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Will China Save the World From a Recession? Don't Bet On It

There's been a lot of talk in recent weeks about how China could ride to the rescue of a global recession, using the latent power of 1.3 billion consumers to power global GDP. Who would have thought that we'd be calling on China to save our bacon? Witness a New York Times editorial on Oct. 26 with the remarkable headline: "As China Goes, So Goes...." What the Times called for, and what others have seconded, is for China to unleash domestic demand, ramp up imports, thereby keeping the global economy afloat.

First, before we get into why this probably won't happen, let's pause for a second to reflect on just how amazing it is that we're asking China to prop us up. Yes, yes, China did yeoman's work during the Asian financial crisis of 1997. But that was a pretty localized mess. What the Times -- and others -- are asking China to do is not just be a responsible player in its region (which at the time simply meant not devaluing the yuan). No, what the Times and others want China to do is to step forward and in a flash take over the United States' position as the engine of global growth. That's a pretty big demand for a country with a per capita GDP that's in 109th place on the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook Database, squarely between Swaziland and Morocco.

As to whether China will take up the challenge: I think not. China would have to restructure its economy if it wanted to significantly grow its domestic demand. But right now China's economy is facing real problems.

None other than Nouriel Roubini -- aka Dr. Doom, the man who accurately predicted the global financial meltdown -- is now turning his sights on China. The PRC is in for a hard landing, Roubini says. What could this mean? Significant political instability, Roubini suggests.

The operative nut graf in a piece by Roubini that appeared today: Let us be clear what we mean by hard landing. In a country with the potential growth of China, a hard landing would occur if the growth rate of the economy were to slow down to 5-6% as China needs a growth rate of 9-10% to absorb about 24 million folks joining the labor force every year; it needs a growth rate of 9-10% to move every year about 12-14 million poor rural farmers to the modern industrial/manufacturing urban sector. The whole social and political legitimacy of the regime of the ruling Communist party rests on continuing to deliver this high growth great transformation of the economy. Thus, a slowdown of growth from 12% to 5-6% would be the equivalent of a hard landing or a recession for China. And now a variety of macro indicators suggest that China is indeed headed towards a hard landing.

I think Roubini is right. I also think that all of these pressures will make China's leadership more conservative not less and therefore less likely to encourage more consumer spending of the type that the Times' editorial board and others would so like to see. In short, China's artificially low profile in dealing with this global financial mess is another example of how China's political system is blocking its rise to superpower status.

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Comments (62)

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Sorry, general YUEFEI, I have some unexpected problems with my keyboard, this morning.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

To generalyuefe


I too feel "some reporters gotta work harder"...

That is why, as you noticed, most of my posts have been rather informational, with references appended.

Yet, in this conversation, you remain a more unifying force than I.

I shall therefore gladly post less often, so as to enjoy seeing your English "improve"...


sing1 Author Profile Page:

Another funny thing is that World Bank is looking to China for money to stay afloat. Does that quality that China is saving the World ?
With huge budget surplus and foreign reserve, China is the only country in the whole world, who can afford the stimulus package of that size. US has a bigger stimulus package. However, the budget deficit is looking at $1 trillion dollars. Who would buy those paper issued by US governement?

sing1 Author Profile Page:

The stimulus package announced on Friday by Chinese government lift the stock market around the world.
What does that mean ?
Chinese government will rescue the world from recession by saving themselves ?
The Chinese economy will not be in recession next year as many predicted?
Economic forecast is more like reading tea leaf than making conclusion from scientific data. Many people who bet against China in the last 20 years, had lost.
American should accept the fact that democracy and free market are not the cure for all illness, but in a lot of circumstances, the cause of it.
Free market with proper government intervention is the best of all. What is proper government intervention into the so-called free market ?
It is up to the wise government to decide. It is funny that it took a white man to screw up the US economy and a black man to fix it up.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To Citizenofthepost-Americanworld,

What this means?

That I am gonna write less posts on this blog?

Many people already bought popcorn and coca to watch two giant nations clash to each other...

There is no shows?
Like the current Hollywood? No action movie? Mo drama? Struggles of good and evil, and battles of God and Satan, confrontation of West and East, fight of commies and the righteous US senators?

Jeez, what am I gonna do with the rest of my boring life? Ohhhh, no blood? no shows?

some reporters gotta work harder, please! I beg.

carryanne Author Profile Page:

I have written a couple of things about this at:



Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Please consider this as part of my previous post.

3. "Hu, Obama discuss ties, int'l issues on phone" (GOV.cn Sunday, November 9, 2008):

"Obama said that China is a great nation and that China's development and success meet U.S. interests.

On today's international arena, U.S.-China relations are relations of vital importance. The development of U.S.-China relations is not only in the interest of both nations, but also benefits the world, Obama said.

Saying that U.S.-China relations face many development opportunities, Obama expressed the hope that the United States and China will strengthen cooperation, and promote greater development of bilateral relations, to bring benefits to both nations.

The United States hopes to strengthen consultation and coordination with China on security, climate change and regional hotspot issues, to promote settlement of the relevant issues...

Obama said that settlement of the global financial crisis requires close cooperation by governments of all countries, expressing the hope that the United States and China will strengthen cooperation at the world economic summit planned for November 15 in Washington."


Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Saving the world? Not quite... just getting stronger and more influential internationally:

1. China has announced (reported on Chinese Government's Official Web Portal and by the NY Times) "a stimulus package estimated at 4 trillion yuan (about 570 billion U.S. dollars) will be spent over the next two years to finance programs in 10 major areas, such as low-income housing, rural infrastructure, water, electricity, transportation, the environment, technological innovation and rebuilding from several disasters, most notably the May 12 earthquake. The policies include a comprehensive reform in value-added taxes, which would cut industry costs by 120 billion yuan."

2. Meanwhile, amidst calls by emerging countries for the G-20 to replace the G-7, at the Sao Paulo Summit, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva demands no less than a new world financial order... Lula said the G7, made up of the world's largest economies (the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, France and Germany), has no longer the conditions to determine the course of the world economy by itself. Therefore, economic debates must have a multilateral nature, said Lula, who called for "a pact among governments to create a new world financial architecture." (*)

* Prensa Latina


thmak Author Profile Page:

To Generalyufei: I have the same opinion about USA's middle east policy as you. I wonder what Obama's policy is: To withdraw will weaken USA influence that Isreal doesn't want to see and will strengthen Iran's standing in the Middle East. To remain influential will have to follow Bush's policy and lead USA into deeper fatal quagmire. Yes I agree with you that Americans are good people. But good people have one weak point in that they have faith in following outwardly good deceptive people and excuse them easily afterwards of all wrong doings, leaving the sufferings behind uncared for.

anakin1992 Author Profile Page:


i am not sure this guy, Nouriel Roubini aka dr. doom, has any credit. yes he might specifically indicate the potential dire situation currently spreading across the world. but unfortunately, his comments and research end up like nothing other than gossip, because if he truly does what a responsible economist does, he would push EU/US policy makers to adopt his ideas.

now he starts to worry about china, because of his credit on US? how much does not he know china' economy? so far i failed to see any western economists to ever understand chinese economic process, then how could one even start to make any prediction?

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To Peter,

I am not an expert on Economic issues. So I can only read and listen.

But there is one thing I do know is the world or any country's economical ground shall not depend on Trade.

World Trade System, it only could short term benefit the developing countries, or growing market need (Consumers), however if any country relying their economy system on Trade, that surely is a unstable ground.

I slept my most economic classes, and my accounting class balance sheet was never zero, and my bank account is monthly close to zero.

So if I be a 'president of elect' in near or very far future in China (after my inspiring leaders' progressive democratic restructure because they can no longer feel they still have face to attend every United Nation gathering, every diplomatic party, and the other leaders around world pointing finger and laughing behind their back say 'Look, their people don't even have choice to pick their own leader, they bring shame to their Ancestor...'),

Then I make sure I will pick 3 or a whole team of economy advisers and have them sleep next to my bedroom:) to guarantee my country's money is not borrowed by a few of those who are lazy, greedy, and can only do selling and buying and profit from that, so they will not ever care about their government, nor their people, nor their wife or parents or kids, but only profit.

That is the problem of the world economy, profit by trade, and most of the political decisions are made after WWII. Basically, Economy is on greed, some may disagree, but Trade is built on Profit, and Profit is built on greed. And as US is an perfect example, that Politicians serve no more people but those big corp, and those big corps screwing around the world, and now also screwed their own people. And they get bailed out(The rich get bailed out), the poor? Well, who cares about the poor? Who really cared about the poor? They are never been cared, whether in the sunny days or in the rainy days. For generations people walked through, only the poor crawled their whole life until their last gasping for air. But the show must go on, and there's never lack of a scapegoat.

I think less trade among the nations is better for every one, so the nation could develop themselves,
so she may stand still when the tsunami comes.

But what I know?

I just want to use John's blog to practice my English, because I want to write like Su Shi, think as Lincoln, and preach like Martin Luther King, and speech as President Obama.

Thanks John and everyone!

My English improved a lot!

Oh Yes I Can! And Yes I Did!:)

Peter34 Author Profile Page:

To generalyuefei:

One key thing is about the current international financial system which is unfairly set for U.S especially when the gold equivalent measure is forced give way to U.S-dollars-based currency system in Nixon's time.Instead of the free market capitalism the U.S spread to the world, U.S dollar hegemony is the real reason of economic prosperity of U.S for so many years.

Through those greedy financial firms,US grab other emerging countries' wealth by the real "manipulation",a "free financial market" scheme. Through those financial firms' manipulation,U.S reduced its trading deficit to other countries.In 1990s' Asian financial crisis,those U.S financial blood-suckers sweep Asian four small tigers' wealth .IMF demand those Asian countries open their market for American financial firms to buy out high quality assets.But this time around,U.S desert this "free financial market" creed and set barrier for any countries attempting to buy technology and American firms still having hope.They only welcome others to buy U.S treasury bond and worthless firms like Lehman Brother,which has not show the world the worst of its assets.

The coming years for the world will be increasingly getting worse.U.S will continue print more paper dollar,issue more treasure bonds to the world,continue cut tax to maintain American luxury lifestyle, keep extravagant expenditure on war,wave the protectionism flag...If the world is to keep this dollar hegemony,other countries will have to continue to lend money to America to exploit this world. European countries does not like this dollar hegemony but still get some benefit in the past so they keep quiet,but this time,situation is not to their convenience and benefit any more.

Let's wait and see whether this Dollar hegemony still can hold up.Let's wait and see how U.S is still able to borrow money to sabotage other countries' prosperity and stability.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

tO thmak,

I think it's some US politicians backed by big corp.

I don't think they invade Iraq for testing weapon, but I do think the choice was made that under influence of future Oil supply and political territory against Iran, Iraq is heart to Middle East that to dominate economically, politically, and militarily for US and Western, and to support Isreal, US force would never get out there, which will leave that big area vacuumed again that Iran and other Middle East Anti-West to fall back in.

But American people don't see that, that is the US government's strategy.

Generally, American people are all good.

thmak Author Profile Page:

To Generalyuefei: It is the American way of stirring up problems just to get themselve occupied, get trained, be alert, get recognised, be popular, demonstrate one's worthiness and capability, etc. at the expense of others. To kill the Iraqis just to test, improve USA weapons effectiveness and to get better idea for new weapons. Iraq is USA realistic weapons testing ground. The economic meltdown is to show USA economic might and smash the economic advance/challenge of the developing nations so that USA can remain the boss after the crisis.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To Peter34,

Of course, people like drama.
That is why we watch world cup, big countries head to head, blood spilled, bone crashing bone, teeth chew off flesh...

Think about Only stirring up Tibet and Tawain Issue could attract all these posts.

I start to get use to it, I mean culturely I am an American.

Entertainment, Yeah!
God Bless John Pomfret!

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Further still to my post, November 5, 9:16 AM: ... "Just watch: China will help those in real need, beginning with Asian countries, as it has done in the past and said repeatedly it would do again, this time around."

Readers are invited to refer to "China urges efficient measures against financial crisis" (GOV.cn -- Friday, November 7, 2008):

"China on Thursday urged the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to take efficient measures to counteract the global financial crisis amid inflation and recession concerns in the region.

Chinese Finance Vice Minister Li Yong made the call to the finance ministers attending the APEC Ministerial Meeting of Finances in the northwestern Peruvian city of Trujillo.


During the summit, themed on "A new commitment to Asia-Pacific development," the leaders will discuss such issues as the world financial crisis, the Doha Round of negotiations at the World Trade Organization and food and energy security." ***



Peter34 Author Profile Page:

People bashing China's currency "manipulation" are just born yesterday.It is U.S printing paper to acquire others real wealth yet defaulting what it supposed to pay back by demanding others to appreciate their currency.Oh,my,Use a little brain to help you talk like an adult.

Taiwan issue is non-issue,by the way.Whatever you guys lie and distort,our Chinese talk the talk and walk the walk.

Peter34 Author Profile Page:

The U.S dollar should be relegate to one part of a currency portfolio.Its current strength is only embraced by China,Japan,and Britain.

When comes the day in the coming few years that China was pushed to the corner by U.S foreign policy,the day comes when the filmy U.S financial hegemony crumble.

Too bad for China to be tied with a precarious U.S boat.It will be even sorry the glory of an U.S empire would doom had U.S mismanaged the intricate U.S-China connection.

Other emerging powers are lurking.Have you seen a blur image of France and Germany in the long distance? Oh,they will ride supersonic airplane as soon as time matures.

Wake up,China bashers.Nobody win if somebody screw up the China-US relation.

Anyway,Dr.Pomfret's column is all about entertainment.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Further to my post, November 5, 9:16 AM: ... "Just watch: China will help those in real need, beginning with Asian countries, as it has done in the past and said repeatedly it would do again, this time around."

Readers are invited to refer to "China to fly flag for South at G20 financial summit" (China Daily, 2008-11-07 07:25):

"China will help developing countries at the upcoming G20 summit on the global financial crisis in Washington DC next Saturday, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

"The financial crisis, when it extends, will first hit developing countries, especially those most underdeveloped ones," Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei told a briefing in Beijing, "because they will face decreasing investments and possibly assistance. Most people are not caring about these countries..."

He said rich countries and international organizations, such as the World Bank, should adopt measures to help the developing world get through current hardships.


President Hu Jintao will attend..." ***



generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To mtlyorel,

Great leader can always smell the cause of war.

I personally don't want to see Taiwan for Independence, because the war decision will be made from our government would be made quick and in rush, it is guaranteed. I am Chinese and I know China.

Then what's gonna happen to Taiwan, would they survive?

If Taiwan can endure, then Mainland have no moral rights to risk a bad choice that they must take.

I don't even think those who fight a war ever wanted a war.

Let's say US promised to help Taiwan, then more people die, and no matter who wins, the grudging seed will be forever planned to grow, no future there.

Why any good leader would risk their and other people's life?

Many Chinese don't want Taiwan Independent because they don't want to see Chinese die.

The fact of Mainlander belief:
Independence = Military Reunification

The fact of Taiwanese belief:
Independence = 50% war or Independence

I would bet for $50, but do I bet with my life? my family's life? and with other people's life?

I don't want see any Chinese die, nor I want to see Americans or Iraqis or any people die.

That is reason my government yells:

Don’t provoke me! Don’t provoke me! Don’t provoke me!

It’s like begging.

agapn9 Author Profile Page:

No matter what country we are from or have given our loyalty to, all good men what they same things.

Good men want freedom of worship, clean water, clean air, good tasting healthy food, the ability to travel freely, good health care, and harmony within their family, village, town, or city.

Yet as we see the middle class expand in china and india there is greater and greater needs for energy to fuel that lifestyle.

Carbon forms of energy we once saw as cheap, plentiful, and safe have turned out to be expensive, less than plentiful, and a major contributor to global warming.

The US needs to lead the way out of its own recession by developing renewable energy and exporting that technology to china and india so that we can all get away from carbon forms of energy.

If the US takes that step, then global markets will be able to provide increasing amounts of energy and clean up the environment at the same time.

cabovela Author Profile Page:

China is in a mess right now; factories are closing, jobless figures are up, half empty ports.
Easy way out is to devalue their currency, which they can easily do now after no longer being pegged to the U.S. dollar.
By not devalueing their currency; they are doing a lot.

thmak Author Profile Page:

To Mtlyorel: I rewrote your post: It always amazes me that the some people from Taiwan, a province of China, feel that they have a say in the matters of China. They seem to know what is right for the Chinese and has this imperialistic mindset of Taiwan being 'an independent country'.

I understand this is a result of cradle - to - grave propaganda by the anti-China organization but it still defies any logic.

China and Taiwan have been together for over 60 yrs. They have the same cultures and economic systems. They have the same values and world perspectives. They have the same historical experiences. The Chinese territory had absolute integrity and border disputes with Russia was resolved. Why is it that the some people in Taiwan feel that they have an inalienable right over China and the Chinese?? What is this obsession? Is this a case of wounded pride? The Chinese people chose to support and be under Mao and be a modern developing nation for 40 yrs.

The more the independent-minded people in Taiwan harps about Taiwan and how it is 'independent', the more the people of Taiwan will want to be even closely associated with China.

I would suggest to the independent-minded people in Taiwan to clean up their own act, earn the respect of the world, behave like civilized people rather than try to dictate their independent ideology and nationalism over Taiwan. Taiwan is more than willing to partake in some sort of association with China and China has shown the world that it can be just as civil, respectful, mature, tolerant, as the European Union or even Japan. I hope you understand.

The biggest character flaw with the Chinese people is the fact that they expect others to treat them fairly while they refuse to ask themselves why is it that others have such aversion towards them.

Respect has to earned, not given.

thmak Author Profile Page:

To Mtlyorel: The recent events in Taiwan indicates that your mentality about Taiwan is in the Stone Age period.

thmak Author Profile Page:

To Wabewalker: Your later posts after your Nov 5 2:16pm post are not identical. You said you had influenced American policy but others don't have the opportunity as you. Some succeeds, others not. The views of those who succeeds is not the views of those who don't. One vote is just one in the millions. I'm glad you have faith in the American system and hope you are glad that people in other countries have faith in their system. People in other countries can also influence the policy of their countries too, though not the same as in America. You statement "I really would take a gun, find people who are like me, and rebel against the state" applies to China many many times. I am glad you modify to say "Americans did vote to invade Iraq IN A WAY", but not just vote. There is a big difference. I hope you understand. As regard to sending letters to your Congressmen, people in China can do that too. I was an activist during Kerry's presidential campaign. I donated and joined a few out-of-town missions of house-to-house to get people to vote for Kerry and stood at street corners holding campaign sign. I respect Amercian system as well as systems in other countries. I hope you understand.

mtlyorel Author Profile Page:

To Gen. YF

It always amazes me that the Chinese from China feel that they have a say in the matters of Taiwan. They seem to know what is right for the Taiwanese and has this imperialistic mindset of Taiwan being 'a part of their motherland'.

I understand this is a result of cradle - to - grave propaganda by the Chinese government but it still defies any logic.

The two countries have been separated for over 60 yrs. They have different cultures and economic systems. They have different values and world perspectives. They have different historical experiences. The Chinese territory never had absolute integrity and border disputes with Russia were never resolved. Why is it that the Chinese feel that they have an inalienable right over Taiwan and the Taiwanese?? What is this obsession? Is this a case of wounded pride? The Chinese people chose to support and be under Mao and be a backward nation for 40 yrs.

The more the Chinese harps about Taiwan and how it is 'destined' to be a part of the 'motherland', the less the people of Taiwan will want to be even remotely associated with China.

I would suggest to the Chinese to clean up their own act, earn the respect of the world, behave like civilized people rather than try to dictate their communist ideology and nationalism over Taiwan. Taiwan will be more than willing to partake in some sort of association with China if China can show the world that it can be just as civil, respectful, mature, tolerant, as the European Union or even Japan.

The biggest character flaw with the Chinese people is the fact that they expect others to treat them fairly while they refuse to ask themselves why is it that others have such aversion towards them.

Respect has to earned, not given.

Peter34 Author Profile Page:

Basically,U.S democracy is fully for American not for the rest of this world.

Only U.S can take a democratic and responsible role in the world financial system can the world be saved.

Here is U.S'"Dollar hegemony":

The term describes a geopolitical phenomenon of the 1990s in which the U.S. dollar, a fiat currency, became the primary reserve currency internationally. Three developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades. The Bretton Woods regime established in 1945 a fixed exchange rate regime based on a gold-backed dollar.

The US did not view cross-border flow of funds necessary or desirable for promoting trade or economic development.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon abandoned the Bretton Woods regime and suspended the dollar's peg to gold as U.S. fiscal deficits from overseas spending caused a massive drain in U.S. gold holdings.

* The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis.
* The third development was the emergence of deregulated global financial markets after the Cold War that made cross-border flow of funds routine.

A general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control in the context of free-floating exchange rates made speculative attacks on the exchange rates of currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony in the 1990s.

* All central banks have since been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in financial markets.

Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the U.S. trade deficit and forces them to finance the U.S. capital account surplus, thus shipping real wealth to the U.S. in exchange for the privilege of financing U.S. debt to further develop the U.S. economy.

wabewalker Author Profile Page:

General Yue Fei:

"If those we suggest talk is no use, then at least talk stops fighting, and if people disagree and never change their own ideas, then they can spend their lifetime to talk, to converse, to communicate forever, rather than let's do it quick."

I completely agree. And by the way, we may not agree on everything, but you have my respect.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

The world is constant spinning.

I believe people can change, everyone.
And I also believe nobody can change others too.
But good can inspire, like Christ walked on cross,
the peaceful march of Dr. Martin Luther, like the way President Abraham Lincoln greeted the South...
like last night how every American came out to lead their nation, those are all inspiring things... that inspired every people in world.

I believe most of my countrymen would never pick such bad choice to attack Taiwan, nor I believe majority Chinese ever want Taiwan be independent.
I believe people start to wrestle when they fear they'll lose their dearly love. I also believe unconditional dialog would a chance for peace, anything is better than war. And I believe that Obama's unconditional dialog with Iran is better than all those US politician's experience, I also believe my leader's unconditional dialog with Taiwan would win cooperation from majority Taiwan resident, because when put off our difference, and sit down to talk we at least give all of us a chance communicate rather than put our soldier to war, otherwise we are the same as those who drove airplane into the building, because they lost their faith of communication.

If those we suggest talk is no use, then at least talk stops fighting, and if people disagree and never change their own ideas, then they can spend their lifetime to talk, to converse, to communicate forever, rather than let's do it quick.

I think Obama is smarter than other politician, he can lose his own face and sit down with a small country and talk things out is better than all those US politicians playing political games by showing off their giant male organ. They point out other countries as their peoples' enemy, in the end, they screwed their with own people with a few in Wall street. And not China, nor poor Iraq, nor Iran, nor North Korean. But their pride, greed, and hypocrisy! they are the same as some of the corrupted 'commies' who sit on my people's neck, and the same as some of 2nd Tibetan generation who live in US, and some African who thirst for war.

Do you see any politicians house foreclosure?
Any poor Americans been bailed out?

But all of them acting like they are Dr. Martin Luther King, If Dr. lived today he would lead another march for the poor, for trustful media.

I believe we can change others by inspiration, by a flirt instead despised look , by hand shake instead guns, by good news, fair news, balance news, 100% truthful news, rather than selling news, otherwise don't give me any news which is better news.

Even God change us by good news.

wabewalker Author Profile Page:


No, I don't think Obama will suddenly fix anything, neither do I think China will. I think the US is in deep trouble and we'll eventually lose some of our influence and other countries, like China, will fill the void. But that's a good thing, all this power can corrupt and I think the US needs more humility.

General Yue Fei,

Thank you. I hope there could be more understanding as well. I think the US media dwells on negative news because it sells. Probably it's related to the number of comments, too. I think that if John Pomfret were to post a blog entry about where to go in China for the best-tasting lamb and 200 different people were to comment, he would start writing about "a foreign devil's take on delicious Chinese cuisine." So there's hope.

But profit-seeking in the West is different from having the government censor everything. If I wanted to find out about the good aspects of China, I think I could search the Internet and find it. But I think in China some things, like the Falun Gong maybe, are too dangerous for Chinese people to search for online.

So do you think that China can resolve its differences with Taiwan in peace? You know, this is just my perspective as an American, of course...but honestly to tell you the truth, I really don't care if Taiwan is part of China or not. Whether people call it Taiwan province of the PRC or the Republic of Taiwan, I just don't care. What I do care about is that there are 23 million people in Taiwan who right now can vote, choose their own future, choose their own laws. And maybe because I once was able to use my freedom to save all those people in Africa, I really love having all these rights like freedom of speech protected and wish the people in Taiwan would never lose that freedom. I know you care a great deal that Taiwan should be considered part of China and I hope I'm not offending. But I really do think the most wonderful thing in life is to be free. Because then you can participate in the world and not be controlled by it. I think living in a democracy helps, and not caring about money also helps.

Peace! Keep up the good work, whatever it is you do when you're not here online.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

China is very diverse country too.

I have uncle who is commie but a Christian, Sunday church goer, tries to go to church early on every Sunday to get sit from filled up church.
I have another aunt in law is Muslim, and my uncle married her, before his marriage he drank some sort sodium water for three days for cleanse, and he did and they live happily, and government never pressed them, during my kid's year I often went to their house on weekend to eat beef stew soup, that 80s my city was still short of beef supply, and only Muslim and other Ethnic get their Beef and Lamb food ticket, but Han family did get it, for their Ethnic Favorite Policy, and I was kid and loved beef, so I would go to their house on weekend every weekend, that was early 80s.
And my city in north, a lot of Korean Ethnic live and work among Han and others, I loved different food as every kid, and stayed in their house tasted all Ethnic food.
And on every Christmas big cities church got people line up in street waiting to pay service to Christ at night, that government never blocked.

And that is also another part of China.
And my US Episcopal Church priest just got back from ShangHai and Naking, and His report to our church that Chinese are God loving people, that he never knew the Church are filled up on Service days and even other days. He is American.

But I have not ever seen any such good hopeful news ever been reported from any TV or News of US, maybe it don't fit US foreign policy.

And basically, to be truthful, that both governments are only reporting 50% of truth to their people about each other.

Unless, you have to travel and you can see the both good hopeful and bad crying out loud stuff.

And I believe people are all the same, under different name and skin, when we live among each other.

And I hate politicians, and the reporters are even worse.

No big deal.

And I love patriotism of everyone, not to fight against, but to truly bring people together.

Only traitor provokes a war for his nation and people, but the true patriot can bring both side together so no people will die and nations are in trust and peace.

wabewalker Author Profile Page:

Thmak, my point is that Americans can participate in their democracy, and we can see results. If all this were not enough to convince you that voters play a very real role in deciding American laws and policies, I can tell you that as an activist I have spoken to American politicians face-to-face, including John McCain and John Kerry, and from time to time have even seen them change their policies right in front of my eyes after I have questioned them about their decisions. And I am nobody, I am just a student. That is the beauty of what we have here. Of course we can't break the law but the law really is there to make sure nobody tries to violate someone else's rights.

And sometimes I feel powerful, you know -- I really get to decide what the law is, along with 300 million other Americans of course. Once that made me really arrogant, when I questioned John Kerry in 2003 about his AIDS policy in front of television cameras and he actually gave in to my activist group's demands. His support for AIDS medicine for Africans quickly led to President Bush declaring his "Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief" (PEPFAR) a few weeks later, which so far has provided life-saving medicine to 1.5 million Africans. That's probably the only good thing Bush has done in eight years as President, and it's really because we forced him to do it, he wanted to be re-elected.

As I said, once all that direct participation in deciding my country's foreign policy made me incredibly arrogant, but I've gotten over it and now I'm just proud to get to vote, and I'm proud of my fellow activists.

wabewalker Author Profile Page:

"I have no debt of any kind. My parents are gone, I have no property and so my assets are all invested in stocks and bonds. I am well aware that an economic recession will hurt dearly, but I would prefer it to an overwhelming tax burden on me and on my children. But you have stated that you wish not only to bail out the greedy bankers who got us into this mess, but also millions of Americans (and probably illegal aliens as well) who made bad choices regarding their home mortgages. Why on earth should my children pay for them? Why on earth should I vote for you?

Last and certainly not least, I called your district office and understand you have no plans to discuss your vote today with your constituents in Seattle before November 4th. Perhaps something is more important than sharing with your supporters your position on one of the most important votes that has taken place in Congress in decades? And which fundraiser might that be?

Up until today, you truly were my favorite representative in Congress, and I was so pleased to be able to vote for you. Times change, I guess. I will be sharing this letter with as many people as I can. But should you choose to meet with your constituents after all, you can trust that I would spread the word with just as much enthusiasm, as I truly do like you as a person."

Two days later, Rep. McDermott was the only Representative in Congress to change his vote for the bailout from a "yes" to a "no." He claimed he did so because the new version gave too many concessions to Republicans, but acknowledged his constituents were overwhelmingly against the bailout. You can see/read his speech in Congress at .

wabewalker Author Profile Page:

"Dear Rep. McDermott:

I'm a student in Seattle and a constituent in your district. I was proud to vote for you in 2006 and again in this year's primary.

That's why it is so painful to me to see how you have voted in this morning's House vote for the $700 Billion economic stimulus package. This bill will solve nothing, because home values will remain unhinged from inflation, and the federal government will continue to force banks to give subprime loans to people who can't afford to pay for them, as a result of regulatory revisions to the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act that were passed in 1995. And the roughly 13 million immigrants who are in our country illegally will continue to accept such loans, aware that they are not taking on any more risk than their current state of potential deportation at any time. Until we fix CRA and immigration (either by making these people citizens or kicking them out), we will not be able to fix the problem by throwing money at it." (continued in next post)

freebornchina Author Profile Page:


Do you really think Barack Obama can fix all the financial problem? I think maybe Americans are getting too excited.

General Yue,

I am sorry for giving you such a yammer before. You see, I am patriotic too, but I just tried to explain why Tibetans are angry. Maybe we all are good and bad.

wabewalker Author Profile Page:

Hi Thmak, you said, "Your statement: "the policies and laws that the majority of Americans voted to have" is wrong. Americans are not allowed to vote to invade Iraq, to grant the recent sky-high financial handouts to swindling financial institutions, on the passage of every laws in America. Please be speicific, I hope you understand"

Actually, Americans did vote to invade Iraq in a way, because enough people voted for Bush, and then before the war they didn't pressure Bush and their representatives hard enough to stop. And in fact it's okay to blame an ordinary American for the war in Iraq, that person has a vote.

But we don't participate in our democracy just by voting. Let me share with you a letter I wrote to my congressman on September 29, so you can see what I mean: (see next post)

wabewalker Author Profile Page:

Guoclan, it's perfectly reasonable to question how biased the press is. I have a suggestion to you. Take part in some significant event that you feel might be sensitive enough that the media or government might not want it to be reported. Then look to see if it is actually reported in the news, and whether they tell the complete story. This works because you know what the truth really is, you were there. It's an experiment with a small sample size, fair enough, but hopefully it would be enough to quell your fears. I did this once and don't regret it.

wabewalker Author Profile Page:

Hi all,

I just want to say so much! Here's a short response and I'll give more detail in a moment. General Yue Fei, I understand your joke, and I really feel for you. I wish you all could vote too! Somehow I don't think democracy would be such a scary thing for the Chinese government as it might seem now. I could imagine and understand arguments against democratization all at once -- look at what happened to Russia. But that's a long conversation to be had another time, maybe.

As for what would happen if California wanted to break off from the union, I guess I don't have an answer to that. I can only be glad that that's not the case. Maybe the fact that we are a democracy makes separation less likely. Although the American civil war is of course an obvious exception.

Thmak, you're right, of course. When I talk about protesting, I talk about everything here in the US that is legal. And I understand where you're going with that. I'm so glad that I can protest, criticize the president, etc. and not be arrested for that. On a more somber note, I think there is one important reason why there's an amendment to the US Constitution that gives every American the right to have a gun. If one day the government decides that they're going to take away my rights to protest, vote, and so on, then it's true, I really would take a gun, find people who are like me, and rebel against the state. Probably along with tens of thousands of other people. Because I love my freedom and I love my country so much, I truly will "Live free or die," as is the state motto of New Hampshire. And look, it's perfectly legal for me to say that! What a wonderful thing.

guoclan Author Profile Page:

To all readers of the Washington post. I think that Pomfret's column is always interesting to read, but somehow the real truth never gets published and news is controlled by the media and government. Am I correct?

With regard to China, I, like Barack Obama, hope to be China's next President in 2009.

The Chou Dynasty (Jehovah dynasty) is a Hebrew dynasty that migrated to China between 2200 BC to 1900 BC.

My return will signal the coming of a new democracy to China, better political and economic relations, and the true worship of God by China's 1.6 billion atheist.


generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

Hi all Chinese in Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and West China...

Look at how Americans, How they united themselves, we should learn from them.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

A Chinese Voting Report:)

Yesterday I went to a local voting place in my Obama shirt,
After the security checking my ID, they would not let me in,
So I asked them WHY?
And they said:
“Mr, you are a Chinese, you can’t vote here; if you want to vote, you have to go back China.”
I was so angry,
because they don’t know even though I go back I STILL CANNOT VOTE!

thmak Author Profile Page:

To Wabewalker: Your statement should be modified as follow:"If I don't like his policies then I will criticize him with letters, phone calls, lobbying, protests in the streets, whatever is necessary," within the laws of the country. If not, you'll be manhandled by law enforcement agnecies. Your statement: "the policies and laws that the majority of Americans voted to have" is wrong. Americans are not allowed to vote to invade Iraq, to grant the recent sky-high financial handouts to swindling financial institutions, on the passage of every laws in America. Please be speicific, I hope you understand

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To wabewalker,

What if CA wants to break off the Union?
Let say that 90% of residents are Latino there, want to be another country, and they ignore the will of other 49 states, but just want to break off.

What your government going to do?
And how your majority people feel?

wabewalker Author Profile Page:

Dear Citizenofthepost-Americanworld,

I just voted for John McCain, and now I'm going to support President Barack Obama. If I don't like his policies then I will criticize him with letters, phone calls, lobbying, protests in the streets, whatever is necessary, but I will also accept the policies and laws that the majority of Americans voted to have. And I am proud to do so.

The United States is indeed a united nation. The fact that we can disagree so strongly and still come together to form a just society is what makes democracy such a wonderful thing.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

To complete my post, at 9:16 this morning, I would encourage readers to study closely the document "China's Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean". The full text has just appeared on the Chinese Government's Official Web Portal. *

Nothing there to save the world, but much to further peaceful coexistence and international cooperation in the community of nations.



Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Donald2 writes : "McCain and Palin only lost by a small margin after the massive failure in US foreign policy and economy."

I say: now is therefore the time we make sure we remember that despite it all, nearly 56 million Americans did indeed vote for Bush's Republican heirs, the McCain-Palin couple (CNN election centre). Nearly 56 million Americans!

Those 55 million plus Americans never were in the same boat as Obama. Those 55 million plus Americans do not necessarily mean to row in the same direction as Obama.

Before we massively, naively believe this is a united nation, let us not forget that despite it all, more than 55 million plus Americans did vote for Bush's heirs.

A united nation we are not. A united nation we can only hope to become.

Obama: "The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep."

wabewalker Author Profile Page:

Hi all,

Barack Obama is going to be President!!!

Personally I voted for McCain because I liked his tax policy better, but this is still wonderful news, I agree with you General Yue Fei. It's uplifting, and I think our world needs hope right now.

I think if China can address the problems with the quality of its goods, that would be best for the world, and also good for China. I think Americans are starting to realize that they'll have to dig themselves out of their own holes. In Washington we just voted to increase our taxes to pay for better mass transit, and elected a governor that will tax gasoline and encourage us to stop using our cars and live greener lives. All these things are responsible decisions.

So, if in the future we need to work with China to address global financial problems, I'm more confident now than I was yesterday that we'll at least do so in a responsible way.

Peace out, folks.

Peter34 Author Profile Page:

"Every time as US seemed to fall into a downward spiral, it found a new light to renew itself to be the jiant again. We saw this again last night. Overnight, US is no longer the evil maker of the world. It's amazing how democracy can bring."

-------Hehe,this is how American playing with this world.Kill millions of people and then change a man while keeping the culprit at large,and then they claim they are clean entirely now. Genius! Only the rest of the world are fool,ah-huh,mmm....

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

Every time as US seemed to fall into a downward spiral, it found a new light to renew itself to be the jiant again. We saw this again last night. Overnight, US is no longer the evil maker of the world. It's amazing how democracy can bring.

Yet, McCain and Palin only lost by a small margin after the massive failure in US foreign policy and economy. This still shows the weakness of democracy. US is only superpower with 3000 nuclear warheads capable of detroy the world 80 times without any outside counter balance, and the only force can stop such crazy action is American democracy. After last night, I feel America is a peace loving nation, again.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

"Will China Save the World From a Recession?"

How profoundly silly!

Rather than letting former colonialists and current imperialists lead it into playing the so evidently ludicrous, Christian role of World Saviour, China ought to keep on growing and developing in every part of this vast world, leaving the West, and first the US, take the full responsibility of cleaning up their acts and of working their way out of their self-generated economic depression.

Capitalism is not about World Saviours. Rather, we are told, it is about the "survival of the fittest", or better still, the "survival of the fit enough".

Just watch: China will help those in real need, beginning with Asian countries, as it has done in the past and said repeatedly it would do again, this time around.

Let the West eat humble pie for as long as it takes, until it has learnt to treat the rest of the world not as saviours, only as equals.

Peter34 Author Profile Page:

Only U.S can save this world by stopping printing excessive paper Dollar and letting other countries buy American assets according to the spirit of bilateral free capitalist market.

thmak Author Profile Page:

To Pomfret: USA and her allies has been stifling Chinese economic development for the past 50+ years, first with a militarily enforced total embargo, to present day export restrictions of high tech industrial items. USA threaten China, not Korea or Japan, to re-evaluate her currency higher while let USA currency devaluate. USA ushered her puppet ally Iraq to transfer China's oil production right in Iraq to a USA corporaation. USA preferentially supports China's neighbors economically but not China. From these perspectives. Will China be like God and "Save America!".

PatrickInBeijing Author Profile Page:

While the Chinese economy is large, on a per capita basis (which really is what counts), it is still modest. There are a number of problems looming for China if the world slow down continues, but it has a number of strengths.

Certainly the economy is not large enough to "save the world". But what is likely to occur is a strengthening of regional trade. As the US imports less, the intra-Asian trade will likely to become more important for all of the countries in Asia. Through "win-win" trade agreements and mutual cooperation, they may "save" themselves somewhat.

The over-valuation of US real estate, and the creation of huge amounts of excess paper wealth (along with the unbelievable deficits) will keep the US busy and weak for some time. But it still has a number of strengths (and some real wealth, once the phony wealth is stripped away).

There is likely to be somewhat of a shifting away from a central economy (US) driven world to a multi-centered world economy. This is the natural direction for the world economy to take. The question is how it gets there.

The Chinese leadership, along with leaders of other developing countries have been working to develop these relations for some time. Certainly the current crisis is likely to further speed up that development.

Frankly, the current Chinese political system is doing a better job of managing the crisis than the current American system (which created it). Hard landing? Who knows. It is always a great way to sell books by predicting disasters. Remember, a few months ago? Oil was going to $200 a barrel and staying there.

Who says China wants to "rise" to a superpower status like that of the US? A careful conservative approach to the crisis certainly sounds better than the US approach (alas, we just gave the banks $250 billion which they are using to buy each other instead of helping jump start the economy, that "liberal" approach doesn't seem to be doing so well).

It is not clear just what Mr. Pomfret thinks China should do. Nor is it clear why Westerners (who aren't doing so well right now) think that they have all the answers for China, when we (I am a Westerner) hardly have answers for ourselves.

Zolko Author Profile Page:

"First, before we get into why this probably won't happen..."

How about when, 3 month ago, before the Olympics games (remember ?) every country's government talked about human rights abuse, and how China should be boycotted. And now, Hop !, they shall throw billions (na, TRILLIONS) on our banks to save our way of life.

You have no shame.

Pebble1776 Author Profile Page:

Quit rigging your currency. That is not free trade. Wall Street and US multinationals can no longer cover for you, they have lost their power.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To Mr John Promfret,

Congratulation to you and Americans!
You guys made history!

And I am sure our nation's leaders were watching your nation today, watching your people making history, and I hope maybe the seed is already planted in their heart and waiting for the coming spring. If there is anything that American can be proud of, is this, the American Dream.

God Bless America.

From a Patriotic Chinese.

dummy4peace Author Profile Page:

When there is such a great gap between the rich and the poor in China, there is no way that every Chinese can be given equal right to vote as we do in the US. As long as there are rampant corruptions, democracy is impossible. Why should the rich and powerful give the poor the same right? The problem is that no family can stay rich for too many generations. Some day, the grandkids or greatgrandkids may fall into the poor rank of the society and suffer from other rich and powerful as you impose onto the poor souls today. The best gift one can leave for his or her future generations is a political system in which everyone has equal rights, which we proudly exercise and protect today. Many thanks to those brave souls that gave us the right to vote today!

malagasy Author Profile Page:

John, what exactly is your point with this article?

Nobody is saying that China would be able to "save the West" from this economic crisis-- it's too deep-rooted for any one nation to come to the rescue, and the reckoning will be painful. Undoubtedly, economic and financial leadership is disappearing from the Anglo-Saxon financial centers in New York and London as our "high debt, high interest, high leverage" neoimperialistic model collapses before us. In the short term at least, leadership will probably pass to the German-led Eurozone at Frankfurt, with the more cautious (and savings-oriented) "mixed system" at the ECB guiding the way.

Still, China can very much provide a positive boost by ensuring some continuing stimulus to global demand, which (if it were to collapse) would precipitate a deflationary spiral much like in 1929. In fact, China-- along with Brazil and the still-growing Gulf Arab countries-- may be the only factors protecting the world from another Great Depression for this reason alone.

As far as China's political system, of course it needs reform, but it's doing that, John. What you and far too many writers don't seem to grasp, is that China prefers gradual, smooth transitions over massive and sudden changes that often make tings worse, which is smart considering that China still needs to lift so many out of poverty.

China is increasing the rule of law and checks and balances in particular, with more independent and empowered judicial mechanisms and a freer press (as the recent milk-tainting scandal shows).

As far as elections, China does encourage local elections, and what might be called "feedback sessions" where the people express their satisfaction (or lack thereof) with performance, and provide constructive, encouraging dialogue.

But China is hesitant to install a US-style voting system because, frankly, they see how messed-up it's become in the 50 states-- bitterly polarized, divisive, with a foolish media focusing on sensationalism rather than critical thinking, too wrapped up in short-term fixes without difficult (and sometimes unpopular) long-term planning, and enslaved by special interests.

In short, the US-style system is basically failing, which is becoming even more apparent as we slip into $12 trillion national debt and face a slow, smoldering defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

China prefers a more merit-based system with some elements of a republic and democracy, a sort of mixture-based system in other words. And frankly, they may get it right, certainly better than we are.

Honestly, I'm baffled at the level of China hating that occurs in so many US newspapers these days. Our system has utterly failed, that's apparent to the world, and it seems that many Americans (and some Britons) are so insecure, that they can't accept that China will continue to thrive, or that some aspects of it system just might be better.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

one thing is interesting or maybe I have not followed Mr. John Pomfret's China blog for over years, but it seems that John only concentrate or discovered the bad things of China, but I have not ever seen any post that is a leastest positive for our nation, or culture, or history, or people, or what so ever.

It really makes me wonder...

Is that Chinese have nothing positive in John's view, like Cui Jian's song that

In front of you, I always have nothing...

Or it is because the two nations' political difference that clouded our eye?

Politics is just politics, in the end, I hope we all find each other amiable and attractive, thank God it is not a marriage, no person is perfect, nor any nation, but if we only concentrate on each others weakness and the unhappy things then we will never live happily, nor we will ever cooperate with respect, and we will never have hope, trust and love for each other, and things could only go break up of marriage and confrontation of two nation.

As a common Chinese, I love US, American, but when the politician start to talk I hate them the same as some of bad corrupted Chinese too.

I hope people would understand this, we can always find something that is positive of anyone, and journalist don't build bridge for people to fight, but to somehow to live together, and people can't live in peace in all of the negative mess, nor all good shining cover. Could we write something about a nation and someone who we love but also disagree with? Not someone or a nation we hate? If we love someone then we can see his weakness and strength too, but usually we see each other as hopeless dead meat.

I hope journalists could work for a balanced report, independent report does not equal to a balanced report.

Our pen is a powerful weapon, it can nail a person, rape a nation, and also speaks truth and reports hope too.

It is too sad for me to see all these bad stuff about China, and it is also sad for all of us to read, and sad for us to write too...

Where are the hope? and love and our faith? besides all these mess and report of sadness?

Oh, it makes wonder...

bsallamack Author Profile Page:

Economic growth in China was funded by the wealth of the United States. Their economy was built on producing products that would be purchased by Americans. Without American consumers their economy will suffer a serious downturn.

It is absurd that anyone could believe that China suddenly has the enormous amount of wealth that was built by the American economy by over 60 years of growth to substitute for the loss of this wealth by America.

Absurd ideas like this can only be viewed as an explanation of the poor economic policies of the United States that allowed the United States to so quickly destroy the powerful enormous economic powerhouse of the American economy.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

I am not economic expert, only have some good ideas for issue of Tibet and Taiwan, but I think it is good for John to express two sided view to let readers to think.

Economy: means educational guess.

ayu123 Author Profile Page:

This post does not make much sense to me. On the one hand, John seems to be saying that it's unlikely that China will take on a leading global role in fixing the economic crisis since China is not yet ready - economically - to play such a role. Then John concludes with a paragraph that says that it is China's political system that is preventing China from playing a leading global role. What gives?

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