16+1, a new Chinese initiative, takes its name from 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe plus China. It held a summit in November 2016 attended by Premier Li Keqiang and prime ministers or deputy prime ministers from the other member states. Earlier, President Xi Jinping had visited three countries in the region — Serbia, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
What’s it all for? How have China’s overtures been received by the governments of Central and Eastern Europe? Many of them — like those of Poland and the Czech Republic — had, until recently, real difficulties in their relations with China. And how have the two powers flanking Central and Eastern Europe — Russia to the east and the EU to the west — reacted to China’s creation of 16+1?
For answers to these questions and many more, Kaiser and Jeremy talked to Martin Hála, a China scholar who heads a project called AcaMedia, which is based in his native Prague.
Jeremy: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera.
Martin: Black Wind, White Snow, by Charles Clover, Eurasian integration: Caught between Russia and China, by the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Kaiser: The “relative calculator” app on WeChat, which calculates the correct Chinese term for family relations. Search for 亲戚计算器 (qīnqi jìsuànqì) on WeChat.
Earlier this month, Kaiser recorded a discussion in front of a live audience at the 1990 Institute in San Francisco with three luminaries of the China-watching scene: Yasheng Huang, MIT Sloan Professor of Chinese Economy and Business, John Pomfret, author of The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom, and Andy Rothman, investment strategist at Matthews Asia.
They got together to talk about how the presidency of Donald Trump will affect trade, politics, the international order, currency policies, and several other sides of the American relationship with China.
Chris Buckley is a highly regarded and very resourceful correspondent for The New York Times, who is based in Beijing. He has worked as a researcher and journalist in China since 1998, including a stint at Reuters, and is one of the few working China correspondents with a Ph.D. in China studies. Chris’s coverage has included politics, foreign policy, rural issues, human rights, the environment, and climate change. He also has an informative and sometimes very amusing Twitter account.
In this podcast, recorded with a live audience in Beijing, Kaiser and Jeremy ask Chris about his tradecraft and sourcing of stories about elite Chinese politics, his views on Xi Jinping and the anti-corruption campaign, and what we can expect from the 19th Party Congress this fall. Chris also talks about the joys of journalism in a country that makes it very difficult to do.
Jeremy: Interactive infographic about the Party’s “Leading Small Groups” produced by the Mercator Institute for China Studies, Great Wall Fresh - restaurant and wild Great Wall hiking.
Kaiser: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
By day, Andrew Dougherty is a macroeconomist who manages a China research team for Capital Group, one of the world’s largest actively managed mutual funds. By night, he is Big Daddy Dough, creator of an album of parody hip-hop songs that explain various facets of the contemporary Chinese political and economic situation, from fixed-asset investment to leadership succession. On a recent trip to Beijing, Kaiser and Jeremy sat down with Big Daddy Dough to listen to some of his songs and talk about the serious issues he describes in a lighthearted way in his music.
You can listen to Big Daddy Dough’s album and watch his music videos on his website: The Red Print Album.
Jeremy: China Heritage website.
Andrew: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance.
Kaiser: The Devil Made Me Do It, a hip-hop album by Paris.
Jane Perlez has been a reporter at The New York Times since 1981. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for coverage of the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has reported on wars, diplomacy, and foreign policy from Somalia to Poland to Indonesia. Since moving to Beijing in 2012, she’s written about everything from China’s space program to the Dixie Mission — the group of Americans sent to Mao Zedong’s revolutionary base at Yan’an who hoped to establish good relations between the U.S. and the soon-to-be-victorious Chinese communists. Last year, she took over from Edward Wong (listen to his exit interview on Sinica here) to become the Times’s Beijing bureau chief.
Much of Jane’s reporting has focused on China’s foreign policy, particularly its relations with the United States and its Asian neighbors. So she is the ideal interpreter for us as we try to understand Chinese foreign relations in a new age of uncertainty. Jeremy interviewed Jane in front of a live audience at the Beijing Bookworm for this podcast.