America needs to work on improving itself, rather than blaming others
Published: Nov 23, 2022 08:18 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Editor's Note:

China and America have to work together; there simply isn't any other option, Cyrus Janssen (Janssen), a geopolitical analyst as well as a social media influencer in the US, told Global Times (GT) reporter Liu Zixuan in a recent interview. On his social media platforms, he shares the latest developments in China with over one million fans. He said in many ways, China has surprised Western nations with its ability to rise and become such a dominant world power. 

GT: You have lived and worked in China for about ten years. As an American, how did you come to China and choose to live in China? What changes and developments in China in this past decade have impressed you the most?

Janssen: I came to China in 2007, exactly two weeks after graduating college. I accepted a job as a golf coach and came to China to teach golf and learn Mandarin! I knew China was going to be a rising power, and my university professor encouraged me to go to China. He said, "Cyrus, if you can go to China and learn Chinese, it will pay dividends for the rest of your life!"

I have been most impressed with the city developments throughout China. When I arrived in Shanghai, there were only six metro lines; now Shanghai has over 25 lines and the longest metro system in the world! The airports, highways, trains, and city infrastructure are simply amazing. Everywhere from big cities to villages, China has invested and made the country much better every year.

GT: China has learned a lot from the West. Do you think there are any advantages of Chinese governance that can be learned by the West?

Janssen: I don't think the West will ever be open to learning from the Chinese government. Western nations think democracy is the only way forward, and China believes its system is best suited for the country. I think both systems have good aspects. The ability of the Chinese government to plan for the long term is the aspect of China that most impresses me. I think this is a big advantage for China and explains why the country has developed so quickly.

GT: China can look at Western societies equally and rationally. Why are some Western elites so hostile toward China? What do you think are the root causes?

Janssen: Growing up in America, I was taught at a young age that Communism is evil and will always fail. China is a communist country by definition, but in practice it is more socialist, embracing many Western practices like capitalism, entrepreneurship, giving citizens the right to own private property, etc. In many ways, I think China has surprised Western nations with its ability to rise and become such a dominant world power. Of course, America wants to keep its global hegemony and will battle any country that threatens to take control of the global world order.

GT: The Western corporate media has been largely involved in shaping the misinterpretation of China. Nowadays, there are more and more foreigners like you in Western society who present China objectively. To what extent do you believe you are assisting Westerners in understanding the true China? 

Janssen: I always try to be objective about China and report some of the positive things China is doing. I am encouraged because anytime I speak with fellow Americans or Canadians and discuss China with them, they are usually very open to me because they recognize that I am someone with genuine experience who has lived on the ground for more than ten years.

GT: You tweeted that more and more Americans feel every day that we don't have a functional democracy any more. Can you be more specific? Can American democracy still overcome its own shortcomings and move society forward?

Janssen: I am very worried about the future of American democracy. The worst thing President Donald Trump did in his presidency was say the 2020 election was fraudulent. As soon as he did this, millions of Americans started believing it, and now many Americans do not trust our election process anymore. This makes America look terrible on the international stage. 

How can America criticize China for not being a democracy when we ourselves can't run a trustworthy election? I love democracy and think it is a great form of government, but democracy is under attack in America right now, and the biggest threat is internal. It has nothing to do with Russia and China. Republicans often blame both countries for interfering in the elections, but that is nonsense. America needs to work on improving itself, but I'm very worried for the future of our government.

GT: You have said that when the US and China work together, the entire world wins, which is similar to the idea of a human community with a shared future proposed by China. How do you understand the human community with a shared future?

Janssen: China and America have to work together; there simply isn't any other option. If the US and China go to war, the entire world economy will crumble. I am very practical and look at facts. Many Americans are completely ignorant, stating that America should cut off all connections to China and completely decouple, but that is 100 percent unrealistic. America depends on China, and China depends on America too. They both need each other.