The rise of China
Almost every rise of a nation has harms and benefits to the world and China is no exception. I bet China’s rise has more benefits to the world. China’s rise is natural considering its huge population of 1.35 billion. Until 1800, it produced a third of the global GDP and China had been aggressive with her neighbors. The Great Wall had done a good job to keep the northern barbarians away so was the ocean from Japan until the last three dynasties.
From recent history, the rise of Germany led to World War II. Britain’s Industrial Revolution and the advances of weaponry led to the semi colonization of China about 300 years ago.
In another 50 years, I suspect China’s military might be strongest in its territory but not as strong as the US. At most, China will use its might to reunite with Taiwan. Hopefully, the islet disputes with its neighbors will be settled diplomatically. China’s leaders have repeated they will not be “Ba” (roughly translated as #1 bully or #1 policeman). No one can predict that far away.
Economically, it will compete with the US and the west in all sectors. Many developed countries will lose their current financial strongholds if they do not adapt. Since its trade is already the largest, its currency could be the reserve currency.
There are many and they should outweigh the possible harms. Here are some examples and some have happened already.
About 300 years ago, China was semi colonialized by the US, the west and Japan and was bankrupted after paying all the unfair treaties. In the 1950s, China could not build a reliable bicycle. China started late but the progress especially in the last 30 years has been amazing. Chinese learn the lessons: They have to strong in all areas: economics, science, weapons...
China graduates more college students than any other country especially in science and technology. China invests in technologies such as space exploration. China invests in infrastructure projects than any other country such as owning more than 60% of high speed rail of the entire world. China invests more and consumes less that leads to a better future but also excess capacity. Here are some examples.
· Medicines will benefit the world. If you need a drug to save your life, do you care whether it is from the US or from China? With its fewer restrictions in drug development and the government subsidies, I bet China will be the front runner in the field. It is a question of when.
· Public health. Hong Kong is the frontier in many medical procedures and inventions. It is one of the top cities if not the only one that has experience to conquer the bird flu. A city of 7 million citizens can contribute that much - imagine what a country of 1.35 billion can contribute.
· Shenzhen is the Silicon Valley of the East or the Silicon Valley is the Shenzhen of the West. To illustrate, the drone was arguably invented by a Hong Kongese but assembled in Shenzhen. It has most the components available within 30 miles area. Besides the innovation, these high-tech products can be assembled fast and cheap.
· Cheap consumer products. They benefit even the poor in the US.
· One Belt One Road initiative. It would make a lot of neighbor countries wealthy.
· The world including China has enjoyed our culture via movies and music. We will enjoy Chinese culture.
· China did not ask for foreign aids from the recent natural disasters. Imagine 20% (a little less today) of the world population begged for money.
· Weapons. From the centuries of humiliation, I do not blame China to invest in weapons. It helps China to defend itself from foreign invaders. It also exports to many developing countries who can only afford to the second-hand weapons. If they are used to defend themselves, it would be a benefit to the world.
China has to adapt to its rise, so are other countries particular the US. The balance of power will be changed and the eventual excess of capacity should be used for peace. We have to learn from the fall of China about 300 years ago and the rise of Germany during the WW2.
It is dangerous for us to isolate China. We should understand Chinese culture as they understand ours. We should use our standards to judge China or any other country as China should use their standards to judge us. Our politicians should not use China to buy votes.
The above is from my book "Can China Say No?". Click here for more info in Amazon.com.