October 2023 Issue: China’s Cosmic Capsule, Championship, and Business Breakfast

China's Cosmic Capsule, Championship, and Business Breakfast

Welcome to the NZCTA Young Associates Newsletter: a monthly-ish digest of happenings and articles for young people interested in the NZ-China space.

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Welcome to the YA's newsletter, October edition!

Both historically and contemporarily, October has consistently been a busy month in the China space — and the YA is here to break it all down once again. Read on to learn all about China’s journey to the stars with its Tiangong space station. Also on the menu in this newsletter is our recap of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, from which China walked away with some impressive results. Finally, to close out this month, don’t miss our section on upcoming opportunities in NZ-China space, one of which involves joining the Asia Savvy team 👀. Happy reading!

#1. The new space race? The ISS is on its way home, and China’s celestial palace is taking to the stars…

(A model of China's space station on display at the 2023 Shanghai World Capital Design Conference on September 26, 2023)

Being excluded is never a happy feeling, and China is no stranger to this.

In recent years, China has been blocked from increasing its share of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), dealt with extensive economic sanctions, and has been barred from collaborating with NASA by order of the United States government. It is a country that has contended with continuous exclusion while pursuing a never-before-achieved national goal of international power and influence

Yet, China remains undeterred. As NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) reaches the end of its 32-year lifespan, China has looked to the stars with an unbroken resolve. Its own space station, Tiangong (Tiāngōng, 天宫), translating to Celestial Palace in English, is envisioned as the perfect alternative.

Fully operational since 2022, Tiangong comprises three modules and has hosted up to three astronauts. It is only 40% of the size of the ISS; however, China has made plans to increase the size of its space station to six modules in coming years, creating space in which  additional astronauts can live and collaborate on matters of space research. Tiangong’s operational lifespan is more than 15 years, a promising figure for a possible alternative to the ISS.

The ISS’s decommissioning is planned for sometime after 2030; China’s upgrades to its own station will intersect with this event. This overlap is set to occur at a time during which China claims it shall become a “major space power.”

The importance of China’s space station cannot be disregarded. It is not only a further testament to the superpower’s unprecedented growth, but also a reminder that non-Western countries are capable players in this new frontier of geopolitics. For instance, Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, has offered foreign countries the opportunity to build their own module and add it to the Russian Orbital Space Station (ROSS). For the other members of the BRICS group (Brazil, India, China, and South Africa), this is another exciting opportunity to expand their influence in space-related politics and more widely demonstrates the growing relevance and strength of non-traditional world powers.

Unfortunately, not everyone has been thrilled by the advancement of China’s space capability. The European Space Agency (ESA) has seemingly snubbed China’s plan, reporting a lack of budgetary or political green lights and consequently abandoning plans for a visit by European astronauts to the station. This has been viewed with dismay by Chinese officials, who have cited the decision as an aggressive attempt by the US-led coalition to stifle Chinese growth and provoke a ‘space-race’.

In China’s eyes, Tiangong is able to fill an important void left by the ISS. Despite repeated efforts by rivals to hamper China’s progress, a wide open opportunity awaits just beyond the horizon. As China prepares for its palace to take its place among the stars, perhaps the world will come to look up to a new king?

#2. Spectacular Highlights of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China


The 19th Asian Games Hangzhou came to a close on the 8th October after 15 intense competition days. Inaugurated in 1951, the Asian Games transcend geographical barriers, fostering athletic unity across the diverse Asian continent. With a rich legacy of promoting friendship and sportsmanship, the Asian Games continue to inspire nations to break boundaries through the spirit of sports.

A staggering assemblage of over 12,000 athletes from all 45 members of the Olympic Council of Asia converged on the grand stage, participating in a total of 181 fiercely contested events. Of particular significance was that several of these events served as crucial qualifiers for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, adding an extra edge to the competitive fervour. Anticipation had been building for what was anticipated to be the largest and most impactful instalment in the history of the Games.

The People’s Republic of China tallied an impressive 383 medals across a diverse spectrum of sports and disciplines. Trailing closely behind were the Republic of Korea and Japan, securing 190 and 188 medals respectively, contributing to an intense competitiveness among the leading Asian sporting nations.

Among the standout achievements for China was the remarkable triumph of their Women’s Rugby Sevens team, who defeated Japan to claim gold. Additionally, the youth sensation Cui Chenxi etched her name in the annals of history as China's youngest-ever Asian Games gold medalist in women’s skateboarding, at just 13. Notably, the domain of skateboarding has been consistently dominated by a wave of talented teenage girls.

The 19th Asian Games marked a significant milestone as e-sports made its debut, captivating enthusiasts around the world. China — widely acknowledged to be an epicenter as the world’s largest esports market — exulted in securing a gold medal in this groundbreaking addition, underscoring the remarkable growth and acceptance of esports within mainstream sporting culture.

Beyond the realm of sporting achievements, the Games also demonstrated a profound commitment to sustainable practices, aligning with contemporary environmental imperatives. A notable departure from traditional practices was the deliberate exclusion of fireworks from the ceremonies, replaced instead by the innovative integration of augmented reality. This inventive approach manifested in the striking visual of the word “Asia” materialising and descending across the river, seamlessly blending with the surrounding natural landscape. The integration of Hangzhou’s emblematic osmanthus flower added an evocative touch, symbolising the city's rich cultural heritage and environmental consciousness.

#3. Savvy Enough For These Opportunities?

🌏 Join the Asia Savvy Team 🌏

Are you passionate about fostering connections between Asia and New Zealand? Do you have a knack for event organisation and social media wizardry? Asia Savvy is an annual student-led conference that connects students, businesses, and thought leaders. The team aims to empower the "Asia-savvy" generation through peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing. If you are enthusiastic about promoting Asia Savvy's opportunities, have a flair for facilitating engaging events and have social media skills that can make their content shine — become part of a dynamic team committed to bridging cultures and making meaningful connections in the Asia-NZ academic sphere! Find out more details at https://www.asia-savvy.com/ or contact Josie at jmgreenwood02@gmail.com if you’re interested! 🌟

📅 Save the Date!

Join NZCTA and North Asia CAPE for an exciting 'China Business Breakfast' session on November 8th, 2023, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. This event, at Auckland’s Northern Club, provides an informal platform for industry leaders to share their China journeys.

NZCTA are thrilled to welcome guest speaker Frank Xu, President of the NZ Chinese Building Industry Association and Deputy General Manager of Shundi Group. Frank brings 33 years of expertise in project management and property development, and now, as project director for Shundi Group, is managing the tallest apartment building in NZ – Seascape — as well as a large apartment development project called Te Tauoma, in Auckland’s St Johns.

Don't miss this chance to hear about Shundi Group's journey and the experiences of Chinese construction companies in New Zealand! The event is open to NZCTA members at $30 and non-members at $45. Register your spot now via this link!

Have a piece you'd like us to feature or share? Or an idea/opportunity you would like us to offer? Do you have general questions/comments? Let us know through our socials below!

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Editors: Kelly, Lilia, Allan, Melanie and David

Disclaimer: opinions expressed in this newsletter are solely the views of the NZCTA Young Associates and do not represent the opinions of the wider New Zealand China Trade Association or any of its executive committee.

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