Why is everyone so scared of China?


#41

I find that I keep going back and forth about “progress” in China. I’ve traveled over there a fair number of times (seemingly way too many times this year), but I spend a lot of time in areas where nobody else really goes, so I think I have a very different mental picture of China than many. I spend my time in rural western China - largely in Sichuan Province (although I’ve been all over western China). I very often find myself in villages way the hell up some isolated valley where, if you’re lucky, there is a kind of drivable “road”, but where often the only access involves your feet. These people are the 800 million peasants, and they are poor as hell. They are still farming entirely by hand, still have almost nothing, hell, the ‘toilet’ is usually still in the pig stall. It is very hard to reconcile that with what I read about shiny new things in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, etc (I have spent pretty much no time anywhere in eastern China). It’s two completely different worlds, and usually I don’t see how China is going to be able to really move forward with that level of disconnect.
But then again, it seems that every time I go back, I notice some small signs of progress. Some, like new main roads and hydroelectric plants, may not directly help the villages, but they are providing some local jobs. I see more and more paved smaller roads, more solar water heaters, more equipment like tractors and bulldozers, more kids toys, more shops in the towns. Internet access is spreading like crazy through the larger towns. I also notice that old people are often the ones you see working the farms - their kids are probably off being migrant workers, which is a pretty screwed up system, but it is creating more integration between China’s urban money-making and the rural peasants.
Just kind of rambling here, but I definitely see why people would care more about economic progress than human rights or democracy or a free press. I think that, however grim their situation looks to me, many of these 800 million are optimistic that their kid’s lives will be better, and that as long as they stay hopeful, the government doesn’t have to worry about them. But if the economics falter, and they ever lose that hope, I think the shit could hit the fan.
Now, I’ve also gotten a look at the situations of the Tibetans and the Uighurs, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish…


#42

reztrop: Of course you are right, but as has already been pointed out, this is a monster that has been created by those in power. They bred these rabidly nationalistic fools, and now they’re having to deal with them. China could much more easily change what’s taught in schools and subsequent public opinion than many countries could.


#43

This is an interesting article on the subject.

[quote]Meanwhile, the US, the world’s sole economic hyper-power until recently, remains a diminished giant. It stands humbled by its foreign-policy blunders and a massive financial crisis. Its credibility after the disastrous invasion of Iraq is at an all-time low, notwithstanding the global sympathy for President Barack Obama, and its economic model is in tatters. The once-almighty dollar totters at the mercy of China and the oil-rich states.[/quote] project-syndicate.org/commen … 39/English


#44

Well the U.S. cares so much about the currency ratio that they have tripled their own currency supply within the past two plus years. Now they want China to shrink theirs. I have an idea, but it isn’t a very realistic one. Anyone who supports the U.S. economy could employ some Americans to make some stuff and sell it to China. I’m not talking F-16s and stuff, cause they’re selling those to Taiwan already, but perhaps some chemical weapons and Hersheys or something.

I am against the death penalty though. I think its too extreme a punishment, and especially when considering that not all convictions can be correct 100% of the time. I suspect that when the U.S. bans the death penalty within its own country, then they might be able to express more sincerely their concerns about this subject in relation to the Chinese justice system and join in with the chorus. Growing balls though? Would they be fuzzy balls, or old man’s balls?
Obama is doing the same as Bush because Obama doesn’t control the country’s currency supply. In fact he doesn’t control it in just the same way Bush couldn’t control it. He can’t call China a currency manipulator without drawing attention to the Fed’s own currency manipulation program. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Besides, the only thing keeping America in the balance right now are their friends who are supporting America’s debt. China really doesn’t have to keep buying their shit, just the same as I really don’t need to keep popping coins into charity boxes every time someone groans for help.
America is overinflated. If it weren’t, it could be far more competitive with China and wouldn’t be moaning about how it can’t compete with its overinflated prices and cost of production. It artificially kept pumping up the value of its own stocks, banks, and still attempts to do the same with its housing market; and yet at the same time, it wants China to raise the value of the RMB, just to make overinflated U.S. prices seem cheaper. Talk about making no sense…
A well known man once said something like “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Well I ask "Ask not what China can do for America, but what America can do for itself."
Its pitiful that “the most powerful nation on earth” has to beg China for a break, and cuss them under its breath. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” is another one which springs to mind.
If Americans themselves want to make a difference, then they could learn to buy American and leave the Foreign produce on the shelf. They could choose to spend holidays at home and not abroad. They could demand no bailouts for bloated, failed American companies, and insist that they are instead allowed to go bankrupt, and then be reinvented by more successful businesses which are more in tune with the modern world.
The U.S. government could have its own bring a buy sale. They have loads of old aircraft carriers, foreign military bases, spy stations and satellites and stuff, which they could get rid of. Not to mention bringing home their economic assassins which are running programs all over the world. We could certainly do without them. Besides, it doesn’t pay the American government to keep derailing other country’s governments in favour of their own, when their own is pretty much failed anyway. They might as well give it a rest for a while and allow some poor starving foreigners a meal from time to time.


#45

[quote=“Mucha Man”][quote=“Mick”]Im not sure to what extent the Chinese are relying on manufacturing to keep increasing their GDP, but my guess would be a lot. Which is why they would resist a devaluing of the RMB, they already have seen workers wages increase and there has already been 20~25% devaluation in recent years. (By the way the US House of Representatives just passed a bill that aims to impose sanctions on countries that the US concludes are holding down the value of their currencies so we could see a trade war start up)

One problem for Chinas leadership is that once China's economy no longer sees continued growth, perhaps even heads south and unemployment rises as factories shift to a new location, then the illusion they have sold the population starts to unravel.[/quote]

Mick, read a few pages back. I’ve already addressed this. China is moving away from cheap manufacturing and a focus on stellar gdp growth to increasing wages and living standards.[/quote]

MM, I see that Chinas salaries are rising, the low wages are a problem for them also as talent tends to emigrate to lands where they can make more sizable incomes, and Im sure they will be working on Chinese companies marketing Chinese products to the world instead of just manufacturing for everyone else, but its early days yet as other posters have said regarding the numbers still in poverty and with Foxconn having a workforce of over a million, just how many are relying on manufacturing, I suspect is also a huge number.

But for now, it seems from what Wen Jiabao just said at tthe EU-China summit, his concerns, as I noted are closing of factories and social instability that would follow.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-06/chinese-premier-wen-warns-of-disaster-in-rapid-appreciation-of-the-yuan.html

In other words, bad news for the CCP as it faces an angry mobs of unemployed returning to their hometowns. But then again, that might be exactly what some countries would like to see.


#46

Comparing China to India it’s clear China has done an amazing job from the bad state they were in. India, while democratic, has much worse poverty, corruption and inequality.
The government there has followed a very logical plan to develop their economy and world power and it has benefited most of their citizens at this stage. Now they have a plan to boost the domestic economy which I believe is viable since they have such a huge internal market and this will help them attract yet more foreign direct investment intot their country. Everything they do is practical based and not really ideological. Their policies clearly promote building of the local economy and the creation of jobs at home. They use every method under the sun to do this. They just run a good shop.
Look at the US on the otherhand and it seems a complete lack of common sense prevails.


#47

[quote=“redwagon”][quote=“enn”]
2. China has suckered so many foreign companies to invest heavily in China. China’s economy is a command economy–not an open market economy. So if China gets pissed off, it could make life impossible for all those companies. As is, China won’t let foreign companies compete on a level field unless those companies give their trade technologies to their Chinese counterparts.
[/quote]
Yes, and what did it get them? I read somewhere that the EU exports more to Switzerland than to China. :loco: I never heard of the Swiss demanding access to the technology that created those products…[/quote]

I wouldn’t be surprised, but massive growth is really possible in China, however it’s a tough place to succeed.


#48

[quote]
Manufacturing in developed nations have been moving to developing nations for decades. After WWII Germany and Japan were both huge manufacturing countries. Today, most of their heavy industry is carried out in developing nations. Not just China. South Africa builds several German and Japanese car models (the 3 series BMW, for example) for international markets.
Corporations in developed countries have profit in mind, and will move their manufacturing to any country where labour is cheap and reliable. Once China has served it
s purpose, these companies will move on to the next area. Possibly Africa (I wouldn’t be too surprised if in 30 years everything is Made in Angola, Mozambique or South Africa).
So it’s not like the CCP has “plotted” the systematic downfall of the US’s industrial base. The US economy is going through a period of change, and will come out of it on the otherside changed, different and undoubtedly stronger. The question is, with the troubles already raising their heads in China (pollution, corruption, rising costs of labour, social unrest, and inequalities in the distribution of wealth, and aging population etc etc), will the CCP and China be able to solve these issues, adapt and come out of it on the otherside stronger and better for it? Time will tell, but under the current status quo, I doubt it.

It wasn’t too long ago when people were projecting the end for the USA under the threat of growing Soviet power, in Europe, Asia and globally. The Soviet armed forces out numbered anything the US or NATO could throw at them, and yet within a few years the entire monstrosity that was the USSR collapsed. Historically, and realistically, authoritarian regimes are unable to cope with the same social and economic pressures faced by other countries and in the long run, what appears to be a strength shows to be a weakness and leads to the utter collapse of the entire system. I don’t see China being any different, And historically, things aren’t on their side either, as through their entire history they have gone through phases of massive economic growth and strength, which has always ultimately ended in the country falling apart, schisming and a new “dynasty” taking over from the old. Sometimes for the best, sometimes (as in the case of the CCP) for the worst.[/quote]

I think choosing Germany and Japan to illustrate the point wasn’t good. Both still have HUGE manufacturing bases. For the all the rumours of Japan’s demise it is still an incredibly wealthy and successful country. Germany has had amazing success during this recession. Both countries operate plants overseas in their target markets but retain large manufacturing bases at home where they still centralise R&D and control.

There is nothing inevitable about moving manufacturing bases overseas, it was a policy employed by corporations in the UK and US where they could make quick profit off the currency trade, low labour costs, lack of environmental regulation and after pushing through WTO non-tariff agreements. Basically shortsighted policies.


#49

[quote=“ninman”]While a lot of what you’ve said is true Muzha Man, when I was in Shanghai a lot of my teachers said that many people in China want the CCP to step down from power now. There has been a lot of development, but the vast majority of people are still oppressed socially and economically, only about 5-10% of the population actually have the living standards of the west, i.e. own their own home, have a car and a well paying job.

Let me give you an example of someone I know personally. She’s Chinese, lives in Nanjing and went to Switzerland to do a masters degree. When she returned to China to try and get work she couldn’t find anything, a list of reasons she was given included “you’re not pretty enough, you’re too old, you’re not married, you’re unwilling to sleep with our clients”. She currently works as an English teacher, and she earns less than 1000 RMB per month, her boss thinks he’s paying her too much money because other people would be willing to do that that job for free (apparently). She has to live with her parents to survive, now they are being evicted from their homes in the next few months because the government wants to build new flats for rich people, and the compensation they will get for their home is 20% towards the cost of a new house, which means they need to come up with the other 80%, which effectively means they’ll be homeless.

The suicide rate for young women is really high in China, they are under huge pressure socially to get married to a rich man who will look after the family. I had a Chinese gf who was 29 and she was desperate to get married to me because she didn’t want to be over 30 (and therefore old) and not married. Forced evictions are also really common in China, for example the building of the expo, they forcibly evicted people to make that. I have an Italian friend who made a documentary all about it, there was an old man with a heart problem who doctors said could not be moved (and was of course moved from his home), as well as a taxi driver who was too tired to care because he works 24 hour shifts.

As far as new buildings go, if you go to Shanghai you’ll see that most of the newest and tallest skyscapers in the Pudong area are empty. The other thing is that a Chinese girl told me that it’s all built on waste. New apartment blocks are only built to last a maximum of 25 years, after that they are torn down and replaced with something else. Out of 1.3 billion people 800 million live in the countryside in poverty and of the 500 million who live in the cities, most of them live in poverty as well. Not only that, the way people think and act socially is still the same as the way people used to think and act like 100 years ago, they may have move forward economically, but in lots and lots of ways they are still stuck in the past.[/quote]

You just described Taiwan here or a bunch of other Asian countries. Taipei could stand-in for Shanghai in many of your sentences. Farmers could stand in for city dwellers. Developments here age at the same rate. This is not the problem of the government but of society’s expectations. The fact is 95%+ of China was desperately poor until a few short years ago, they have raised the living standards of 100s of millions, an incredible result.


#50

[quote=“ninman”]Well I think for the society to be stable and to last it needs to have two basic things. One is it has to be rich, and economically prosperous, part of the reason democracy failed in Germany in the 1930’s was down to how totally fucked the country was economically. The second is that is has to be democratic.

But getting back to my original question, why does the world kiss China’s ass all the fucking time? Why can’t the US just grow a pair of balls and say “China is a currency manipulator and Taiwan is an independent country”? I mean China even executed that British guy last December just to say fuck you to the UK. I mean Obama criticised Bush for not calling China a currency manipulator, now he’s doing the same thing. It doesn’t make any fucking sense.[/quote]

Roman Empire anybody?


#51

Yep. I was in the region formerly known as Manchuria over the summer and every large city has an anti-Japanese War of Aggression Museum. They all paint China as a victim and Japan as a brutal aggressor. There is little if any attempt to put this in historical perspective. Japan is literally still asked to feel shame for what it did. Its pathetic.[/quote]

I was in ChangChun recently and the taxi driver told me how hiw grandfather had been crippled by the Japanese, so there are a lot of families there with bitter memories. He told he refused to take Japanese passengers. Still the city did have some great Japanese parks and buildings (being the former capital of Manchuria and seat of the puppet emperor)!


#52

I just saw this TV discussion and thought it relevant to the point I was making about lending and currency manipulation earlier.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcNXm7Sa-Ac&feature=player_embedded#!


#53

Yep. I was in the region formerly known as Manchuria over the summer and every large city has an anti-Japanese War of Aggression Museum. They all paint China as a victim and Japan as a brutal aggressor. There is little if any attempt to put this in historical perspective. Japan is literally still asked to feel shame for what it did. Its pathetic.[/quote]

I was in ChangChun recently and the taxi driver told me how hiw grandfather had been crippled by the Japanese, so there are a lot of families there with bitter memories. He told he refused to take Japanese passengers. Still the city did have some great Japanese parks and buildings (being the former capital of Manchuria and seat of the puppet emperor)![/quote]

I am of 2 minds about this. I certainly think what’s past is past, and China needs (for itself also) to reach finality and move one. But simultaneously, it’s also very disturbing for China to do this while, to this very day, Japanese and the Japan government still deny certain things and rewrite history books to change their slant on things. I’m not talking about the Nanjing numbers which some clearly blow up and others try to minimize. But some facts about WW2 which should be pretty uncontroversial. Germany for the most part has moved on and doesn’t deny things (unless you’re at the fringe right and deny the holocaust… which is fringe); it doesn’t have revisionist views in its education curriculum.

So how are people supposed to move on when the aggressor says that it didn’t attack first, when it didn’t conduct medical experiments on civilians and prisoners (this Japanese dept. and its research was transferred to US Army biological warfare dept or something like that in exchange for immunity)? I think both sides need to move on, but not when it’s cloaked in lies (and I don’t support Chinese people that say millions of people died in Nanking or whatever from the Japanese massacre).

Of course, this is not surprising. Many governments do this to deflect the people’s anger (ie energy) towards an outside figure away from whatever real domestic problems; this happens in the Middle East all the time. It’s very convenient.

and then whoever wrote the original post about the points re: manufacturing, currency, resources is just fear-mongering and using hyperbole. There are other sides to that story, and the post was written very UNobjectively. Some of those factors mentioned are true, but they may not be the overriding reason for such action - ie it’s very slanted view. And importantly, there are other actors involved the OP neglects (e.g. manufacturing: the AMERICAN companies benefiting from low labour and RMB exchange are laughing all the way to the bank. See Walmart, Nike: Walmart has brought us lower prices but at the cost of mom-pop stores - that’s YOUR fault for buying. and Nike LOL, yes, their shoes are just so cheap now, aren’t they? Made in Vietnam sneakers cost 90 bucks USD? How Amazing!!!)


#54

Because China is scary, perhaps? One point three billion people with a big army, nuclear weapons and a weird concept regarding ‘face’ that we don’t understand.


#55

What country has China invaded recently, people need to get a bit of perspective. China is not going to be a global trotting supercop, they have more sense than that.
They see things in a very different way and are quite rational. They have a viewpoint of what constitutes their sphere of influence and their country, that causes problems for Taiwan but Taiwan was also formed out of regional problems and it was require a regional solution.
Compare China and it’s system of government with almost any country in the Middle East for example. At least there are not reglious nutters running around quoting mythical texts…you can talk to the Chinese!


#56

Their false claims to the Senkaku Islands and their willingness to bully Japan is troubling as is the claim to the entire south china sea. Oh and the deliberate development of weapons and systems that can take advantage of weakness in the US military is more than a bit worrisome.

Except about Taiwan, and Tibet, and the Senkaku, and the east china sea, the south china sea, and the Japanese, and the Opium Wars, Falun Gong, human rights abuses…

Actually online you can’t say anything about China that isn’t tourism board pablum without being attacked.

Face it, the Chinese have a massive inferiority complex that they are itching to exorcise. That worries me.


#57

If Europe buys the line that it should give China a free pass to prevent social turmoil in China, then it’s a complete sucker. That’s a ridiculous sword for it to let be held over its head. Fuck China. Let the whole thing fall apart and the chips fall where they will if that’s really what will happen. There are plenty of countries in the world who would be only too willing to manufacture tacky crap and poison our kids. I don’t see why somewhere else couldn’t become the world’s factory. Call their bluff.


#58

[quote=“Mucha Man”]Oh and the deliberate development of weapons and systems that can take advantage of weakness in the US military is more than a bit worrisome.
[/quote]

Yes, it’s worrying, but it’s also strange to think that a country would not develop arms to defend itself especially considering its recent past in the last 200 hundred years. Why shouldn’t China find weaknesses in the US military?

US power projection is still based on carrier groups; there’s no way China has the tech or resources to build fleets of its own, so it goes asymmetric as any nation would and builds sub fleets and missile systems. Makes sense to me. But I don’t see that as a cause to fear China per se.


#59

Exactly, China is only doing the rational thing to defend it’s interests (that doesn’t mean I agree but I can see why they are doing it). The US is the one with the superpower offensive weapons systems and the one that is very fond of invading foreign countries. For what it’s worth the carrier group could be sunk like a duck in water with intelligent missile/torpedo systems or even simply with overwhelming fire power i.e. firing 100 missiles at the same time at it. I would see the US using Guam as it’s main staging post for any manuevres.


#60

There’s little social turmoil in China compared to India or Indonesia for instance, which have full on separatist wars. China seems very stable.