Neither Bad-Mouthing nor Words of Flattery Will Alter China's Course
Columnist Tao Wenzhao of the overseas
edition of state-run People's Daily, in a retort to Time Magazine's
Michael Schuman, asserts that China has heard the China 'bad mouthers' many
times before, and has always proven them wrong.
A migrant worker, his son and his wife at a dorm for construction workers in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, May 25. Pay an standards have been on the rise for China's migrant worker population - but they remain spendthrifts, much to the frustration of Beijing.
On February 27, Time
Magazine Web site published an
article by senior reporter Michael Schuman, asserting that China's economic
system is unsustainable. The writer argues that a crisis in China could break
out around 2014 or 2015. This another is the latest version of "Bad-Mouthing
In fact, over the past 20
years, the "Bad-Mouthing China" theory has repeatedly reared its head.
In the United States during the early 1990s, this theory was greatly in fashion.
Some U.S. politicians and academics thought that since the Communist Party of
the Soviet Union fell apart so quickly after 70 years, there was no reason
China's wouldn't follow suit. Articles were published claiming "China is
on the edge of territorial partition, political collapse or democratic
China's development flew in
the face of these expectations: not only didn't China collapse, but after Deng
Xiaoping's 1992 Southern Tour triggered an upsurge of reform and opening up, and
the nation experienced sustained and rapid economic development.
Schumann argues that since
China follows the so-called Asian economic model of an investment-driven
economy, and since Japan and South Korea have been in crisis and have also
adopted this model, China will inevitably slide into the abyss of crisis. Since
some Asian countries like Japan and South Korea have experienced crisis, China
will not escape one. That seems to be the author's logic.
In fact, China's economic
development follows no pre-existing model. For a country with such a huge
population and weak economic foundation, China had to strike out on a unique path
of development suited to its own national conditions. This offers a sense of Deng
Xiaoping's policy of "crossing the river by feeling for the stones,"
and has been China's practice for the past 32 years.
Schumann's article mentions limited
space for growth, so let us take a look at this.
China has confronted tough
challenges for years, such as shortage of resources, environmental degradation,
an aging society, insufficient domestic demand, growing and excessive
dependence on investment, infusions of labor, and so on. These issues have been
discussed for quite some time now, which is why, in line with scientific
development and the Twelfth
Five-Year Guideline, adjusting the economic growth model is our central task.
The conclusion of the Chinese people is that we can successfully implement such
an adjustment while sustaining China's economic development. Not only can sustainable
growth be achieved during the next 20 years of high-growth opportunity, but the
window of opportunity can be extended. That is the mainstream view
internationally, as evidenced by the recent World Bank report.
[Editor's Note: The Twelfth
Five-Year Guideline is representative of China's efforts to rebalance its
economy, shifting emphasis from investment toward consumption; and from urban
and coastal development toward development of rural and inland areas. The plan
continues to advocate the objectives set out in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan to
enhance environmental protection, accelerate opening up and reform, and
emphasize Hong Kong's role as a center of global finance.]
After so many years of reform
and opening up, the Chinese public and media are mature enough not to be either
carried away by China-flattering, nor worked up by bad-mouthing of China. The United
States is a pluralistic society where it is natural to have differing views on
the same issue. As a matter of fact, just a few days ago, The Wall Street Journal
published an article criticizing "China-bashing" in five areas, including
investment, real estate, shadow banking, labor, and debt levels. In the opinion
of The Wall Street Journal, China-bashing lacks credibility.
We will calmly listen to all of
these views, as long as there are rational elements to take note of. The best
answer to China-bashing is China's economic growth itself.
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