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China and the US

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By: Dr A Q Khan

The Chinese are our best friends while the Americans always try to find some fault with us. Most recently, they even blamed China for our debt problems rather than the incompetence of our leaders. This is what Thomas Friedman has to say about US/China relationships. He recently wrote an article entitled ‘The Seven Years of China and the United States’. This article was published in the New York Times and shocked the White House. This is what he wrote:

“China has been busy with various infrastructure projects while we are dealing with l-Qaeda (terrorists). They have built better stadiums, subways, airports, roads and parks and we have been working on better metal detectors, Hummer military vehiclesand drones…

“Differences have begun to show; compare the dirty old LaGuardia Airport in New York to the beautifully shaped international airport in Shanghai. Drive along Manhattan and see how dilapidated the infrastructure is along the way. Compare this to Shanghai’s maglev train, which reaches speeds up to 220 miles per hour and uses electromagnetic propulsion instead of ordinary steel wheels and tracks. It makes one wonder who is living in a third world country!

“As a modern country, China has accepted the main concepts of modern national sovereignty and human rights. However, the various qualities of Chinese civilisation make it unique. China’s development model is that the scale of learning + innovation + huge population affects China and the world. Many foreign companies in China have a slogan: ‘If we can achieve the first in China, we will be able to achieve the world’s best.’

“Some of us are envious of the lives of people in small countries. But small countries cannot afford large-scale disasters while big countries face them and still have room for manoeuvre. Even such a large-scale natural disaster as the Wenchuan earthquake left their country’s economy unaffected.

“For most countries, industrial upgrading often means that industry migrates to foreign countries while China can carry out large-scale industrial transfer within itself, which extends the lifecycle of Chinese manufacturing.

The collision of Chinese and Western cultures over the past thirty years has not caused most Chinese to lose their cultural confidence. They embrace Confucius, Lao Tzu, calligraphy, painting, tea ceremonies, cultural relics and Chinese medicine, all reflections of the revival of Chinese traditionalculture.

“The food, health and leisure culture derived from the Chinese are also incomparable to other cultures. Street restaurants in any part of China can make 30 to 40 dishes. In the vast majority of American restaurants there are mostly hamburgers and chips. There are usually no more than three or four dishes that are really good.

“Some of us worry that the Chinese lack religious feeling. It is a fact that world history knows that religious conflicts have led to countless wars. The conflict between various Christian denominations and between Christianity and Islam has a history of thousands of years, resulting in human tragediesin which countless lives werebrutally lost….

“Chinese economics is not so much ‘market economics’ as ‘humanistic economics.’ If the government fails to develop its economy and improve people’s livelihood, it cannot handle disasters and it will lose support from the people and will eventually be overthrown.

“Today’s political party in China is a continuation of the historically unified Confucian ruling group tradition rather than a Western party that competes on behalf of different interest groups. Many people in the West only agree with the legitimacy of the regime resulting from multi-party competition, but this is a shallow political concept.

“I once met an American scholar who questioned the legitimacy of the Chinese regime. I asked him why he did not first question the legitimacy of his own country. We took land from others, exterminated Indians and formed the United States of today. Where is legitimacy here? Western regimes use the concept of ‘selecting’ while China’s is ‘selecting talents’. Xiao (small) ‘Junior’ Bush’s rule brought an economic downturn in the US and disaster to Iraq. In Chinese political culture the concept of ‘one game at a time’ and ‘hardship on one side, support from all sides’ cannot be produced. An Indian scholar once said to me that, on the face of it, China is centralised, but every reform actually has strong local characteristics. They compete and complement each other. Their system is more dynamicthan ours.

“The Chinese have studied the West and have established a powerful modern government system. At the same time, they have their own unique political and cultural resources. The combination of the two makes it easier for them to overcome the populism, short-sightedness and legalism that plagues Western democracy today.

“At the political level, many people in the West take it for granted that China will accept the political model of confrontation like in the West as the Chinese middle class grows. However, the Chinese middle class today seems to value China’s political stability more than any other class. They understand that the ‘democratisation’ of the West has brought chaos and turmoil to many countries. Their hard-earned wealth accumulation has benefited from 30 years of political stability in China.

“Frankly speaking, what China has demonstrated today is definitely not an oversimplified or even simple concept of advanced versus backwardness; democracy versus autocracy; high human rights versus low human rights.”

So much for Thomas Friedman’s analysis, but seeing is believing. A visit to China will make it clear that they are very hard-working, honest, soft-spoken and humble. They are an example worth following and learning from.

Courtesy The News

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