This paper aims to identify the relationship between Chinese culture and foreign policy. By ignoring the role of culture, rational choice theories have attracted criticism from cultural approaches such as strategic culture. However, instead of being a direct causal factor in policy decisions, as strategic culture claims, culture should be regarded as a constitutive factor that forms a country’s perception of its objective environment and of significant Other(s). In a similar vein, Chinese culture also constitutes the country’s perception of the Other, based on which its fundamental foreign policy direction has evolved. This paper will focus in particular on guanxi, a special type of interpersonal relationship that strongly reflects Chinese culture, and analyze how it influences China’s perception of, and policy towards, Japan. Japan’s identity as China’s significant Other has been constituted in the context of guanxi. China’s generosity in foregoing war reparations and the lack of disputes with Japan during the post-normalization decade was not born out of pure goodwill, but was due to a pattern of cultural behavior that involved morally dominating the guanxi with Japan. Since China considered the guanxi as one of amity in this period, conflicts such as territorial disputes over Diaoyu/Senkaku were quickly resolved; the parties put these differences behind them as if they did not even exist. However, Japan’s identity as a friend started to deteriorate in the 1980s. The new guanxi of friendship with Japan was premised on Japan repenting its past aggression and behaving accordingly, as China insisted in the 1972 Communiqué. Therefore, Tokyo’s policies over history textbooks, the Yasukuni shrine, and the Kokaryo case made it seem to the Chinese that Japan was not seriously repenting its past. In the eyes of China, Japan failed to live up to its moral obligation in their guanxi, and the entire foundation of reciprocity and amity started to crumble. After a period of reinterpretation of Japan’s identity through bilateral interactions during the1982–89 Sino–Japanese guanxi, China was disappointed with Japan’s negligence of its moral obligation. As a result, memories of Japan’s invasion were recalled, and negative perception of this neighbor was consolidated in the 1990s. Thus, a guanxi of enmity began to dominate China’s policy towards Japan, and has exerted a powerful negative inertia ever since then. In response to China’s Japan policy, with its undertone of enmity, Japan’s perception of China also deteriorated, and the two have become bogged down in a bilateral structure that benefits neither.
This paper aims to explain the role of middlemen (jing ji ren in Chinese) in China’s corn market by examining the circumstances in Jilin Province, a major corn-producing area in China. The leading role of the state-owned grain companies in the corn market changed after the reform of the grain distribution system in 2004, when numerous companies and middlemen from the private sector entered the market. Middlemen have since then become active actors in the new distribution channel of corn. Small-scale middlemen are rural residents as well as private truck owners. They purchase corn at farm gates, while offering threshing and truck-loading services to peasants. Small-scale middlemen earn profits by offering these services and utilizing price information at sales. Large-scale middlemen are mostly constituted as companies. They purchase corn at their warehouses from small-scale middlemen and peasants who came to sell, and resell the corn to other companies. Large-scale middlemen expand the profit margin by drying the corn with desiccators before resale. Their sales volumes are much larger compared to those of middlemen who purchase corn at farm gates. In this way, middlemen are playing important roles as collectors, sellers and service-providers in China’s corn market. Their activities contribute to the reduction of transaction costs compared to the case when peasants sell corn directly to grain companies.
This paper reveals that political changes are not the only factors that promoted the marketization of China’s grain distribution system. It is the internal forces of the agricultural sector that led to the success of the reform of the grain distribution system in 2004. After the reform, rural residents were able to improve their performance as middlemen and the efficiency of the distribution channel in the corn market was increased. The results shown in this paper support the academic view proposed after the 1980s that middlemen are not always exploiting the peasants, but can be actors to improve the efficiency of agricultural goods markets. The fact that middlemen’s activities are beneficial to both the managements of peasant households and to grain companies also has significant implications for agricultural policy-makers. That is to say, in a country where agricultural production is undertaken mainly by smallholders, policies intended to connect producers to consumers of agricultural goods, or those intended to build large-scale modern distribution facilities in a short time might not always be effective.
International democracy assistance is one approach by which international actors play a role in promoting democracy. Two essential entry points for such assistance are governments and civil society. This paper seeks to explore how international democracy assistance has supported Indonesia’s democratization process. After the fall of Suharto in 1998, the process of democratization began and Indonesia started receiving foreign assistance to support political reform. This study confines its objects of research to Japan, the United States (US) and the European Union (EU). Japan has given enormous assistance to Indonesia, making it the largest donor, while the US and the EU are acknowledged as essential actors in democracy aid. In 1999, Japan supported for the first time a general election in Indonesia, and did so again in 2004. Previously, Japan’s foreign aid had been concentrated in the area of economic development. However, after the political reform, it started to include aid aimed at political development and support for civil society. Therefore, this paper analyzes the changes in Japan’s democracy aid policy in the post-1998 Indonesia, and compares it with the aid policies of the US and EU. As an analytical framework, this paper utilizes the classification of democracy assistance approaches of Carothers, called the developmental and political approaches, and the types of democracy assistance classified by Golub, namely “Big D” and “small d”. This study finds that Japanese democracy aid was mainly targeted at government (Big D) and focused on economic development (the developmental approach). The Japanese government did not consider political aid an option because they believed that prioritizing economic development was necessary to achieving democratic development. Moreover, much of the aid was channeled through recipient governments to maintain good relations with them. In contrast, the US tended to emphasize “small d” aid, which was affected by the political approach. They targeted their programs directly on the political area—such as elections, strengthening of political parties, election monitoring—and this aid was characterized as a collaboration with civil society. Meanwhile, like Japan, the EU focused its aid on economic development. However, comparing the aims of both these aid programs, this study finds that the EU regarded civil society as one of the most important targets, as its program worked with this sector, and connected democracy work with political, social, and economic rights. Therefore, the democracy aid supplied by the EU can be identified as “small d” development.
This paper demonstrates the process by which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established its leadership in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), by analyzing the theories, measures, organization, and personnel affairs recorded in CPPCC documents. Previous literature has shown that the CPPCC functioned as a legislative branch during the foundation period of the PRC and that the “Common Program,” which was adopted by the CPPCC, reflected arguments about the new nation’s fundamental philosophy and principles. Based on this evidence, it is reasonable to suppose that the CCP worked hard to assume its leadership through various channels in the CPPCC. By employing a new perspective and investigating new material, this paper examines this supposition, which has not been studied previously. The analysis provided by this paper shows the following points. Firstly, the CCP’s leadership had not been established when the CPPCC was planned. Secondly, the CCP gained its leadership via personnel arrangements during the preparation process for the CPPCC. Thirdly, there remained considerable limitations regarding the leadership of the CCP in the CPPCC. This limitation of the CCP’s power in the CPPCC led to ambiguity on the part of CCP in terms of its theories and practices in the early years of the PRC.