Unlike US, China's rise is conducive to the world
Published: Jun 20, 2022 05:14 PM
China's bright future Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

China's bright future Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Over the past four decades, China has created a historic record for the rise of a great power: For 40 years, there has been no war or participation in war. Meanwhile, the country did not undergo any economic or financial crisis, and it has risen successfully. Its rise without crisis or war has set a new record, which the US, the Soviet Union, the UK, France, Germany and Japan have not achieved during their rise. This is a new phenomenon of political economy and international politics, and we need to discover why.

However, in the eyes of Western media and think tanks, China is a threat, and they often use the most malicious speculations to predict China's future. In fact, this is a reflection of the "evil" in the West. They have done many bad things, and they assume others also do evil.

As a matter of fact, China's rise stands for a kind of new civilization. China pursues win-win cooperation, while the West seeks zero-sum and its unilateral victory. In the face of divergences, China is willing to resolve them by negotiation, while the West's solution is carrots and sticks, and war is often their preferred option.

From this perspective, China's rise is an innovation and upgrade in the history of a major country, representing that the development of a major country is no longer a repetition of war, hegemony, colonization, refugees, conflict and killing in the Western history, but peace, cooperation, win-win, stability and development. This is the contribution of China's rise to human civilization.

In terms of international development, China's rise has contributed about 30 percent to world economic growth for more than 10 consecutive years. The world economy would be worse off without Chinese growth. 

"Made in China" means people from around the world can buy quality goods at reasonable prices. With the same amount of money, people can buy more and cheaper Chinese goods. China is surpassing the US to become the world's largest consumer market. The country will continue to import goods worth $2 trillion every year, which is a powerful driving force for the sustainable development of the world.

For developing countries, China offers a new path of development. In the past, all developing countries could only follow the "Washington Consensus," but nearly 80 years after World War II, poor countries are still impoverished, and few have upgraded from low-income countries to middle-income ones. 

However, China, as a large country with a population of 1.4 billion, has achieved leapfrog growth through more than 40 years of efforts without replicating the "Washington Consensus." The country has shifted from a low-income country to a middle-high-income one. And it is expected to become a high-income country by 2030. To achieve leapfrog growth, many countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia are rethinking the Chinese model, and some countries are constantly learning from China's experience.

China's rise is also beneficial for the West. Cheap and fine Chinese goods save the average American family an estimated $1,000 a year. Just like Steve Jobs' Apple innovation, China's technological innovation puts pressure on the West to break the monopoly and promote a faster development of society. China has joined most international treaties and organizations after World War II, and is the biggest force in defending the international order, rather than withdrawing some of them as former US president Donald Trump did.

The fear of China in Western discourse, that China will replace Western hegemony, is actually the fear of a country that no longer obeys orders, so they can no longer do whatever it wants. Such anxiety is arrogant and selfish. The West cannot dominate the world all the time. Every country has the right to be independent and autonomous. 

The West is worried that the Chinese mainland will achieve reunification with Taiwan by force. Taiwan is part of China, which has been recognized by more than 180 countries that have established diplomatic ties with the Chinese mainland. The Chinese mainland has always strived to achieve peaceful reunification with maximum patience. 

Today, it is the US that is provoking. Washington has been repeatedly exporting arms to Taiwan for offshore balance. Without US intervention, I am confident that China can achieve peaceful reunification.

Some Western media outlets have even targeted the speed at which China is increasing its annual military expenditure. The fact is the US spends much more on national defense than China. The US-led NATO bombed the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia in 1999. In 2001, a US military surveillance plane caused an air collision with Chinese jet fighter over the South China Sea. US aircraft carriers have constantly sailed across the Taiwan Straits. Washington has also imposed a scientific and technological blockade against Beijing. It is the US that is threatening China. Against this backdrop, shouldn't China improve its defense capabilities?

The fact is that all the friction between China and the US was initiated by the US and what China did was only in response. The military friction, trade wars, the Meng Wanzhou case, issues concerning Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, have all be triggered by US.

In short, a rising China is conducive to the world. The stronger China is, the less the US will dare to provoke China, and the more stable China-US relations will be. And the stronger China is, the more peaceful and developed the world will be.

The author is professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. wangwen2013@ruc.edu.cn