China plans parade for war anniversary


Military parade to mark victory of War of Resistance Against Japanese AggressionBEIJING – China will hold a military parade this year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Monday evening.

Other events that will also mark the 70th anniversary of the victory in the World Anti-Fascist War include a rally, a reception and an evening gala in Beijing, which will be attended by President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders, the spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, without revealing exact dates of the parade and other events.

Related: Farce to fuss over China’s military paradeChina military parade

Unmanned aircraft receives inspection during a military parade in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, on Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square, October 1, 2009. [Xinhua]

“China will flex its military muscle again.” Perhaps that’s the main message many Western and Japanese media outlets will grab from the news that China may hold a grand military parade in September.

Such a fuss will only be a farce, even if the parade news is confirmed by the Chinese government. The unusual military parade, if it is held in September to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese aggression, it will only be part of the series of activities to commemorate the World Anti-Fascist War.

China has no intention to taunt Japan by showing off its military mighty, even when Japanese politicians’ words and actions intensify tensions in the East Asia.

It’s true that the parade will be special and rare as it will not be held on the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. In the past two decades, two military parades were held in 1999 and 2009 to celebrate the 50th and 60 anniversaries of founding of New China.

However, the parade will only be part of activities that remind the world of what happened in the Eastern battlefield in World War II. As a responsible power that played an extremely important role in the Asian battlefield to fight against Fascist Japan, China’s sacrifice and contributions have long been underreported compared with its counterparts who fight against Germany and Italy in Europe.

There were about 30 million casualties in China in the eight-year long war (1937-1945). And in the most brutal Nanjing Massacre in 1937 alone, 300,000 innocent Chinese lost their lives. Chinese people, through resistance, depleted Japan’s resources and limited its ability to launch attacks on other countries, which is key to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.

China has every reason to use the international practice to highlight its pains and contributions in the World War II. On Jan 27, Poland held a ceremony marking 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz death camp. In May Russia will hold a similar ceremony.

Military parade to mark victory of War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression

China military parade_reason

The series of activities are not aimed at planting hatred among the peace-loving people against their past foes, but remind the whole world to be vigilant to any factors that may threaten world peace.

Japanese people, who were exploited by its national military machine, paid the biggest price for Japanese warmongers. For instance, when the allies dealt a final blow to force Japan to surrender, more than 150,000 Japanese people were immediately killed after the US dropped atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As Japanese politicians continuously tried to whitewash Japan’s war crimes in past years, the whole world should keep a close eye on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement on Aug 15, the day when Japan announced surrender in World War II 70 years ago.

Abe has hinted that his statement may deviate from former Japanese chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono’s apology over “comfort woman” and the epoch-making statement made by former Japanese prime minister Tomiichi Murayama admiting Japan’s war atrocities in World War II. If he does so, Abe will not only challenge the post-World War II international regime, but also cast a shadow on the whole of East Asia and harm the interests of Japanese people.

China is a peace-loving country that takes defensive defense strategy. The military parade, if it is held, will only display Chinese military’s resolution to protect the nation and its people. Therefore China’s activities to mark the victory of World Anti-Fascist War should be cherished by all peace-loving people across the world.

Source: China Daily, Asia News Nework

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Malaysia tops Job Asia Index, job ads on the rise


Robert WaltersNew job postings in Malaysia soared in Q4 2014, on the back of Putrajaya’s success in drawing in more multinational firms, according to recruitment consultancy Robert Walters. http://www.robertwalters.com.my/

Out of the six Asian markets that were surveyed in the agency’s job index for Q4 2014, Malaysia witnessed the biggest jump in the number of new jobs advertised, or an increase by 48 percent over the same period in 2013.

Titled “Asia at a glance,” the index ranked Japan second as it grew 42 percent due to improved business confidence, while China and Singapore grew at 19 percent and 23 percent respectively, owing to growth in online retail and increased regulatory requirements.

Overall, Asia witnessed an increase of 18 percent in job advertisement figures.

Sally Raj, managing director of Robert Walters Malaysia, attributed Malaysia’s status as one of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing markets to Putrajaya’s success in attracting more multinational firms.

“The government’s initiatives to strengthen infrastructure and increase business operational efficiency continues to attract increasing numbers of multinationals to the country. This explains the encouraging increases in job advertising volumes we have seen across 2014,” she said.

She said firms in Malaysia have expressed concerns over the goods and services tax that will roll out this April, making 2015 an “interesting year.”

Robert Walters noted that there was a shortage of technically skilled job applicants in Malaysia, with advertising of job openings for IT candidates climbing by 75 percent, while recruitment for those in accounting and finance as well as marketing rose by 63 percent and 55 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, the 33 percent rise in job advertisements for logistics was driven by the country’s emerging status as a key regional hub for logistics and manufacturing, while the 31 percent hike in retail job postings is due to the opening up of new malls and new international brands.

With offices in 24 countries and regions, Robert Walters revealed that it compiled the Asia Job Index by monitoring advertising volumes for recruitment in leading job boards and national newspapers in the six regions.

By Farah Wahida, Editor of PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact her about this or other stories email farahwahida@propertyguru.com.my

Malaysian Job ads on the rise

PETALING JAYA: Job advertisements in Malaysia grew by 48% overall in the fourth quarter of last year, with experts saying this proves that Government initiatives and the stress on business operational efficiency is bearing fruit.

Recruitment consultancy Robert Walters in its Asia Job Index for Q4 2014 report said Malaysia was one of the fastest progressing markets, out of the six countries surveyed in Southeast Asia.

“The Government’s initiatives to strengthen infrastructure and increase business operational efficiency continue to attract increasing numbers of multinationals to the country.

“This explains the encouraging increase in job advertising volumes we have seen across last year,” said Robert Walters Malaysia managing director Sally Raj in the report.

She said companies were continuously trying to reach out to top talents in the market.

“In order to ensure further growth, hiring managers are producing very strong retention strategies to keep their best performers.

“This year will be an interesting year ahead as businesses have already expressed concerns around the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which will be implemented in April,” she added.

Japan came second at 42% due to improved business confidence while Singapore grew at 23% due to their Fair Consideration Framework.

The framework, which came in effect last August, obliges hiring managers to consider Singaporeans first for all vacancies. China grew 19% due to the growth in online retail.

Hong Kong trailed behind at 15% as companies seek to upskill their teams by hiring professionals with stronger skill sets and replacing underperformers.

South Korea meanwhile recorded a 3% growth due to positive policy changes by the government.

The report also revealed that IT candidates remained in demand, with the shortage of technically skilled job applicants being a key factor in the 75% rise in job advertising.

This is followed by those in accounting and finance (63%), and marketing (55%).

“Malaysia’s emerging status as a key manufacturing and logistics hub in Southeast Asia drove job advertising in logistics up 33% from 2013,” the firm noted.

Apart from that, the emergence of new shopping malls and the entrance of more international brands in Malaysia created a strong 31% increase in 2013 for retail job advertising especially within the luxury and mass label markets.

By Hemananthani Sivanandam The Star/Asia News Network

Spring Festival Gala 2015: the day we become a single Malaysian race, traditions light up…


The day we become a single Malaysian race

I have celebrated Chinese New Year my entire life. And being a Malay Muslim and living in Malaysia, I feel myself very unique and special for doing so.

It is not hard to understand why. I have Chinese and Malay blood in me. My grandmother on my mother’s side is Chinese and the ethnic influence is very strong.

My brothers and I all speak Cantonese (however poor our pronunciation is) and when we speak English, we are very easily mistaken for being Chinese because of our accent.

When I was in primary school, some Malay classmates would tease me and say that I am committing a sin by celebrating Chinese New Year and collecting ang pows.

At first I was confused, but very quickly I realised that they were all just stupid and did not know what they were talking about. I was proud of that.

Of course, our family celebrated Hari Raya too and so did all our Chinese relatives who would gather at our house every single year without even needing an invitation.

And as how life naturally is, my Chinese grandmother eventually died and this year is the second Chinese New Year without her being with us.

So now, during Chinese New Year’s eve, we joke that we are really just a bunch of Malays flipping salmon in plum sauce with chopsticks and gulping down “chai choy” without any real reason to do so!

The pure Chinese immediate family member is gone. But it is alright. We have her blood running in our veins. And we still celebrate the first and second day with the entire Ang clan.

And what makes me even more proud is the fact that our huge clan celebrates every single main Malaysian festival because we are marrying all kinds of people.

We have Malays, Chinese, Indians, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, Christians and more in our family. And the circle seems to just get bigger and bigger.

The tradition that we have celebrating our melting pot of cultures and religions will hopefully never die and continue through the generations.

Initially, I was proud that I was so unique compared with all my other friends and acquaintances as I celebrated various festivals. But I feel differently now.

I want to feel even more proud once every single person in Malaysia celebrates every single festival in the country because we have become, and identify as, a single Malaysian race.

Al-Fatihah to my dear grandmother Ang Swee Poh (we visit her grave during Hari Raya and Chinese New Year) and happy Chinese New Year to all Malaysians. Kong Hei Fatt Choy! – February 20, 2015.

Source: The Malaysian Insider.
By Zan Azlee, a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, New Media practitioner and lecturer. He runs Fat Bidin Media http://www.fatbidin.com
Traditions light up Lunar New Year

A resident show the dumplings his family make in Harbin, capital of China’s Northeast Heilongjiang province, Feb 18, 2015. [Photo/IC]

Spring Festival is a time to observe old traditions and celebrate China’s cultural inheritance.

Food is an important part of New Year celebration. In northern China, dumplings are indispensable on New Year’s eve and the first meal of the New Year.

Wang Yuzhe, of Caoxian County of Shandong Province, got up early on Thursday morning, swept the courtyard floor to clear up firecracker residue and woke the whole family to prepare for the New Year breakfast together — dumplings.

While wrapping up a coin into a dumpling, Wang said that the person who finds this dumpling will make big money in the coming year.

This associating between dumplings and fortune is said based on the supposed resemblance to “yuan bao” a boat-shaped gold ingot used as currency in ancient times.

In southern China, most people prefer rice to wheat, so families eat “tang yuan”, balls of glutinous rice. On Thursday morning, Zhang Menghui in Hangzhou will put on new clothes and sit down to enjoy tang yuan with her family,

“Whenever I return home for New Year, we eat sweet tang yuan together,” she said. Zhang works in Hong Kong and returns to home twice a year. “For the festivals when I am in Hong Kong, I eat tang yuan with friends to express my longing for home.”

In Beijing, temple fairs and crowded Spring Festival gatherings featuring acrobats shows, song and dance performances and stalls selling snacks and souvenirs are the order of the day.

In Ditan Park, the Temple of Earth in the northeast of Beijing, stalls selling traditional handicrafts attract flocks of sightseers.

Xiao Jing brought his hand-made “hairy monkeys” — tiny humanoid figures made from furry magnolia buds and sloughed cicada shells.The monkeys are set in old-fashioned Beijing street scenes, drinking big bowls of tea and eating sugarcoated haws.

“I inherited the skill from my grandfather. Although this is an ancient craft, it is still appealing today. The scenes are close to life and can still touch people’s hearts,” he said.

In Tibet, Lunar New Year is doubly joyful this year as it coincides with the Tibetan year of the Wooden Ram.

At 8 am, the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa is surrounded by people praying. La Tso left home for the temple at 5 am with her mother. “I am here praying for good health and peace for the family,” she said.

In Qamdo, the lunch on the New Year’s day is a big family gathering. Yak meat is de rigueur, and people also eat rice cooked with ginseng fruits which symbolize longevity.

In Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, despite a temperature of minus 12 degrees centigrade, the city streets, decorated with red lanterns, are filled with festivities.

For Li Jianjun, 68, the best part for this Spring Festival is that his son has come back home from Shanghai with his daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Li and his wife spent a whole week preparing the New Year dinner. “We stay at home on the first day of new year according to tradition. We see our in-laws tomorrow and visit other relatives the day after tomorrow,” he said.

Li Xinyong, vice president of National Folk Association of China, said, the Spring Festival should not be a carnival, it should be a celebration of folk traditions.

Besides inheriting customs, Chinese people should foster a deeper understanding of their cultural identity, he suggested. – China Daily, Asia News Network
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ISIS targeting the rich, especially Chinese tycoons, said Malaysian Home Minister


Malaysia_ISISHome Minister_ZAHID_HAMIDI
Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that Isis terrorists would most likely employ kidnap and ransom tactics by preying on wealthy Malaysians to funds their activities. – The Malaysian Insider pic, February 13, 2015

The Home Ministry raised the alarm bell on the threat of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying that the radical Islamist group, is plotting to kidnap wealthy Malaysians and stage bank robberies in the country, major Chinese dailies reported .

Its Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in a joint interview recently, said the tactics employed by Isis is to hold these tycoons for ransom and use the money to funds their terrorist activities, Sin Chew Daily reported.

Other Chinese dailies involved in the special interview with Zahid included China Press, Nanyang Siang Pau, Oriental Daily and Guang Ming Daily.

Sin Chew Daily also reported that so far, authorities have yet to determine who is on the so called list of Isis’ targets but are working hard trying to determine the matter.

He said, based on intelligence reports, such plots are already developing and the ministry is trying to track down and investigate suspicious movements by the group and their sympathisers in the country.

“Anyone who is a rich is considered a potential target for Isis, and in Malaysia, most of them are not Malays,” he was quoted as to saying.

“As of now, we can only affirm that they have already laid eyes on some of these people; We do not know who but we will do our best in protecting these potential victims,” he added.

The Chinese daily said Zahid also advised these potential targets to beef up security.

“Do not let your guard down, be alert regardless whether you are a tycoon or not, you can be easily kidnapped if you are not cautious.”

During the interview, Sin Chew Daily said Zahid also emphasised on the need to implement pre-emptive measures to face possible Isis threats in the country.

He urged Malaysians to support the upcoming anti-terrorism laws, citing the Prevention of Terrorism Act, saying that it is “extremely critical.”

The Chinese daily reported that according to Zahid, the Caliphate system that Isis propagates does not agree with the existing democratic system.

“Everyone will be brainwashed under the ideology and those who do not buy into their idea will be alienated and killed, especially those who oppose the ideology.

“Isis threats is real in this country. It is also possible that they will kill Malaysians within the borders of this nation,” he stressed.

“Their targets will also comprise of non-Muslims and various factions of Islam who they consider them heretic.”

To date, about 59 Malaysians are officially known to have joined Isis.

More than 65 have been arrested by police either on their way to Syria and Iraq or on their way back since the start of last year. – Malaysian Insider

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Developers want review property rules curb sales instead of prices to go up !


REHDA_ChanRehda Penang chairman Jerry Chan (right) says developers do not foresee an increase in property volume in the state in the near future. – The Malaysian Insider pic, February 12, 2015.

Developers want review as Penang property rules curb sales instead of prices

The Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Penang chapter wants the state government to ease cooling measures meant to curb property speculation as they have only reduced the number of sales but not brought down prices.

REHDARehda Penang chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said the state’s cooling measures, which included levies on property sold within a certain period of time, were meant to discourage property speculation that made homes expensive in the state.

However, he said the measures reduced transactions by 20% last year compared with 2013, instead of having an impact on property prices.

“They have been effective in reducing property transactions but they have not affected property prices.

“Prices are still up due to rising costs faced by developers,” he said in a press conference at Penang Rehda’s office in George Town today.

Chan said while transactions were down, other costs like charges levied by the local authorities, land, materials and labour had continued to increase.

“If you expect developers to cut property prices, it is not happening because the costs are going up.”

Even for homes in the secondary market, prices remained up although they were expected to fall, Chan said.

“So we do not expect all property prices to soften. Prices now are quite stable and we don’t foresee an increase in property volume too,” he said.

The Penang government announced in its 2014 state budget several new housing rules to protect the state from being affected by a property bubble and to ensure that public and affordable housing were bought by genuine and qualified buyers from the lower and middle-income groups.

Among the rules, which took effect in March last year, was a levy of 2% on property sold within three years from the date of the sale and purchase agreement (SPA), and a moratorium on the re-sale of “affordable” housing within five years of their acquisition, and 10 years for low-cost homes.

Owners of low- and low-medium cost homes must get state approval if they intend to sell their properties within a 10-year time period from the date of signing of the SPA.

They are also only allowed to sell their units to “listed buyers” who are registered with the state’s housing department and certified under the low-income group.

For affordable homes, classified as houses worth up to RM400,000 on the island and up to RM250,000 on the mainland, owners who signed the SPA after March 1 are not allowed to sell their property within a five-year period.

The owners must also obtain state approval and are only allowed to sell to listed buyers in the middle-income group registered with the state housing department.

Under the new rules, foreign property buyers pay a 3% levy on the units they purchase in the state.

Chan said Penang Rehda had appealed to the state government through housing exco Jagdeep Singh Deo, to be more lenient in its development charges and to give developers some leeway.

Chan also suggested that the state government ease the cooling measures for certain projects rather than make them compulsory for all projects.

“We told them when the market is slowing down, they have to ease up on all these measures and controls,” he said.

Chan said property prices would not become cheaper but developers themselves would be more realistic when setting prices for their units.

He also said now was the time to invest given that property prices had stabilised. – February 12, 2015.

By LOOI SUE-CHERN – The Malaysian Insiders


Property prices not expected to go down, says Rehda

Malaysia Property Guru-Prices-UpGEORGE TOWN: Property prices are not expected to trend downwards despite the recent slump in oil prices and a just announced electricity tariff cut.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Penang chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said compliance and labour costs were not going down.

He pointed out developers were dependent on foreign labour but the country was facing difficulty in getting a consistent supply of manpower.

“The shortage of manpower will not make things easy,” he said, but however remained upbeat over real estate activity as developers were now more realistic with pricing.

“This is a good time to get into the market,” he said at a press conference today to announce that the annual Malaysian Property Exposition (Mapex) will be held in Penang for three days from Feb 23.

He said a wide range of properties were available ranging from affordable housing units to high-end condominiums.

By Tan Ke Ming – TheSundaily

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Are they terrorists or militants?


Terrorists or militaants

LATELY, the use of the words militants and terrorists has become very common and people are sometimes confused as to whether an act of violence has been committed by terrorists or militants.

In Malaysia, the two words are often used interchangeably whereas in strict media practice and proper nomenclature, there is a difference between the two.

It was reported that one foreign media had warned their employees to be extra careful on the terms extremist, militant and terrorist in their news coverage to avoid characterising people.

It is good for our local media to follow these footsteps and avoid using wrong words which can be very sensitive and inappropriate.

In this regard, naturally those who are familiar with the subject of “Organised Crime and Terrorism” would able be to differentiate between the two terms.

Militants and terrorists both have their own agendas and mostly, these agendas have political, religious or ideological goals. The difference lies in the means with which they seek to achieve their desired goals.

Either way it is clear that usually both the terrorists and militants are extremists (in the sense of holding a view at the extreme end of a spectrum on a particular subject matter) who indulge in unlawful activities and therefore become a threat to the nation.

Some of the differences between militants and terrorists are:

  • All terrorists are militants, but not all militants are terrorists;
  • Terrorism is carried out by non-governmental groups that do not wear uniforms. However, members of militants usually wear uniforms, identifying insignia or militia – coloured clothes;
  • Terrorists resort to physical violence. They utilise terror as a means of coercion and use violence as a necessary means of attaining their political, religious or ideological goals, thereby causing harm and death to innocent people and maximum damage to property. Militants may or may not actively engage in physical violence, but they are certainly very aggressive verbally or use verbal violence to achieve their desired goals, as undoubtedly, they feel themselves in “war mode”;
  • Terrorists have no regard for humankind and, usually target civilians, instil fear and psychological effect on them in order to gain the attention of the authorities. As terrorist organisations, they will commit violent acts by murdering civilians, scholars, religious leaders and sanctioning of extortion and demanding ransom.

On the contrary, militants usually do not resort to harming civilians to champion their cause but instead use confrontational or violent methods against the establishment in support of a political or social cause. For example militants may choose to rebel and use armed aggression for a country’s liberation; and

  • Where both terms converge is when militants find they have no recourse to achieve their goals and then they resort to terrorism if their needs are not met, thereby transforming themselves into a terrorist group.

By DATUK AKHBAR SATAR Director, Institute of Crime & Criminology HELP University

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Enter the Chinese Century: China is now the world’s No.1 economic power


Chinese century

The natural American reaction would be to “contain” China—and that would be a mistake.
SOFT POWER For America, the best response to China is to put our own house in order., © M. Garfat/MGP (Feather), © Gino’s Premium Images (Leaves), both from Alamy; © Cary Anderson (Wing), © Michael Nolan/SpecialistStock (Eagle’sHead), © Aaron Joel Santos (Bamboo Forest), all from Aurora Photos; © Getty Ellis/Globio/Minden Pictures/Corbis (Panda and Grass); Photo Illustration by Vanity Fair

Prof Joseph E StiglitzWithout fanfare—indeed, with some misgivings about its new status — China has just overtaken the United States as the world’s largest economy. This is, and should be, a wake-up call—but not the kind most Americans might imagine.

by Prof Joseph E. Stiglitz – Coluimbia Business School

When the history of 2014 is written, it will take note of a large fact that has received little attention: 2014 was the last year in which the United States could claim to be the world’s largest economic power. China enters 2015 in the top position, where it will likely remain for a very long time, if not forever. In doing so, it returns to the position it held through most of human history.

Comparing the gross domestic product of different economies is very difficult. Technical committees come up with estimates, based on the best judgments possible, of what are called “purchasing-power parities,” which enable the comparison of incomes in various countries. These shouldn’t be taken as precise numbers, but they do provide a good basis for assessing the relative size of different economies. Early in 2014, the body that conducts these international assessments—the World Bank’s International Comparison Program—came out with new numbers. (The complexity of the task is such that there have been only three reports in 20 years.) The latest assessment, released last spring, was more contentious and, in some ways, more momentous than those in previous years. It was more contentious precisely because it was more momentous: the new numbers showed that China would become the world’s largest economy far sooner than anyone had expected—it was on track to do so before the end of 2014.

The source of contention would surprise many Americans, and it says a lot about the differences between China and the U.S.—and about the dangers of projecting onto the Chinese some of our own attitudes. Americans want very much to be No. 1—we enjoy having that status. In contrast, China is not so eager. According to some reports, the Chinese participants even threatened to walk out of the technical discussions. For one thing, China did not want to stick its head above the parapet—being No. 1 comes with a cost. It means paying more to support international bodies such as the United Nations. It could bring pressure to take an enlightened leadership role on issues such as climate change. It might very well prompt ordinary Chinese to wonder if more of the country’s wealth should be spent on them. (The news about China’s change in status was in fact blacked out at home.) There was one more concern, and it was a big one: China understands full well America’s psychological preoccupation with being No. 1—and was deeply worried about what our reaction would be when we no longer were.

Of course, in many ways—for instance, in terms of exports and household savings—China long ago surpassed the United States. With savings and investment making up close to 50 percent of G.D.P., the Chinese worry about having too much savings, just as Americans worry about having too little. In other areas, such as manufacturing, the Chinese overtook the U.S. only within the past several years. They still trail America when it comes to the number of patents awarded, but they are closing the gap.

The areas where the United States remains competitive with China are not always ones we’d most want to call attention to. The two countries have comparable levels of inequality. (Ours is the highest in the developed world.) China outpaces America in the number of people executed every year, but the U.S. is far ahead when it comes to the proportion of the population in prison (more than 700 per 100,000 people). China overtook the U.S. in 2007 as the world’s largest polluter, by total volume, though on a per capita basis we continue to hold the lead. The United States remains the largest military power, spending more on our armed forces than the next top 10 nations combined (not that we have always used our military power wisely). But the bedrock strength of the U.S. has always rested less on hard military power than on “soft power,” most notably its economic influence. That is an essential point to remember.

Tectonic shifts in global economic power have obviously occurred before, and as a result we know something about what happens when they do. Two hundred years ago, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, Great Britain emerged as the world’s dominant power. Its empire spanned a quarter of the globe. Its currency, the pound sterling, became the global reserve currency—as sound as gold itself. Britain, sometimes working in concert with its allies, imposed its own trade rules. It could discriminate against importation of Indian textiles and force India to buy British cloth. Britain and its allies could also insist that China keep its markets open to opium, and when China, knowing the drug’s devastating effect, tried to close its borders, the allies twice went to war to maintain the free flow of this product.

Britain’s dominance was to last a hundred years and continued even after the U.S. surpassed Britain economically, in the 1870s. There’s always a lag (as there will be with the U.S. and China). The transitional event was World War I, when Britain achieved victory over Germany only with the assistance of the United States. After the war, America was as reluctant to accept its potential new responsibilities as Britain was to voluntarily give up its role. Woodrow Wilson did what he could to construct a postwar world that would make another global conflict less likely, but isolationism at home meant that the U.S. never joined the League of Nations. In the economic sphere, America insisted on going its own way—passing the Smoot-Hawley tariffs and bringing to an end an era that had seen a worldwide boom in trade. Britain maintained its empire, but gradually the pound sterling gave way to the dollar: in the end, economic realities dominate. Many American firms became global enterprises, and American culture was clearly ascendant.

World War II was the next defining event. Devastated by the conflict, Britain would soon lose virtually all of its colonies. This time the U.S. did assume the mantle of leadership. It was central in creating the United Nations and in fashioning the Bretton Woods agreements, which would underlie the new political and economic order. Even so, the record was uneven. Rather than creating a global reserve currency, which would have contributed so much to worldwide economic stability—as John Maynard Keynes had rightly argued—the U.S. put its own short-term self-interest first, foolishly thinking it would gain by having the dollar become the world’s reserve currency. The dollar’s status is a mixed blessing: it enables the U.S. to borrow at a low interest rate, as others demand dollars to put into their reserves, but at the same time the value of the dollar rises (above what it otherwise would have been), creating or exacerbating a trade deficit and weakening the economy.

For 45 years after World War II, global politics was dominated by two superpowers, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., representing two very different visions both of how to organ­ize and govern an economy and a society and of the relative importance of political and economic rights. Ultimately, the Soviet system was to fail, as much because of internal corruption, unchecked by democratic processes, as anything else. Its military power had been formidable; its soft power was increasingly a joke. The world was now dominated by a single superpower, one that continued to invest heavily in its military. That said, the U.S. was a superpower not just militarily but also economically.

The United States then made two critical mistakes. First, it inferred that its triumph meant a triumph for everything it stood for. But in much of the Third World, concerns about poverty—and the economic rights that had long been advocated by the left—remained paramount. The second mistake was to use the short period of its unilateral dominance, between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of Lehman Brothers, to pursue its own narrow economic interests—or, more accurately, the economic interests of its multi-nationals, including its big banks—rather than to create a new, stable world order. The trade regime the U.S. pushed through in 1994, creating the World Trade Organization, was so unbalanced that, five years later, when another trade agreement was in the offing, the prospect led to riots in Seattle. Talking about free and fair trade, while insisting (for instance) on subsidies for its rich farmers, has cast the U.S. as hypocritical and self-serving.

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And Washington never fully grasped the consequences of so many of its shortsighted actions—intended to extend and strengthen its dominance but in fact diminishing its long-term position. During the East Asia crisis, in the 1990s, the U.S. Treasury worked hard to undermine the so-called Miyazawa Initiative, Japan’s generous offer of $100 billion to help jump-start economies that were sinking into recession and depression. The policies the U.S. pushed on these countries—austerity and high interest rates, with no bailouts for banks in trouble—were just the opposite of those that these same Treasury officials advocated for the U.S. after the meltdown of 2008. Even today, a decade and a half after the East Asia crisis, the mere mention of the U.S. role can prompt angry accusations and charges of hypocrisy in Asian capitals.

Now China is the world’s No. 1 economic power. Why should we care? On one level, we actually shouldn’t. The world economy is not a zero-sum game, where China’s growth must necessarily come at the expense of ours. In fact, its growth is complementary to ours. If it grows faster, it will buy more of our goods, and we will prosper. There has always, to be sure, been a little hype in such claims—just ask workers who have lost their manufacturing jobs to China. But that reality has as much to do with our own economic policies at home as it does with the rise of some other country.

On another level, the emergence of China into the top spot matters a great deal, and we need to be aware of the implications.

First, as noted, America’s real strength lies in its soft power—the example it provides to others and the influence of its ideas, including ideas about economic and political life. The rise of China to No. 1 brings new prominence to that country’s political and economic model—and to its own forms of soft power. The rise of China also shines a harsh spotlight on the American model. That model has not been delivering for large portions of its own population. The typical American family is worse off than it was a quarter-century ago, adjusted for inflation; the proportion of people in poverty has increased. China, too, is marked by high levels of inequality, but its economy has been doing some good for most of its citizens. China moved some 500 million people out of poverty during the same period that saw America’s middle class enter a period of stagnation. An economic model that doesn’t serve a majority of its citizens is not going to provide a role model for others to emulate. America should see the rise of China as a wake-up call to put our own house in order.

Second, if we ponder the rise of China and then take actions based on the idea that the world economy is indeed a zero-sum game—and that we therefore need to boost our share and reduce China’s—we will erode our soft power even further. This would be exactly the wrong kind of wake-up call. If we see China’s gains as coming at our expense, we will strive for “containment,” taking steps designed to limit China’s influence. These actions will ultimately prove futile, but will nonetheless undermine confidence in the U.S. and its position of leadership. U.S. foreign policy has repeatedly fallen into this trap. Consider the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free-trade agreement among the U.S., Japan, and several other Asian countries—which excludes China altogether. It is seen by many as a way to tighten the links between the U.S. and certain Asian countries, at the expense of links with China. There is a vast and dynamic Asia supply chain, with goods moving around the region during different stages of production; the Trans-Pacific Partnership looks like an attempt to cut China out of this supply chain.

Another example: the U.S. looks askance at China’s incipient efforts to assume global responsibility in some areas. China wants to take on a larger role in existing international institutions, but Congress says, in effect, that the old club doesn’t like active new members: they can continue taking a backseat, but they can’t have voting rights commensurate with their role in the global economy. When the other G-20 nations agree that it is time that the leadership of international economic organizations be determined on the basis of merit, not nationality, the U.S. insists that the old order is good enough—that the World Bank, for instance, should continue to be headed by an American.

Yet another example: when China, together with France and other countries—supported by an International Commission of Experts appointed by the president of the U.N., which I chaired—suggested that we finish the work that Keynes had started at Bretton Woods, by creating an international reserve currency, the U.S. blocked the effort.

And a final example: the U.S. has sought to deter China’s efforts to channel more assistance to developing countries through newly created multilateral institutions in which China would have a large, perhaps dominant role. The need for trillions of dollars of investment in infrastructure has been widely recognized—and providing that investment is well beyond the capacity of the World Bank and existing multilateral institutions. What is needed is not only a more inclusive governance regime at the World Bank but also more capital. On both scores, the U.S. Congress has said no. Meanwhile, China is trying to create an Asian Infrastructure Fund, working with a large number of other countries in the region. The U.S. is twisting arms so that those countries won’t join.

The United States is confronted with real foreign-policy challenges that will prove hard to resolve: militant Islam; the Palestine conflict, which is now in its seventh decade; an aggressive Russia, insisting on asserting its power, at least in its own neighborhood; continuing threats of nuclear proliferation. We will need the cooperation of China to address many, if not all, of these problems.

We should take this moment, as China becomes the world’s largest economy, to “pivot” our foreign policy away from containment. The economic interests of China and the U.S. are intricately intertwined. We both have an interest in seeing a stable and well-functioning global political and economic order. Given historical memories and its own sense of dignity, China won’t be able to accept the global system simply as it is, with rules that have been set by the West, to benefit the West and its corporate interests, and that reflect the West’s perspectives. We will have to cooperate, like it or not—and we should want to. In the meantime, the most important thing America can do to maintain the value of its soft power is to address its own systemic deficiencies—economic and political practices that are corrupt, to put the matter baldly, and skewed toward the rich and powerful.

A new global political and economic order is emerging, the result of new economic realities. We cannot change these economic realities. But if we respond to them in the wrong way, we risk a backlash that will result in either a dysfunctional global system or a global order that is distinctly not what we would have wanted.

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A woman walks past the headquarters of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, in Beijing, in this file picture taken …
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