China needs to become a civil society in order to be a true global leader

By Guest Contributor
August 18, 2010

The following is a guest post by Pei Bin, director of China Partnership Development for BSR, a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability. The opinions expressed are her own.

At the recent Aspen Institute Socrates Summer Seminar, I attended the session “Soft-Power: U.S. Leadership in a Hardball World,” moderated by Joseph Nye, a professor of International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The session sparked my own reflections on the existence, or lack thereof, of soft power in China. While everyone at the Aspen Institute expressed strong and positive interest in China, the majority of the United States still views China as a threat.

As BSR’s President and CEO Aron Cramer once said: “One thing our countries have in common is that we see our weaknesses through the prism of the perceived power of the other country, and sometimes we lose sight of the balance between the two.”

As a Chinese national, China’s economic confidence is clear to me. But the country still lacks a strong global profile and image abroad, otherwise known as “soft power.”

China’s dramatic economic development — driven by top-down policy support and bottom-up entrepreneurship at all levels and across all regions — was achieved at the cost of cheap labor, environmental deterioration, and the exploitation of natural resources. Even though China has brought 500 million people out of poverty, the majority of the population is still living in remote, mountainous regions and fighting for daily survival.

The Chinese government needs to do a lot more to enable civil society development in China. For the past 30 years, the government has committed to further reforms to foster the development of trade associations and private foundations but with total control of the process.

Nonetheless, there is a growing space for civil society in China, as seen with the increase in the number of private foundations in the past several years. More than 1,800 foundations have already been established, and foundations have been growing at a rate of over 200 per year for the past three years. However, there is a lot more the government must do. As David Shambaugh said in a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, “China will not develop its soft power until it develops civil society.”

In order to help accomplish this, China also needs to provide more support and guidance for Chinese companies that want to expand their operations overseas. Currently, there are nearly 60,000 trade associations and chambers of commerce in China. Chinese trade associations need to play a bigger and more positive role in promoting voluntary standards of corporate social responsibility as an integral part of their effective management and operation through engagement of their member companies. This is a stark contrast to the EU trade associations and governments, which already actively support companies’ internationalization efforts.

Additionally, Chinese companies that go abroad need to step up their efforts to engage local communities and stakeholders in their countries of operation. Many of these international projects have been contracted out to construction companies that have no knowledge of community development or sustainable development and lack international management skills. While they have helped build hard infrastructure, such as roads and clinics in Africa, Afghanistan, and Peru, they have failed to empower local communities.

China is certainly an economic power when it comes to volume, but it definitely cannot be considered a powerful international leader without making more of a commitment to social leadership as well. Chinese companies need to focus more on the social return on investments that help drive positive social changes in local communities where they operate. Only then can China become a true global leader.


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All these China bashing is no different thant he Japan bashing of the 80′s, just a way for the people to justify their racism.

Just 30 some odd years ago Chinese economy rank below 80 other countries. Now it is number 2 as result of its peoples hard work.

When other world powers were moving up the world, they were taking other people’s land and resoures by force, killing native people and cultures, trading slaves.

England was the biggest drug dealer in history with its military enforced opium trade to China. US got its economic start on the back of black slaves.

Posted by Sam11620 | Report as abusive

I am not Chinese nor American but what I can say is that China, Evil or Good, is doing its best to have a civil society. Well isn’t China Civil? If they weren’t civil people, what and how would you think the billions of Chinese be behaving?

If you would just look at it very well, it’s amazing how they are able to manage themselves despite their great population. Look at how they just lead the world in economy. They saved a lot of poor countries as well as the economies of the so-called big boys of the economic world. Almost everything you can buy comes from China, from small things to big things, even imitations. Cheap they might say, but cool if you have one.

China may be lending money all over the world, and that is good because it helps a lot of other countries. And USA economy may not be doing great right now, but it is written in that it will rebound and wax greatly far from what it had before.

And in all these things disclosed, why don’t we just stop criticizing any country? We should work hard and pray to God who made the earth, the seas and the heavens, that we might have abundance in this world while He still yet lent us our breathe.

Posted by kissmarx | Report as abusive

How many of you people here have actually been to China or personally know someone from China? China is not all that our biased American news media makes it out to be. I’ve been there and have many Chinese friends. They’re just like you and me. They’re nice people, love their family, work hard, and are proud of their country. Fear mongering is a tactic that should be retired. You’d all be surprised to find out that many of the great American advancements in technology and medicine are actually accomplished by Chinese, and to be fair, other foreign researchers and post-doctorate students laboring long hours in the labs of American research universities. They’re the ones working long hours away from their friends and families long after many of their American colleagues have gone home for the evening. They do the work and Americans take the credit. I know, because I’ve seen this first-hand. The Chinese political system is different than ours for sure, but not as different as you’d think. And as Americans, we’re all not as “free” as we assume. Remember the line, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” Well…just march out of step and see what happens.

Posted by Yinzer-n-at | Report as abusive

A lot of people misunderstand China’s resent rise to power as a rise of the Chinese people. Don’t be fooled, the economic prosperity does not translate to the factory worker; it is only the prosperity of the very few elite individuals in high places. The Chinese government’s focus is not to raise the standard of living for the average worker because if that were to occur, it would no longer be beneficial for foreign companies to outsource. The only way China retains its new found prosperity is to keep their workers repressed. Western and far eastern countries have a far superior manufacturing infrastructure, but utilizing it cuts deep into corporate profits, and that is the only reason China has grow so rapidly. If publically held companies and their investors changed their investment strategies to rely less on short term quarterly results and instead focused on longer term 5, 10yr growth; China’s economic boom would not last.

Posted by wmliquid | Report as abusive

As I read through the comments, I wondered who is wrong and who is right. I’ve been to china many times as american and over the years it’s clearly my impression that finding the right ‘metric’ to compare China to USA it the most complex task ever.

For simplicity sake, let’s say USA = A and China = B and let’s also assume that t = time and we don’t want to add any additional confusing factors.

A > B A is greater than B
B > A B is greater than A

At > Bt A is greater than B at time t

Now think about the 2 following things:

*USA in Chinese is (Beautiful country)
*China in Chinese is (Center of the world)

Also ask yourself what is ‘t’? what is ‘time’ ? and for anyone who want to talk about militaries, think deeply about ‘assymetric warfare’ and most of all, think about what you don’t know…not because you are dealing with smart people (A and B), but also because a dead soldier usually has the best gun.

Posted by TimBrian | Report as abusive

well sensible people can take both countries into account practically

Posted by IDEAltar | Report as abusive

I have to agree with RathaPm. China is simply way behind in infrastructure. I would dare to say that some Latin American countries have a more efficient and ready-to-go infrastructure than China has. Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico for example.

Posted by Shadow95125 | Report as abusive

Let me tell you something: Im a father, I have lets say 20 kids. I try so hard to match my naighboor’s savings. For that i starve my kids, let my hause fall, my vehicle rust etc. Ok I match my neighboor but my neighboor doesnt know whats going on so he is surprised by me becouse im showing more money. He doesnt know my situation. He is not competing with me. He is used to his life style. In order for me to become like him it will take me the time to fix my house cure my kids etc. etc. etc. wich will take me my life time? I will fall behind soon in the process. Think about it. Human rights violations the bigest of the all for an international “picture”. And I can go until the kingdom comes. Im not saying that I dont want them to be world power but they have endless work to do. In a way is a good sign that they are where they are

Posted by Enano | Report as abusive

Did we forget about the recall of tainted toys from China all because of cheap labor how can we trust that something else won’t be tainted and ruin our economy,it’s just another ploy by China and they are still controlling what the Chinese people do.

Posted by junito | Report as abusive

USA’s “dramatic economic development — driven by top-down policy support and bottom-up entrepreneurship at all levels and across all regions — was achieved at the cost of cheap labor, environmental deterioration, and the exploitation of natural resources.” The difference is that in China those who oppose these practices and try to change things are considered criminals and jailed or worse.

Posted by CharlesX | Report as abusive

Let us attach numerical values to these two countries-USA and China.And let the net worth of each of these two countries that qualified them to be rated as numbers 1 and 2 equals 80% and 60% for USA and China respectively. Imagine that tomorrow the USA fall back to say 55% worth, the whole world will have no choice but to crown China a Superpower even if China only maintains its present position! Remember 9/11?! It takes more efforts to climb up the ladder than to come down. In other words, Americans are their [USA's] greatest enemies!!

Posted by Temachia | Report as abusive

Quote: “When other world powers were moving up the world, they were taking other people’s land and resoures by force, killing native people and cultures, trading slaves.

England was the biggest drug dealer in history with its military enforced opium trade to China. US got its economic start on the back of black slaves.”

Yes the Chinese don’t need to exploit other people. The people in charge of China are more than happy exploiting there own people.

Posted by bomis | Report as abusive

China, never attacked any country since. The Korean peninsula war, is more of a help or support to its allies. Other than this incident it never attack nor invade any country. Most of its war engagement is to preserve its territory or clan wars. Even, at the peak of the cold war between democracy and communism, China never attack, Macau, Hongkong, Taiwan or for that matter, even Thailand and Cambodia. Vietnam, is another sad war as it is protecting its boundaries.
China is known since time, as a trading country and at that a loyal working people.
Just a thought.

Posted by Vladimirf22 | Report as abusive

To Chinpo1Suki, how is the USA evil when we help out other countries with their problems? We could just not care and leave them alone, but then people in other countries would hate us for that too. I just think some people hate us because we are a strong country and get more freedoms than most. Yes I agree the U.S. has its flaws but so does every other country. And the war in Iraq was started because they attacked us first and burned our flag.
So don’t say that we are evil, because we help other countries with their wars and we are also helping the innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our troops are dying trying to save them, so I don’t see how you can perceive that as evil. You think we don’t care but we do.
And by the way I hate being called a stupid American because aren’t we one of the most advanced countries? You can’t be advanced if your stupid.

Posted by rockerfish | Report as abusive

My mother always said that the United States will fall from within. China is smart, hard working, responsible and we are fortunate that Chinese and other Asians have come to the United States. Americans are rapidly lazy, expectant, self entitled and live in a fantasy world. While the rest of world is developing we focus on gay marriages, drug using baseball players, putting the 10 commandments in the court houses while watching American Idol (Idle) while the other developing nations focus on science, mathematics, alternate energy and honest economy. You go for it China while America sleeps.

Posted by RealtyPro | Report as abusive

China has attacked and stolen a big chunk of land from India in 1960s. On one hand they called Indian-Chinese are sibling and on the other hand their military was indvading India’s land. China can never be trusted. They need to become more friendly and respectful for other countries.

Posted by Annai | Report as abusive

I dont see china as “any” real leadership role on the world scene, for many reasons. Mainly human rights. Just aint gonna happen.

Posted by kc37 | Report as abusive

Our American Govenment is messed-up because they have given american jobs over to China (and other countries) we now have the highest unemployment rate since the early 80s. So when you speak of China’s government; its a lot like ours where the rich get richer and poor stay poor and middle class is slowly blending in with the poor class of ppl. A least we do have child labor laws here and children are allowed to get their education, even if they are female. Over all I quess we should be thankful for what God has blessed us with and if we could only share what we have (the rich, poor and middle class) with those in homeless situations. Come on y’all stop being so greedy. God put us here to help those who are impossible situations.

Posted by wings442 | Report as abusive

@Wings442 – The saddest part of Laws that are created is that the very people who make them are the ones who break them…don’t you think? I agree with your religious point of view, and I only wish we have a lot of people like you on the Planet!…Hooohah!!!

Posted by Hoohah | Report as abusive

@Annai…Would you please clarify as to which 1st World Country is free from doing the very same thing that you say China did to India? Come on…this is the real world! Accept it or Don’t, it happens!…Hoohah!!!

Posted by Hoohah | Report as abusive

I think Americans should stop dispensing advise and worry about itself.

Posted by WharfRat | Report as abusive

I had been in China 3 times in the past. Each time you could see the economic progress. The political atmosphere also seems to be freeer as time goes. However, corruption is still a problem. All the communist countries (not too many now) seem to have the same problem, and China is no exception.

Human rihgt issue is another problem although as a tourist one might not be able to sense it. The other intersting phenominon is that on the surface people there sometimes seem to have more freedom than us. Or I should say they don’t follow the rules as much as we do. They have decent rules there, but people don’t necessarily follow them. I think they are still trying to figure their way out. I had casually talked to local people at various towns and places. As it now, they are more interted in developing their economic power. Their goal is not to dominate anyone internationaly. They had been ocuupied and exploited by the Brithsh, Japaness, French, German and Russian in the past. They know they don’t wany that to happen to them again, and they also know they don’t want to act like British or Japness.

It’s a big country, they have enough problems to slove in order to feed everyone. I am almost certain occupying foreign land is not in their priority.

Posted by ylin | Report as abusive

Every 1 talk about freedom, human rights, and what not. Have you ever live in a house with 19 brother or sisters? If u did u know the parents of the house have to be strict. Cause its hard to control 20 kids. So instead of 20 kids, think of it as couple of billion of people. Give them human right and they will go crazy. China have no choice but to be communist, and not let people have their rights. If u saying that it so easy and people need to get there rights. Raise 20 kids then talk. Also they are taking care of their people. The main reason that labor is so cheap is there is lack of jobs and people in that country are competing to get jobs. Easy answer 20 kids they do their chores they get 5$ a week that 100$ the parents have to spend on the kids. that is roughly 400$ a month. Most peoples paycheck or 1/2 there paychecks are gone. Now calculate that as a population of couple billion of people. You can’t even imagine the effort to get every one to be just fed. So don’t say China not taking care of there people or not taking care of the country. They don’t need to compete with there neighbors. Longest they make sure every one is fed and is working, China is going to be ahead. So yeah people that live in the remote area of China get it rough, have you been to China recently. They are working every day to try to make people living in those remote area have a better life. Not an easy task. Corruption, every country have it. Don’t point at other people before your check yourself if their any in America. China can’t be number 1 with out civil rights, that a laugh, go to google and and type in how much debt America has. Then how much of that debt China pay for, and find out how much money America borrow form China. Then your would understand why America is not in a depression. China can’t be number 1 because it already number 1. If China demand that all the money borrow form them are to be return back, America will be in its second great depression. Do your research before you open your mouth.

Posted by xoxKenny | Report as abusive

I had to reply to the following:

“All these China bashing is no different than the Japan bashing of the 80’s, just a way for the people to justify their racism.”

Urging the Chinese government to consider the fundamental human rights of their people is a justification of racism?? If I was racist, wouldn’t I wish harm on the Chinese people rather than freedom from torture and tyranny? I thought I heard everything.

Posted by porthooligan | Report as abusive

Like many said, u’ve to go to or even live in China to understand the country, it’s ppl & culture. There r a lot of nice ppl there, good professionals and entrepreneurs. China has a diif set of political infrastructure & doctrines, it’ll always be diff from the US. Same as the many countries in Europe. We all have to accept that every coountry is diff. All has it’s own set of pros & cons. The Chinese central govt has done a great effort in maintaining d country, not perfect but i would say rather successful. A lot of Chinese ppl have benefited frm the economic growth, but more need to be done, & it’ll only improve as time goes by. It’s a country w 1.3 bil ppl, 1/6 of d world’s population, not an easy task for d govt. China may not practice open election, this may happen in future. The society may not be ready for it now. So many countries in this world have no open or unbiased elections. Once we accept diff, we have a diff view towards all this.

Posted by FrankN | Report as abusive

China is just like any other existing superpower or an emerging superpower. Obviously China is just trying to consolidate its enviable economic position more than trying to exert its political will over rest of the greater world. China will reach its ultimate goal of superpower numero uno in the next decade or so. Its economy is currently at an unstoppable pace powered by over 20% of the world’s population that believes in itself more than any other country. Plus, most importantly China is not waging any “physical wars” currently; therefore, its war industry is primarily selling arms to other countries at war – making profits.

Most people would change their opinion about China once they visited China. Like other countries China has offered humanity many inventions. There may be other things we should learn from China instead of being hapless victims of pride and prejudice due to targeted disinformation campaigns unleashed by vested interests.

Posted by Human-Observer | Report as abusive

I Am glad that so many of you are so open with your feelings. Especially, Mr. xoxKenny, card carrying member of the Chinese Communist Party.

Unfortunately, just learning the English language doesn’t give you and understanding of English speaking and non-communist cultures.

See we see things through a different set of filters. The first of which is that the government is not responsible for each person’s life We don’t imagine that the party is our mother and father. So we can’t imagine the logic of ” Cause its hard to control 20 kids. So instead of 20 kids, think of it as couple of billion of people. Give them human right and they will go crazy. China have no choice but to be communist, and not let people have their rights”

We don’t need our national leadership to tell us what we can eat today. Hunger is a problem for most Americans when there is a commercial on TV.

Yes, I know there are a lot of people who lost their Jobs because the company they worked for sold them out. I know that if they had been part of the Chinese Government they would still have their job.

But, guess what it was worth it; they owned a house, they owned a car, they had a place of their own and they went where they wanted to go.

To those who are free it is much better to have had and lost than to have never had at all.

Freedom is something you as a party member have but, you know that not all Chinese people can have membership in the party.

Human rights are just English words to you. But, those who have the rights know the rights are many; the right to say something is wrong, the right to stand with a group of like minded people in the Square or on the street and Say something is wrong, the right to have a gun in their home or their pick-up truck, the right to go to a church or stay home, the right to go to a golf course or the beach, even the right to not buy the store brand canned goods. These people with rights understand what a travesty it is to see tanks running over protesters. Those who have these rights can’t understand how a country can invade India and Tibet and claim that the land that was taken was China’s. To Americans that is like the Mexican government taking San Diego and the Pacific Coast up to China Town San Francisco.

We know human rights we know it is the right of the individual to be all they can be. To not be forced to work in the factory rather than be allowed to fail at college. We have the right.

China is a world power. It maybe (because figures lie) the richest country on the planet. But, I can guarantee you there won’t be millions of people a year trying to get in using legal and illegal means to do so. Why? Because with all the Money and all the Jobs China will not let its people have human rights. What good is wealth if you can go to a website, watch a TV show, attend a ball game or vote out the scoundrels.

Posted by FucChina | Report as abusive

Well stated Human-observer however illegetimate. The “Center of the World” has a political agenda and the people have an agenda.

The agenda are different. Each individual happy are not wants their team to win; no matter what the envdeaver. These a good things.

The national leadership has a different agenda and it is world domination. It is written.

It is not prejudice to state that the Government that only needed money to accomplish its political will over the rest of the world is still planning to do just that.

Surely, we don’t need to worry about them doing that until they get the money they need.

As my part to keep the little bit of land I have accumulated around the world I plan to just say no to anything that says “MADE IN CHINA, HONG KONG, or MACAU”.

I don’t need to help the Political asperations of people who pay less income tax than Bill Clinton’s foundation.

Posted by FucChina | Report as abusive

To those that think that China’s infrastructure is behind those of Latin America, you need to visit China to educate yourself. I don’t see any Latin American country or any other country with the ability to build a 1000km railway to Tibet at 20,000ft let alone build it in 5 years. The pace and breadth of infrastructure development over the past 30 years there is unparalleled in man’s history and that is not a subjective opinion.

While I agree with the author’s viewpoint that China’s social development is lagging its economic and hard infrastructure development, it is no different than the path taken by developed countries that came before it, including the US. Anyone who has studied US history knows that the industrialization of the US in the 19th and early 20 th century saw the same exploitation of laborers (both slaves and immigrants from Asia and Europe), environment deterioration and lack of social development or net. There is reason why the Rockefellers, Carnegies, etc were nicknamed “Robber Barons” for their exploitation of resources. The US also struggled with wide spread political corruption during the same developmental period. Social development can only occur after society and government have been able to achieve a certain level of economic development to provide the basic necessities of life such as food and shelter. Once that has been achieved, the demands of the populace will then push for and achieve the social development of labor laws, environmental protection, social welfare and protection of the less fortunate. This is the same course taken in every developed country including the developed countries of China’s neighbors in Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, HK and Korea. I believe that we will see the social development of China evolving in the next 10 years as there is already a very large middle class there.

One last observation, we like to criticize the Chinese for their corruption. Having worked in a global setting for much of my career, the only difference I see between American corruption and Chinese corruption is that the US has managed to legalize/legitimize corruption while the Chinese are more upfront about their corruption. We legitimize bribery to politicians and call it campaign donations/financing and corporations are able to legally bribe politicians through lobbyists, trade associations and PACs who not only are able to contribute money but arrange for and pay for boondoggles ranging from ski trips to Super Bowl tickets for senators and congressmen. The Chinese and other emerging country politicians are just more upfront about the cost of doing business in their country, province or city.

We need to look at ourselves very carefully before making accusations and pointing fingers at the Chinese – we just might see our own reflection coming back to us.

Posted by tatonga | Report as abusive

China has the world’s only operational antiship ballistic missile (ASBM). With one strike raining in from outer space at hypersonic speed, there is no earthly defenses against it before it sink any aircraft carrier. American is now put in its place by the Middle Kingdom that reign unchallenged for 80% of its 6000 history as the dominant military, economic, political, and cultural center of the world. Even the fabled Atlantis would be awe as the world yawned at US’s claim to morality as it created more wars around the world and killed more people than the rest of the world combined. Only China can save the world from Western plight. Let’s stand up and be counted. We are the world. Resistance is futile.

Posted by AustinUSA | Report as abusive

I have to reply to this moronic response:

1. Any western countries had colonized Asia and Africa. Spain, US, Germay, French and many more. China has to go to third world countries to do it. Because all greedy western countries already RAPED most Asian and African countries in the past.

2. You don’t want to migrate to China? Many people chosen China as their education destiny then USA now. Especially now that US President Obama a good orator with NO substsance and performance.


China has no message to the world, and its image is not particularly appealing.

People buy made in China products because they’re cheap. These products don’t have the appeal of the French ‘chic’, the German ‘quality’, or the Japanese ’sophistication’.
Personally, I buy made in China, but I’m not comfortable knowing that the people who make these products are not being treated fairly by their employers, as well as by their own government.

China is supporting obnoxious regimes in Sudan and Iran, and other countries, without balancing it by anything positive, humanitarian, or ‘cool’ that anybody knows of.

Nobody outside China loves it the way people love America, because of America’s projected image as a free, open, fair and dynamic society.
Nobody wants to migrate to China, to the best of my knowledge.

Posted by yr2009 | Report as abusive

Posted by wanhart | Report as abusive

let me tell you what, most Chinese think that China is too much poorer than US, less democratic, and US is a great country, and American ppl are enjoying their liberty and freedom. US is the paradise, and most Chinese are cynical about CCP, but are using to be non-aggressive and humble to CCP and to US, etc, that’s historical nature of Chinese.
Actually, they wanna show friendship to American and they admire the way American live, even sorry American are suspicious and afraid of China power, mainly due to CCP, but not Chinese civilians.In fact, most ppl in China embarrass China is not a good friend to US, but they wanna be like JPN, UK,..

This is harley living in China.

Posted by harley.d | Report as abusive

China will never have soft power because it has a poor world image. It is seen as a fascist dictatorship with hostile intentions: destroying economies, destabilizing governments and getting under your skin. Secondly, the US inherited the world recognition and relationships conferred by the British empire – something China or Japan simply can’t. Third, China does not understand how to lead by consensus; it’s a dictatorship. The Chinese I know in Silicon Valley lack the demeanor, style or desire to be popular leaders. There are such leaders in Hong Kong but they have no political power.

You can’t just dream your way to world hegemony. You have to inherit it from the last great world empire, and China is the least likely country to do that. It does not have the image, the traditions, the world recognition, the institutions, even the language. If China wants power, she has to grab it. Mao would have known that.

Posted by sooku | Report as abusive

RE. the post by AustinUSA: It takes a lot of money, will power and organization to turn a weapon advantage into a military advantage. And you don’t become a leader by “standing up”. You become a leader by being liked. That may be hard for China’s leadership to comprehend.

Posted by sooku | Report as abusive

Americans are not ready to face the fact of falling from the world leading position. As a father of an US Navy officer and a naturalized US citizen, I really worry about our givernment. How long is it going to be run by those crooks, who only care about been elected or re-elected. Recently, I visited China. In a private dinner engagement, one of a business owner was asking me ” what is going on in your country? While we are moving to a capitalist way, you are going communist.” I was stuned and had nothing to say. He also mentioned two things which just showing how bad we are. Either we are not willing to admit it, or just simply don’t want to face it. He said “America was built by some smart lawyers who cared about the country two hundred some years ago. Now, America is going to be ruined by the smart lawyers as well.” “Protectionism made us so poor for the past. Americans are step on our footprints.”"Your government keep want us to increse our currency value because our products were too cheap. If we don’t sell you the cheap stuff, where could your middle class people to go buy $10.00 DVD players, and $5.00 t-shirt?” Deeeeep thoughts.

Posted by sjk168 | Report as abusive

China will never become global anything, leader or whatever. Europe and North America are global because they are open societies. People of all racial, ethnic, cultural etc. background move and integrate themselves there, even if they don’ speak host country language and share same values as the host nation. I can not imagine someone who is not Chinese-speaking and does not look Chinese integrate in Chinese society. As a matter of fact, Japan will never become global power for the same reason. China is going through industrial revolution, something that Europe went through in 19th century. Hopefully, it will increase standard of lives of ordinary people, not just increase GDP (BTW, USSR had great GDP, but ordinary people were starving).

Posted by shakro | Report as abusive

Reading through all the comments I see varied views and bi-faceted opinions mainly debating 1.China’s current Politics, which dictates its domestic affairs and its consequential relevancy with foreign nations, 2.its conflict history with surrounding nations, 3.comparison of the general state of law-entitled freedom and social living standard of China’s citizens to citizens of other modernized nations. Nearly all the comments holds partially accurate details, facts, and truth, but some lacks thorough hindsight at the core of its comment.
Now, I’m a Chinese citizen with a United States permanent residence card who spent most of my life in the USA, cultivated with a basic American education and currently living in China(the adverse state of economy in the USA has forced me, however reluctant I’m, to momentarily settle in China for employment), with parents that lived in China all their live, and now I would like to compare and share my opinions and perceived state of reality based on the years I spent in the USA and growing experiences living in China to the comments listed here.

From the local municipal’s slogans of city and towns I visited, the articles I read in newspapers, and news I watched on TV, its unmistakable that China’s current main political policy is domestic economic growth and the fortification of its central economic role aboard, China is clearly no longer passive in the game of global currency and its utilizing the influence of currency to its maximum efficiency. And the truth is, its policy is becoming a reality, rather or not if the methods are optimal; with modern highway infrastructures, banking infrastructures, education infrastructures, manufacturing facilities, commerce districts, malls, hospitals, all expanding accordingly to all areas of China and from it, I see the common citizen’s benefits in the economic growing spree. The modern China reacquainted and established relations with foreign nations of the world for slightly over 3 decades since the 1970′s, after experiencing over half a century of devastating civil wars and wars that crippled the very core of the Chinese Race, in such a brief time frame, along with tumultuous foreign relations events, China has moved from GDP no.81 to no.2 and not without a reason. With China open to trade and its available massive labor platform, businessmen of the west, in their quest to obtain maximum margin out of their products, have chosen China because of asymmetric currency values which leads to lower labor wages, cheaper supply cost, and overall manufacturing cost. This decision imported millions, and rising, of jobs to China from foreign nations. As for China’s method of approach on certain economic developments, I strongly advise on assuming the attitude of “spectator”. After all the Dutch Trading Empire or the New York Stock Exchange wasn’t created and perfected in one day, its over the course of over a century in both cases. The efficient standards and methods that mature economies enjoy today comes from learning hard lessons, don’t expect China to tumble any less lightly.

Like all modernizing nations, industrial pollution is unavoidable, USA has a few prime historical examples; the unimaginable pollution of lakes and rivers by Standard Oil in the late 1800′s, where a single lighted match can cost a fire “on” the lake or river, the year round smog resulting from industrial and automotive pollution in central districts of California in the 1920′s that severely damaged health and prohibited vision beyond 10ft, not to mention other present day pollution catastrophes. So my questions are, “Is there any modernized nation that exist in its current state without causing pollution or consumption of resources? Will any nation willingly donate a solution that can avoid or further reduce pollution and consumption of resources that can be realistically achieved and simultaneously keep up with the pace of modernization in China?”, if not, please don’t expect any greater of China then would of itself. China endeavored mightily with other Superpowers to acquire infrastructural technology for nuclear power plants to replace its coal power plant infrastructure with the aim of reducing carbon emissions, but the reply is a unsurprisingly “No”. When I used to commuted to work on the subway system of New York City or pass the Brooklyn bridge, the genius and magnificence of these structures never for once failed to inspire a sense of awe in me, but at the same time made me think how much steel, concrete, metal, etc it takes to construct these modern wonders. I still don’t know today, and I sincerely wish someone would enlighten me.

Human Rights, the biggest and most threatening subject to not only the Communist party, but to the entire Chinese population as well. This is a extremely sensitive issue concerning over 13 billion souls with far reaching consequences to China itself and the rest of the world. The Communist party realizes the potential rewards and dangers of this subject more than anyone else, and its taking its utter most care in its gradual advancement. I asked a coworker once if he can imagine China being a true democracy the likes of USA, he replied, “one day, but not now. Can you imagine 56 ethnic groups voting for a Chairman? Just take a look at Taiwan, we don’t need 56 more Taiwan.” Now the incidence at Tienanmen Square in 1989, I would have to agree with the rest of the world. The soldiers that committed the atrocities are heartless animals, but I still doubt that the Communist Chairman told the troops directly to “roll them over with tanks, they’re just animals”, because it would be the equivalent of US President Richard Nixon telling the national guards at the Kent State massacre in 1970 to “Shoot to kill, no mercy for the pigs on campus”, I’ll refrain from revising my perception of both incidents as overreactions by rash inexperienced troops that led to a chain reaction which resulted in the unnecessary death of the protesters.

The boarder conflicts are always over legal possession of land and it’ll remain the same for any country in aggression or defense. I’ve read enough history books to know that the legal rights over “said piece of land” always belong to the victor of the conflict. From Genghis Khan(the largest empire ever forged) to Catherine II of Russia(during her reign the Russian broader covered Turkey and included half of Alaska)to America’s Manifest Destiny to Germany’s Nazism, its always been the victors that determines the boundary of it’s nation, the defeated are always the muted ones that learns to obey and lie in wait for their chance to rise.

Let the military do all their catwalk, as long as peace continues to be maintained there is always a chance for a brighter future. Make no mistake, the USA is the No.1 country in the world from Human Rights to social standards, but like every other nation its got its flaws and proficiencies.

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