Are Western states handling China the right way?

The 20th century brought China economic growth, so the East-Asian giant is now the second largest economy in the world after the United States. Is the policy of Western states appropriate regarding this potential partner and dangerous rival?

The Western bloc’s policy is appropriate: only cautious co-operation can be successful

07/17/2018 - 10:00
Many people are afraid that China will become too powerful and a threat to Western civilization. But the seclusion of the West would not be successful, a well thought-out cooperation is in everyone's interest.

China's rapid and seemingly unstoppable growth is unquestionably Western civilizations’ biggest challenge the 21st century. No one knows for sure where this massive economic growth and the increasingly active diplomacy with other countries will lead. Will China overturn capitalism or integrate slowly into the current system? Insecurity can evoke fear, but this should not distract us from the opportunities of a potential cooperation.

The positive aspects of a prudent cooperation

Besides the negative aspects, China's strengthening has a positive side as well that the Western states quite justly try to make good use of. Various free-trade agreements and huge investments are made one after the other. More and more Western countries declare China to be a trading partner of strategic importance and strengthen their political cooperation with the Eastern state. The European Union is currently one of China's most important trading partners. The communist country wants to reach a mutual free-trade agreement with the EU as soon as possible; some, such as former British Prime Minister David Cameron supported this, while others warned to be more cautious. If economic ties were to be further strengthened, then the European markets would be at risk to be flooded with underpriced products due to the cheap Chinese labor force, leading to the deterioration of the EU countries’ competitiveness. France, Spain, and Italy therefore only support closer cooperation and investments in information and technology as well as joint developments in e-commerce.

China and the United States: the quest for balance

Balancing between China and the United States of America is a rather difficult task for leading politicians and diplomats of various Western states. China's totalitarian state model is alarming to most countries following democratic principles. Although almost every Western country tries to establish good relations with China, they also painstakingly make sure that only such economic agreements are made that do not make them too unilaterally dependent on China.

China is aware that many European countries navigate between the USA, Russia and the East, and therefore strives to show itself in the best light possible so that more countries would choose the Chinese investor over the two other superpowers. On the one hand, this may lead to the gradual transformation of the world order and promote China's liberalization at the same time. The country is still under communist regime, but a gradual softening in the system can be observed, which might as well lead to cultural and social convergence to the West over time. If China wants to be part of the world economy and enjoy all its benefits, it must join the various international agreements and institutional systems, like the World Trade Organization (WTO) of which China became a member in 2001. Such co-operations not only provide rights for China, but also impose obligations on it, promoting the integration into the Western system. The WTO membership, for example, guarantees that China will incorporate the rules of international trade into its own domestic legal system.

It is important that Western countries give due respect to China and also let it play an increasingly active role in the international political, economic, cultural and social scene after such a lengthy isolation. It should be welcomed that Chinese metropolises host more and more international events. The Olympic Games were held in Beijing in 2008 and the G20 summit was held in Hangzhou in autumn 2016.

Although the Chinese economy can outgrow the American one in a few years, if the US plays its diplomatic cards well, it should not be afraid of the East. Even if the US alone cannot offset China, jointly with the other countries of the Western civilization, it could retain its ascendancy.


This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

The West makes a mistake when it tries to lecture China

07/17/2018 - 10:00
Experts predict that China will further grow in the 21st century, and the USA will definitely lose its leading position. The Western-oriented international system that still tries to find a solution by keeping China in check, is increasingly questionable.

The international system that came into being in the post-war decades and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, is under US leadership and is shaped by US demands, so the Eastern part of the world does not have any opportunities to advocate its interests. Neither the United Nations as a formal power nor the interventionist policy of the United States of America tolerate any approach apart from the liberal Western one. However, as a result of the reforms implemented at the end of the twentieth century, China, the eastern giant, has become an inescapable factor both in the international economy and in international politics. The country alone accounts for 20% of the world's total population, plus four times more people live on the Asian continent than in Europe and North America altogether. Besides having 5000 years of history and cultural wealth, China is the second country after the US with the highest GDP. Not surprisingly, the leading Western countries regard China as the main threat to the status quo, which clearly manifests in their political behavior.

Harmful mistrust instead of useful cooperation

The mistrust based on the principle formulated by Barack Obama "if we don’t make rules, the Chinese will" can lead to tensions between the countries. As long as the US sees China as a potential military target and security-threatening offender, only a superficial, semblance of a cooperation for the press will exist. The opportunities, public administration tools and problem-solving mechanisms offered by the absolutized Western jurisprudence, are clearly incapable of successfully responding to the challenges of the 21st century. NATO is helpless against irregular warfare. Europe experiences terrorism directly and it seems incapable to stop it. The global economic crisis affects most actors in the international community due to globalization. These and similar problems must be tackled jointly by the countries.

Unnecessary Western power-demonstration

The US desperately holds onto the unipolar world order and accepts China as an integral part of the world economy, but it does not intend to give it a political role because of the above-mentioned mistrust. It persists on its policy demonstrating superiority, even if it is often ineffective against China. Although China’s membership in multiple international agreements can be regarded as a success, we mustn’t ignore the fact that the system can rarely enforce the commitments China has taken on. China gets the most criticism because it is damaging the environment. In the past 50 years, more than 500 international contracts have been signed in the field of environmental protection, which have led to visibly positive results for example in Sweden or Denmark. On the other hand, China, having signed also a dozen or so agreements of this type, is executing them only reluctantly or not at all, and remains a global record holder in air pollution.

Therefore, the West’s policy marginalizing the East and recognizing only itself as an absolute leader and example is clearly untenable. Technology can be bought and the Eastern developing countries make use of that. It is in the constantly changing politics’ nature to bring the change of roles, the Western dominance is not set in stone. So, it is worth reconsidering our image of the Oriental civilizations, including China, in a rational, forward-looking way to serve the interests of the entire international community.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

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