China’s Cat And Mouse Game With The West

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An employee walks on solar panels at a solar power plant in Aksu, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 18 May 2012. (Photo: Reuters - Stringer)

By: Omar Nashabe

Published Friday, May 18, 2012

Al-Akhbar goes to China and investigates the secrets behind its surprisingly steadfast economy.

Beijing - “RELAX”...The English phrase greets you from a sign at the entrance of the arrivals hall in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

China’s population is currently one billion three hundred and nine million citizens. Over the past 20 years, it has maintained an annual economic growth rate of 10 percent. Today, it has become the biggest economy competing with the United States and the European Union.

This could cause some anxiety, especially to those betting on the continuity of the West’s hegemony on the planet. But the call to relax is not necessarily intended for them. It is also directed towards those who want to see change quickly and are excited about a traditional confrontation with the West.

The party that founded the PRC reinvented itself through adopting market policies without giving up on some foundations of the red revolution, such as improving living conditions and opposing Western hegemony. But this does not mean that its increased power will lead to a confrontation with its enemies.

Assistant media director in the Chinese foreign ministry Ma Jiqing emphasized China’s position that the issue will be limited to economic competition.

But he complained about Europe and the US’s reservations towards accepting China in international markets. This is done through restricting its exports and imports of some materials and the illegal interference in trade operations, investment, and contracting.

“Some Western countries do not allow us to export our technology even though we purchase our aircrafts from them,” the Chinese official said during a lunch banquet for the media on Tuesday.

He added that “from some of what we read in media outlets such as Time and the Economist and what we see on CNN and BBC, it seems that the US and some Western countries want to go back to the past conflict.”

“But if the question is related to remarks about certain issues that happen in China,” he continued, “we accept it from friends but not from sides that aim to provoke.”

The media organizations he mentioned recently published on their main pages articles pointing to the corruption of some Chinese officials. This is in addition to stories about China arming itself in preparation for a possible confrontation with the US.

Speaking to Al-Akhbar in Beijing, Chinese officials stressed that this information is false and that the military receives no more than 1.3 percent of the GDP annually.

“We will not react to those allegations. Those who seek the truth, know where to find it. We have a saying in China that people know where the delicious food is, even though it is hard to get,” Jiqing told Al-Akhbar.

In spite of the economic competition between China and the West and the bitterness in Chinese officials’ voices concerning the hostile positions of Western media, the central leadership in Beijing has decided to act by the Confucian maxim of seeking “consistency in everything.”

As a result, China’s internal and external policies in all economic, social, diplomatic, and even military and strategic fields are based on solid principles and values. They were developed by the leadership of the party ever since Secretary General Deng Xiaoping announced in the 1970s the policy of fixing targets but using different tools and methods to achieve them wisely and calmly.

The leadership was aware that slow progress would save it from internal instability. It sought ways to transcend the collapse of communism in Europe and the USSR.

Today, China believes that superiority over the West will not happen through direct confrontation, leftist ideology, traditional weapons, violence, or a confrontational attitude. "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat as long as it catches mice," Xiaoping said half a century ago.

It seems that the red party has now turned into a gigantic mouse that cannot be caught. “China is now a big industrial base that cannot be challenged in terms of production volume,” said the assistant to the West Asia and Africa department in the Chinese foreign ministry Gao Jiacheng.

“We are striving to transform China from a country with a high production quantity to a country with a high production quality,” he added.

China’s red flag shines in millions of colors through the diversity of industrial production and the progress of the economy, trade, science, technology, and innovations in all vital fields.

The most prominent feature of the giant Chinese mouse is that it does not aim to catch kittens or take its vengeance from big cats, but to contain them. China is aware that its size would allow it to use the principles, foundations, and even the ideology of its adversary to beat it in foreign policy, as well as economic strategy and internal development planning.

Exports from the Jiangsu province alone reached around US$530 billion in 2011. The province, visited by Al-Akhbar recently, has a share of the GDP that does not exceed 10 percent of China’s total.

It is located north of Shanghai and includes the city of Wuxi, the industry and tourism center. Attracting 58 million tourists a year, its total exports are worth US$72 billion. It is the largest center for producing electricity through solar energy in the world.

“We encourage foreign investment, which has reached US$3.5 billion through 153 foreign companies,” said Fang Wai, the assistant mayor of Wuxi. He added that “we do not put any conditions or restrictions on US investments. But they take politics under consideration to oppose our investment in the US. They put impossible conditions to stop us from investing in their country.”

China’s leaders are not intimidated by free competition with the West. In addition to the enormity of its industrial production, the country managed to quickly develop in technological expertise and scientific innovation.

Jiangsu alone has 128 universities with around one million and six hundred thousand graduate students in all specializations.

But the leadership is keeping an eye on the possibility of internal turmoil due to the rising negative impact of the market economy.

“We made a lot of effort to improve the living conditions in Jiangsu,” Fang Wai says. Indeed, the median personal income rose by 14 percent between 2010 and 2011 to reach around US$4,500 a year.

But are the 79 million citizens of this province – or the 1.39 billion that make up China – satisfied with this income? Or will the consumerist economy lead them not to be satisfied with the efforts of their leadership for improvement, development, and advancement?

The questions will be answered in the next few years, but it is unlikely that the US will stand idly by and watch China’s power grow.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

Cool. So what did u discover? !!!!

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