The Economist on China – Seriously – Part 4/4

January 13, 2011

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


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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