Biden’s fictional enemy game with China is silly
Published: Mar 31, 2021 09:54 PM
Illustration: Tang TengfeiGT

Illustration: Tang TengfeiGT

During his first news conference as president on March 25, Biden called China-US relations "a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies." He then told reporters, "We've got to prove democracy works."

The Chinese have heard so much about this so-called battle between systems. If there is a competition of systems, this simply means that there are different tracks in a long-distance race. What really matters is the result. That is to say: How we can make our people's lives better and our country more prosperous.

American politicians tend to set up an opponent, and use this "enemy" to inspire themselves, bridge the division between two parties and win more popular support. This is a common trick played by them. 

However, the main challenges facing the US and the problems exposed in the epidemic are domestic. The US is to blame for the dysfunction of its democracy. They were not caused by the rise of China. 

Both China and the US are facing development challenges. These challenges will not become easier to solve because they have an opponent. Countries cannot solve their own problems by bringing down opponents. Only when problems are solved can consensus be reached. Not the other way around.

China has never looked for reasons in the US for its own problems. There is much less need for China to set up the US as a rival to promote the Chinese model around the world.

China is still a developing country, and the development goals it pursues can only be achieved based on its reality. China's problems can only be solved by itself. China's success in solving its problems or the fact that the Chinese people are living in peace and contentment as the country grows more prosperous does not mean that the US has failed, or will collapse for that matter.

And vise versa: If the US tries its best to contain or undermine China's development, it will not solve its own problems, or become stronger.

A more prosperous and dynamic China, which is, of course, very different from the US, is in the interest of the development of the American people - and the peace and development of the world.

As the living standards of the Chinese people improve, the Chinese market will become more dynamic and bigger. This is a good thing for the US, especially for American capital forces. They will be one of the main external beneficiaries from the Chinese market. This has been confirmed by China's continued opening-up, which has attracted more US capital to its financial markets since last year - even during the trade war.

 Chinese top diplomat Yang Jiechi mentioned this point during the China-US talks in Alaska. Yang told the US that China has just held the two sessions, which adopted the 14th Five-Year Plan and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035.

It appears to be just a message briefing, but it actually contains a lot of information about what the Chinese will do next. Unfortunately, Washington ignored it - intentionally or not.

If officials in Washington don't know by now where Beijing's focus will be, one must ask, how can they introduce more realistic domestic policies? Nor can they bring the US together by claiming that China is an adversary.

One of the core goals of the 14th Five-Year Plan is to make people's lives better, and to achieve more visible and substantial progress in people's well-rounded development and the common prosperity for everyone. 

This is probably what the Biden administration also wants to do now.

However, to achieve these goals, both China and the US face considerable challenges. These include promoting reforms and improving competitiveness, while maintaining and giving full play to the strengths of both countries' systems.

This applies to the high-tech sector, which the US values the most. On the way to the mountain top, if China is kicked off the mountain, then the US may not be able to climb to the top as well.

Even if China completes the 14th Five-Year Plan, there will still be a relatively large gap with the US in many areas. However, as long as the livelihoods of Chinese people improve relatively significantly, the country will be more stable and wealthy. This is the strength that China values the most. Washington will have to do the same.

The author is a senior editor with People's Daily, and currently a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. dinggang@globaltimes.com.cn. Follow him on Twitter @dinggangchina