The Economist on China – Seriously – Part 4/4

Although I feel that some of the advice from The Economist (ET) of The dangers of a rising China is flawed, the most important advice for America is to abide by its own rules — and if it must break them, it should factor in the real cost of doing so.

I say that the problem here is the fact that every few years, the leadership of America changes and the new leadership (depending on political agendas and promises made to win votes) often does not respect agreements made by previous administrations.

However, China’s central government tends to be much more stable than that of the US. This may help.

Since the US has a history of breaking rules (and treaties), The Economist (TE) does offer valuable advice but I doubt if the US government will listen. The nature of US politics and much ignorance of China among many American voters increases the risk of making a costly mistake.

In fact, there are political factions in the US that do not care how many die or suffer to achieve their political/religious goals.

TE also offers important advice for the Chinese Communist Party to stop using censors… and to draw less on historic grievances.

I suspect that as long as life in China continues to improve, the majority of Chinese could care less about the censored topics.

However, what TE means by historic grievances is more important and a larger challenge for the Chinese to overcome. There are 19th century invasions of China by Western powers that led to the Opium Wars; the devastation of the Taiping Rebellion caused by a Christian convert; the results of the Boxer Rebellion and what happened in World War II when Japan invaded China slaughtering millions of innocent people.

In the 18th and 19th century, China wanted to avoid contact with the West but the West due to its politics and religious beliefs refused and forced China to open its doors to trade resulting in much suffering in China.

Forgetting those grievances, which smashed China’s “collective” pride, may be difficult for many Chinese to do now that the pride that was lost has been found again.

In fact, do not forget that many in China feel a serious connection to the ancestors who suffered at the hands of Western countries and Japan between the Opium Wars and the conclusion of World War II.

It may be difficult and even impossible for people in an “individualist” culture such as the US to understand why many Chinese may have difficulty letting go of these historic grievances.

After all, in America, it is easy to forget about the ancestors, the past and history. Many even believe it is a waste of time to learn of history.

Return to The Economist on China – Seriously – Part 3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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4 Responses to The Economist on China – Seriously – Part 4/4

  1. vokoyo says:

    當我們看中國的外交,卻發現她很多時會在違背自身價值觀和利益的情況下,向各國妥協。可見中國外交的失敗。

    中共所實行的睦鄰政策,可說是徹底的失敗。中共現在的領導人奉行鄧小平那套所謂的「韜光養晦」政策。但其實,這只是一種逃避挑戰的鴕鳥政策。當今中國所面臨的惡劣國際環境,則決定了這種鴕鳥政策必然失敗。

    在這種鴕鳥政策主導下,中國外交不僅畏首畏尾,更胸無大志,既沒有系統的外交戰略,也沒有長遠的外交目標。這種頭痛醫頭、腳痛醫腳式的外交政策,直接導致中國外交在面對各種挑釁時束手無策,盡顯軟弱之態,面對大好機遇時,也因毫無戰略準備而無所作為。

    對朝鮮對印度對日本甚至是越南,中國都是畏首畏尾,一昧退讓,實行韜光養晦。本來,鄧小平的韜光養晦,是指平時積蓄力量,關鍵時刻果斷出手,是一種積極進取的外交思維。但現在,卻成了一種鴕鳥政策,令人無奈。

    其實,按照中國現在的實力,根本不用如此讓步,中共對東南亞國家,對日本,甚至是越南朝鮮,都讓得太多。完全顯示不到大國風範,畏首畏尾的外交政策,只會令中國人蒙羞!

    至於對印度和越南的外交處理手法,中共簡直令人覺得恥辱。情況就好像當年清政府打贏法國,但仍然賠償法國一樣。令人覺得是絕大的恥辱。

    中國在和日本,越南,俄羅斯,印度等周遍強國的政治經濟往來中,沒有佔到多少便宜,也沒有讓這些列強放棄對中國崛起的偏見和敵視,自身利益不斷被侵占,不能不說中國的外交政策有很大缺陷,這是中國國家佈局計劃和外交政策慘敗的最佳體現。

    中國常常想成為一等一的大國,但他的外交卻事事以懦弱的方式勉強了事,實在不能給人任何強國的風範。

    • This comment arrived in Chinese from an individual calling him or herself Vokoyo.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but a short translation into English reveals that this comment is from a not-headed Chinese nationalist that believes China is strong enough to stand up to foreign powers militarily such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam, etc., but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is weak, has no ambition or long term plans for foreign military strategy outside China, has not developed any long-term diplomatic goals, and when it comes to foreign policy is timid, which will result in many Chinese being shamed.

      In other words, Vokoyo’s opinion is that the CCP acts in a cowardly manner in everything it does and is incapable of making China strong.

      Could Vokoyo be a Maoist and/or someone under the age of 25?

      In fact, the CCP has other goals than risking shooting wars, which is to feed China and improve the quality of life for as many Chinese as possible. Instead of aggressive foreign policy and military strategies outside China, the CCP is focused on developing China until at least 600 to 800 million Chinese are living a modern, Western middle class lifestyle.

      In fact, in the last fifty years since 1960, China has had no loss of life from famines caused by droughts leading to starvation. Yet, for the previous two thousand years, droughts and famines happened in one or more provinces annually. The last famine that resulted in “MANY” deaths (about 20 million) from starvation was in 1960.

      In addition, China now has the second largest economy on the planet with predictions that within a decade or so, China will have the largest economy. Also in recent years, China moved past the US to be the largest producer and consumer of electricity.

      Vokoyo should study the United States to see what happens when a nation’s foreign and military policies are too aggressive. The US has a national debt that is more than 14 trillion US dollars and total U.S. consumer debt in the private sector is $2.43 trillion. The average credit card debt per household (with credit card debt) in the US is about $16,000.

      In comparison, Vox.org reports, “Gross domestic savings in China has surged since 2000, climbing to over 50% of GDP starting in 2007. In particular, enterprise saving – including that of state-owned enterprises – has risen sharply in recent years. Government saving has also increased.”

      “Chinese households save a large share of their disposable incomes,” Vox.org continues, “and their average saving rate has increased over the last decade and a half. This pattern is particularly pronounced for urban households, which account for about two-thirds of national income.” Source: http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/6028

      However, for the US, the New York Times reported in September 2011, “Another 2.6 million people slipped into poverty in the United States last year, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, and the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people, was the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it.” Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/us/14census.html?pagewanted=all

      Then China Digital Times reports, “Within a generation, the middle class in China will be roughly four times the size of the American middle class population, according to the UN Population Division and Goldman Sachs. By 2030, China should have approximately 1.4 billion middle class consumers compared to 365 million in the U.S. and 414 million in Western Europe.”

      Question for Vokoyo—If this were a long distance race, who stands the best chance of winning in twenty to thirty years?

      Advice for Vokoyo: “Practice patience and allow time to declare the winner—not a hot head.”

  2. Terry K Chen says:

    Well written. Its ironic that the US is complaining about Chinese aggresivesness when they have and still are embroiled in so many wars. They invaded north korea, vietnam, and afghanistan for the sake of there being a pro US government and they invaded iraq for the sake of some bloody oil. For the same reasons, they seem to try to interfere in the internal affairs of every non-western country. Just look at how many middle eastern leaders were pushed up by the US. Bin laden, the taliban, mubarak, Saddam hussein, and many other leaders depended on US backing to gain power.

    To my knowlege, the CCP has never actively try to interfere in another country’s internal affairs or invade another country. The most aggressive thing they’ve done is fight over borderline issues.

    This is really a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    • The heavy Western cast-iron frying pan calls the Ming Dynasty ceramic vase black when it is a variety of brilliant colors and when the vase doesn’t agree, the frying shatters it.

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