Four keys to China's peaceful rise

As we mark the 30th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping's launching the country's world-changing economic reforms, I want to address the $65 quadrillion question of China's peaceful rise.

Timothy Garton Ash Source:
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  1. "2. The US-China Special Relationship"

    Of course it is a special relationship -- the world's biggest debtor and its biggest lender. I predict the relationship will deteriorate when the US defaults on its massive debts. The Chinese are rightfully suspicious of US intentions over Taiwan. Thank goodness the current Taipeh administration is not so enamoured of the Yankees!


    "3. From G8 to G14

    There's a trade-off here. Parodying slightly again, one could say that the west wants China to take more responsibility without giving it more power, while China wants more power without taking more responsibility. We'll have to meet somewhere in the middle."

    Whether G2 or G100, don't expect the Chinese to ever forget how we Europeans bullied them in their moment of weakness in the 19th Century in the Opium Wars.
    And what is this nonsense about Europeans "giving" the Chinese power? The Chinese have power (economic, nuclear etc). They only chose to exercise their power softly viz-z-viz other countries, the only notable exception being when the UK refused to quit Hongkong up to as late the 1990s and had to be handled a humiliating ultimatum by Beijing.

    "4. Deep cultural and social engagement

    Mutual understanding requires a correspondingly greater effort. China is using some of its foreign currency reserves to send its students to American and British universities; we should be using our resources to welcome them here, and send more of our own students there with the necessary language training. Our newspapers should report China in as much detail as we do the United States. We should encourage people-to-people exchanges on a massive scale, and use the potential of the internet. For a meeting of minds, the best thing of all is still a personal meeting - but these days, we don't need to meet to get talking."

    I hate to put a damper on Ash's optimism but I have been living in the Far East long enough to have a fuller picture than Ash will ever have from his sofa in the UK. If you look carefully at the courses that the Chinese sign up for in the West, it is predominantly in the engineering and technological fields, not in the arts and social sciences. The Chinese, with their continuous 5000 years of civilization, do feel an ingrained sense of cultural superiority over the "foreign barbarians". You can easily verify this by reading their Chinese language books and newspapers. They do look down on foreigners where culture and civilization are concern. Only they are smart enough today to keep their mouths shut to avoid offending the outsiders. Unlike loud-mouthed Western barbarians like us!
    (lowe, 20 December 2008 14:27)