Little Red Podcast

Power Shifts in Xi Jinping’s China

New balances of power, leveraged to the limit

AN EPISODE OF THE LITTLE RED PODCAST

The Chairman of Everything Xi Jinping has emerged from the annual parliamentary meetings facing a rough year ahead.  China's economy is growing at its slowest in nearly three decades, amid a massive trade war and spiralling local debt, with rumblings of discontent from delegates about everything from the Belt and Road Initiative to Made in China 2025.  Louisa and Graeme are joined by Andrew Collier of Orient Capital Research and Ryan Manuel of Hong Kong University, who argue that both political and economic decentralisation is underway, laying Xi vulnerable to forces beyond his control.

Little Red Podcast

China’s Challenge for the Pacific

Old rivalries and a new Great Game in the Pacific theater

AN EPISODE OF THE LITTLE RED PODCAST

The Pacific is seeing a flurry of diplomatic activity: Australia is “stepping up,” New Zealand has ordered a “Pacific reset,” and even Great Britain is reopening missions in its former Pacific colonies. The reason for their sudden interest is simple: China. If Beijing comes good on $4 billion in aid pledges, it could overtake Canberra as the largest donor to the Pacific. Often missed in this new Great Game are the concerns of Pacific Islanders, looking to make the best of this fresh interest in their blue Pacific. To discuss the Pacific’s China challenge, Graeme and Louisa are joined by Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Dame Meg Taylor, as well as Pacific academics Patrick Matbob and Transform Aquora and former Chinese diplomat Denghua Zhang. ∎

Little Red Podcast

Keeping the Faith?

Xi's deal with the Holy See

The Vatican and China have signed a deeply controversial agreement on the appointment of bishops, ending the cold war that has frozen ties since 1950. That deep freeze led to schisms between the official and underground churches, with some clergy persecuted for decades and the church refusing to recognize Beijing's handpicked bishops. But the new agreement has divided the faithful yet again, with some fearing Catholicism is facing calamity as President Xi Jinping tightens control over religion. To explore what’s behind this sudden rapprochement and what it could mean for China’s 12 million Catholics, Louisa and Graeme are joined by Jeremy Clarke, a former Catholic priest who has researched China's historical relations with the Holy See.

Little Red Podcast

#XiToo

Chinese Feminism and The Party’s Hyper-Masculine Reboot

China is becoming a more unequal place for women, in 2018 slipping for a fifth consecutive year in the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap index.  Chairman Mao may have proclaimed that women can hold up half the sky, but the Communist party under Xi Jinping holds a far narrower view of female roles, cracking down on feminist activists and backing traditional values.  The impact is economic too, with research showing that being born female in China has a bigger impact on your earnings than any other variable, including family wealth. This month, Louisa and Graeme are joined by two experts on the origins of China's gender divide, Leta Hong Fincher, who's just published a book called Betraying Big Brother and economist Jane Golley from the Australian National University.

Little Red Podcast

Geopolitics on the New Silk Road

Is the Belt and Road Initiative China’s Marshall plan?

 

There’s no escaping China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It’s been written into China’s constitution, and more than 70 countries from Pakistan to Papua New Guinea have signed up. But what is it? A modern-era Marshall Plan, a geopolitical bid for China to build a new international power bloc, a new model for Chinese colonialism, or an all-encompassing bumper sticker for Chinese-brokered development projects? To unpack the motivations behind Xi Jinping’s highest profile foreign policy initiative, Louisa Lim and Graeme Smith are joined by Peter Cai of the Lowy Institute and Dirk van der Kley from the Australian National University, in this episode of the Little Red Podcast: