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Uncomfortable Bedfellows: How Much Does China Need America Now?

Uncomfortable Bedfellows: How Much Does China Need America Now?

A ChinaFile Conversation

Bill Bishop:

The D.C. dysfunction puts China in a difficult place. Any financial markets turmoil that occurs because of a failure of Congress to do its job could harm China’s economy, and especially its exports. The accumulation of massive foreign-exchange reserves, now at record levels, is a feature not a bug of China’s economic model, and in spite of increased talk of diversification China has few viable options beyond U.S. government securities for those massive reserves.

A default or debt crisis that hits U.S. Treasuries not only would reduce the value of China’s massive holdings of U.S. government securities but would also open the leadership to domestic criticism for having so much of China’s “hard-earned” money invested in the U.S. The heavily cited Xinhua piece calling for a “De-Americanized world” was written for the Xinhua English service and did not get huge play in domestic media. Between the huge holdings U.S. government assets and the large number of officials with financial and family ties to the U.S.A., excessive criticism of the D.C. dysfunction could be a double-edged sword.

 

Responses

The debt standoff is temporarily over, apocalypse isn’t now and everyone can take a deep breath.

For China, its big dance partner, the U.S., is still too big and important economically to be abandoned or ignored or snubbed. But the terms of the deal are changing.

America’s fundamental economic power may have not been badly hurt—this time—but America’s fundamental soft power has been dealt a harsh blow.

How much does China need America? Now—and for the foreseeable future—a lot. No other market, no other destination for reserves really compares. For China that’s a question with a fairly simple answer.

The questions for the United States, though, are different. How much does America need influence with China? How much influence does it actually have? It may need influence. It may crave influence. Sometimes, still, it may even demand influence. But the credibility gap has widened.

There are key issues where Washington’s voice could be useful and important: trade, economic reform, political reform, human rights, rule of law—the list is long. The spectacle on the Potomac, however, has weakened that voice far more than just an acute case of laryngitis. To regain some projection, the U.S. needs to go after the chronic problems, address some of its own fundamental issues, narrow the credibility gap and try hard to climb up to the moral high ground again.

Nothing has changed. The United States still exercises effective hegemony over the world economic and political system. China may occasionally resent that reality, but the benefits of participating in that system far outweigh the drawbacks. The agenda-setting power of the U.S. is visible in two recent Chinese economic reform initiatives: its consideration of joining the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and its request at the last Strategic and Economic Dialogue to re-open negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with the U.S. Chinese leaders know that to generate the productivity gains needed for sustained economic growth they must lower trade and investment barriers, and secure better access for Chinese firms to investment deals abroad. To achieve those goals, they must deepen their engagement in a trade and investment regime whose rules are largely determined by the United States.

The renewed anxiety over China’s large holdings of U.S. Treasury debt is, as ever, a red herring. First, China’s total foreign exchange reserves, which rose dramatically from U.S.$200 billion in 2001 to U.S.$3.3 trillion in 2011, have been essentially static for the last two years. This reflects the fact that China’s reliance on external trade has lessened dramatically: the merchandise trade surplus has shrunk from its peak of nearly 9% of GDP in 2007 to less than 3% of GDP since 2011. Because it has successfully rebalanced its economy towards domestic demand, China’s reserves accumulation is minimal. (Note that the main benefits of TPP and BIT would be to increase competition in China’s domestic markets and increase high-yielding investment opportunities for Chinese firms abroad, to increase China’s trade surplus.)

Second, China’s U.S. Treasury holdings are long-term assets of the People’s Bank of China, which can hold the bonds to maturity and never needs to mark them to market. So the “losses” that might occur as the result of Washington’s periodic budget theatrics, or an end to the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program, are entirely imaginary. China still depends heavily on U.S. economic leadership, and runs little risk by playing America’s game.

I have recommended to my friends in the China field that they send a crumpled 1 RMB note to Senator Cruz, and to all the Members of Congress who pulled this horrifying stunt on the American people, with a note card saying “Thanks for all you do!”

For the worst part of this idiocy, from the China-related standpoint, is that it provides fodder (already in wide use) for the reactionary ideologues now apparently riding high in the P.R.C. official media, who point urgently to the insidious menace of U.S.-inspired “hostile Western forces” dedicated to the P.R.C.’s undoing AND to the concomitant “proof” (exemplified by the past 16 days in Washington) that the American political and economic systems are ungovernable and thus dangerous to the world.  Just as the Snowden mess seems to have silenced—for better or for worse—the public criticism of China for alleged massive cyber-penetration of U.S. corporate and government secrets, so now, thanks to a bunch of elected “legislators,” a tiny fraction of whom, if any, have ever been to China or perhaps have ever traveled outside of the United States, the U.S. is debased before the world.  The forced absence of President Obama from the APEC and related meetings in Southeast Asia, as distilled in the “Leaders” photo with Secretary Kerry (thanks to his non-Leader rank) relegated to the farthest corner of the rearmost row of those in the picture, was just testimony to the same thing.

Moreover, it hardly need be mentioned that the ideologues who are using American disarray to “prove” the fallacy of “blind worship” of U.S.-inspired ideology and practice are the same figures who have no use for intellectual pluralism and diversity of opinion and expression at home.

I understand Arthur’s “nothing has changed in the fundamentals” comment, but I think there’s more to this situation than the economics he concentrates on.  And simply telling our Asian friends, let alone the Chinese, that “nothing has changed in the fundamentals” is not going to get us very far.

The only saving grace out of this, at least as of this morning, is that in the end something approaching common sense prevailed, and the Know Nothings were driven back.  Maybe we can point to that to prove that “nothing has changed in the fundamentals.”

China needs America.  Yes, of course, China has reacted—as much of the world has—to the tiresome drama of America’s current political dysfunction. It is an easy rhetorical hit.  But in the wider picture, China needs America. However much China complains about U.S. hegemony, it is  that hegemony that has allowed China to become an economic power without the costs of maintaining the peace and stability that global giants have traditionally had to secure to guarantee their resources and supply lines. The U.S. security umbrella has allowed China to build up an energy dependence in the Middle East, for instance, without an engagement in the politics. It encouraged China to buy an important copper concession in Afghanistan without, it seems, thinking that it might need to consider the security challenges of exploiting it. Now the scale of the challenges there and elsewhere are evident, but China is not politically ready to meet them. China is faced with the realities of its long supply lines and fixed assets— pipelines, for instance—in unstable and troubled regions. Is China ready to shoulder the burden of defending these? Not yet, it seems. However hostile the rhetoric, China knows that it has had a free ride on the U.S. order to date and it is a long way off taking on the complexities of replacing it.

Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that Beijing’s Mandarins are sick of D.C.’s dysfunction and decide to park their money someplace else. Set aside the question of what you can safely do with some $3 trillion (Mattresses? European estates? Russian minerals? Buy Australia? Free lottery tickets for everyone in China?) and imagine a world where U.S. debt is just as good as anyone else’s.

What a relief. Americans could safely squabble all day long without fear of looking irresponsible. Maybe we wouldn’t be such a super power anymore, but what’s so super about it anyway? Let someone else handle the next international human rights debacle—maybe even China.

Where’s the shame in being a gently faded former super power?

Bill Bishop is an American who lives in Beijing. He is the writer of the blogs Sinocism, where he collects links to news and interest pieces on China, and Digicha, where he writes about Chinese...
Before founding Tripod Advisors, David Schlesinger was Chairman of Thomson Reuters China and was the global information services group’s senior representative in the region. He was responsible for...
Arthur R. Kroeber is Managing Director of GaveKal Dragonomics, an independent global economic research firm, and Editor of its journal, China Economic Quarterly. He is a non-resident senior fellow of...
Robert Kapp began his working career as an historian of twentieth century China at Rice University and the University of Washington. However, his main career contributions have been to the building...
Isabel Hilton is a London-based international journalist and broadcaster. She studied at the Beijing Foreign Language and Culture University and at Fudan University in Shanghai before taking up a...
Shai Oster is an award-winning Hong Kong-based Reporter-at-Large for Bloomberg News. Over nearly two decades as a journalist in China, Europe, and the U.S., he has covered a broad range of economic,...

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Conversation

10.22.13

Why’s China’s Smog Crisis Still Burning So Hot?

Alex Wang, Isabel Hilton, Jeremy Goldkorn, Shai Oster

Alex Wang:

On Sunday, the start of the winter heating season in northern China brought the “airpocalypse” back with a...

Conversation

10.10.13

CCTV Network News Broadcast

Following is a transcript of the network news broadcast of China Central Television on September 30, 2013:

央视网消息(新闻联播): ...

Conversation

10.08.13

Obama’s Canceled Trip to Asia: How Much Did It Matter?

Winston Lord, Susan Shirk, Andrew J. Nathan, Michael Kulma

Last week as the U.S. Federal Government shut down, President Obama canceled his planned trip to Indonesia and Brunei, where he was to have attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bali. Some foreign policy analysts have...

Conversation

10.07.13

Why Is Xi Jinping Promoting Self-Criticism?

Stephen C. Angle, Taisu Zhang

Critics both within and without China have suggested that Xi Jinping’s promotion of self-criticism by Communist Party cadres has at least two motives: it promotes the appearance of concern with lax discipline while avoiding deeper reform, and it...

Conversation

09.27.13

Can China’s Leading Indie Film Director Cross Over in America?

Jonathan Landreth, Michael Berry, Jaime Wolf, Richard Peña, Sun Yunfan, Ying Zhu, Maya E. Rudolph

Jonathan Landreth:

Chinese writer and director Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin won the prize for the best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Though the dialogue and its fine translation and English subtitles...

Conversation

09.24.13

A Shark Called Wanda—Will Hollywood Swallow the Chinese Dream Whole?

Stanley Rosen, Jonathan Landreth, Vincent Ni, Michael Berry

Stanley Rosen:

Wang Jianlin, who personally doesn’t know much about film, made a splash when he...

Conversation

09.17.13

What’s Behind China’s Recent Internet Crackdown?

Xiao Qiang, John Garnaut, Jeremy Goldkorn, Vincent Ni, Rogier Creemers, Isabel Hilton

Last weekend, Charles Xue Manzi, a Chinese American multi-millionaire investor and opinion leader on one of China’s most popular microblogs,...

Conversation

09.13.13

What Can China and Japan Do to Start Anew?

Paula S. Harrell, Chen Weihua

Paula S. Harrell:

While the media keeps its eye on the ongoing Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute, heating...

Conversation

09.09.13

What Are Chinese Attitudes Toward a U.S. Strike in Syria?

Chen Weihua, Vincent Ni, Massoud Hayoun

Chen Weihua:

Chinese truly believe that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. On the contrary, a U.S. air strike would only worsen the situation there. Chinese have seen many failures of U.S. intervention in...

Conversation

09.05.13

To Reform or Not Reform?—Echoes of the Late Qing Dynasty

Orville Schell, John Delury, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Peter C. Perdue, Joseph W. Esherick, Robert Kapp, Mary Kay Magistad

Orville Schell:

It is true that China is no longer beset by threats of foreign incursion nor is it a laggard in the world of economic development and trade. But being there and being steeped in an atmosphere of seemingly...

Conversation

08.28.13

Beijing, Why So Tense?

Andrew J. Nathan, Isabel Hilton, Ouyang Bin, Shai Oster

Andrew Nathan:

I think of the Chinese leaders as holding a plant spritzer and dousing sparks that are jumping up all around them.  Mao made the famous remark, “A single spark can start a prairie fire.”  The leaders have seen...

Conversation

08.21.13

Is Xi Jinping Redder Than Bo Xilai Or Vice Versa?

Michael Anti, Shai Oster

Michael Anti:

Competing for Redness: The Scarlet Bo vs the Vermilion Xi?

Bo Xilai, the fallen Chinese princeling famous for leading a “Red Songs” communist campaign in southwest China’s...

Conversation

08.15.13

What Should China Do to Reverse its Tourism Deficit?

Leah Thompson, Damien Ma, Christine Lu

Recent news stories and industry studies show that fewer international visitors are choosing China as their destination. January-June...

Conversation

08.07.13

What Will Come out of the Communist Party’s Polling the People Online?

David Wertime, Duncan Clark, Orville Schell, Ouyang Bin, Rogier Creemers, Ethan J. Leib

David Wertime:

Simon Denyer’s recent article (...

Conversation

08.01.13

How Dangerous Are Sino-Japanese Tensions?

Jerome A. Cohen

Sino-Japanese relations do not look promising at the moment. Obviously, the Diaoyu-Senkaku dispute is not the only factor in play but it does focus nationalist passions on both sides. Yet both countries are capable of wiser conduct if their...

Conversation

07.30.13

Is Business in China Getting Riskier, Or Are Multinationals Taking More Risks?

Arthur R. Kroeber , David Schlesinger, Damien Ma, Steve Dickinson

Arthur Kroeber:

The environment for foreign companies in China has been getting steadily tougher since 2006, when the nation came to the end of a five-year schedule of market-opening measures it pledged as the price of...

Conversation

07.25.13

The Bo Xilai Trial: What’s It Really About?

Jerome A. Cohen, Andrew J. Nathan, John Garnaut

China has charged disgraced senior politician Bo Xilai with bribery, abuse of power and corruption, paving the way...

Conversation

07.23.13

What Would a Hard Landing in China Mean for the World?

Barry Naughton, James McGregor, Arthur R. Kroeber , Gordon G. Chang

Barry Naughton:

Paul Krugman in a recent post (“How Much Should We Worry About a China Shock...

Conversation

07.18.13

Xu Zhiyong Arrested: How Serious Can Beijing Be About Political Reform?

Donald Clarke, Andrew J. Nathan, Jeremy Goldkorn, Carl Minzner, Ira Belkin

Donald Clarke:

When I heard that Xu Zhiyong had just been detained, my first thought was, “Again?” This seems to be something the authorities do every time they get nervous, a kind of political Alka Seltzer to settle an upset...

Conversation

07.16.13

What’s the Senate’s Beef with China’s Play for American Pork?

Arthur R. Kroeber , Steve Dickinson, James Fallows, Damien Ma

Last week the U.S. Senate held hearings to question the CEO of meat-producer Smithfield Farms, about the proposed $4.7 billion sale of the Virginia-based company to Shuanghui International, China’s largest pork producer. The sale is under...

Conversation

07.09.13

What Is the “Chinese Dream” Really All About?

Stein Ringen, Jeremy Goldkorn, Robert Kapp

Stein Ringen:

I’m coming to the view that the ‘Chinese Dream’ is a signal from the leadership of great import that has much to say about the nature of the Chinese state. It is striking, in my opinion, how effectively and...

Conversation

07.03.13

How Would Accepting Gay Culture Change China?

Fei Wang, Steven Jiang

Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the core provisions of the...

Conversation

06.27.13

Is Xi Jinping’s Fight Against Corruption For Real?

Roderick MacFarquhar, Winston Lord, Bill Bishop, Andrew J. Nathan, Orville Schell, Bill Bikales, William Overholt

Roderick MacFarquhar:

Xi Jinping’s overriding aim is the preservation of Communist party rule in China, as he made clear in speeches shortly after his elevation to be China’s senior leader.  Like his predecessors, he is...

Conversation

06.25.13

How Badly Have Snowden’s Leaks Hurt U.S.-China Relations?

Matt Schiavenza

Matt Schiavenza:

In the understatement of the day, the United States is unhappy with the recent developments of the Edward Snowden situation. Just three days ago, Washington was in negotiations with Hong Kong to file a...

Conversation

06.21.13

How Should the World Prepare for a Slower China?

Arthur R. Kroeber , Patrick Chovanec

Get Ready for a Slower China

The recent gyrations on the Chinese interbank market underscore that the chief risk to global growth now comes from China. Make no mistake: credit policy will tighten substantially in the...

Conversation

06.18.13

What’s Right or Wrong with This Chinese Stance on Edward Snowden?

Shai Oster, Steve Dickinson

For today’s ChinaFile Conversation we asked contributors to react to the following excerpt from an op-ed published on Monday June 17 in the...

Conversation

06.13.13

Who’d You Rather Be Watched By: China or the U.S.?

Tai Ming Cheung, Andrew J. Nathan, Jeremy Goldkorn

Reports of U.S. gathering data on emails and phone calls have stoked fears of an over-reaching government spying on its citizens. Chinese artist...

Conversation

06.11.13

What’s the Best Way to Advance Human Rights in the U.S.-China Relationship?

Nicholas Bequelin, Sharon Hom, Joshua Rosenzweig, Andrew J. Nathan, Aryeh Neier, James J. Silk

Nicholas Bequelin:

The best way to advance human rights in the U.S.-China relationship is first and foremost to recognize that the engine of human rights progress in China today is the Chinese citizenry itself. Such progress...

Conversation

06.06.13

What Would the Best U.S.-China Joint Statement Say?

Winston Lord, Orville Schell, J. Stapleton Roy, James Fallows

As we approach the June 7-8 meeting in California of U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping we are holding a small contest. We have asked ChinaFile Conversation regulars and a few guests to envision their ideal...

Conversation

06.04.13

How Would Facing Its Past Change China’s Future?

David Wertime, Isabel Hilton, Ouyang Bin, Wu Guoguang, Dorinda Elliott, Andrew J. Nathan, Orville Schell

David Wertime:

The memory of the 1989 massacre of protesters at Tiananmen Square remains neither alive nor dead, neither reckoned nor obliterated. Instead, it hangs spectre-like in the background, a muted but latently...

Conversation

05.29.13

What Should Obama and Xi Accomplish at Their California Summit?

Susan Shirk, Orville Schell, David Wertime, Robert Kapp, Elizabeth Economy, Andrew J. Nathan, Winston Lord

Susan Shirk:

It’s an excellent idea for President Obama and President Xi to spend two days of quality time together at a private retreat in Southern California. Past meetings between Chinese and American presidents have been...

Conversation

05.23.13

China and the Other Asian Giant: Where are Relations with India Headed?

Michael Kulma, Mark Frazier, Susan Shirk

Mike Kulma:

Earlier this week at an Asia Society forum on U.S.-China economic relations, Dr. Henry Kissinger remarked that when the U.S. first started down the path of normalizing relations with China in the early 1970s, the...

Conversation

05.16.13

China: What’s Going Right?

Michael Zhao, James Fallows, Orville Schell, Jeremy Goldkorn

Michael Zhao:

On a recent trip to China, meeting mostly with former colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, I got a dose of optimism and hope for one aspect of the motherland. In terms of science, or laying down a...

Conversation

05.14.13

Why Can’t China Make Its Food Safe?—Or Can It?

Alex Wang, John C. Balzano, Isabel Hilton, Alexa Olesen, Jeremy Goldkorn

The month my wife and I moved to Beijing in 2004, I saw a bag of oatmeal at our local grocery store prominently labeled: “NOT POLLUTED!” How funny that this would be a selling point, we thought.

But 7 years later as we prepared to...

Conversation

05.10.13

What’s China’s Game in the Middle East?

Rachel Beitarie, Massoud Hayoun, Tai Ming Cheung

Rachel Beitarie:

Xi Jinping’s four point proposal for a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement is interesting not so much for its content, as for its source. While China has maintained the appearance of being involved in Middle...

Conversation

05.07.13

Why Is a 1995 Poisoning Case the Top Topic on Chinese Social Media?

Rachel Lu, Andrew J. Nathan, Susan Jakes, Dorinda Elliott, Sun Yunfan, Xiao Qiang, Jeremy Goldkorn, Shai Oster

With a population base of 1.3 billion people, China has no shortage of strange and gruesome crimes, but the attempted murder of Zhu Ling by thallium poisoning in 1995 is burning up China’s social media long after the trails have gone cold. Zhu, a...

Conversation

05.02.13

Does Promoting “Core Interests” Do China More Harm Than Good?

Stephanie T. Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Susan Shirk, Wang Yizhou

On April 30, as tensions around China’s claims to territories in the South- and East China Seas continued to simmer, we began what proved to be a popular ChinaFile Conversation, asking the question,...

Conversation

04.30.13

What’s Really at the Core of China’s “Core Interests”?

Shai Oster, Andrew J. Nathan, Orville Schell, Susan Shirk, Tai Ming Cheung, John Delury

Shai Oster:

It’s Pilates diplomacy—work on your core. China’s diplomats keep talking about China’s core interests and it’s a growing list. In 2011, China included its political system and social stability as core...

Conversation

04.25.13

Hollywood in China—What’s the Price of Admission?

Jonathan Landreth, Ying Zhu, Jeremy Goldkorn, Shai Oster

Last week, DreamWorks Animation (DWA), the Hollywood studio behind the worldwide blockbuster Kung Fu Panda films, announced that it will cooperate with the China Film Group (CFG) on an animated feature called Tibet Code, an...

Conversation

04.23.13

How Would You Spend (the Next) $300 Million on U.S.-China Relations?

Orville Schell, Michael Kulma

Orville Schell:

When Stephen A. Schwarzman announced his new $300 million program aimed at sending foreign scholars to...

Conversation

04.18.13

How Fast Is China’s Slowdown Coming, and What Should Beijing Do About It?

Patrick Chovanec, Barry Naughton, Damien Ma

Slower Chinese GDP growth is not a bad thing if it’s happening for the right reasons. But it’s not happening for the right reasons.

Instead of reining in credit to try to curb over-investment, Chinese authorities have allowed a...

Conversation

04.16.13

Why is China Still Messing with the Foreign Press?

Andrew J. Nathan, Isabel Hilton, Jonathan Landreth, Orville Schell, Dorinda Elliott

To those raised in the Marxist tradition, nothing in the media happens by accident.  In China, the flagship newspapers are still the “throat and tongue” of the ruling party, and their work is directed by the Party’s Propaganda Department....

Conversation

04.11.13

Why Is Chinese Soft Power Such a Hard Sell?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Donald Clarke, Susan Jakes, David Shambaugh, Bill Bishop, Jonathan Landreth

Jeremy Goldkorn:

Chairman Mao Zedong said that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and he knew a thing or two about power, both hard and soft. If you have enough guns, you have respect. Money is the same: if you have...

Conversation

04.09.13

Is China Doing All it Can to Rein in Kim Jong-un?

Winston Lord, Susan Shirk, Orville Schell, Michael Kulma, Ouyang Bin

Winston Lord:

No.

 ...

Conversation

04.03.13

Bird Flu Fears: Should We Trust Beijing This Time?

David Wertime, Yanzhong Huang, Isabel Hilton, Donald Clarke, Susan Jakes, Dorinda Elliott, James Fallows

David Wertime:

A new strain of avian flu called H7N9 has infected at least seven humans and killed three in provinces near the...

Conversation

04.02.13

Why Did Apple Apologize to Chinese Consumers and What Does It Mean?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Isabel Hilton, David Wertime, Orville Schell

Jeremy Goldkorn:

On March 22, before the foreign media or Apple themselves seemed to have grasped the seriousness of the CCTV attacks on the Californian behemoth, I wrote a post on ...

Conversation

03.28.13

Will China’s Renminbi Replace the Dollar as the World’s Top Currency?

Patrick Chovanec, Damien Ma, Donald Clarke, Barry Naughton

Patrick Chovanec:

This week’s news that Brazil and China have signed a $30 billion currency swap agreement gave a renewed boost to excited chatter over the rising influence of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB)....

Conversation

03.26.13

Can China Transform Africa?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Isabel Hilton, Donald Clarke

Jeremy Goldkorn:

The question is all wrong. China is already transforming Africa, the question is how China is transforming Africa, not whether it can. From the “...

Conversation

03.19.13

China’s New Leaders Say They Want to Fight Corruption. Can They? Will They?

Andrew J. Nathan, Ouyang Bin

In his first press conference after taking office as China’s new...

Conversation

03.15.13

Is the One Child Policy Finished—And Was It a Failure?

Dorinda Elliott, Alexa Olesen, Andrew J. Nathan, Ouyang Bin, Michael Zhao

Dorinda Elliott:

China’s recent decision to phase out the agency that oversees the one-child policy...

Conversation

03.13.13

China’s Post 1980’s Generation—Are the Kids All Right?

Sun Yunfan, Orville Schell, Damien Ma

This week, the ChinaFile Conversation is a call for reactions to an article about China’s current generation gap, written by James Palmer, a Beijing-based...

Conversation

03.08.13

Will China’s Property Market Crash, and So What If It Does?

Dorinda Elliott, Bill Bishop

Dorinda Elliott:

At this week’s National People’s Congress, outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao proclaimed that the government kept housing prices from rising too fast. Really? I wonder what my 28-year-old Shanghainese friend Robert...

Conversation

03.06.13

Are Proposed Sanctions on North Korea a Hopeful Sign for U.S.-China Relations?

Orville Schell, Susan Shirk, Suzanne DiMaggio, Ouyang Bin, Winston Lord, John Delury

Orville Schell:

What may end up being most significant about the new draft...

Conversation

03.01.13

Is America’s Door Really Open to China’s Investment?

Daniel H. Rosen, Orville Schell, Jonathan Landreth

Daniel Rosen:

There have not been many new topics in U.S.-China economic relations over the past decade: the trade balance, offshoring of jobs, Chinese holding of U.S. government debt, whether China’s currency is undervalued...

Conversation

02.27.13

How Long Can China Keep Pollution Data a State Secret?

Elizabeth Economy, Orville Schell, Donald Clarke, Susan Shirk, Isabel Hilton

Elizabeth Economy:

The environment is center stage once again in China. A Chinese lawyer has requested the findings of a national survey on soil pollution from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and been denied on the...

Conversation

02.22.13

Will Investment in China Grow or Shrink?

Donald Clarke, David Schlesinger

Donald Clarke:

I don’t have the answer as to whether investment in China will grow or shrink, but I do have a few suggestions for how to think about the question. First, we have to clarify why we want to know the answer to...

Conversation

02.20.13

Cyber Attacks—What’s the Best Response?

James Fallows, Xiao Qiang, Bill Bishop, Tai Ming Cheung

With regular ChinaFile Conversation contributor Elizabeth Economy on the road, we turned to her colleague...

Conversation

02.15.13

U.S.-China Tensions: What Must Kerry Do?

Dorinda Elliott, Elizabeth Economy, Andrew J. Nathan, Orville Schell

Dorinda Elliott:

On a recent trip to China, I heard a lot of scary talk of potential war over the disputed Diaoyu Islands—this from both senior intellectual types and also just regular people, from an elderly calligraphy...

Conversation

02.13.13

North Korea: How Much More Will China Take and How Should the U.S. Respond?

Winston Lord, Tai Ming Cheung, Elizabeth Economy, John Delury

China is increasingly frustrated with North Korea and may even see more clearly that its actions only serve to increase allied unity, stimulate Japanese militarism and accelerate missile defense. For all these...

Conversation

02.08.13

Rich, Poor and Chinese—Does Anyone Trust Beijing to Bust the Corrupt?

Andrew J. Nathan, Susan Shirk, Donald Clarke, Barry Naughton

Andrew Nathan:

The new Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping seems to be making some bold opening moves with its attacks on corruption and the announcement on February 5 of...

Conversation

02.06.13

Airpocalypse Now: China’s Tipping Point?

Alex Wang, Orville Schell, Elizabeth Economy, Michael Zhao, James Fallows, Dorinda Elliott

The recent run of air pollution in China, we now know, has been worse than the air quality in airport smoking...

Conversation

02.01.13

China’s Cyberattacks — At What Cost?

James Fallows, Donald Clarke, Orville Schell, Elizabeth Economy, Dorinda Elliott, Xiao Qiang, Bill Bishop

James Fallows: Here are some initial reactions on the latest hacking news.

    ...

Conversation

01.30.13

China, Japan and the Islands: What Do the Tensions Mean?

Orville Schell, John Delury, Susan Shirk, Damien Ma, Isabel Hilton

How did the Diaoyu,...