American boxing vs Chinese tai chi: Strength of tradition will win

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/9 18:58:40

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Foreign media noted how clam most Chinese media were over US President Donald Trump's tariffs threats against China's exports in the last two days. Some even doubted whether China could find a suitable solution. Perhaps after they heard that the Chinese delegation was leaving for Washington on Thursday to continue the negotiations, they might grasp the real meaning of that silence.

Silence is golden and in the Chinese language the word "silence" associates with being steady. The current controversy between China and the US might be compared to American boxing and Chinese tai chi. Any street park tai chi practitioner can tell you the ingenuity of the Chinese sport: Four ounces can move a thousand pounds.

Why can China cope calmly with the US threat? Because the country firmly sticks to its own path without being distracted. This is the foundation of resisting external pressure and also the motivation to create development opportunities for the country.

On Wednesday, another story related to China attracted some foreign media's attention. China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issued a notice saying that China will launch subsidies to support green development projects in the Yangtze River Economic Belt. This is China's latest move to fight pollution and boost investment, as well as an example of China's economic transformation. 

Combining this news with China's silence can help a reader understand the country's steady calm. Environmental protection investment is only one aspect of economic transformation. In fact, China has already accelerated its transformation since 2018 as external economic pressure started to increase.

In 2008, the Chinese government launched a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package to save the country's economy from the global financial crisis. This is somewhat similar to China's current measures and yet completely different in essence: After 11 years, China does not only aim at economic stimulus, but more importantly, a transformation. Through economic transformation, China stimulates its domestic demand.

China has been promoting transformation of its growth model, and the China-US trade war only accelerates such a transformation. We Chinese are successfully turning external pressure into internal motivation. 

Many of China's achievements seem impossible to some Western economists. They are surprised: How could China survive the US-initiated trade war? In fact, such success is based on the extraordinary advantage of China's system and governance. 

"If you fight extreme wars, the Chinese political system is going to come out at the top just because they have this capability of withstanding massive economic shocks," said Huang Yasheng, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in March.

In addition to the ability to withstand shocks, it is more important that the Chinese system can also release vitality. There is another famous saying in tai chi: "If he takes no action, I take no action. But once he takes even the slightest action, I have already acted."

It can be hard for the West to fully understand China's system. Some do not know why China's political model can guarantee the stable development of policies in the long run, such as reform and opening-up. 

Compared with Western countries, China's system provides more effective leadership, political stability, policy consistency and an open state of mind. Thanks to these advantages, China can remain calm and firmly stick to its purpose when major changes happen in the international environment. There may be fewer opportunities, but China can create more through its internal power.

In other words, China uses its unique advantages in its system to counterbalance against the trade war and other difficulties. The more intense the situation, the more powerful and effective China's system may become. By sticking to its fundamental system, China can cope with shifting events in the world.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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