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If Westerners Are So Surly, It Is Because They See Their Supremacy Eroding

SalarHaqq

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If Westerners Are So Surly, It Is Because They See Their Supremacy Eroding

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Bruno Guigue (Interview with Mendelssohn Moses, freelance journalist)

1/ Western commentators point to the real estate crisis currently hitting China, and its consequences on short- and medium-term growth in the country. Can you enlighten us on the origins of this crisis as well as its real dimension, and on the prospects for growth of the Chinese economy?

BG: This is not a new subject, and it must be understood that the current crisis has its origins in an unprecedented real estate boom. In the wake of major structural reforms, the 1998 law enabled the creation of a real real estate market. With household income increasing at an impressive rate, they hastened to buy a home, because for young Chinese this acquisition is a prerequisite for marriage. In 2017, an HSBC study shows that 70% of young households own their home, a much higher proportion than in France (40%). Let us not forget either that in twenty years 300 million Chinese have come to settle in the cities. All the conditions were met for a spectacular real estate boom: liberalization of the sector, very strong economic growth and gigantic demand served by considerable savings.

But who says very strong growth says speculative risk, hence the formation of a real estate bubble that eventually burst. To deal with this, the Chinese government has announced several measures: the creation of a public fund to support the sector, assistance for buyers in difficulty and the massive construction of social housing. In his eyes, the main thing is to clean up the market without harming small owners. In any case, the transition to a reasonable growth regime is one of the government's objectives, and this transition will go through increased state regulation.

2/ Since the adoption of the policy of economic reform and opening up in the early 1980s, China has experienced such economic development that the growth in the standard of living of its inhabitants is spectacular. What are the main stages of this progress? What are the key figures?

BG: In reality, the country has experienced strong growth since the Maoist era, even if it accelerated in the 2000s. In 1949 the country was incredibly poor. Ravaged by war and anarchy, the equipment was in a sorry state. The population had the lowest standard of living on the planet, life expectancy was 36 years, and 85% of Chinese could neither read nor write.

It is in the light of this initial state that we must judge the progress made. In 2022, the Chinese economy represents 18% of the world's GDP in purchasing power parity and it overtook the American economy in 2014. China is the world's leading exporting power. Its industry is twice that of the United States and four times that of Japan.

The leading trading partner of 130 countries, it has contributed to 30% of global growth over the past ten years. With 400 million people, the Chinese middle classes are the largest in the world, and 150 million Chinese went on vacation abroad in 2019.

This economic development has dramatically improved the material living conditions of the Chinese. Life expectancy rose from 36 to 64 years under Mao (from 1949 to 1976) and today it reaches 78.3 years, which is more than the US (76.1) and considerably more than India (70 ,1).

Illiteracy and malnutrition are eradicated. The enrollment rate is 98.9% in primary and 94.1% in secondary. According to the Comparative Study of Education Systems (PISA), the People's Republic of China is number one in the world in 2019. Even more significant, the rate of extreme poverty, according to the World Bank, fell from 95% in 1980 to 17% in 2010 and 3.1% in 2017. It is nil in 2021. In twenty years, 700 million people were lifted out of poverty. The average wage has steadily increased, and foreign companies have started to relocate their activity in search of cheaper labor.

3/ What are the main tools implemented over the past four decades? How do they compare to those that underlie the planning and development of the territory in France under General De Gaulle? Have Chinese economists analyzed the French methods of the time?

BG: This spectacular development is the result of titanic efforts. To drive the country's development, the Chinese communists built a mixed economy led by a strong state. Its priority objective is growth, based on the modernization of public enterprises dominating the key sectors, the constitution of a powerful private sector, recourse to foreign capital and technology transfers from more advanced countries. Contrary to what is sometimes said, it was Mao Zedong himself who started this process in 1972 by restoring relations with the United States. To develop the country, you had to dine with the devil, and the Chinese communists learned how to do it.

It is true that this management of the national economy by a State-strategist is reminiscent of Gaullist France and its industrial success. But history has entrusted the Chinese Communist Party with a much heavier task: the accelerated modernization of an immense country, with a population of one billion in 1980. The Chinese Communists were able to carry out gigantic reforms and adapt to the new order resulting from globalisation.

In China, the state firmly holds the helm of economic development, public ownership remains dominant and the private financial sector is under control. By entrusting the Chinese Communist Party with an unprecedented responsibility, the Chinese revolution also gave it the legitimacy without which it could not have lifted one-fifth of humanity out of poverty.

4/ What is the loan policy adopted by China with regard to third countries (Africa, South America, etc.)? What impact on the development of these countries?

BG: Contrary to what the Western press says, the indebtedness of the countries of the South is not attributable to China. In Sri Lanka, for example, the political and economic crisis has nothing to do with Beijing, since China's share of the country's debt is only 10% of the total, while Western and multilateral loans are carving out the lion's share. China's contribution to the development of countries with infrastructure needs should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. What is certain is that Beijing offers its services to states seeking a credible alternative to Western policies.

Of course, the risk is to create a situation of excessive dependence between the lender and the borrower, to generate a new asymmetry. The Chinese are aware of this, and that is why they have designed their international strategy against neo-colonial practices. China exports manufactured goods and imports raw materials. But it monetizes its imports by building infrastructure.

Beneficial for China, this program is also beneficial for partner countries. Western financial institutions demand in return for their financial assistance the austerity measures inspired by the “Washington consensus”. The Chinese have defeated this Western policy by opposing it to the “Beijing consensus”: countries that want to work with them are not forced to privatize public companies, lower taxes on the rich or deregulate financial markets.

5 / For the first time in the history of China, almost the entire population is now covered by health insurance. What are the stages of this progress?

BG: From the 1980s, economic reforms undermined the social safety net inherited from the Maoist era, and inequalities soared. The priority given to GDP growth and capital accumulation was paid for by a deterioration in living conditions, and there was even a slight decline in life expectancy during the 1990s. It was to remedy this situation that the 1999 law created the national health insurance fund for urban salaried workers. With the establishment of a new health system for rural people, the entire population will benefit from social security.

The generalization of the system has continued unabated for twenty years, in particular since the arrival of Xi Jinping in power in 2012. Today 95% of the population benefits from health coverage, while 50% of the population world has none. In China, healthcare coverage is now provided by a universal system, supplemented by a wide range of optional insurance. At the beginning of the 2000s, the non-reimbursed share of health expenditure represented nearly 60% of total expenditure. But in 2011 it fell to 34.7%, which is lower not only than the world average (40.8%), but also that of rich countries (40.5%). On the other hand, it remained relatively high compared to the European average (24.8%).

Today, the unreimbursed share of health expenditure is probably around 30%, and therefore much closer to European standards. With the considerable rise in the standard of living, this generalization of access to care explains the increase in average life expectancy, which is now significantly higher than that of the United States.

6/ China has a gigantic civilian nuclear program. It has 50 reactors already and constructs 4 a year apparently. Are these Chinese or foreign technologies? Where is China with thermonuclear fusion research?

BG: Currently, of the 56 reactors under construction in the world, 20 are Chinese. Nuclear power production increases significantly each year and China should catch up with the United States in ten years. With 53 reactors connected to the network and a total installed capacity of 54 GW, China is now ranked third in the world, just after the United States (93 reactors and 95 GW) and France (56 reactors and 61.3 GW). But it is already in second position for the production of nuclear electricity, and in 2035 a nuclear power of 200 GW is planned! To achieve these goals, China is no longer content to operate reactors designed abroad.

By drawing inspiration from French and American technologies, it has acquired an industrial maturity that allows it to design and build reactors in record time and at an unbeatable price. From now on, third-generation Chinese reactors will equip new power plants in China, and perhaps elsewhere in the world. In February 2022, Argentina and China signed an agreement to build a Hualong-1 at a nuclear site near Buenos Aires, and this project will be financed by a loan from Chinese banks.

After Pakistan, Chinese reactor technology is therefore spreading to Latin America. This breakthrough in the Chinese nuclear industry is also accompanied by investments in fourth-generation fast breeder reactors and thorium nuclear fuels. Finally, China is committed to the construction of high-temperature reactors for the desalination of seawater and the possible production of hydrogen. It is a real revolution in the global nuclear landscape. In 2019, the director of the Asia-Pacific branch of EDF declared in a forum: "The nuclear power of tomorrow will be Chinese".

7/ From September 1 to 7, the Vostok 2022 maneuvers take place, with 50,000 Russian, Syrian, Belarusian, Indian and Chinese soldiers, among others. Never before had India agreed to maneuver with China. How to evaluate this unprecedented event?

BG: China and India have complex relations. The two Asian giants know very well that the shift of the world towards the East works in their favor, and they are partners within organizations such as the BRICS or the OCS. But the two countries have an unresolved border dispute and the tension on the subject is palpable on both sides.

Moreover, India sometimes criticizes China for maintaining privileged relations with Pakistan or Sri Lanka, the unavowed aim of which is to encircle or circumvent it. It's a bad trial, but the Indians see it that way. That said, India also does not want to give the impression that it is siding with Washington's anti-China crusade. This is why it has a deliberately ambiguous policy. It joined QUAD, the military cooperation structure promoted by the United States in the Indo-Pacific region.

A few months later, it took part in joint military maneuvers alongside China and Russia. For those who have not understood, this attitude means that India remains faithful to this non-alignment which has characterized its foreign policy since independence. A subtle balancing act that shows that this great country, ultimately, intends to keep an equal distance from the two main planetary rivals.

8/ Unlike Pakistan, China, despite a very difficult climate, seems to have practically solved the problem of monstrous floods. What are the main lines of its hydrological program? What is the share of hydroelectric energy?

BG: China is the world leader in hydroelectric power. A decisive step was taken with the construction of the largest dam in the world, the Three Gorges Dam, which profoundly modified the hydrological regime of the largest Chinese river, the Yangtze. Hydroelectricity now represents about 5% of the energy mix, about as much as nuclear.

But it's not just hydroelectricity. China has invested heavily in the full range of renewable energies. In 2018, with 20% of the world's population, it produced 30.1% of the world's hydroelectric energy, 28.7% of wind energy, 31.9% of solar energy and 17.5% energy from biomass. These are the paradoxes of history: after having made the mistake of relegating the environmental issue to second place, China seized it head-on and today it is a leading country in this field.

9/ Let us come briefly to more controversial questions. Seen from abroad, we struggle to understand the “Zero Covid” policy, which does not seem to have any scientific basis given the protean nature of all viruses. Some put forward the thesis that China believes that it is protecting itself through renewed confinements and incessant tests, against a bacteriological war (the American laboratories discovered in Ukraine have been the subject of numerous comments in China). What do you think about it?

BG: I don't know if such a demonic project as the one you mention exists, but it is clear that the Chinese are extremely cautious on the subject. In any case, the question of the management of the health crisis is a real question. But before criticizing indiscriminately, let's look at the numbers. From this point of view, it must be recognized that the “Zero Covid” strategy has borne fruit. With 5,226 deaths in China compared to more than a million in the United States and 151,000 in France, Westerners are in no position to give lessons!

If China has succeeded in protecting its population, it is because the authorities quickly got the measure of the phenomenon, and authorities refused to arbitrate between saving lives and saving growth points. Facts are facts. Of course, like all strategies, the “Zero Covid” strategy will eventually exhaust its effects, and the next step will have to be seriously considered. This is what the Chinese are doing today, who are considering a gradual relaxation of the health system. The confinements aim to stop the spread of the virus in agglomerations which have several million inhabitants.

Are we sufficiently informed about the epidemiological situation in China to be able to pass judgment on its policy? What would happen if China had managed the epidemic in the manner of Western countries? Unlike the oligarchies that govern us, the Chinese government feels accountable for the state of health of the populations, even if there is temporarily a price to pay. As soon as the conditions allow for it, it will rectify the situation.

10/ The Chinese authorities created astonishment by refusing to fall into the trap set by the visit to Taiwan of Senator Nancy Pelosi and then of her colleagues in Taiwan. No irreversible or irresponsible act has been undertaken. What is your assessment?

BG: I find that Beijing's reaction to this gross provocation by the fanatics in Congress was conspicuous in its firmness and skill. Not one dead, not one injured, but an unprecedented show of force, which reminds us that the return of Taiwan to the bosom of the motherland is a historical necessity. By occupying the maritime and air space of the secessionist island, the Chinese government is recalling the obvious: the territorial waters and air space of Taiwan exist only in the imagination of the separatists and their protectors, because the island is a Chinese province, and nothing else.

This occupation being ostensibly engaged for several days, the question was no longer: what will China do if Nancy Pelosi lands in Taipei? The question had become: what does the United States do when China demonstrates, by deed and not by word, that Taiwanese sovereignty is only an illusion?

We must never forget that the Chinese strategy, when the country is attacked, always aims to make the imperialists appear for what they are, namely "paper tigers", as Mao said. The Chinese do not want it, but if tomorrow the showdown is engaged between China and the irresponsible separatists of Taipei, will the United States take the risk of a major confrontation with a country whose army is today the second in the world?

11/ Chinese diplomacy seems to be getting rid of its former silence on international strategic issues to now speak frankly, particularly in support of Russia. Recently, a Foreign Affairs spokesperson used a set of photos to convey the message that the September 11, 2001, attack was an “own goal”.

BG: I have followed the Chinese press for years, and I have never seen such an offensive tone. But this is a very recent phenomenon, two or three years at the most. With Mike Pompeo's declaration of the Chinese Communist Party as "the worst enemy of the American people", Trump's presidency marks a turning point. By accusing China of committing genocide in Xinjiang, Western propaganda is taking an unprecedented step, rarely reached, which deserves to be included in the Guinness of state lies. How can you believe such nonsense? To me it is a mystery. The Uyghur population has been exempted from the one-child policy, and it has experienced dramatic population growth over the past 30 years.

As for the "concentration camps" where "three million Uyghurs" would be locked up, this accusation is so grotesque that it is insignificant. The major mistake of Westerners is to believe that these slanders have the slightest effect on China's internal stability. The Chinese people know very well that their government has used the necessary means to eradicate separatist terrorism and they approve of the security measures that have put an end to the attacks. But this avalanche of lies has not had much success internationally either: at the UN General Assembly, all countries with a majority Muslim population support Chinese policy in Xinjiang.

12/ The Western world seems convulsed by its hostility towards China, whose people are presented as unhappy, languishing under oppression and repression. Why this hostility? Jealousy? Nostalgia for the prosperous period of the Opium Wars?

BG: If Western countries are so surly, it is because they see the foundations of their supremacy crumbling. After having dominated the world for two centuries, the stunned West realizes that it will have to hand over. The West thought it would hold out in the South for another century or two, but history is accelerating. The Chinese live longer than Americans, their society is more coherent and more tolerant. As United States warships cruise off China's coast, the Chinese build railroads, highways, ports and hospitals at home and abroad.

To illustrate the cognitive biases that cloud our view of the world, I will take another example.

We are presented an image of China as an Orwellian totalitarian dictatorship where human rights are flouted. But in France, since the beginning of the year, nine people have been killed by the police for "refusal to comply". For a country that calls itself democratic, this is not brilliant.

In China, on the other hand, it does not seem that the police have a custom of shooting citizens for “refusal to comply”. In a country where the slightest incident is commented on by hundreds of millions of Internet users, such an event would not go unnoticed and the Western press would comment on it with its usual benevolence towards the Chinese government.

If there were the same rate of police homicides as in France, there would have been 180 Chinese citizens shot dead in the street in recent months. Unless I am mistaken, there were none. Why ? Because in this abominable dictatorship the police simply have no weapons.

Only the military police, responsible for monitoring sensitive sites and combating terrorism, is armed. You see them very seldom. In 2020, I saw two officers from this unit at the station in Kunming, capital of Yunnan. It is true that on March 31, 2014, Uyghur separatist terrorists assassinated around thirty passengers there with knives.

As for ordinary police officers, in China, not only do they not have weapons, but we see far fewer of them than in France. In China as elsewhere, there is police violence, of course, as well as there are delinquents and criminals. But these social evils are much less frequent than in our marvelous democracy. And if we compared China with the United States, the contrast would be staggering. On the question of human rights as on many subjects, it is time for the Western world to put their own house in order.

 
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May 22, 2022
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Before you wax poetic about 🇨🇳, just remember all their achievements happened because they normalized relations with the West and established economic ties.

There's a good reason why they didn't dare shoot down Nancy Pelosi's plane and that's because 🇺🇸 would slap so many sanctions on them, their economy would shrink by a third of what it is.
 

SalarHaqq

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Before you wax poetic about 🇨🇳, just remember all their achievements happened because they normalized relations with the West and established economic ties.

There's a good reason why they didn't dare shoot down Nancy Pelosi's plane and that's because 🇺🇸 would slap so many sanctions on them, their economy would shrink by a third of what it is.

If you actually read the paper rather than stopping at the title, you'll understand how and why the west's supremacy is in the process of crumbling. You seem as surly about it as western imperialists themselves.

As for the USA regime slapping multitudes of sanctions on China, go look what country is manufacturing the bulk of common consumer goods sold on the USA market.
 
May 22, 2022
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If you actually read the paper rather than stopping at the title, you'll understand how and why the west's supremacy is in the process of crumbling. You seem as surly about it as western imperialists themselves.

As for the USA regime slapping multitudes of sanctions on China, go look what country is manufacturing the bulk of common consumer goods sold on the USA market.
I did read it through. It doesn't change the facts I stated even the slightest.

Those sanctions in question are piecemeal and incomplete, by the way. They sanctioned universities that develop hypersonic aircraft and block sales of certain semiconductor technologies but still supply quite high end commercially available chips over the table nonetheless.

I understand you're starry-eyed but try and look at the whole picture here.
 

SalarHaqq

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Those sanctions in question are piecemeal and incomplete, by the way. They sanctioned universities that develop hypersonic aircraft and block sales of certain semiconductor technologies but still supply quite high end commercially available chips over the table nonetheless.

The USA cannot afford an all-out sanctions regime against China, its own economy would stand to lose too much from such a policy. Targeted sanctions intending to prevent China from catching up in decisive hi-tech sectors aren't producing the desired results either since they've hardly blunted China's technological advancements.

I understand you're starry-eyed but try and look at the whole picture here.

The broad picture is comprehensively conveyed by the article, not by mere one-liners.
 
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doorstar

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If Westerners are so surly, it is because they see their supremacy eroding
:rofl:
a little achhute boy asks his pa: father, what if the village numberdar dies, who will inhherit his position? father told him that his elder son. what if he dies says the boy. his younger son says the dad. what if he dies asked the boy. father now fed-up with stupid questions, retorts thus: even if everyone in his family dies, you will not be becoming the numberdar so shut the hell up.

China and India have complex relations. The two Asian giants
2 giants?

comparing China to USA + NATO is like making BD peer of India. similarly saying that China and bharat are equal powers is beyond a joke. onliest thing they have parity in is the number of people, I say number not quality of people.
 
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xyxmt

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Before you wax poetic about 🇨🇳, just remember all their achievements happened because they normalized relations with the West and established economic ties.

There's a good reason why they didn't dare shoot down Nancy Pelosi's plane and that's because 🇺🇸 would slap so many sanctions on them, their economy would shrink by a third of what it is.

on the contrary, if Chine stop supplying goods to US there will be a civil war in the U.S.
 

Hamartia Antidote

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on the contrary, if Chine stop supplying goods to US there will be a civil war in the U.S.

I don't think so.

I think what would happen is the Liberal Left who pushed all the air, land, and water protections acts causing manufacturing to be sent overseas will be made the pariahs and most of those laws will be rewritten to enable manufacturing again.
 

doorstar

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I don't think so.

I think what would happen is the Liberal Left who pushed all the air, land, and water protections acts causing manufacturing to be sent overseas will be made the pariahs.
Buzz Lightyear: "You are a sad, strange little person (neo-Nazi/bharati?) and you have my pity."

you keep spewing these here klu klux klanish wisdoms, blaming all the ills of the universe on the liberals (sounding more and more like a sanghi).

without understanding that in-house manufacture of everything will be prohibitively expensive (and polluting). and the USA would not be where it is today i.e hegemon of the world by concentrating on the production of what is needed to remain the neo-colonial empire that it is.
 

Hamartia Antidote

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Buzz Lightyear: "You are a sad, strange little person (neo-Nazi/bharati?) and you have my pity."

UmNo.png


Obviously it is expensive to manufacture things here otherwise we would not have shipped stuff overseas.

However I hate to break the news to you but people were still buying consumer goods prior to things being shipped off to Asia. There were televisions and other goods in every home in the US by the late 1950's. It's not like prices were so crazy high that nobody could buy anything. That's just a complete myth.

However maybe it was crazy expensive in the country your family was from at the time...but not here. That probably explains your bizarre thinking better.

Some of us on PDF were very much alive before manufacturing was outsourced so we can tell you firsthand about how things were to clarify your misconceptions. I remember when plastics/electronics switched to "Made in Taiwan" and then electronics to "Made in Japan" and eventually "Made in China". My 6 switch Atari 2600 gaming console was made in California but the later 4 switch ones were from Asia so I saw the switchover firsthand.

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Late 1970's Atari 2600 6 switch console (CX-2600) "Made in Sunnyvale" (the model I had)


MadeInTaiwan.png

The later model 1986 Atari 2600 4 switch "Made in Taiwan".

But back to the topic...

When all the environmental laws were enacted in the early 1970's it only added another layer of cost/risk that finally drove companies to move overseas to places that had cheap labor and didn't give a shit about pollution. Companies were getting sued for polluting rivers and contaminating drinking water..and basically bankrupting them. It just wasn't worth it to manufacture anything that generated large amounts of non-organic waste if a threat of a lawsuit was perpetually hanging over your head. A solution needed to be found quickly...and that was Asia.

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Nixon meeting Mao in 1972.

without understanding that in-house manufacture of everything will be prohibitively expensive.
LOL!!!!

Hey I'm sure it has always been prohibitively expensive to build/buy anything in the country you were from...that's why you probably never experienced any kind of high consumerism before outsourcing.

the USA would not be where it is today i.e hegemon of the world by concentrating on the production of what is needed to remain the neo-colonial empire that it is.

Uh-huh, I can tell already you are from Pakistan/India and suffered under British rule which has completely skewed your perception of reality. This also explains why you think prices were prohibitively expensive...because they likely were in Asia back then.
 
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