Two Commentaries on a Confident China


Two experts on China weigh in on China’s confidence in recent articles:

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, and the author, most recently, of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know writes in a New York Times op-ed about the insecurities haunting an increasingly powerful and confident China.  If observers were wrong about the fate of the CCP after 1989 and about the Olympics leading to a freer China, could they now too be misreading the country’s state of being?  At least one commenter thinks so:

“Political unrest in China is inevitable in a country of 1.3 billion people, but is grossly exaggerated by the US press. The Chinese press does not endlessly portray US racial divisions. Nor does the Chinese press portray Americans as gun happy (one gun for every citizen) or sue-happy (in 2012, Google and Apple spent more on litigation and patent protection than on research and development). Contrary to Professor Wasserstrom, I believe it is the US that is insecure and projecting its fears about its relative decline to China’s peaceful rise.

China remains a much admired nation and role model for many developing countries. Its continued development should be encouraged and not feared. Articles like this one, skews its accomplishments, and distorts the truth.”

In a dialogue beginning with his article “China Strikes Back” in the New York Review of Books, Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society, contrasts former President Jimmy Carter’s welcome embrace of Deng Xiaoping to Washington in 1979 to Beijing’s arms’ length reception of Carter in September 2014 (who visit was there on behalf of his own foundation) to Beijing to discuss how China’s confidence has led to its leadership to handling diplomacy and its affairs on its own terms, as the country has historically done.  He ends with the question “Will the Western democracies ever be able to accept China as it is, the better to deal with the host of new global problems that menace us all, like climate change, pandemics, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation?”

What are your thoughts?

Image via Sina