East41’s Dossier is titled Chinese Shadows. Each of its reports is directly tied to the complex life and times of the world’s second-largest economic power. We preview the coming Communist Party Congress and anticipate some of the major changes expected at the top, predictable but still intriguing. We also examine economic growth and investment, focusing on the country’s riveting array of contradictions and social contrasts. Claudia Astarita gives readers an exhaustive look at impending changes within the secretive Chinese executive, while Antonio Barbangelo probes China’s widening portfolio of foreign investments. Francesco Sisco examines Beijing’s ties with Europe while Simone Pieranni takes a detailed look at the cultural reform through which China hopes to influence the world as a whole, exporting parts of its own vision elsewhere. The problematic situation faced by Chinese workers is ably and amply covered by a report produced for us by the “China Labour Bulletin,” beside which you’ll find an autobiographical account by author Lijia Zhang that offers fascinating (and amusing) insight into what it was like working in Communist China of the 1980s. We also cover the ups and downs of ties between Russia and China in terms of energy policy and technical innovation, reports written by Astrit Dakli and Maria Elena Viggiano, respectively. We close out the Dossier with a special report on Hong Kong by Francesco Guarascio, vividly illustrated by Alessandro Rizzi’s photos. As always, we provide a reading list of book reviews for those of you eager to dig deeper into the subject matter.
The issue’s photo essay comes from Agenzia VII, which gives us a selection of images that portray modern China for what it is, a county that embraces the modern while adhering to tradition, at once embracing wealth and poverty, openness and censorship. Europe is also on our mind. Giuseppe Scognamiglio reflects on the euro crisis as a means toward continental reinforcement; Antonio Ferrari and Constanze Reuscher tackle Greek crisis from the vantage points of Athens and Berlin; Stefano Bottoni probes the uneasy relationship between Hungary and the EU. Our columns are rich as always. Together, Roberto Santaniello’s “Western Shore” and Bottoni’s “Eastern Shore” bring you up to date on political affairs throughout Europe. You’ll also find Manuela Dviri’s “Tel Aviv Notes” and the Levada Center’s insights into Russian affairs, as well as two regulars: “That’s Incredible,” compiled by Francesca Lancini and Carlotta Magnanini’s “By the Numbers.” This issue’s Special Reports covers Bosnia, divided as it is by ethnic woes; Turkmenistan and its appetizingly immense Central Asian gas reserves; and Qatar, which is pressing for a wider diplomatic role in the Middle East. Finally, we recommend Paola Caridi’s fascinating look at the growth of graffiti and wall art throughout the Middle East since last year’s Arab Spring.