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China and Europe: Who's the pinch-fist?
Global Times | October 28, 2011 14:08
By Global Times
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European leaders reached an agreement yesterday to reduce the Greek debt. They expect cash-rich countries outside the EU to partly provide funding for their bail-out plan. China, with the largest foreign exchange reserve, has become a key target.

A developed Europe turns to China for cash. This sounds jarring to people in both Europe and China. Some Europeans hold that Europe hasn't dropped to the level to beg China just yet. The mainstream mentality there seemingly thinks the EU should prompt China to provide funding, while it shouldn't give China any other benefits.

In China, fierce debates are underway. Many can't understand why China should extend a helping hand to Europe, since its own city of Wenzhou is in a funding crisis.

China and Europe are not the type of sworn friends who can extend a non-hesitant helping hand as the other experiences a crisis. Both sides are adding calculations at the moment. Public opinions further complicate the scenario - on both sides, there are unprofessional analysts who prioritize catering to the raging populism.

Perhaps the depth of China's participation into the eurozone's bail-out plan has been decided by common interests and mutual distrust between both sides. China will not stay detached, since its interests are closely bonded to Europe in globalization.

But on the other hand, China won't bring a "big surprise" to Europe. Even wealthier economies within the eurozone feel reluctant to help Greece. As an outsider, China can't fix a problem that can only be fixed by eurozone members themselves.

If the EU really wants China's funding, they should consider further opening their markets to China, as well as admitting China's position as a market economy. If they think such "deals" are not worth it, China won't force them to proceed.

For the Chinese, it is ignorant to link the eurozone's bail-out plan to Wenzhou's debt crisis. The former is related to using China's foreign exchange reserves, which can't be used to save the enterprises left by runaway bosses in Wenzhou.

As a world power, China should help out others who have been hit by a crisis or disaster. The Chinese should understand that a country that only chases after its interests but ignores its morals will be disliked.

But the Europeans should also reflect upon themselves while rebuking China as a pinch-fist. They discriminate China's system, and they do not want to export technologies to China. Whenever a Chinese enterprise makes a buyout investment in Europe, local public opinion flares up. They fear that China will learn too much from them and become more successful. They just want to lie on their old assets and always take the lead.

This mentality makes Europe appear as a pinch-fist.

China's participation in the eurozone's bail-out plan should not be over-politicized. It should be a civilized deal, and the tacit rules are crystal clear to both parties involved.

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