Observing Americans who observe China

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It is very interesting that I have the opportunity to observe how Americans observe China.

On Sept. 8, I acquired an opportunity to attend the annual meeting (“the Economic Outlook 2011”) of Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.  Professor Cabrera of Thunderbird School of Global Management delivered a good presentation. I remember one sentence that he said to the Phoenix businessmen:

“It is not a question of possibility, but a question of time.”

He was talking about “At current growth rates, China would catch up with the U.S. in 2026”. When he said like that, I watched Americans’ faces. Some expressed surprise, some had no expression but I am sure that they were thinking.

As a Chinese, I am very proud of it. 52 years ago. Chairman Mao launched one famous movement that is called “the Great Leap Forward”. The main goal of the movement is economically to catch up with the U.S. within 15 years. But after failing to double the figure of steel output (from 3.5 million tons to 10 million) and other goals, Chinese fell into a deep depression and millions of people died by hunger during the next 3 years. To catch up with the U.S. is an unbelievably loaded and hard dream. But now, we could wait and see: after 17 years China could be THE WORLD LARGEST ECONOMY.

But on the other hand, my attitude could be cautiously optimistic. I truly care about the facts hidden by the terrific GDP record.  China has so many issues and each issue could easily destroy Chinese economy alone. One issue that China should cater to could be relevant to the U.S. The authorities of the U.S. have different attitudes to China, competitor or stakeholder. No one thinks China is partner or alley. Chinese experts prefer American government considering China as a stakeholder. Well, I suspect it could be a one side thought at last.

During the 100 years, there were three then No. 2 countries that had the wish to surpass the U.S. They are Germany, USSR and Japan. But American government defeated them one by one. History seems to tell me that to be No.1 meaning danger. No.2’s wish could largely be decided by No.1.

About Yang

Yang is a senior journalist with Beijing Youth Daily, where he has worked for more than ten years covering local, business and real estate news. He travels to conflicted regions and disaster sites to cover world news for the paper. Yang has a bachelor's degree in economics from Beijing Polytechnic University.

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5 Comments on “Observing Americans who observe China”

  1. Thanks Yang for expressing your idea! I LIKE IT. I believe that change is a continuous process. We are the Asians proud of your success. I think Asia will lead the world soon.


  2. We study China’s economy all the time in my economics classes and one thing we talk about is the risk of China collapsing if it becomes too “open” to journalists similar to the USSR. I’m curious what you think of that?

    1. In China we have sort of saying: people are afraid of officials and officials are afraid of foreign journalists. It is true that foreign journalists have priorities because of their profession. Foreign journalists could easily find news in China and report and get Pulitzer Prize which could be assumed good to China in the end. China could develop with the outside supervising.

  3. I think that within our lifetimes we will see the U.S. fall from world dominance. It would be a really strong wake-up call for the American people. I can’t wait to see it and hopefully I will at some point.

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