Calm ChinaPhobia

Posted on May 16, 2011

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Walmart has announced that it is making a shift from “Made in China” to “Made in US”.  Good news for US local business. However, this move of a notoriously tightfisted retailer signals to me that China and anything associated with it has become a tool to propagate fear at home. So, I decided to pull together some insights into what China is about, where it is going and what is really in it for the U.S.

Let’s start with the history of power distribution.

History & Power Shift

It is not about who falls and who rises, but the natural cycle, a simple dynamics, which should not be feared. See how the former assistant secretary of defense and former dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Joseph Nye has to say about the power transition from West to East.  What is the good news? And can it be “a win-win” game?

Economy & Business

There are lots of speculations about the economic power of China. Headlines like “Is China’s economy already No 1?” have been resurfacing in the narratives quite frequently.  For a balanced view listen to decision  makers on the both sides at the table with Charlie Rose: how more serious does it get? U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner & Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan talk about the U.S./China Strategic and Economic dialogue. Although a little tiresome because of the simultaneous interpretation, this conversation gives a comprehensive view of the bottom line. Watch their conversation here

Culture & Arts

To understand China’s 5000-year culture I will probably need twice as much time and oodles of words and countless online space. Here is where the Cultural China web site comes in. This is a non-profit initiative started by Shanghai News and Press Bureau and undertaken by Hongtu Real Estate Development Company, one member of the Long River Foreign Exchange Foundation. Diving into this sea of information about China’s traditions, art, music, architecture, food, and you name it, has been a sobering refreshment from all the negative prospect of China’s rise.

China’s Internal Affairs

Of course there are tons of troublesome internal issues that China will need generations to overcome.  Suppression of media  and the disappearance of Ai Weiwei, most intrepid artist in China, speak volumes.

And yet, to those who fear and spread the fear, I say stop the hysteria and look for ways to cooperate. For one , soft power has always been smart and long lasting tool to create an amicable and productive environment.

As a reminder : China Towns in the U.S. have been an unique addition to the vibe of the big cities. Here are some shots of China towns in Chicago, New York, Boston and San Francisco.

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Posted in: Asia, Multimedia