China’s growth

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Friday, May 9, 2014


DID you read the report that China will become the world’s biggest economy as early as this year? According to a recent World Bank report, the Chinese economy will overtake the United States in 2014, as measured by the Purchasing Power Parities or PPPs.

But instead of welcoming the news, China’s Bureau of Statistics, and for that matter, its government, disputes the report saying that “the calculation has constraints and does not reflect the true picture of the Chinese economy.”

Isn’t it odd that China does not want to be called the world’s biggest economy?

Thinking of the maxim “With great power comes great responsibility” must have prompted the leaders of China to develop cold feet. They must have learned from the lessons of the United States, which has remained as superpower of the world for more than a century already.

It’s true that Uncle Sam, because of its economic clout, has the strongest military force and is most influential in world politics. But most view it not just as a Big Brother that helps nations and peoples in dire need of assistance but also as global police that keeps peace and order in areas of conflicts.

As such, the US is among the biggest borrowers in the world. While it ranks 10th on the list, with debt that is 87 percent of its GDP, it has the highest debt in absolute terms, an estimated $14.6 trillion in general government net debt which is said to be double that of second-place Japan.

China cannot take over the role of Big Brother or global police. Not yet. The Asian Dragon is still trying to figure out how to deal with its new found wealth that has yet to trickle to its population.

It is no secret that graft and corruption is a systemic problem in that country despite the severe punishments it impose on offenders. While modern buildings and palatial malls have sprouted throughout the country, quite a number have become white elephants or are without occupants.

New generation Chinese have little interest in becoming members of the ruling Communist Party. Rather, they are open-minded to Western culture, freedom, democracy, free enterprise, Hollywood and social media.

Censorship can only withhold information for a limited period. Eventually, “truth will out.”

Chinese students are all over the world, learning from other cultures. What can be expected of them when they return to their country? Become true Maoists? Most likely the opposite is happening. And China’s growing middle-class will certainly want to make a difference.

If China is to become a global power in the same level as the United States, it has to know first what it is as a nation and as a people.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 10, 2014.

Opinion

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