pollution prevention and health have been limited. Authorities have favoured quantity over quality. The authors plead for the introduction of more green areas preservation policies at city level and propose that future research on green urban areas should make a distinction between already existing and new green spaces.

 

  1. Yang Jun, Huang Conghong, Zhang Zhiyong & Wang Le (2014). The temporal trend of urban green coverage in major Chinese cities between 1990 and 2010. Urban forestry & urban greening, Vol.13 No.1, pp.19-27 []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

“The flying Chineseman”

Two weeks ago, a conference and exhibition on private jets was held in Shanghai. This event was widely reported by the media, which put the spotlight on China’s business jet market.

According to these articles, successful Chinese businessmen are more and more interested in acquiring private aircrafts, with a particularly high demand for the most luxurious ones.

However, as noted by Joe Sharkey1, these jets are not often seen in Chinese skies, but instead sit on tarmacs, due to tight control from the government. It is not easy, even for the richest tycoons, to make their latest Gulfstream fly because air transportation is under strict military supervision.

Although these planes are presented as business tools,  they should rather be considered expensive toys. China has already built adequate transport infrastructure (airports, high speed train networks) that make these business planes unnecessary. Moreover, virtual technology makes the use of private planes unnecessary. These jets are often bought to reflect the success of the owner; they are more symbol of social status than a means of transportation.

Still, it seems that China will have to relax airspace transport regulations (several provinces have already started this process)2 because of the rising demand for private jets, especially from members of the upper-middle class who are passionate aboutplanes.  Although the media focuses mainly on Chinese tycoons’ luxury jets, it is easy to imagine that many others will want to learn how to pilot small planes by themselves, if only for leisure.

The USA and then Europe had to adapt their infrastructure to these aviation aficionados by opening small private use airports. Some of the most passionate amateur pilots even chose to live in fly-in communities where they could park their small jet next to their house3. With the development of private aviation in China, similar projects may soon start there as well.

  1. Joe Sharkey (2014, April 15). Rich Chinese flaunt success with big luxury jets. The International New York Times, p.16 []
  2. Lan Xinzhen (2014, March 3). Up, up and away. Beijing Review. Retreived April 20, 2014 from http://www.bjreview.com.cn/business/txt/2014-03/03/content_600495.htm []
  3. Judith S. Wordsworth (2011, September). European residential airparks in the context of local sustainable rural development. European digital landscape. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from http://www.euroga.org/system/1/assets/files/000/000/181/181/6b436e72f/original/European_Airparks_and_Local_Sustainable_Development.pdf []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Shanghai’s 3D-printed houses

Last week, a Shanghai-based company built 10 « houses » using a 3d printer in only one day.

This extraordinary new construction method may not entirely solve housing issues in China, -many of them are related to the status of land, not to construction price-. Moreover, this can also be regarded as a good marketing operation for the building company. Actually, we still don’t know how livable these « houses » really are.

But this process may undoubtedly revolutionize the way houses will be built in the future. Firstly, these houses are made of recycled materials and so can be considered as green houses. Moreover, by using this method, construction defects might no longer happen as construction models will be optimised.

With this experience, we have surely entered a new era where the whole construction industry might be rethought.

Pictures available on Xinhua.

 

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Traffic jams while on vacation

High speed train railroad construction near Sanya, China, Goulard SébastienThe once isolated island of Hainan has become a successful tourist destination, attracting millions of Chinese visitors every year.

The island is well connected to the mainland thanks to two airports, one in Haikou, the provincial capital, and the other in Sanya, the main tourist spot of the province. A third one will be inaugurated in 2015.
A train ferry also links Hainan to Guangdong across the Qiongzhou strait, making it possible for visitors from Beijing to get to the sunny province by train.

Within the province, most of the attractions of the Eastern coast can be reached by a high speed train. Another line will be in operation by the end of 2015. It has never been easy to travel to Hainan, but in spite of these new and efficient transport facilities, many visitors prefer to go to Hainan by car (using ferries).

As a result, during the last Chinese New Year Holiday, the city of Sanya was overwhelmed by traffic jams. Visitors who came to enjoy beaches, sun and unpolluted air, had to endure heavy congestion instead .

Some measures have been taken by the municipal authorities of Sanya to ease traffic in the city. One is to take better control of the car-rental market. Car rental is a fairly new phenomenon in China. In Hainan, professional car rentals companies, hotels, and even car dealers are involved in this business. Another is to develop more road infrastructures to prevent congestion, and a third one is to give incentives to visitors to use public transport.

Nevertheless, this issue is likely to continue in the future as Hainan is expected to host more visitors annually. To reduce traffic congestion, tourism activities in Hainan need to be less concentrated in Sanya. More attractions need to be promoted on the entire island.

Another point regards China’s public holiday system. The whole tourist industry, and not only in Hainan, would benefit greatly if the Chinese got more holidays, with more flexible dates.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Migrants and “left-behind children” (2)

Two weeks ago, I published a review of a Ph.D dissertation written by Guo Lin on migrants and left-behind children that suggested that inequalities were greater between rural and urban children than between left-behind children and children with their parents. Although this study looked at the education, the health and the workload of left-behind children, the author did not analyse – as it was not the purpose of the paper – the emotional and behavioural consequences on being left behind by parents. In 2009, the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin released a paper on children and migrations in China looking at both left-behind children and those migrating with their parents to cities1. Even though this article was published five years ago, its findings are still current. According to a recent research, at least 61 million Chinese children are left behind2.

This report highlights the distress of these left-behind children, who can spend years without seeing their parents.

In addition to the issues they face at school and at home because of missing parents, many of them are also victims of sexual assault or harassment. They are also more likely to have accidents at home because of poor adult supervision. The authors argue that many of these left-behind children also suffer from emotional disorders.

Authorities are well aware of this issue and have launched several programmes to improve left-behind children’s wellbeing. One of these policies is the promotion of “stand-in parents” that will look after these left-behind children. Another is the creation of boarding schools that can host these children and provide them with proper supervision from responsible adults, but many of these boarding schools are poorly financed by local governments, and, consequently, do not offer adequate living conditions. The authors rightfully argue that all these measures do not address the underlying cause of the left-behind children problem, which is the challenge migrant parents face in bringing their children to the city because of the strict hukou policy. If this issue is not addressed properly, China will pay the price in the future with a poorly educated workforce and adults suffering from social disorders.

  1. Aris Chan (2009), Paying the price for economic development: the children of migrant workers in China, China Labour Bulletin, 2009, November. Reteived March 20 from http://www.clb.org.hk/en/files/share/File/research_reports/Children_of_Migrant_Workers.pdf []
  2. April Ma (2014), China raises a generation of ‘left-behind’ children, CNN, February 5. Retrieved March 20 from http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/04/world/asia/china-children-left-behind/ []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Towards efficient, inclusive and sustainable urbanisation

According to the World Bank, China needs now a new model of urbanisation.

The international organisation advocates better allocation of land, labor, and capital.

China’s urbanization supported the country’s impressive growth and rapid economic transformation. And China avoided some of the common ills of urbanization, notably poverty, unemployment and slums. But despite the success, strains are starting to show. Many of them are familiar to you.

For more information, read Sri Mulyani Indrawati’s  Opening remarks at the International Conference on Urban China: Toward Efficient, Inclusive and Sustainable UrbanizationThe World Bank, March 25, 2014. [Retrieved March 26, 2014].

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts