Why is China pursuing ports abroad?
Recent exploits have signaled Chinese intent to control key infrastructure in the Middle East. Chinese operational takeover of the Israeli port of Haifa, previously a US home port, cast a shadow on the US-Israel strategic partnership. Plans of a Chinese partner firm to build a port at Doraleh in debt-ridden Djibouti have sparked accusations of ‘debt-trap’ diplomacy. Conversely, China’s strategic partner Pakistan has floated the possibility of hosting a PLA Navy base in Gwadar, as Belt and Road Initiative projects in Pakistan go ahead.
How is China building an independent digital ecosystem?
Last Wednesday, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt forecast the future bifurcation of the Internet by China and the US, as development continues for a censored version of Google custom-built for China. Plans have been announced for China’s rival GPS system, Beidou, to be used in all new cars by 2020. Internal competition, dominant players and a clear industrial policy have created a Chinese digital ecosystem more advanced and independent than Europe’s.
How will China solve its aging population problem?
The pressures of China’s aging population have been exacerbated by remaining “filial duty” laws, exemplified last week as five adult children were sentenced up to two years in jail for abandonment of their dying father. In Beijing, the “Silver Hair” project has encouraged 132,000 retirees to return to work, ahead of potential policies to raise the retirement age. Service robots have been suggested as an alternative solution to bolster elder care, by providing inexpensive care and “companionship” to the 241 million Chinese elderly.
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