Xi Jinping on the Bright Road to Kazakhstan – China’s latest political and current affairs news


A summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for June 6, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "'Now China leads.'"

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Xi Jinping is not a man who stays in one place for a long time. Xinhua News Agency reports that

from June 7 to 10, Xi will pay a state visit to Kazakhstan and attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security and political grouping established by China whose members now include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan. In advance of the visit, Xi gave Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev “a picture album on the two countries’ scenery and cooperation under China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and Kazakhstan’s Bright Road new economic plan.”

This means there is a new buzzword to learn: Bright Road (光明之路 guāngmíng zhī lù), a Kazakh government plan — very similar to China’s Belt and Road — to bring prosperity to the country through transport and infrastructure projects.

The Belt and Road plan, initially called the New Silk Road, was first proposed by Xi Jinping in 2013 during a visit to Kazakhstan, and Xinhua says (in Chinese) that promoting Belt and Road at its birthplace will be one of three aspects of Xi’s visit this week that readers “should not miss.” The other two aspects are Xi’s chairing of the SCO meeting, and the “deep friendship” between China and Kazakhstan.

  • Australia warns China to keep out of its affairs / Financial Times (paywall)
    On June 5, we noted a story in the Canberra Times about what it called China’s “covert campaign of influence in Australia,” which rewards Chinese living Down Under who are loyal to the Party and seeks to intimidate dissenters. On June 6, the Financial Times reports, “Australia is reviewing its espionage laws and banning foreign political donations over concerns that China is buying influence by using rich businessmen to funnel millions of dollars in donations to political parties.”
  • Prominent Chinese rights activist charged with subversion after being held six months / Reuters
    “Jiang Tianyong 江天勇 defended high-profile dissidents and practitioners of Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, before being disbarred in 2009. He continued to speak out against government crackdowns on rights lawyers. Jiang disappeared in November 2016 after traveling to central China’s Changsha city to provide advice and support to a fellow rights lawyer, Xie Yang 谢阳.”
  • China, India and the clash of two great civilizations / Financial Times (paywall)
    India is now probably the most populous country in the world, and its economy is currently growing slightly faster than China in percentage terms — the article argues that the two countries are likely to find themselves increasingly at odds in the years to come.
  • Russia and China are bulking up in the U.S.’s backyard / Bloomberg
    “Putin and Xi are working to win over small, poor countries with promises of aid, military support, and investment, even as Trump scales back.”