Perspective needed when comparing China and US

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-10-26 23:58:01

Comparing itself with the US has almost become a way for Chinese society to recognize itself. In recent years, some Chinese people have begun to use the comparison to either support or oppose China's domestic system. Opponents try to highlight the advantages of the US, while supporters refute them by pointing out that the US has many disadvantages.

Recently there was a spat between Zhou Xiaoping and Fang Zhouzi, a high-profile blogger and an anti-fraud campaigner respectively. After Zhou rejected those "dreamlike" US advantages that have long been circulated on the Chinese Internet, Fang debunked Zhou's "mistakes" one by one. The spat triggered a swirl of controversy. Some Chinese students in the US said that much of what Zhou claimed is true, whereas Fang was correct in merely a few places.

Let's jump out of the so-called leftist-rightist debate and conduct an objective comparison between China and the US.

The US is economically the biggest developed country whereas China is the biggest developing one. But China enjoys advantages in growth potential. China is developing more rapidly and solves its domestic problems in a more efficient way. Its gap with the US is narrowing.

Social foundations decide people's living standards. This explains why many Chinese envy American life. But growth potential represents the vigor and opportunity of a society, which is essential for a nation's competitiveness and indicates higher living standards in the future.

Analyzing the gap with the US in existing development levels can help China see its own weaknesses and motivate it to catch up in both material and spiritual development. But this is not the whole picture. China's growth potential should not be ignored. China's relatively lower development level, which is closely related to its poverty and weaknesses in past centuries, should not be cited as the original sin of the current Chinese system, nor should it be used to demean China's growth path that is working effectively.

When the PRC was founded in 1949, the gap between China and developed countries was immeasurably wide. It is this growth potential that is helping us make a change today.

Since its reform and opening-up, China has managed to narrow the gap with the US, and has been doing this in a way that impresses the entire world. Such a capability should be cited as one of the basic parameters when we compare the Chinese and US political systems.

The US is neither heaven nor hell. China's comparison with the US should not be used as a distorting mirror to ridicule itself. It is never easy for Chinese society to clearly recognize itself. But along with the country's rise, we should be capable of a more accurate and clear self-recognition. This is very important for China's future, and we cannot afford a big mistake in this regard.

Posted in: Observer

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