The rise of China

The rise of China is a development that is transforming the structure of world politics. Should Europe and America place restrictions on textile imports from China? How much emphasis should Europe and America place on human rights, as opposed to winning exports? Should the EU lift its embargo on arms exports to China?  

Enter the debate

Michel Bastian, France

Well, before we do anything rash, us westerners will have to learn a lot about China and Asia in general. How are politics done there, how is business conducted? At the moment, I think western politicians make the mistake of thinking in, well, western terms too much. Some asian states have radically different views of society due to literally thousands of years of completely different historical development. China isn´t the only problem in that respect. Japan and Korea are pretty strange to a westerner as well.
One thing there shouldn´t be any compromise about, though: human rights. That´s the main reason for not lifting the arms embargo at the moment.

Susan Starke, USA

I am generally a supporter of free trade, and I believe that some economic interdependency between China and the USA is a good thing for world peace. They own a lot of our debt, and we provide a huge market for their goods. However, I've seen a lot of recent idealization of China in the media. It's still a pretty repressive and backward nation (large swathes of the interior are hardly electrified, for example, and torture is a common practice in local police stations). The economy has performed impressively in recent years, but it's more of a corrupt oligarchy than a true free-market system. Those who dislike and resent the US have taken to lionising China as the next superpower. However, there are still plenty of Chinese illegal immigrants in the US who take considerable personal risks to get here. This is also true in the EU countries. China's developing, but it's got a long way to go in the area of citizens' rights.

Christine Hyde, Australia

I suppose the great hope is that China will have an orange revolution in the not-too-distant future that will transform it into a large Taiwan. Some hope. At the moment it looks though the US is paying to keep the Chinese dictatorship stable while it steals all the Western intellectual property and commercial secrets it can lay its hands on. A terrified member of the Chinese delegation here has defected and told us that there are a thousand Chinese spies in Australia. Some say that there are thousands of spies in all Western countries. It's not Stasi, apparently, but visitors from China come over regularly for affable chats with unaware Australian Chinese; also for less affable chats with Falun Gong members.
Regarding human rights we have the new book by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday; Mao: The Unknown Story; Jonathan Cape
The EU MUST NOT sell them military equipment. They could become North Korea writ large.

margaretta gacheru, USA

Whether the EU or the US wants to, China is bound to rise and sell its wares wherever it can. The US is more vulnerable than the EU because China holds so much of America's debt that if the Americans continue to obstruct China's trade relations, a serious crisis in the world economy could arise: China could cash in its Treasury bills and demand the US government pay up all the billions it actually owes the Chinese government. If that happened, the US economy would be in dire straits; so would the world economy, including the EU's. So I believe it's better to cooperate with China concerning textiles. The alternative could be much worse.

Roberto, Bolivia

China is awakening, be cautious U.S.A. On the other hand, be terrified...She is going to shake the world. And when it comes to economy, China does not embark in selfish and economy-debilitating-invasions! duh! They keep growing and growing by the really terrified Americans, because when she wakes up the whole world will shake...
And who is an American to talk about human rights? You have the bigest terrorist for president, or shoul I say, PINOCCIO REVISITED...And what about India, Iran, The Bolivarian Republic Of Venezuela...And very soon a free and socialist Bolivia.

Susan Starke, USA

Roberto of Bolivia's comments are a perfect example of what I said earlier: those who dislike or resent the USA like to talk up the rise of China. However, they should be careful what they wish for. China is decidedly not a postmodern, multicultural, pacifist society that will respect the rights of all human beings. They are building their military, too, and I doubt that Japan and South Korea are going to sit idly by while China grows in strength. I don't have any particular ill-will toward China; they are only doing what any country with ambition would do. But don't fool yourselves; you won't be better off with China as the global hegemon.

Douglas, UK, EU

I think the best hope for China lies in the "one country, two systems" approach that's emerged in Hong Kong, Macao and (at least in some PRC proposals) as a model for Taiwan. Those are the most dramatic models, but others include the feelers put out by the Dalai Lama regarding Tibet (accepting that Tibet could settle for autonomy within the PRC framework) and on a more modest level, the increased autonomy given to the Special Economic Zones (Shanghai, Guangzhou etc.). I think the best hope is that "one country, two systems" phases through to "one country, many systems", thus opening up the Chinese state at lower levels of government and (via the system of indirect election) gradually liberalising institutions in Beijing. We should be doing what we can to encourage this - supporting democrats in Hong Kong at the moment, for instance, or encouraging building on the progress at local level where elections are relatively free.
That said, China remains one of the most illiberal regimes in the world, with a list of human rights violations that list knocks the US - for all its faults - into a cocked hat, and we certainly shouldn't be looking to lift the arms embargo. It was imposed by the EU in reaction to the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacres; it seems particularly ironic that we're now proposing to lift the embargo when 14 people are still imprisoned for their role in the protests!
The arms trade in general is an issue where we can't claim much of a moral high ground. An EU arms embargo doesn't actually (despite the sound of the name) ban the export of all weapons, and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Sales isn't even legally binding. If we want to lay claim to being a beacon on human rights and to having a (more) ethical foreign policy, this is an area where we could do much more.

Matthew Bornholt, UK

Rise of China is somewhat disturbing. While I have nothing the Chinese themselves. Their government is the problem being a one party totalitrian state it has no countweight and has proved before that it cares nothing about human rights the lives of civilians. If wanted to conquer the world it would have no quams. Currently the vast power of the US keeps it in check (and the fact that it lacks the ability to wage far away from its own borders). However no offense to Americans but the US already it is starting to decline (as superpowers do and always will). Now it might be fifty years before that happens but still its worrying. But don't forget there is another emerging country which also has a fast growing economy and massive population but has difference its a democracy. While not perfect it still cannot be likened to authoratarian China it is of course India. It also has nuclear weapons and could probably be a good counterwieght to china. And China has two countries in its backyard which can be called at least powers of the second degree ie South Korea and Japan. Also if there is any crash or something that harms effects the improving prosperity of China the PRC might have to answer to a phenomenon which is a bedrock of democracy a large middle class which as far as my knowlege goes is something useen in China before. But who knows we might nuke each other by that time.

Ross Gurung, France

Do we have a stab of remorse at understanding how economics may transform the whole political environments? The current data, ad-libs and historical facts underlined here below on China and India would help us determine and forge ahead our opinions to a wider extent.
Prior to this praxis, action stipulated in view of a remarkable outcome, the fall of Berlin wall on November 9, 1989, there were peaceful days. All western worlds used to enjoy liberty, prosperity and could shed crocodile‚s tears on the fate reserved to the former block of the Soviet Union. Cold war was a pretext to ignore each other across the wall.
All the while, the flame of liberty penetrated into the former block. At once, it inspired an American to write „The End of History‰. Those long time liberty stripped folks had a lot of leeway to make up. Under the influences of very new freedom seekers, all those newcomers were at first disturbed and unhinged by the maelstrom of contradictory thoughts. Slowly they overcame the doubts and gained an insight into the market economy. All these past 15 years were the most adventurous years for them. Now they are fully involved in the making of the prosperous EU. Most of them found cushy jobs. Moreover, they are now on the way to build new, happy and prosperous families. The borderline between the dream and the reality has almost disappeared. All those unwanted commies are now on an equal footing with that inaccessible upper crust of the west.
Straightaway, from the outset of this new wave of liberty, two Asian giant nations such as China and India began to tweak the ears of their fellow citizens. The way of handling was nonetheless quite new and different from each other.
India‚s economic progression was wholesale owing to private entrepreneurs whereas Chinese economic success was based on the state stimulations and incentives as well. Nowadays both economies are amongst the World‚s quickest advancing ones with the GDP of 6 to 7% and 8 to 9% per annum respectively, albeit their respective destinies were very much divergent.
The recent visit of the Chinese prime minister to India was extremely fruitful. Many mutual misunderstandings were ironed out. And it was time for progressing in the fields of economic and cultural exchanges, just like in those bygone days of Gupta dynasty and so on thru' the 4th to 7th c. AD, when the Kings like Harshavardhan and Vikramaditya used to receive the credentials of some Chinese eminent dignitaries such as Fa Hien and Huen San. China became a Nation in the 3rd c. BC thanks to the clairvoyance and astute of the first Emperor Qin Shuangdhi, who hailed from Qin and also was the constructor of the Great Wall of China. Further, there were always businesses across the borderline with Tibet until the commies with Mao came into power in China (1950). Thus, now on many existing highways to each other‚s borders shall be ameliorated. One, especially from the Indian side, the highway from Siliguri via Kalimpong (W. Bengal) and Sikkim (whose Queen mother is Ms. Hope, an Ameri!
can) to Nathula pass on the Tibetan frontier shall be broadened in order to facilitate the two way non-stop traffics [referred to the book of a French lady Alexandra David-Neel, the first western woman ever entering into Lhasa in 1924; her book Mysticism and Magicians of Tibet (1929) and several others are known amongst the connoisseurs]. So far, the Tri Bhuwan highway from Raxaul (Nepal's border town with India) continuing further with the Arniko highway from Kathmandu via Barabissay near to the Chinese border bridge (the friendly bridge between Nepal and China) is working quite well. Now traffic shall be rather intensified. A road between Ladhak, Himachal Pradesh in the Indian side and Kailash Parbat (the holiest shrine of Shiva) on the remote end of western Tibet shall be constructed in a very near future.
That way India could ignore fully its perturbing neighbour, Pakistan. India knows for sure that Pakistan has to pay a great deal to fight against the terrorism in Kashmir and in the rest of the world unless it closes down all madrasas, the hearths of Jihadis and it informs at the same time the Americans and their allies England, Germany, France and others hunting and searching Taliban fugitives, the hiding holes of Bin Laden and his clique for more than 2 years, near about Pachtunistan (country of the tribe of Pathans) and Khaiber pass. In the book of BHL (Bernard H. Levy), on the Assassination of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan by Al Qaeda, great part of these hints is pointed out.
India did not participate in the WWI and WWII except some Gurkha and Sikh Battalions who fought head-on against Japan in the WWII in the Southeast Asia under the British banner. Finally, they pushed Japanese back beyond the Burmese heights. Thus, right after the end of WWII, India became independent (August 15, 1947) almost without bloodshed thanks to Mahatma Gandhi. Say, half a million perished in the partition riots. Most probably, this bloodshed would have been avoided if Brits had not encouraged Jinnha and at the same time punished Gandhi by dividing Indian sub-continent into two parts; namely, 1)India and 2) Pakistan according to their respective religion. Gandhi‚s approach to the politics thru‚ peace and non-violence enlarged such nobility by giving birth to the largest democracy on Earth, i.e. India.
On the contrary, China had to overcome a great deal of violence. Mao‚s ŒCultural Revolution‚ and the ŒGreat Leap Forward‚ ambition took lives of about 35m human beings. In 1978, Deng Xiao Ping proclaimed ŒBe rich and enjoy yourself‚ to more than 1 billion 200m natives. Now in a matter of 25 years more than 300m Chinese are as rich as the westerners. They enjoy taking vacations and paying a visit to the most beautiful places such as Paris, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles etc. in the world. France was already welcoming more than 75m tourists / year [France is by far the first tourists visiting place before the USA (55m) and Spain (52m) in the world scale. Now the influx of Chinese tourists would increase again in numbers every year, therefore why the judicious AB 380. BTW (by the way), where can one lodge all those more than 100m tourists? And how about again another 200m Indians who have now the same purchasing power as that of wester!
ners? These numbers are increasing exponentially both in China and India as well.
Indian private competitive conglomerates named as Reliance Industries, Tata Industries and Software giant Infosys etc. are run by highly qualified A1 Executive bodies duly returned from the USA and Europe after their MBA and several years of professional experiences in the Banking and Software Chips fronts in IT (Information Technology). Genetic Engineering and Nanotechnology are no more unknown to them. The key to the success lies in the fact that the Indian logic is very much similar to the application of the algorithm (one of the most applied digital or numerical processes of the software languages). They adapt to it with great dexterity and easiness. In addition, as they invented the Indian numeration (3rd c. BC), brought about the improvement with the addition of Œ0‚ zero or ŒSunya‚ (10th c. AD), their mathematical brains are quite tiptop. Therefore why, there are increasing numbers of recruitment of Indian engineers in the Silicon Valley. Arab sovereigns and the mercha!
nts imported the aforesaid Indian numeration and thereafter exported it to Europe (15th c. AD), that replaced the existing Roman numeration.
On the other hand, China leaves the foreigners to manage, to produce as well as to commercialize. Only 10% of banking credit is consecrated to the private sectors where about 40% Chinese workers are employees in these societies.
Sometimes too much of democracy hinders in India to procure even more growth because it has too much rules and regulations as well as laws, not enough order and lacks the better governance. Anyway, India will never postpone democracy for 2 or 3 digits more of GDP.
Could prosperity bring off political transformation into China? For the time being, it is sheer escapism! It is in the nature of things because the deep-rooted Confucianism and Taoism, the matrix of the Chinese Civilization, offer them a wider range of political conundrums to meditate. The crackdown of China (1989) on the Tiananmen Square student unrest would keep them away, for the time being, from the brutality. If such are the directives, let time take its course.
In fact, we are all for the free market economy. But it is quite paradoxical that there are string of events to this account require profound reflection. For want of anything better, the Chinese and Indian Governments are trying to woo the countries (several countries in Africa, South America, Australia and former satellite countries of the Soviet Union) that have the raw materials such as petrol, copper, zinc, Iron, bauxite, nickel etc. so as to avoid the scarcity in China and India. Do the economic developments in these large countries have to be at the cost of worldwide devastating penuries to come? Furthermore, how long could all this profit-sharing scheme financed by the hedge funds (speculative) last? We hear no more the so-called think tanks, which could pinpoint and explain to the mass the ins and outs of the globalization and its eventual consequences except playing havoc with and creating confusion about the job losses and the transfer of technologies, leaving behi!
nd the barren lands all over the formerly industrialized countries and the people without resources. We are finding out bit by bit that globalization does not lead to secure jobs. Temporary, part-time and casual home-based jobs are the two-third of the jobs created in the developed countries followed very narrowly by the developing countries. Such informal creation of jobs makes up about 30% of total employment. This trend is very much applied to the women. Industrial strife is very common to the flourishing enterprises such as Hewlett Packard,IBM, Philips and all.
It appears that the big conglomerates, more or less 62 in totals, are maximizing their benefits every day. How long will this balderdash make an illusion? And how long will the westerners have to trim costs? Should we have to depend upon the R&D departments to create and invent new kinds of equipment as well as jobs markets inimitable for at least 15 years? Just like voyages to the Mars! (kiddin' to diminish the tension!). It is easy to dish out the shortcomings but to find the solutions to all that is not at all easy. We are nonetheless liberal but we think the market needs to be regulated by an authority say a watchdog so that nobody could mishandle and use social dumping as distortion thus creating havoc and unwanted panic amongst the folks.
In effect, Olympic Games of ensuing 2008 in Beijing will for certain give us some more responses regarding the question marks about the Chinese progress!
Global imbalances such as China‚s reserve of 1000 billion $ and the USA‚s deficit of 500 billion $ are the most unfortunate financial mishaps and traps as well. The syndrome of Œyou do it first then I shall see it later on‚ has for upshot the stalemate if not the slump. Of late, China evaluated its money by 2%. Is that a fine augur for a better understanding?
More adjustments on both sides would cause much equanimity for the bilateral deals and progress in the worldwide businesses.

John Sebastian, United Kingdom

The major problem with this arrogant assumption of the free world is that it comes from a bourgeois perspective.
It's Ash's perception of communism is of Stalinism. He takes the capitalist media analysis and distortion of Marxism and socialism and socialists never get a fair hearing in a capitalist society. Socialist do not have accecc to the media and are unable to challenge the daily distortions, which wins the approval of Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates.
Ash's perception of the free world is the free market. A liberal democracy where a minority own and control the wealth and the means of production and millions suffer poverty and hardship. Even in Britain millions of workers are on low pay.
He then uses the free nmarket as an academic to sell books on the subject and make lots of money, making his comfortable life style, shape him into a good capitalist, with liberal leanings to ease his conscience.
He also unashamedly promotes his own son. Like a true capitalist, he makes sure that his children come from an advantage bbackground and follow in his footsteps and only get the best. Ash will make sure his kids have good jobs and earn good money, unlike kids whose parents come from run down housing estates.

Girmay Habte, Africa

The west cann't survive without hyppocritic compitition,the Psychic pervertion of conflict and confrontation. Before it was christianity, slavery,colonization, neocoloniztion, natzism, fatscism,communism, islam etc. now china. China is the gogmagog with 2bigabite, atomic bombs and all the modern and ancient creativity,Tao's chi, confucian wisdom and oriental skulduggery. The west is living in a glass house. The west talks about china's political and moral obligation when they have none for all the past millinia. The west owes china nothing or the world for that matter . The west has been abusing humanity,nature the universe at large. They and those who followed them will reap what they sow. We Africans who have and are still suffering from the vile ways of the west welcome all the vile that could be thrown at the west from any quarter because we have been rendered useless through AIDS engineered by the west

Irvan, Mauritius

I have been following world politics, military build up and world economic very closely those past few years. And I am one of those that think that future is a remake of history but with new scopes and dimensions.
China has a long history and a very rich contibution in politics (whether good or bad), military and economic thinking.
What we are seeing and hearing on the media nowadays, is only the tip of the iceberg. The next coming months and years will be 'shocking'.
We sometimes think that we have left the era of conquest and empire to the past, with maybe the Ottoman empire as the last relic.
If we don'y watch out, and prepare ourself, we will very soon be part of an empire.

Irvan, Mauritius

Sometimes I read through the words of Westerners in general, and see an arrogance that makes me think of Atlantis as per Socrates. Capitalism has divided the gap between rich and poor so much that we seem to have moved in a whole era of continent shifting on economic and social terms within the space of a few decades. And with that shift humanity has taken a more individualist stance. I don't see the purpose of siding with one country or the other, as it is only a fact that history repeats over and over, the enemy of yesterday will be the friend of tomorrow; and the friends of yesterday will betray at some moment in time. I think that whatever is said, and will be said, the inevitable is here, this millennium wind has turned eastwards. Yes we have an existing superpower (USA), a dormant one (Russia), and two mega powers (China & India). Let's not forget that when the Americas were still on the brink of a 'flat world', Asian countries were blooming with civilization, tr!
ade and all the intellect to progress. If today, you see the States courting India, and trying to step a toe in China via big conglomerates, like Coca Cola and much others, should that not say a little on the tremors that is molding the world as we speak. Let us just focus on this piece of mind: ' USA and Europe as a force to reckon, and China with a population growth that is saturating its living space.' What is the option or strategy you will take as a 'so-called' not highly sophisticated power (Military wise) against the giant Superpower?
We are now living in a world that is pushing its limits further and further everyday, so much that the demarcation line between fiction and reality is thinning by each elapsing spasm of time. China seems to be taking war to a new level, economic, electronic, cyber and one day when the giant would be on its knees, militarily.
The facts I see is the shivers China is sending on USA and Europe (those who live by the rules of free trade), and yet has to adopt restrictive and nationalist measures. China has been investing billions of dollars on modernizing its army for the last decades, and since the last three years has more than triple its purchases on military equipments and know-how (in all fields nuclear, biological, cyber, electronic, chemical and God knows what?).
Only a month or so ago, China and Russia conducted a war game, which a premier considering that those countries had differences and even underwent border skirmishes in the past. They had quite an impressive number of logistics, troops and military hardware deployed. The war game was dubbed Œpeace making mission 2005‚.
It is well known that most hacking those past few years on major federal websites had been traced to China.
So are we flirting with fiction, or is it that a new world order has already taken ground?
China is very often portrayed as a dragon, and dragons are well known for their stature and wisdom.
How to defeat a powerful enemy, when they have the sword and shield to protect themselves from a frontal blow?
Just like with Chess games, you wait for the opponent to show all their moves, and then you play a couple of good ones, but not your best strikes.
The United States have a good number of their troops scattered over the world, and lately they have been scuffled by Katrina and Rita. Economically and socially they are been slowly deterring from what they were prior to the first Gulf war.
In some circles, it is even said that USA, have urgently been seeking Chinese translators after 9/11. Why?? China rising is a turning point in History, bad or good, only time would tell. Colonization is something that will never stop, and it evolves.

Norm, USA

The Chinese and Indians with whom I work every day have expressed some chagrin over the idea that they are perceived as potential world hegemons. While understandably proud of their achievements (made possible by unprecedented transfers of wealth and technology---largely from the USA), they are also keenly aware that the bulk of their massive populations live with crushing poverty, chronic energy shortages, *severe* environmental degradation, tenuous food supplies, susceptibility to catastrophic diseases, hostile neighbours, homegrown insurgencies, corrupt financial and political institutions, rising expectations with unrest, and in China, the added burden of oppressive and competing central, regional and local governments. Even as the ever-so-thin crust of middle class prosperity begins to congeal at the surface of these societies, can it crystallize without addressing these deeper issues? I remember when Japan was going to be the next global power, and before th!
at, Russia.
If necessity is the mother of invention, than we might look to India and China for evidence of inventive solutions to these perennial problems (besides the time-tested practices of exporting one‚s population or appropriating the wealth of others). Where should I look?

Karl Osborne, UK

Genuine socialist and Marxists have always opposed the regimes of China and Eastern Europe. Even the vicious dictatorship of North Korea is thrown into the pot, to show the absurdity of the distortions. Yet it is Stalinism that the media in capitalist society uses to distort socialism and Marxism.

The Iraqi commedian Omid Gjalili joked that when ever the media wants a view of Islam, it always goes to the extremists. He joked about a cleric saying how he wants to blow us all up and rape our daughters and then said, 'and there is the opinion of Islam.'

If a TV company wants to make a film about Christianity, it hires Christians to do the explaining. Likewise, when we see programmes about cars, they tend to be introduced by car drivers, not by cyclists who are fundamentally opposed to motor transport, or pedestrians who have never sat behind a wheel.

Not so when it comes to discussing Marxism and communism. The view on Marxism are usually taken from the views expresseed by ex-communists who belonged to the non-communist, communist parties. Or by anti-Marxists, or by acedemics who have decided Marx and communism were wrong and they have seen the errors of their way and become good, high earning capitalist supporters. No one asks genuine socialists or reads Marx themselves.

Today's journalist do not read Marx or read about socialist history, yet they feel free to comment. They just repeat the cliches around them. Capitalism is democracy and freedom and communism is the evil regimes of Eastern Europe and China, with no discussion or analysis. The Marxist guerrillas is another favourite term, when Marx was opposed to terrorism and guerilla warfare.

Socialist will never get a fair hearing in capitalist society. We do not have access to the media to counter the daily distortions. When I was a student, if I had talked about communism or Marxism as an oppressive dictatorship, I would have got a line through my essay, with the lecturer's note asking me where Marx argued for an oppressive dictatorship or rule by a small bureaucratic elite.