“The China No One Talks About”

From guest-blogger Martyn…

This site has previously countered many of the abundant myths surrounding the idea of the โ€œChina threat,โ€ a threat seen in terms of China’s increasing economic power and military build-up. But what if China stumbled badly? What if the world is focusing too much on the problems of Chinaโ€™s success and too little on the problems of its potential failures? As this article relates, China currently faces a multitude of both internal and external pressures, any or all of which could spell potentially catastrophic trouble for not only China but the rest of the largely unprepared world.

While China’s surge certainly may continue, it’s also possible that the awakening giant may stumble badly, a notion not on enough radar screens in Washington. And a failed China could damage American interests to a greater extent than a strong China. That’s hardly the conventional wisdom, but it’s worth examining.

Ironically, it’s the superheated growth fueling China’s economic miracle that also threatens China’s future:

The Pentagon report projects that, based on past growth rates, China’s economy could reach nearly $6.4 trillion by 2025. That would put China roughly on a par with Japan, but well below the U.S., with an expected figure of $22.3 trillion. China’s military would be an expected beneficiary of the country’s economic expansion.

But with surprising candor, the Defense Dept. acknowledged that such growth would be a challenge for China. And that’s precisely what gets insufficient attention. Kenneth Lieberthal, a veteran Asia hand who toiled at the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration before returning to teaching at the University of Michigan, has thought long and hard about the Middle Kingdom. What he sees are enormous strains plaguing China — pressures that could mean trouble for the U.S. and the rest of the world.

While it’s smart to watch China’s military modernization, it also would be wise for Washington to prepare for another outcome — a China on its back. Riots on a regular basis and such incidents as the recent drowning death of more than 100 miners suggest the ruling regime is indeed fragile, as laborers rebel against the government’s callousness to workplace safeguards and political rights.

The solution isn’t a U.S. effort to prop up a repressive regime. But Washington must start thinking about how to handle a health pandemic or widespread hunger or a province that becomes a haven for terrorists. Washington can’t be expected to tackle these issues by itself. An international effort would be needed. But the thinking and planning should start well before disaster strikes. We need to plan for both a 10-foot-tall China and one cut down to size.

Which will it be? A harmonious and economically strong China or a China in turmoil and on its knees? Now is the time to think about it as the cracks are already starting to show in both Chinese society and the economy. China was very much able to muddle through in the โ€˜90s as the economy was much smaller then and society was still very much in transition but in 2005, the stakes are much, much higher.

The Discussion: 37 Comments

No idea why it has to be either. Americans seem to vacillate between living in awe and terror of China or being contemptuous of it. A rather odd phenomenon which says a bit more about us than them, frankly.

August 18, 2005 @ 11:15 am | Comment

A few thoughts:

1. After several years in China, I have been saying to all of my American and European friends that I do not fear a strong China – rather I fear China’s weakness. Right now I fear that China is too weak and too potentially unstable.

2. I have often pointed out to my Chinese students and academic colleagues, that for 5,000 years a strong China has always been good for the West – and a weak China has always been bad for the West.
One example I like to use, is how China’s weakness in the 1920s and 1930s made the Western democracies weaker and led to the Cold War. How? Consider: If in the 1930s China had been strong enough to resist Japan, then America would not have been dragged into the war in the Pacific, and so, America could have used ALL of its military strength to defeat Hitler, more quickly and without help from the Russians.
Simply, a strong China in the 1920s and 30s and 40’s, would have left the Western democracies free to fight Hitler with all their might instead of being distracted by the war in the Pacific.
And so, if China had been strong and stable between 1920 and 1940, the Western allies could have defeated Hitler without any help from the Russians, and so, Europe would not have been divided, and there would be no Cold War. (And I also believe, Russian Communism would have died a lot sooner, if Russia had not been dragged into the war against Hitler……)

2. For 5,000 years, China has NEVER, NEVER posed a strategic threat to any Western country.

3. Whenever China has been the hegemonic power in the Far East, it has always been good for the West.

4. In the past 5,000 years, the ONLY time when any of China’s leaders ever even attempted to be hostile to the West, was during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. The ONLY time China was ever an enemy of the West, was during a few crazy years when China was weak and unstable.

5. On the other hand, for thousands of years, whenever China has been strong, China has always been good for the West. When China is strong, it is more open, and when China is more open it is more creative and more ingenious. The West got many benefits from China whenever China was strong.

6. So, as an American patriot, I want China to become stronger, because it is in the interest of my country, and the interest of Western Civilization, and the world, for China to be strong.
5,000 years of history proves this.
…I hope bingfeng (and some other Chinese readers) will read what I have written here, and maybe send it to China Daily….. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Some of us Americans criticize the CCP, yes, but we also know it’s better for America if China is strong. So some of us Americans criticize China’s government because we really DO want China to be stronger….. ๐Ÿ™‚

August 18, 2005 @ 12:24 pm | Comment

I second Ivan’s analysis – a strong China is better for the US and the world…a weak China is a disaster for us all…

August 18, 2005 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

You two are really an odd group of people, I’m pretty sure you two will never have a chance be elected to public office in U.S. because of those words you just muttered.

However as a Chinese, I thank you for your kind heart, or wait, did you say it was for your self-interest? ๐Ÿ™‚

August 18, 2005 @ 12:42 pm | Comment

Also, you must add that in 5,000 years, China has frequently ruled by foreign invaders, broken up into more than one state, or paid tribute to foreign powers. China has a cultural strength of size and population, so that they can absorb the foreigners and make them Chinese. When they’re strong they have conquered their neighbors and absorbed them, but far more often they have been weak. It is too large a country to be centrally controlled for very long.

I agree though that a strong China is better than a weak one. With one caveat- I think the CCP is anti-West because of Communism, and that is a problem.

August 18, 2005 @ 12:51 pm | Comment

Wawa, there are so many reasons I’d never be elected to public office in the US! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, some evolutionary theory posits that altruism in general helps preserve the species, and I think there are aspects of game theory that say the same thing…so perhaps everything is self-interest when you get down to it…

August 18, 2005 @ 12:55 pm | Comment

Wawa:
1. Before I answer your comment, do you know what Wawa is in my home state of Pennsylvania? It’s a very cute, nice little store (a chain of stores) where milk is sold. It’s named after a Leni Lenape (Pennsylvanian American Indian) word which means “give me milk, please!” ๐Ÿ™‚

2. You mentioned “self-interest.” Did it ever occur to you that self-interest can be mutual interest? I mean, did you ever think that maybe, it might be GOOD for Americans to act in their TRUE self-interest, because America’s self-interest is the same as China’s? It really is the same interest – because right now the main thing China and America need to do, is to save the world from destruction.

3. I think you are not a Lenape Indian :-), but I want to give you a Lenape Blessing – such as was passed down to me by the Lenape who sold their land to the first Englishman (Thomas Mayberry) who built my homestead (The Ironmaster’s Mansion, 1770, somewhere near Valley Forge):

“Walnuts smell best when half green and half brown.”
If you don’t get it, then you need to go back and study your Lao Tzu some more. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

August 18, 2005 @ 1:28 pm | Comment

LMAO, that surely is something I learned today. And as for things to learn on the weekend, I plan to look through Lao Tzu’s book for the word “Walnuts” as a start.

And hell no, it never occurred to me that self-interest can be mutual interest! How could America the evil empire and China the evil regime have self interests that are mutual? Hmm, did I say evil and evil? Maybe it is possible, let me give this some more thought. ๐Ÿ˜›

August 18, 2005 @ 1:57 pm | Comment

China’s rise is unstopable and the west needs to get used to it.

People are scared of China for different reasons. For the social elite class, the rise of China will change the way which rules are set and unset the existing international system; many average people worry that the rise of China will take their jobs away and lower the living standard; and for some, they feel scared as the Chinese is yellow…

August 18, 2005 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

Ivan,

According to wawa website, “Wawa” is a Lenni Lenape Indian word for the Canada Goose that was found in the Delaware Valley!

At most you could associate me with the “Canada Goose”, but not with milk. Don’t try to fool me that you could drink me everyday. ๐Ÿ™‚

August 18, 2005 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

Wawa,
Yes I know the story about the goose. It is a myth, an urban legend.
The local Lenape in my native valley (a subtribe of the Lenape, named the Unami, and I’m serious about this) always said “wawa” meant “more milk”.
You can tell me all you want about the Wawa website (and I know their emblem is a goose) – but I know what I know from local legends from where I grew up, in Unami country.
(Parenthetically, I’m really enjoying this!)
And I was very serious when I gave you the old Lenape (Unami) proverb about the walnuts.

August 18, 2005 @ 2:55 pm | Comment

PS, more about my Lenape brothers:
“Leni Lenape” means “Real Humans”
I have a friend who is a pure Lenape, and once, after I told him on and on about the beauties of the forest where I grew up, he told me:
“You love our land. Makes you one of us.”
I have nothing to add to that.
Anyway, I know a few things about the Lenape, and what “wawa” really means…. ๐Ÿ™‚

August 18, 2005 @ 3:09 pm | Comment

I don’t know that I “fear” China – even a weak one. What I worry about is the people I know there who deserve so much more. Given the turmoil of the 20th century there, I pray they never have to face such misery themselves.

But Beijing seems to refuse to accept that anything will go wrong in the future. Their political reforms are window-dressing and cannot fill the void of accountability that poor Chinese are increasingly expressing anger over. This unrest is not terminal – far from it. But what will happen when China suffers an economic crash? 9+% growth cannot continue. If millions of Chinese protest when China’s economy is doing well, I dread to think what might happen if the country goes into recession.

Only the CCP can change China’s future, by instituting real reforms and moving towards real democracy through increased accountability. Some people say that a country of so many people cannot survive by giving everyone a voice. I believe that the only way it can continue to survive, now that capitalism and consumerism has entered (with all the greed and envy that comes with it), is by ensuring that all those 1.3 billion people feel that they have a say in the running of their affairs. Because if someone has nothing left but sees wealth all around them and they feel they have no power because it is monpolised by an elite, then they often believe that they have one option left – violence. And China’s history is full of peasant rebellions.

But, as I said, the Chinese government seems to believe the good times will never end. What I fear is that they will run out of time and go the way of the last Imperial government. They will fall, without anything credible to replace them and China will suffer again through widespread chaos, violence and death.

Oh, but surely the Chinese government is changing, you say? Well I hoped Hu was going to start something meaningful. But when Zhao Ziyang died, my worst fears were confirmed. A man who is as much the father of modern China as Deng Xiaoping, a man who broke the back of the Maoists in the Party and a man who staked his political career rather than unleash the Chinese army on its own people, was treated as if he had done nothing of note.

The Politburo enforced a media blackout on news of his death, tributes were censored on the internet and, when an obituary was finally released, it was disgracefully short and weak. There was no State funeral and the ceremony was closed to the Public. This shows how embarrassed the Party is over the past and unwilling it is to change its ways.

I believe Zhao objected to use of lethal force in 1989 because he knew it would wreck the future China he was trying to build. He wasn’t just trying to improve the economy, he was trying to liberalise the nation at all levels – he was the first and only leader to invite the world’s press to cover the NPC’s sessions, as well as to propose making the civil service a non-politically orientated (i.e. remove the Communist-membership requirement) civil service. When he asked the students to leave, he wasn’t just crying because he feared for their lives – he feared for the nation’s future.

And in a way his fears are coming true, because despite China’s economic boom it is in danger of losing its soul. The empty nationalism the CCP is falling back on is merely papering over the cracks, while breeding too many angry, bitter youths that may drag the country into a future conflict it shouldn’t fight.

Perhaps I’m being melodramatic, but I can see it going completely wrong so easily. And I just don’t want that to happen to the people I know there. They have been so good to me and have so much to offer the world, they deserve to live in a stable, happy country run by an accountable and responsible government that for once in China’s recent history will protect their rights and not revoke them at the drop of a hat.

The nation’s constitution was made a mockery of in 1989 when the old gentleman was illegally removed from power – I think the reformers, as small in number as they are, should stage their own coup and force out the biggotted geriatrics before it gets too late. We need another Zhao Ziyang.

August 18, 2005 @ 4:48 pm | Comment

Breaking news shock! China is a normal place!

As was mentioned at the start of this comment thread, what is it about China that its path is perceived as either inevitable world dominance, or else spectacular collapse?

I’ve always been of the opinion (in the minority, apparently) that China is not moving to be some USA on steroids but rather is moving/has moved from socialism to your more standard ‘developing world’ scenario (I hate that term, but don’t know what else to use).

Sure, it has big cities with shiny buildings and lots of cars that go nowhere fast. Sure, some people have laptops and cell phones (call Time magazine, the Cultural Revolution must be over!) Sure it has highways and shopping malls. But so do Thailand, India, Indonesia, Brazil…you name it. China only appears better ‘developed’ because it cares more about that appearance, and it has been better at keeping that annoyingly massive population of poor people away from the prying eyes of foreign visitors who are too busy thinking that some bulbous TV tower straight from the 1950s represents the future (If I read one more article anywhere about how the Pudong skyline symbolizes the future and/or China’s economic might, I think I will honestly throw up- it seems not too many journalists these days know how to spell s-h-o-w-c-a-s-e l-a-n-d-s-c-a-p-e.)

I arrived in China thinking I was looking at the next ‘world superpower’, or whatever you want to call it. I left China two years later saying goodbye to a normal place, with some promise yes, but also faced with enormous problems, not necessarily unique to the country but magnified immensely given the size of the population.

We should all wish China and the Chinese people the best of luck, because holy sh*t are they going to need it.And your average foreign slackjaw slobbering over the ‘modernity’ of traffic-choked expressways and gargantuan white elephant development projects isn’t helping things much.

(start cheap dig)
Skyscrapers and highways were sooo last century. Show me some clean air and some critical thought, and then maybe I’ll be impressed. (end cheap dig)

China you’re absolutely nuts, but I still love ya.

August 18, 2005 @ 5:28 pm | Comment

When I wrote my last post, I wasn’t thinking of this – promise! (I hadn’t even read it) This was written by Wu Guoguang and the extract concerns why he went to the Square.

http://www.time.com/time/asia/features/heroes/zhao.html

“I was not surprised when I watched on TV that night as he arrived at the square. Zhao had been my boss since 1986. I knew that, in trying to protect the students, he was defending his own dreams for a better China.”

August 18, 2005 @ 5:30 pm | Comment

Raj,

Zhao Ziyang was a good leader; but please do not glorify him. He himself was one of the main targets of the student protect in 1989 (some of his children were in businuss field; it was un-usual at that time). Now that he is a disident, maybe that’s why people like him more.

I, like most Chinese, is optimistic about Chinese economic future. Over the years, people predicted China economy was going to crash at some point. But, the fact is that the average groth rate has been about %9 every year in the last two decades. It is good that most Chinese leaders are enginers instead of lawyers.

But I am pretty pessimistic on China’s political future. The leaders don’t have incentives for political reform and they want to hold on to power. Now that more and more people in China have stakes in the system, it is becoming increasing difficult to change.

August 18, 2005 @ 6:21 pm | Comment

If you think China today are heading to turmoil, what would you have thought of China 30 years ago when it was going through the cultural revolution? We went through that, and as the saying goes, what didn’t kill you made you stronger.

China today is still poor but comparing to 30 years ago, it is day and night.

August 18, 2005 @ 7:15 pm | Comment

No one disputes that the PRC has made significant aggregate economic progress since 1978. But as my favourite analogy goes, think of China as a man running through the jungle. Some people marvel at how far and how fast the man is running. I look at the tiger that is chasing the man and see how big and hungry it is and wonder at how fast the man must keep running just to stay ahead of the tiger.

Also, because of globalisation what happens in China now is of far more importance to the rest of the world than it was during the Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution (sad but true I’m afraid although my heart goes out to all those – including Hu Jintao – who lost loved ones in those mindless experiments).

August 18, 2005 @ 8:26 pm | Comment

I hate the argument “Give the regiome credit- look how much better things are today!”. Yeah, no one’s running amock torturing and killing (and in some cases eating) anyone they gfelt like persecuting, and China was ruled by a dictator who used chaos and anarchy to extend his rule.
For a good argument on why China doesn’t count outside of economic reasons, I suggest you read “Letter from Asia: ‘China first’ approach: A missed opportunity” by Howard W. French in today’s International Herald Tribune.
He asks how China can matter in the world “without real friendships, without associating itself meaningfully with any global ideal, or without bearing a more generous share of humanity’s burdens”, and then gives the best example I can thnk of to illustrate China’s greed and insatiable deamnd for resources at other country’s expenses, no matter how poor or downtrodden:

“China’s state companies are scouring the continent for business as they never have before, including Sudan in the midst of a genocide, and if Africa looms large on the map for oil or trading profits, it stands to reason it should also count for something in more human terms.
The failure of China’s vision in such moments doesn’t hurt just Africans, or people in the world’s other weak nations.”
Just when the world decides to step in and tell Mugabe “enough is enough, set your people free”, China steps in and saves his ass. Shame!

August 18, 2005 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Keir,

I have been on this forum for a few months. What I have found interesting is that in the discussion of the China government, it is often the case that the Chinese on one side (for the government) and westerners on the other side (against the government). Did we miss something? I sometimes wonder if the majority of the Chinese feel OK with their government, why many westerners should feel mad and angry about it?

Yes, I read all kinds of news and articles on China everyday over the years. I have come to realise that these so-called experts are nothing more than many average people like us. Yes, it is sad that China is pursuing the oil businuess in Sudan. China is not alone in this. One can give countless examples of western countries in this kind of dealings.

August 18, 2005 @ 9:49 pm | Comment

It is interesting to see the west upset over China doing business with countries with bad human right records. I really don’t have a problem with it. What else would you do? Sanction them so they will be like Iraq or North Korea? Incite a revolt so the villiage could be burned before you could rebuild it?

I really think engagement is much better than isolation.

August 18, 2005 @ 10:02 pm | Comment

While most sane people would look at the benefits of lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty, we cannot forget the source. It was the gov’s disaterous policies that helped keep the poor down. Much of the growth that lifted the worst off happened in the late 70s and early 80s; rather than proactive policies from the gov (well, building roads does count) it was simply the gov. getting out of the business of running people’s lives that allowed the poorest of the poor to get ahead.

And then the gov. retreated a little from the private sphere and look what has happened in the East coast cities-Shanghai has 10% or more growth for many years now (well, ok, I know the gov. built the roads and ports and generating facilities and refused to crack down on nasty business stifling health regulations).

But this said, I do not see, aside from some infrastructure development and extremely basic health care initiatives, what the gov. has really done to advance the people? Where are the small business loans, the free education for the talented tenth, the basic health care to help insure life quality and free up more cash for consumption…

As for what is happening in China’s future, well, only time will tell. However, there are some factors that should be mentioned.

On the pro China story there are: more investments in roads and railways, which make it easier (and cheaper?) to get goods and people around the country; investment in power generation to keep the place humming (until they overbuild in crash the price of electricity, hurting the banks frontin’ the cash but benefiting the consumers/uisers); lots and lots of engineers and other useful grads coming out of schools.

On the negative side, we must never forget: a wrecked environment, which will increase costs for water, food, and health care; a drying country- with both Beijing and Shanghai trying to pull from the Yangtze, what will be left when other locals get on the act; an economy based on export-who will buy the goods of their overbuilt factories WHEN -not if- the US consumer has a massive heart attack; the parties increasingly callous disregard for the bottom 80% of the society-will the CCP be the new KMT?

‘Nuff said…

August 18, 2005 @ 10:03 pm | Comment

Ah yes, the Chinese are on one side of the pro/anti government debate and the “westerners” are on the other side.

Hmmm, I wonder if it is due to the demographics of web users in China?

August 18, 2005 @ 10:27 pm | Comment

regarding phs’s last paragraph: God help the world economy if the US consumer ever learns to save.

Currently, I think, the average savings rate in the US is about 1.5 to 3% of disposable income. No supposing the rate is increased by 10% (not to 10%) that translates to a corresponding decrease in consumption which will lead to a corresponding decrease in, heaven forbid, imports. As China moves up ( albeit slowly) the value chain the effect on China’s exports and hence export industry will be serious. This will have a domino effect in that as exports decrease labour employed in the manufacturing sector decrease, revenues generated for the government decrease, etc ,etc.

One added bonus (for the US) is that if the savings rate increased that would add a load ( a technical term ) more capital to the banking system and the US gov’t would have less of a requirement to go outside to fund it’s deficits.

Let’s not even consider what would happen if savings rates reached 10%.

So y’all who often complain about Americans be fat lazy spendthrifts should really count your blessings…

August 18, 2005 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

PHS,

I agree with most your points.

Certainly, the Chinese government before the Deng Xiaoping era caused tremendous misery on the people. But the past is the past. Average people will dislike their government less if they believe their life of today is better than yesterday’s and they feel hopeful about the future. For majority Chinese, these are true.

As to the government’s role in the economic development, I believe one can argue one way or the other. It is only theoretical valid as we can not replace the current government with another kind of government and see what are the results.

August 18, 2005 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

I’m flabbergasted at the quality of the comments here. I’ll have to severely exercise my brain in order try and attempt to match them. I’m just working on another post first though.

August 18, 2005 @ 11:28 pm | Comment

Ivan, you are from PA? and love Wawa? me too!

Anyway I must make a disagreement with one of your points:

2. For 5,000 years, China has NEVER, NEVER posed a strategic threat to any Western country.

The very idea of strategic threats to countries did not exist 5000 years ago. Hell, countries (as nation-states) didn’t exist 5,000 years ago. Did the West exist 5,000 years ago?

But that’s just date nitpicking. China posed no strategic threat because it was too far away to contemplate as a military adversary. Now, thanks to technology, a powerful China is as much a threat to Europe as a powerful Russia right next to it. So the mitigation of geography in MA changes things.

August 18, 2005 @ 11:41 pm | Comment

Yeah, Martyn, I’ll second that. The commentors are really holding up the blogging end of things tonight!

August 19, 2005 @ 12:16 am | Comment

Oh God, more blind faith in how “technology changes everything”. Maybe we’ll grow out of that old 19th century superstition by the 22nd century.
JK, if it all came down to a combination of hostility plus technological ability to attack from long distance, then France would be a far greater strategic threat to America than China is.

August 19, 2005 @ 1:51 am | Comment

If people had ahered to the idea that technology changes everything, then they would have realized WWI was going to be a disaster and a thoroughly unglorious one at that.

Isn’t there a good deal of proof that technology radically alters warfare?

Horses…
metal…
gunpowder…
internal combustion engine…
aerial warfare…
global telecommunications…
nuclear weapons… it all came down to a combination of hostility plus technological ability to attack from long distance, then France would be a far greater strategic threat to America than China is.

Of course you know there is a different sort of hostility between democratic France and deathocratic China. Not to say that the Democratic Peace is a divine truth, but it does hold some significance.

Wawa makes lovely sandwiches.

August 19, 2005 @ 2:19 am | Comment

I have nothing more to say but I want to excercise my right to “roll my eyes”. There is absolutely no meaning in this, so don’t even try to make anything out of it!

August 19, 2005 @ 8:01 am | Comment

Thanks Raj, as usual mate.
Raj writes:

“If millions of Chinese protest when China’s economy is doing well, I dread to think what might happen if the country goes into recession.”

Renxu is incorrect above when he says that China has enjoyed 9% growth for 2 decades. Chinese statistics have claimed this for 2 decades but we can’t trust those. Information that’s come out these last few years has more or less confirmed that China’s two biggest slowdowns were in the early ’90s when inflation took nasty bites out fo the economy and, of course, during the ’97 Crisis. During both these times the economy actually contracted in certain areas.

Economic growth comes in natural cycles, on average every 3-4 years but they can be as short as 1 year and sometimes as long as 10. China’s last slowdown was 1997 – 8 years ago.

August 19, 2005 @ 9:00 am | Comment

Hi wawa,
Regarding your opinion that there is nothing else to do with horrible regimes suggesting that one either “Sanction them so they will be like Iraq or North Korea? Incite a revolt so the villiage could be burned before you could rebuild it?” My point is that at least the West tries to stand up in some way, however disasterously at times, through its moral consciousness. China never does anything to help anyone it appears, and the paltry sum it gave towards the tsunami is a case in point. China doesn’twant to help anyone? Fine. But for God’s sake don’t pay Mugabe to stay in power AND steal his oppressed people’s resources! By propping up tyrants China is using its new-found power to make things worse. Hell, China isn’t exactly helping anyone inregards to reining in North Korea, the only thing that’s been asked of it in terms of foreign policy. And it’s a disgrace that India doesn’t have a seat in the Security Council but China does, and it uses that seat for FUCK-ALL. Where was it during the Iraq crisis? When it was needed the most? Nowhere, and then decides to criticise after the fact. Hell, it seemed that it was Germany that had the seat, not China.

August 19, 2005 @ 9:42 am | Comment

Keir,

1. “West tries to stand up in some way”

Maybe it is true, but I’m really not buying much into it, it is just power and politics.

2. “China never does anything to help anyone it appears”

I don’t know how you get that idea, I really got nothing to say.

August 19, 2005 @ 9:56 am | Comment

Keir,

I think your example of tsunami is a bad one. It is a bit of embarrassment to the US. The US initially donated a small sum (I don’t remember the exact number; but it should be less than 10 millions); and a few countries joined in; and after China donated about 50 millions, the US quickly matched it to more than 100 millions; and then it turned out to be a matching game from other countries. Also, the US tries to form a so-called core-relief-group, consisting of the US, Japan, India and Austrilia (excluding China and other countries). The by-product of this core group is that the block will last longer and serve other purposes after the tsunami relief. I found it hard to believe that the policy maker made such a decision in the name of tsunami relief.

Later, we also heard that the Indinesia government’s uneasiness about the US navy presence in the country (the navy was moved in to the country for tsunami relief; but the government believed that it was used for other purposes too such as spying, I think the navy had left).

August 19, 2005 @ 11:40 am | Comment

Keir,

I have some problems with the government on China’s domestic policies. But I am OK with China’s foreign policies under the current leadership. The fact is that most countries feel pretty comfortable in their relationship with China.

Why people should be very surprised to see China pursuing the oil business in countries like Sudan. After all, many western countries have been dealing with such regimes for many years. So they can hardly claim high moral ground on that.

August 19, 2005 @ 12:46 pm | Comment

Very interesting blog!

September 16, 2005 @ 7:03 am | Comment

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