Category Archives: Opinion

Commentary:EU misunderstand China’s Belt and Road Initiative

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, April 25(Greenpost)– Reading South China Morning Post, it says 27 EU countries Ambassadors signed a paper against China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

This can be seen as an initial reaction against the Belt and Road Initiative when many people keep on asking what is China’s purpose? Why do they do this? What benefit they can gain? What benefit can we gain?

It is understandable that the western idea is always basing on the utilitarian foundation. If you do something, it must be for your own benefit, otherwise you will not do it.

But my understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative is that it started from the ancient silk road routes through central Asia. President Xi Jinping proposed this idea in Alma Ata.  It is a strategic thought to meet the development demand.

China had been a poor country for almost a hundred years and the main reason is that China didn’t have the good infrastructure.  The road was poor and transportation was bad.  So China’s experience is that to become rich, you must have good roads.  (Yao Xiang Fu, Xian Xiu Lu). These kinds of projects are usually big ones, thus it needs state-owned companies to do it because they have high standards engineering capacity.

In China private sector developed rapidly, but a lot of problems also started from private companies.  It takes time to regulate.

After 40 years of development, China becomes stronger, at least with another two years it aims to wipe out the poverty completely. This goal should be praised because with the completion of this goal, it is expected that China’s human rights situation will be substantially improved.

I understand the western solidarity type of wind against China starting from China’s changing of the constitution and ensuring Xi’s presidency forever. Many people understood this change as a guarantee for Xi’s presidency for life long.  But my understanding is that Xi wishes to have a collection of power so that he can carry out his plans more effectively.  But it doesn’t mean he will be president forever.  No one guarantees that after three terms or after he fulfilled the goal of building China into a modern country with even a very basic demand of having blue skies in Beijing, he will step down. Or he will lead an orderly expended scale democratic election.  Through this year’s NPC congress, I think Xi is implementing an orderly and transparent voting procedure.  And his presidency was elected with formal voting procedure.

I am sure China’s intention is not to impose China’s influence to anybody. China is a peace loving country. Chinese people work very hard just to live a better life.  When they have good skills and building capacity, they like to share this with other countries.

It happens exactly like SIPRI’s expert analysed that it is those countries that needs China’s capacity contracted with China such as Greece and Spain. In the early stage such as 2005, or before, China also imported technologies or engineering in waste burning from Spain.

That some EU countries worry about China is understandable, but unnecessary.  On the one hand, they worry if one Chinese will reach a European’s living standard, then China has 1.3 billion people, how many earth we should have to feed such a demand? On the other hand, they worry if you build a port for them, what will be the future? We have no secret from you any more.  How can we maintain our independence?

These worries seem to be real worry because when the western powers went to China, China became semi colonised. When the western power went to Africa,  most African countries were colonised.   Thinking from their own experience, they feel very worried.

But China’s Belt and Road initiative is not to take from you, it is to build for you to use.  The principle is to negotiate first and then you build together and then you share the benefit in the end.  Because you put money in the bank and now you get the bank loan and you got infrastructure.  Improved infrastructure will improve business. With booming business, you will get money or benefit.

China can only provide help to those who really need help. It is very difficult for Nordic countries to think’ how can we need help from China’? It is always we who provide help to others.  Indeed, China still has a lot to learn from the Nordic and western European countries.  But for infrastructure construction such as fast train track and train, China is indeed very advanced. If Nordic region can coordinate and build fast train, travel time on average will be shortened by half, it will substantially improve the business environment and well-being of the people.  It will promote tourism substantially.  Business meetings can increase substantially.  It will only make business even more efficient.

Some people especially some so-called experts and new media persons  recently launched a lot of negative coverage about China in order to win the readers eye balls.  In the long run, it will prove that China is indeed the main force in maintaining the world peace and driving the world development.  China never throws out problems even though they have problems inside China.

This is a big difference between China and America or Britain. When America has election or other problems, they will put their finger on China or other countries and then when they succeed they become normal again.

This kind of drama doesn’t happen in China. China is so large that it can saturate its own problems.  It will not hit others in order to win its own election because they can balance the situation in China according to the real situation.  This is because the Communist party’s goal is to serve the people and make the country a good land to live and people enjoy a better life.

This has happened already in Beijing, Shanghai and most of the eastern regions.  Last month when I came back from Beijing, in Helsinki transfer, I met a Swedish lady who visited Shanghai and visited all the banks in Shanghai, she said she felt people in Shanghai really enjoy  a good life.  They eat well, wear well and they also walk beautifully, namely not always in a hurry.

Those who broke the Chinese law went to America or other countries and then fiercely curse China.  It is not commended.

Back to Belt and Road Initiative,  it is indeed an initiative, it is a good -will suggestion or proposal for all to sit around the table to discuss.  It is not an imperative for everyone to obey.  China thinks when people get better life, they will not fight each other any more.  This is China’s experience.  It is a good will and many experts for example Schillers Institute’s Helga La Rues highly commended belt and road initiative because she said this is so far the best available way to avoid war or conflict.

Belt and Road is also a long term initiative. It will be implemented only in the countries or places where needed.  Those who don’t need it, it is absolutely ok if you are against it or disagree because it doesn’t suit your situation. So let’s forget it.

Belt and Road Initiative is a good idea for Asian, Central Asian, Africa, Latin America and maybe Northeast Asia.  It is indeed difficult for Nordic Countries which are so rich, so well developed and almost world model countries to fit in.

However, I think it is still ok because one of the initiative is to promote people to people communication and exchange, in that sense, it also fits.

I suggest that Nordic countries and western European countries and China  talk with each other in fixing the world peace and development, but not condemn each other.  I read the SCMP article saying the European Ambassadors condemn the Belt and Road Initiative, it is a completely misunderstanding of the purpose of the initiative.

Of course there is still big room for China to improve. That is to invest more in education and research, invest more in culture and domestic development.  There are still problems in rural China where not just poverty alleviation is needed,  all the cultural and education and other wellbeing facilities are needed.

If outside world don’t need China, let us build every inch of China a beautiful China.  Blue sky and clean water and soil is just fundamental and basic requirements.

This is only the writer’s own opinion.

Xuefei Chen Axelsson is a senior editor and correspondent freelancing for different media.  She studied World Politics, Economics and  International Relations.  She also studied leadership for Sustainable Development in London and got a Master degree in it. She has long been journalist covering various development conferences and practices by the United Nations.

Belt And Road Initiative: EU Strategic Interests In Asia

Insights from Richard Ghiasy.

On a strategic level, explain the EU’s perspective toward China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Frankly, there is no unified EU perspective on the BRI – at least yet. Strategic responses to the initiative are still being pondered over. Partially, this has to do with more urgent priorities, mainly Brexit, the Russian resurgence, concerns over populism, the migration crisis, and now the Catalonian crisis. But, it also has to do with the BRI itself  ̶  it is perceived as an insufficiently articulated concept. Subsequently they [EU members] find it difficult to come up with adequate strategic responses.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.At the individual EU member state level, however, a large number of European members, mostly in the south, center, and east have already warmly embraced the initiative and have commenced cooperation. Evidently, this dichotomy in perceptiveness does not aid strategic decision-making processes in Brussels. One such example is the 16+1 framework. It is a cooperation framework of 16 Eastern and Central European states plus China, not all of which are EU members, that has resulted in bitterness in Brussels  ̶   they see the framework undermining EU unity. It is evident that the level of interest shown by (too) many EU states in the BRI will compel the EU to come up with strategic policy decisions on BRI engagement.

Which individual European countries are receptive toward involvement in the BRI and why?  

Countries that have infrastructure deficits, domestic and (sub-)regional connectivity deficits, or pressing unemployment and economic growth challenges have typically been the most welcoming  ̶  this includes Greece, Spain, Italy, Serbia, Portugal, and Hungary. These countries have difficulty securing the financial means for large infrastructure projects domestically and through existing multilateral finance mechanisms, making them very receptive toward BRI involvement.

England has also expressed strong interest, partially driven by anxiety over the economic impact of Brexit, but also over worries of how the BRI may impact global finance over time. The Nordic community has shown little interest so far, partially due to the fact that they are economically developed, well connected, and “tucked away” in a corner of Europe that sees, comparatively, little transit activity. Germany and The Netherlands have shown interest and have commenced engagement, yet at the same time they are evaluating the BRI’s long-term strategic implications at the national and EU level. These are mostly related to economic security impacts, but also impacts on (sub)national and regional security among participating states.

What is the difference between the EU-China Connectivity Platform and the BRI?

The BRI is an immensely ambitious global connectivity and development vision that will – probably – run for decades. It already has over 65 countries on board that have either shown strong interest or are already engaged. In contrast, the EU-China Connectivity Platform is a policy forum that aims to create synergies between EU policies/projects and the BRI – mostly as they relate to cooperation on infrastructure, including financing, interoperability, and logistics. Therefore, the EU-China Connectivity Platform is, in comparison, very modest in size and focuses on projects between the two countries. At this stage, no projects with or in third party countries have been conducted.

What are the potential geostrategic consequences of no EU involvement in BRI?

No involvement would send a strong message to China and participating states that it [the EU] is not interested in joint economic development initiatives with China in Eurasia. Since the EU and China are the two largest economic entities in Eurasia, it is essential that they steward the continent’s economic development agenda. In addition, since individual EU member states are already participating in the initiative, no official EU involvement would create an awkward dynamic. In addition, it is important that the EU engages and helps to steward the initiative so that its own diplomatic, economic, and security interests are not threatened. No involvement would mean that China will, likely, develop larger sway in the continent on anything from investment standards, to supply chains, to trade routes, to diplomacy. This scenario may seriously impact the EU’s economic and security interests.

Explain how EU engagement in BRI might further its strategic interests in Asia.     

Some of the challenges that the EU faces, including the migration crisis and terrorism, stem – partially – from Asia. As the EU goes through a historically unique, yet long and fragile process of integration it is pivotal that its neighbors and neighbors’ neighbors are stable and are developing sustainable economies. At the moment however, the EU is facing security challenges from essentially all directions except its north.

Asia, as the world’s most populous and economically largest continent is pivotal to the world economy, and thus the EU’s economic and security interests. A stable Eurasia requires closer cooperation between its largest actors, the EU, China, India, Japan, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and Russia. Distrust and competing visions for the supercontinent between these six will only result in friction and greater potential for (proxy) conflict.

It is quite safe to state that in terms of influence the EU has been losing ground in East, Central, and South Asia. The BRI is a platform on which it could possibly regain some of that influence, for instance by assisting participating states with the “softer side” of connectivity: national development agendas, business reform and socioeconomic policies. There are plenty countries in Asia in which there are concerns over overreliance on China through the BRI – the EU is an economic behemoth that could function as a counterweight.

Source: the Diplomat website.

2018 “Belt and Road” Nordic Spring Peace and Culture Festival held on Stockholm Cultural Night

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, April. 21(Greenpost) – 2018 Belt and Road Nordic Spring Peace and Cultural Festival and Li Li’s Chinese Paintings Exhibition  have been successfully held as a part of Stockholm Cultural Night which was a cooperation with over 100 museums, galleries, opera houses and other cultural locations to open free to the public from 18:00-24:00 on April 21.

The festival was held by China-Europe Cultural Association, Professional Foreign journalist Association or PROFOCA in cooperation with Chinese Teachers Association in Sweden.

Chinese Ambassador to Sweden Gui Congyou spoke highly about the festival.

“The opening of the Stockholm Cultural Night and Belt and Road International Peace and Cultural Festival is of great significance in such a period of time. China and Sweden have enjoyed  very good relations and the bilateral relations are on a new historical starting point with great potential to tap. With Chinese style in  Stockholm Cultural Night, it will make the night even more beautiful and be conducive to Sino-Swedish relations. ” said Ambassador Gui.

“China proposes Belt and Road initiative based on the principle of discussing together, jointly building and sharing the result to improve relations with various countries and  expand cooperation with various countries. People to people relation is one of the five parts of belt and road initiative and cultural exchange is an important way to communicate with each other. ”  he said.

“I understand that tonight there will be a big banquet of culture including instrument performance, dancing and singing, and Chinese woman artist Li Li’s painting and the Chinese film Romance on the Lushan Mountain, I hope you all have a good evening.  ” said Ambassador Gui.

China-Europe Cultural Association is a non-political , non-religious organization consisting 75% of Chinese women in Sweden aiming at enhancing Chinese culture and enrich their life in Sweden and serving as a bridge between China and Sweden.

Ambassador Gui said he also welcomed journalists from PROFOCA and other foreign friends to visit China. Over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has experienced great changes. Since the 18th Party’s Congress, China has entered a new era. Now China enjoys stable social and political environment and high quality economic development.  Nearly 1.3 billion people have shrugged off poverty and the rest 50 million will eradicate their poverty situation by 2020. In the International arena, China plays an important role in maintaining world peace, security and stability.  It is a main force for world harmony. I believe the journalists can find some good news from China.

Xuefei Chen Axelsson, President of China-Europe Cultural Association and PROFOCA explained why they held this event.

She said to be part of the Stockholm Cultural Night made her proud to be able to contribute to the cultural life in Stockholm with some Chinese flavour. This is also a sign that Sweden is open and international.

“We hold 2018 Belt and Road Nordic Spring Peace and Culture Festival in order to guard world peace.  Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping is not to impose Chinese influence by purpose, but treat it as a way to promote peace and development. Sweden was the destination of the maritime silk road taking the boat Gothenburg as an example. We like to promote cultural exchanges between China and Sweden and China and Europe. ” said Chen Axelsson.

“The third is to celebrate the exhibition of Beijing women artist Li Li. Although it is a small scale of 30 small pieces of paintings, it is profound and a real action of bilateral cultural exchange. ” she said.

As a journalist herself, Chen Axelsson said while China insists on peace and development, some other parts of the world are not very peaceful. She held that violence and conflict are the biggest enemy of sustainable development. We condemn all kinds of violence.  Violence and conflict are a result of illiteracy. Belt and Road initiative aims to avoid violence and conflict. Through peace and development, people’s living standards can be improved. Without peace, there will be no development. We must value the peaceful environment. We believe that cultural exchange is conducive to understanding between different people and countries, and further avoid conflict and maintain world peace and stability.

Last year, we held the first Nordic Spring International Cultural Festival, we also held other cultural activities such as holding lectures and listening to Chinese actor Pu Chunxin’s presentation held in Chinese Cultural Center . By learning Chinese culture, we feel more peaceful and life is more joyful.  By going to China and reporting the Party Congress, I saw China’s peaceful transition to a new era aiming at wiping out poverty completely and building a modern Chinese society. We shall continue to work hard to serve the members and contribute to Sino-Swedish good relations.

The performances began with Swedish Chinese Children’s choir’s singing.

Dong Jiajun’s Hulusi performance is very beautiful. The music is really very good for ear. Hulusi is an instrument from China’s Yunnan Province, Southwest China.

He Ruiyu sang the song Rolling up the Bamboo Curtain beautifully.

Chinese women choir also sang very well. Some of them are the mothers of the children’s choir .

Natali Dansstudio’s girls brought modern dance.

Tang Shiyu sang a beautiful Chinese song called the size of the heaven.

 

Li Zhanchun sang Tianbian, Little Populars Tree and I love you China reminding us the beautiful China of the 1980s.

Ric Wasserman sang Bob Dylan’s song Blowing in the wind.

Li Jia sang a song about Chinese River Liuyanghe.

Zhai Yijia played erhu horse racing, a master piece by Erhu.

Hao Jingxia sang the classic Kunqu Dream in the Garden looking like Peking opera.

Uppsala Confucius Class pupils performed a singing and dancing program attracting the attention of other children.

Xuefei Chen Axelsson sang an inner Mongolian song Take me to the Prairie.

Finally Ambassador Gui and all the artists and guests sang together My Motherland led by Li Jia.

 

Ric Wasserman also sang many other blues style songs with American flavour making the festival international.

Beijing woman artist Li Li’s paintings stand by the wall around the hall which hosts more than 200 people.

The programs attracts Swedish, Russians, Americans and Chinese.  The Chinese food is also part of Chinese culture.

Finally a film Romance on Lushan Mountain was played to end the cultural night at midnight.

Also present at the cultural night were Dou Chunxiang, Education Consular, Zhang Lei, Consular department director, Consular Li Xiaojie and Luo Jinsheng. Ye Peiqun, Execultive President of Sveriges Kinesiska Förbund, Duan Maoli, Anhui Association of Science and Commerce in Sweden, Jack Yu, President of Sino-Swedish Life Science Association, Yin Chang, Kinesiska Riksförbundet I Sverige, Sun Kai, President of Chinese Teachers Association in Sweden, Zhao Lijie, Vice President of China-Europe Cultural Association, Zhouzheng, Secretary of Europe-Asia Cultural Promotion Association, Yang Chungui, President of  Acupuncture Science Association Sweden and Zhao Lijie, Vice President of China-Europe Cultural Association.

The festival was hosted by Åsa and Arthur Lou Guofeng.

Text/Xuefei Chen Axelsson,  Photo/Wu Ming.

Analysis: Trump and Chinese farmers

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

US President Donald Trump recently announced that he has endorsed the order to increase tariff for imported steel and aluminium. As a result, a lot of Chinese products that are exported to the US will face a higher tariff.

Chinese Ministry of Commerce immediately responded that China will increase its tariff against the America grain exported China.

Why was China responding so quickly? Because China has imported American grain or corn at a so low price that it affected the Chinese farmers’ interest. Why?

Because Chinese farmers earned more money before China imported American grain.  My brother Shemin whose name means a member of the socialist commune is a farmer.  He was both happy and sad when I talked with him over the phone.  He was happy to tell me that he harvested 40 tons of corn marking the highest production over the years.  But he was not very happy when talking about how much he earned.

He said that he earned just about 60 thousand yuan or 10 thousand dollars for the whole year. Compared with a couple of years ago,  when the price of the corn was at one yuan or 1.2 yuan, he could have earned 80 thousand yuan with the current harvest amount.  But now the price was only 70 percent of the previous one.  although the productivity increased, the profit decreased.

Why? Because Chinese government said the market is deciding the price and China is open to allow import of grain from America.  Those pig raising entrepreneurs or farmers spend large amount of dollars imported grains from America with much lower prices.  So the American cheap grain actually make the Chinese small farmers lower their income.

This will be very bad for Chinese agriculture because then the Chinese farmers or peasants will leave their land and go to the city to find jobs to earn a salary instead of labouring in the farms with so low income.  In the long run, the peasants are forced to be out of their land and larger contractors will come to the countryside to contract the land, then the monopoly of the larger business people will have right to decide the price and the price will be getting higher, either due to the cost or due to the monopoly. But then the ones who complain will not only be farmers, but the urban citizens.

So far, Chinese government has get rid of agricultural tax and also give a little subsidies.  But that subsidies are so little compared with the French farmers’.  That is only 200 yuan per mu or 30 dollars per acre.  That is too little.

I hope the Chinese government should consider this issue and really care about farmers’ interest.

Feature: A Day in Beijing during the NPC Congress and CPPCC Session

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

On March 13th, I got up early because on March 12 I stayed at home and watched Live TV broadcast to cover the National People’s Congress press conferences.  Due to the jetleg, I have to sleep early every day and get up very early.  This is good for me.

Smog, when will you go away?

In the morning, I looked outside through the window and found the smog was more serious than the previous days. But still, it was better than that of five years ago when I was in Beijing on 2013.

I took the bus No 10 outside the courtyard and it took me 20 minutes to arrive at Guomao.  After I got off the bus, I have to walk another 100 meters and then went into the subway.  Still I love it because it saved me a lot more walking.

I took the line one of the Subway to Tiananmen West. I was worried because on Sunday when I took the bus No. 1, it didn’t stop on Tiananmen West. But thanks to CPC, the subway stopped at Tiananmen West.

When I came out of the subway, I saw the trees along the Chang’An Avenue  very beautiful. It looked like an ink painting.  It was foggy and smoggy.

I hurried to the Great Hall of the People. The guards were strict but nice.  Quickly I arrived in the Hall and went through the security. The logistics were good. They provided a safety box and a key so that people could put their extra mobile phone in the box and locked it.

In the morning, it was Li Jianguo from NPC committee who presented explaination on China’s Supervision Law. This law shows the determination of the Communist Party of China to prevent corruption according to law.

Many Chinese delegations have visited Sweden and got to know how Sweden prevents corruption.

Emphasis was also given to supervision and both a Supervision Law and a Supervision department has been established. These are also the spotlights during this congress. It showed that Xi Jinping is determined to  prevent corruption according to law.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang attended the conference.  Li Jianguo presented a report on details of the Supervision law to illustrate why China forms supervision law and how it works to prevent  corruption.

After this report, Wang Yong delivered a report on State Council’s institutional reform.

For years, people feel it is difficult to get rid of the family planning committee. But now it is gone.  In stead, with the call from the soldiers, a new department on retired soldiers has been established to take care of their pension.

National Land Resources Ministry has been changed to Natural Resources Ministry. State Forestry Ministry has been taken away. More emphasis has been put on the rural areas development and environment protection.

Overall,  the State Council has cutt off 8 ministries, but also promoted some other ministries.  Foreign Affairs Ministry remains at the same level.

Tourism and Cultural Ministry merged into one and it was welcomed.

Delegates think the reform of the institutions  is quite reasonable.

After that, I went to Fulihua  at Nan Lishilu area. I used to work in those area and I miss it very much.

So I went to the Molly shop where I used to buy clothes.  I bought four clothes.  I took a bowl of noodles for lunch.

And then I hurried to Great Hall of the People.  The reason for it is that there is an open press conference in the Xinjiang Ugyor Autonomous Region delegation.  Kurban,  a Ugyor who used to ride a donkey to come to Beijing to see  late Chairman Mao. Now his great grand daughter becomes the delegate representing the hometown people.

She said she worked in the Liaoning Submarine before she became the delegate.  With her family’s experience,  she saw the great changes in their life for better  in Xinjiang.

She said in particular, President Xi Jinping put up forward a policy that the Chinese cadres should help the Ugyor families to form a partnership.  This way leads to the Ugyor family to eradicate poverty quickly.  The Ugyors feel honored to have a Han cadre to be their contact.

She said she would follow her great grand father’s step and continue to work hard to improve the local people’s living standards.

Unity among different ethnic groups in Xinjiang is an important task to keep the region safe, stable and prosperous.

Tourism is an important industry in the region and also key for poverty eradication.

Xinjiang is a beautiful place.  It also receives support from Zhejiang Province as another kind of partnership.  That means the Chinese government asks the eastern provinces to help western provinces and regions.  This is also a good way to narrow down the gap between eastern and western regions.

After this press conference, I went back to the shop to fetch my clothes because I couldn’t take a lot of things to the Great Hall of the People.

In the evening, I met my former colleagues.  She said I can take bus No. 1 to Ritanlu from Nanlishilu.  I remember there were bus 52, 57 and 1. But now neither 52 nor 57  travel so long. Only bus No. 1 kept its pride to drive on the Chang’s Avenue, the No. 1 road in Beijing.

It is true that it goes quickly and I can get off directly in front of Beijing Radio.  Then we went to a Yunnan style restaurant to eat a hotpot sour fish, but not as sour as herring in Sweden.

One can put noddles into the pot and with some vegetables, it became a good meal.  We talked a lot about why I left Beijing for Sweden and what I did over the years.

They said your zigzagging life sounds very interesting and you should write a book about it.  I said I have written a big part of it but I never know how to end it. So it is going on but no end.

Then they drove me home which sits outside the third ringroad.  I was moved by their hospitality and felt very glad that almost every family nowadays has one or two cars in Beijing.

Beijing was shrounded with smog and the trees look like an ink painting.

When I came in to the apartment, I felt I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep.  I watched wechat news and then tried to sleep again. But it was one thirty already.

Kinesiska ambassadör Gui Congyou: Att främja den traditionella vänskapen för att fördjupa vår gemensamma nytta

STOCKHOLM, Dec. 14(Greenpost)– Gui Congyou, Kinesiska ambassadören  i Sverige har skrivit en artikel om relation mellan Kina och Sverige.  Han kom till Sverige den 18 i augusti, 2017.

Att främja den traditionella vänskapen för att fördjupa vår gemensamma nytta

 Jag är ärad för att bli den tjugonde kinesiska ambassadören i Sverige.

Fast Kina och Sverige är geografiskt långt ifrån varandra, är vår vänskap lång och väletablerad. Så tidigt som 1739 kom kinesiskt porslin, silke och te längs den maritima sidenvägen till Sverige, när Ostindiefararen Götheborgs seglade till Kina. Vi kommer alltid ihåg att Sverige inte deltog i västmakternas invasion och plundring när Kina var svagt sårbart. Vi kommer alltid ihåg att Sverige var det första västlandet som upprättade diplomatiska förbindelser med Folkrepubliken Kina. Det politiska modet och den strategiska visionen av dåtidens svenska ledare var beundransvärt. Vi kommer ihåg att Sverige stöttade Kinas rättsliga plats i FN. Och efter Kinas reform och öppnande, blev Sverige en gång till det första västlandet som undertecknade handels-och investeringsavtalet med Folkrepubliken Kina och därefter aktivt utförde ekonomiska och tekniska samarbeten, vilka bidrog mycket till Kinas ekonomiska och samhälleliga utveckling.

Nuförtiden har relationen mellan Kina och Sverige ständigt utvecklats. Juni 2017 besökte Sveriges statsminister Stefan Löfven Kina för World Economic Forum, där han träffades med Kinas president Xi Jingping och premiärminister Li Keqiang och nådde viktiga överenskommelser om att vidare fördjupa kännedom och pragmatiska samarbete med hänsyn till principer av respekt och jämlikhet. Sådana viktiga överenskommelser kommer att utforma framtidens kinesiska-svenska förhållande. Samtidigt finns frekvent bilaterala besökt på alla nivåer, i år har 6 svenska minister besökt Kina och 30 kinesiska delegationer över vice-ministers nivå kommit till Sverige.

Sakliga samarbeten mellan Kina och Sverige håller fart. I många år har Sverige varit Kinas främsta affärspartner i Norden och Kina Sveriges största i Asien. Från januari till augusti i år steg handelssiffran mellan Sverige och Kina med 19.3%, och uppgick till 12.17 miljarder US Dollar. Samtidigt ökade Sveriges export till Kina med 27.9% med en överskott av 690 miljoner US Dollar. Volvo och Geely har skapat tiotusentals jobb i och blivit ett gott exempel på samarbete mellan Kina och Sverige till och med Europa.

Kina och Sverige har skapat 31 par vänorter, mellan städerna stärkts utbyte och samarbete djupare. Enligt SCB:s statistik är antal hotellövernattningar av kinesiska turister i Sverige 203 000 i 2014, 258 000 i 2015, 323 000 i 2016 och 336 000 från januari till oktober i år. Kinesiska turister är nu den största kundgruppen av tax-free handel i Sverige. Juni 2017 undertecknades det första utbildningsavtal mellan två stater och nu finns det över 8000 kinesiska gäststudenter i Sverige. Det kinesiska kulturcentret i Stockholm spelar en viktig roll i att förmedla den kinesiska kulturen och traditionell konst.

Sedan jag anlände till Sverige den 18 augusti i år har jag haft omfattande kontakt med den svenska regeringen och samhället. Jag känner att den goda relationen mellan Kina och Sverige ännu kan förbättras, och står inför viktiga möjligheter.

Vi har liknande utvecklingslinjer och är ekonomiskt komplimenterande till varandra. Den 19:e nationella kongressen för det kinesiska kommunistiska partiet har framgångsrikt avslutats av nya utvecklingsambitioner fastställts. Under President Xi Jingpings stadiga ledarskap har Kina sjösatt 5 nya utvecklingskoncept som är innovation, balanserad tillväxt, en grön ekonomi, öppnande och inkluderande utveckling. Det kinesiska folkets önskemål för det goda livet kommer att förverkligas och arbetet för moderniseringen av Kina skall träda intill en god period.

De närmaste fem åren kommer Kina att importera mer än 8 biljoner dollar av varor, och investera mer än 750 miljarder dollar utomlands. Antal turister som reser utomlands kommer att vara fler än 500 miljoner. Under de kommande tio åren planerar Kina att investera nästan 600 miljarder dollar i den gröna ekonomin. The Belt and Road initiativet kommer att öppna upp en ny betydelsefull möjlighet för att utveckla samarbete mellan     Kina och Sverige.

Våra två länder har omfattande överenskommelser och mycket gemensamma intresse när det gäller internationella frågor. Vi är fast beslutna att upprätthålla det globala frihandelssystemet. Vi motsätter oss protektionismen och främjar en öppen världsekonomi. Vi aktivt deltar i multilaterala handlingarna för klimatfrågan och främja genomförande av Parisavtalet. Vi är starkt engagerade i världsfred, stabilitet och säkerhet, förespråkar dialog som verktyg för att lösa problem och vi är båda starkt mot alla former av terrorism.

Att främja en sund, stabil och hållbar utveckling av förbindelserna mellan Kina och Sverige handlar inte bara om de två länderna och dess folk, utan också att främja en allsidig utveckling av förbindelserna mellan Kina och EU samt världsfred, stabilitet och välstånd.

Relationen mellan Kina och Sverige står inför en ny historisk utgångspunkt. Som Kinas ambassadör till Sverige vill jag tillsammans med mina svenska vänner implementera våra ledares viktiga överenskommelser på grund av principer av ömsesidigt respekt och jämlikhet samt gemensam nytta. Vi skall fördjupa samförstånd och vidga samarbeten, främja kulturella utbyten och stärka överläggningar i globala och regionala frågor. Tillsammans skapar vi en bättre framtid för det kinesiska svenska samarbetet, och ett bättre liv för våra folk.

Redaktör Xuefei Chen Axelsson.

China Cultural Center in Stockholm holds the largest exhibition in its history

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Nov. 19(Greenpost)– China Cultural Center in Stockholm is holding the largest exhibitions since its establishment in September 2016.

Chinese Ambassador to Sweden Gui Congyou spoke at the opening of the three exhibitions. One is Born in the 60’s China Contemporary Art Exhibition & Invitational Exhibition for Swedish Artists. The third is Qian Yuqing’s Chinese calligraphy and Ding Yazhong’s  landscape ink Paintings.

“Art is a language that all the people can appreciate. Although China’s contemporary art has a short history, it has become an important art form in China and even in the world. China’s rapid development and great changes have become an inspiration and a source for artists.”  said Ambassador Gui.

“By learning from the western art, Chinese artists have explored deeply about Chinese traditional culture in recent years, by holding this exhibition, I am sure it will promote bilateral cultural exchanges through art works from both China and Sweden.” said Ambassador Gui.

Director of the China Cultural Center In Stockholm and Cultural Counselor of Chinese Embassy in Stockholm, Pu Zhengdong said he is proud to present these three kinds of exhibitions which he believed to have been historic and plays an important role in promoting bilateral understanding and exchange of cultures.  This has been the main purpose of the center and now it really meets the goal.

Anders Nyhlen, planner of the exhibition said he was very glad to attend this exhibition.

“I have held exhibitions relation to China for six times. Many Swedish artists like to know about China since China develops so fast. This time we have eight Swedish artists participating in the exhibition and I think we welcome the Chinese artists to come to Sweden. ” said Nyhlen.

Professor Zhang Fangbai who is also artist and one of the focal persons for the exhibition said he is very grateful to have a chance to exhibit Chinese contemporary art again in Sweden because this has been very conducive for the Chinese contemporary arts development. These kinds of exhibitions in Stockholm affect Chinese artists a lot and Chinese artists were inspired by Swedish artists.

Artist Han Zhongren said by looking at the Swedish artists works, he felt he could understand what those artists are seeking for and he felt that they are seeking for similar goals and shoulder similar responsibilities.  Han’s works are mainly about environmental protection theme.

Qian Yuqing used to be a policeman. But he loved Chinese calligraphy since childhood and calligraphy has always been his hobby. Now he treats the hobby as his main task and quitted the police job.  He loved calligraphy and if he couldn’t get both, he quitted the police job and keeps the calligraphy job.  He said Chinese and western artists actually can learn from each other.  These exhibitions are just the way for them to exchange ideas. He got inspiration from the Swedish artists and he hopes Swedish artists can get some inspiration from him.

Ding Yazhong has his own art gallery, Jia Ji Art Gallery, and has his own art school. He also loves art since childhood.  His specialty is to use special red ink color to paint the landscape. His works show  people a beautiful feeling of autumn symbolising good harvest and beautiful autumn.  China is indeed experiencing the good harvest in many aspects.

The exhibitions opening attracted many audiences.  It will last till 28th of November.

There is also a digital exhibition during the whole exhibitions.

Text/Photo  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Chinese Special Series–Chinese Housing enough for the next generation

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Nov. 12(Greenpost)– To be honest, I came from a poor farmer’s family. But now those who live in the countryside enjoy big house, bigger space.

My brother and sister both have about 100 square meters apartment.
Recently a woman from Qingdao, Shandong province told me that they live in a 150 square meters apartment just for two persons.

Many civil servants have bigger office areas and enjoy two or three apartments.

Even those who came from the countryside and later lived in the city can enjoy very big apartment, not just one.

China has built so many buildings, so many cars and so many bikes.

A great change now is that people live much better.

Beijing attracts architeks from all over the world and it is a test site for all the vanguard builders. I saw an instrument type of building in Chaoyang district.

The famous CCTV building is even more protruding.  Skyscrapers are everywhere. And in many provinces, counties and cities, there are many buildings built.

Many people in local areas even have much more houses than those in bigger cities.  Chinese people enjoy far better material enjoyment now than ever. But their time of course is much tighter than before. They work harder than before.

Sino-US good relations conducive to the world peace and development

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

It is well known that if two tigers fight each other, both will be hurt.  America and China are the first and the second economy in the world. If these two countries are friendly cooperating with each other, the world will be peaceful and prosperous.

Tomorrow American president Donald Trump will visit China, the first visit since Trump came to power and since Xi Jinping was reelected CPC General Secretary.

These are the most powerful politician in the current world.  It is expected that they will definitely talk about bilateral trade and economic cooperation. They will also talk about the North Korean issue.

It is hopeful that China and US can reach an agreement that they will jointly maintain the world peace and not fight with each other.  That will be conducive to the world peace and development.

 

TV: ISDP holds seminar on China’s 19th CPC Congress Ambassador Gui speaks

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Oct. 31(Greenpost)– Swedish Thinktank Institute for Security and Development Policy held a seminar on China’s 19th CPC National Congress on Monday.  Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou made a keynote speech at the opening.

Ambassador Per Eklund made an introduction about Ambassador Gui who was born in 1965 and used to work in Moscow.

Ambassador Gui made the speech in Chinese and interpreted through an interpreter.

Mr. Gui answered questions.

Ambassador Gui explained about China’s stance of non interference and moving to the center of the world stage .

Kristina Sandklef speaks at the seminar.

Oskar Alman speaks at the seminar.

Li Junfeng, political counselor at the Chinese Embassy and Lora Saalman from SIPRI were also panelists at the seminar.

About 150 people attended the seminar and it was warmly welcomed.

 

US should suspend joint military exercises with South Korea

Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 13(Greenpost)– United States should stop joint military exercises with South Korea in order to ease the tension in the Korean Peninsula.

It is reported that the US said it will continue to go ahead with the joint military exercises with South Korea.

But this exercise was just the cause for North Korea to step up its test too. North Korean leader felt the strong pressure with the US and South Korean joint maneuver.

It treated as the US provocation or threat to North Korean’s security.

Some people suggest China offers defense for North Korea and then disarm North Korea. But the question is that China is China and North Korea is North Korea.

While China and North Korea is one of the big brothers to a little brother,  US is like the father of South Korea to offer security umbrella. India took Sikkum as a state and Bhuttan to offer its defense protection.

China’s idea was that countries, big or small were equal.  China didn’t and doesn’t want to interfere in other country’s affairs.

China is a country that doesn’t like to fight a war. But it always treats a war justified or not. If it is a just war, it has to join.

So solve the North Korean crisis, the US must stop joint exercise with South Korea.

Asian leaders should jointly voice their voice and take restraint in dealing regional affairs.

China’s High Speed Train, World No. 1

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 9(Greenpost)– China’s High Speed Train or Gaotie is really good.  The train number begins with capital letter G as Gaotie, High Speed Train.

High Speed Train in China means the speed is more than 300 kilometers per hour. If it is a little less than 300 kilometers, it is called Dongche or begins with capital letter D.  And if it is fast speed train which means they stop fewer stops, but the speed is still the traditional one, then it begins with K, meaning kuaiche or fast train.

But Gaotie is really another category. It is comparable to airplane.

During my visit to China this summer from June to July for more than a month, I travelled to Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Suzhou, Jinzhou, Shenyang and Dalian. I took Gaotie all the time including Dongche.

They are all very comfortable, very fast, low noise, everyone has a seat and the seat is the same as in the airplane. The space is even broader.

The conductors provide good services and the sanitation is very good. It has air conditions and sometimes, it has a table too.  The comfort can be comparable to the Swedish train, but the speed is really fast.

From Beijing to Tianjin, just half an hour.  Shanghai to Suzhou just takes half an hour.  Shenyang to Dalian just takes two hours.

There are food and water supplies in the train.  You can either eat in the train kitchen or in your own seat.  Hot water is also provided.  With such a speed, people have no sense of stress, but quite relaxed.  The temperature is kept almost permanently 24-26 degrees.

Each time I even lived near the high speed train station. From there, there is often subway stations too. So it is very convenient to travel to any place in the city.

From Tianjin to Shanghai and from Suzhou to Beijing,  both take about five hours, less than half of the previous times.

Compared with airplane, people don’t need to travel far away to the airport.  It just uses public transport, one can arrive there easily.  Of course if you like to drive, you can have parking place there too.

All the high speed stations and waiting rooms are very good.  It is new, convenient and attractive.

I believe if China’s high speed train is built in other developed or developing countries, it will also greatly be conducive to their economic development and improvement of people’s living quality.

It is especially good for business people.  But for ordinary people now many began to take high speed train for their travel because it is still cheaper compared with airplane and it is more importantly comfortable.

India doesn’t support belt and road initiative, so what?

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

India didn’t show up at the summit meeting in May what was held in Beijing. Some reports always mentioned this to show the differences between India and China.

China and India are neighbours and they need to have good relationships. But it doesn’t mean that they will agree with everything.

Belt and Road initiative is just an initiative and it is not an order in China. It is an initiative for all the countries who are interested in it to discuss how to cooperate and how to benefit from it.

Indeed China has a lot to offer such as high speed train technology and engineering teams. This high speed trains was criticised a lot at the beginning in China several years ago when it just began to operate. Some reports say it was only for the rich and far away from the city center and so on.

After several years operation, it proves to be a great success. It is so convenient to travel with Gaotie or G–lines. For example from June 20th to July 27th, I have traveled from Beijijng to Tianjin, from Tianjin to Shanghai and from Shanghai to Suzhou, from Suzhou to Beijing. From Bejing to Jinzhou, from Jinzhou to Shenyang, From Shenyang to Dalian and from Dalian to Jinzhou. I felt so happy to have chosen Gaotie or Chinese high speed train with 300 kilometer per hour speed.

The environment in the train is perfect and the short time of travelling between cities really make you happy. It is better than airplane and much better than car. It is very practical and comfortable.  Thus the High Speed Train now is almost full all the time, but it is still easy to buy the tickets.

If the world is connected with China’s High Speed train, I believe it will really benefit whichever country or province, or region to have it.  The condition is that it must be more than 200 kilometers distance.  If it is too short, then use the car or normal train.

China didn’t impose anybody or any country to take part in its initiative.  It is just a great proposal that quickly was recognized and highly praised by many countries.

In particular, Schiller Institute published a book to detailly describe their thoughts about the possible projects that can be constructed in the world at different points.

It is like the development in China. Those who didn’t have the chance to join in that stage, now they like to join China’s initiative and don’t want to miss this train this time.

Thus people should not always politicize the relations with economic development issue.

This time India rushed across the border to the Chinese side. It shows that India was extremely sensitive and wanted to show that they are strong enough to push Chinese back. But it seems there is such a big misunderstanding in the issue.  The question is Chinese soldiers were building road in their own border. But for courtesy, Chinese informed their other side.  It is like any Chinese neighbors who want to build their own house, but they also tell the neighbor that we are doing this, if it is too loud for you, excuse me.

Indian troops were stationed there because they wanted to protect Bhuttan, but Bhuttan didn’t really invite them to do so. They now also admit that that land is Chinese land, but not Bhuttan’s land, according to a report from Observer new media.

It quoted Chinese embassy people in India.  And Indian media now reported this news too.

I hope this issue can be solved immediately and Indian soldiers go back to your side.

China and India both belong to the ancient four great civilisation. Iraq has been demolished and Eqypt is facing a lot of challenges too.

Only China shows the best development since 1850. Now India is catching up. Chinese people respect India’s great culture and civilisation,  and Indian people also admire China’s development. Both enjoy the world’s largest population. I believe Indian population will grow faster than China’s because India didn’t implement any family planning policy.  India paid great attention to IT and other technology.

I think China and India should learn from Sweden and Norway, Sweden and Denmark, USA and Canada and Britain and France to negotiate their border and do not use the force to do it.

2017 China trip- landing in Beijing 1

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 7(Greenpost)– Seven or 7 seems to be my lucky number this year.  My husband, my daughter and I finished our China trip on 2017-07-27. And I like to have a review from today.  Please stay tuned.

London visit paves the way to China

I am a Chinese and I love China no doubt about it. But sometimes I was tired of China. That is why I can live in Sweden for 11 years now and still not too tired yet. Except the first three years, I almost went back to China every year or even twice a year for some years.

Last year, I told my daughter that we all should go to China this summer because it had been three years since they went to China last time.

She said she didn’t want to go simply because Chinese people are too warm to her. They always said she is beautiful, Pretty, Piaoliang.  Since the first time she went to China, she was like a little angel and people queued the long queue to see her.

She is a good mix of Chinese and Swedish. When I was in Harare, Zimbabwe, my German teacher married with a native Zimbabwan and their mixed child was claimed to be the best.  When I was a child, when thinking of having a mixed child, it was almost a curse. But as China opens up and we are more and more in favor of the western culture, my child is very well accepted in China.

However,  she has become a little picky about China. For example, in Beijing in winter it was actually very hot inside the room. Chinese people talked too loud compared with Swedish people and so on.  Although in my eyes it was obvious that we should go to China this summer, they had to discuss it many times. My daughter said she wanted to go to London first in stead of America or China.

I said ok, then you must go to China in the summer! I booked the tickets right after we came back from London.  To be honest, we didn’t visit too much of London. Except Crystal Palace and Queens Hotel, we didn’t go to London Tower or Big Ben. But that turned out to be good.

My daughter always mentioned her London trip and wanted to go again because she lived in Queens Hotel!

Visiting China will use the same strategy. Not visit famous tourist sites, but just stay in hotels or at home to relax. Take a walk in the park nearby and doing nothing normal.

Coming back from Shanghai, my brother in law asked whether we had been to the tallest building in Shanghai, I said please don’t ask us about the most popular place!

Eight hours flight didn’t seem to be too long because we not only ate two Chinese meals with just right amount for our stomach, but also watched films.

Jackie Chan played a professor and found a gold treasure in India.  With the shuttle of time and the beauty of actresses, especially the part when Jackie Chan was driving with the big lion, it killed all our sleepiness!

Air China is very comfortable and just after a couple of times of travelling, I decided to fix Air China as my flight because I don’t like to save some money but to travel through Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Helsinki to spend at least three or four extra hours. Once I and my daughter travelled via Amsterdam, we had to stay one night at the airport and the next day we had to travel to Heathrow Airport in order to go to Stockholm! Enough is enough.  I’d rather spend a little more money to fly direct than go round about.

Chinese girls are beautiful and nice and it is very good that they both speak English and Chinese.  As time goes by, I like to save my energy as much as possible.

Beijing Airport is the same as before.  It is large, broad and bright. It was due to the 2008 Olympics, Beijing Airport was improved. Immediately you can feel the water saving facilities in the toilet.  All the water tap used sensing devices.  Without sensing, no water comes out!

It was easy because I put a smaller suitcase inside the big suitcase just in order to use them when we went back to Stockholm.  There were so little things we could take from Sweden to China.  When coming back, we have a lot to take.

As we came out of the customs, my sister and brother in law showed up to receive us.  She just bought a BMW last summer after she came back from Indonesia where she worked for two years.  I suggested she buy Volvo, but she chose the landrover BMW in the end. She wanted to drive in the countryside or tourist sites in suburban Beijing.

I felt privileged to have them receive us.  If I were alone, I would like to take the fast train or subway to go home.

It was my brother in law who drove the car. He drove a car in Namibia when we were both working in Africa.  Later he turned out to become my brother in law.  The world was actually not big.  After going around the globe for  a whole round, I came to Sweden from New Zealand.

Arriving at home, I felt hungry. My brother in law cooked dumplings for us and we ate a lot together with dried Toffo salad.  Then we had a sleep which can be counted as 24 hours because we slept almost in a stretch to next day and next day. The room was hot and it felt like a free sauna! Sweat streams out easily out of forehead and neck.

Beijing, a warm Beijing warmly welcomed us!

A far more cleaner Beijing is waiting for us!

I feel very glad because I look forward to seeing many of my friends, classmates and most importantly my parents, my father, 84 and my mother 74! PLUS THEIR GRANDSON, 2.5 years old!

China is willing to work with all parties in the Arctic

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 7(Greenpost)–China is willing to facilitate maritime transport and work with all parties in the Arctic. Exchanges and coordination with relevant countries are encouraged in this area. Closer cooperation will be carried out to improve the market environment for international transportation and to facilitate maritime transportation. China is willing to enhance customs cooperation with countries along the Road, and to promote information exchange, mutual recognition of customs regulations,and mutual assistance in law enforcement, according to a vision issued by China’s NDRC on June 20, 2017.

Strengthening the connectivity of information infrastructure and networks. Information networks will be improved in countries along the Road by jointly building a system with broad coverage for information transmission, processing, management and application, a system for information standards and specifications, and a network security system, thus providing public platforms for information sharing.

Participating in Arctic affairs. China is willing to work with all parties in conducting scientific surveys of navigational routes, setting up land-based monitoring stations, carrying out research on climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic, as well as providing navigational forecasting services. China supports efforts by countries bordering the Arctic in improving marine transportation conditions, and encourages Chinese enterprises to take part in the commercial use of the Arctic route. China is willing to carry out surveys on potential resources in the Arctic region in collaboration with relevant countries, and to strengthen cooperation in clean energy with Arctic countries. Chinese enterprises are encouraged to join in sustainable exploration of Arctic resources in a responsible way. China will actively participate in the events organized by Arctic-related international organizations.

Source: Xinhuanet