China has unprecedented strategic leeway amid trade war

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/13 20:33:39

Since a trade war began between China and the US, some people have been worried it would obscure China's future. Such a crisis consciousness is not completely unnecessary, as the trade war will be an obstacle for China's rise and will leave a mark in history.

However, we will only have a better understanding of the obstacle when we look at it in the whole process of China's reform and opening-up. China has overcome several major obstacles in the past four decades, comparing with which today's China-US relations and the social debate and unease are hardly the biggest obstacle.

China experienced several rounds of turmoil since reform and opening-up began until around 2000, including serious inflation, the wave of lay-offs, problems that were not seen during the planned economy, and China did not have much resource to tackle them. Even worse, the West imposed economic sanctions on China during the late 1980s and early 90s, bringing China's economy to a standstill.

Other than that, the crisis in the Taiwan Straits in 1996, the bombing of China's embassy in the former Yugoslavia in 1999, and the China-US warplane collision in 2001 were all severe crises for China.

Those economic and diplomatic challenges divided Chinese intellectuals over the goal of reform and opening-up. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics gradually became a consensus through the years. National stability was finally maintained when Falun Gong was contained.

It would be difficult to compare the trade war with the US with previous challenges, different in causes and damages, but one thing is certain that China now has more resources and space than ever to tackle challenges.

China is of an unprecedented size now. Does that give the country more tenacity or greater systematic risk, or both? The Chinese society has high initiative to face up to risks, rather than staying put for nothing.

China is already on the road to modernization, with full self-motivation. The advance of China will not be stopped by a trade war or a change of major diplomatic relations. It will be a huge gamble unseen in the human history for the US trying to stop the rejuvenation of a civilization as big as China, and there is no guaranteed success of the US even sparing no effort.

It is increasingly clear that China's rise is dependent on the country's own efforts rather than what other countries do. China's political system, the economic and social reforms, and the continued opening-up are decisive to China's rise, never the US tariffs.

In fact, China has been plagued by various uncertainties since its comprehensive reform and opening-up. Looking into the future, we are worried about losing our strategic opportunities. But with hindsight, we find that we have always been in a period of such opportunities. We find each year is crucial and believe as long as we stick it out the future will be promising. From a historical perspective, the difficulties China faces today are no different from what it experienced in the past.

Big powers need to cope with great pressure when they are rising. Their political strategies and philosophies vary as their level of stamina is different. The rise of China does not depend on a strike of luck. On the contrary, we need to trust our potential, historical experience and national confidence, which are unique.

A community of shared future for mankind, advocated by China, is a revolution of thought in the era of globalization. Before the US decides to follow the old thinking and engage in the zero-sum game, they are well advised to figure out which has a better chance, China's rejuvenation or the US' firm grip on hegemony. The answer is self-evident.



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