China’s relationship with the Rest of the World

Updated 3 February, 2014

If current trends continue, then in 25 years, most countries will be beholden to China.

Some because they will be financially indebted – today’s Greece, Portugal and Spain, others because their economic and industrial well being would not have been achieved without Chinese injection of capital or engineering and construction – many African (trade increased by 10 times in a decade to $100bn; most of it in infrastructure projects which has a multiplier effect on economies; eg a 900 mile railway renovation project in Angola) and increasingly Latin America (see sidebar); and some central Asian nations. Yet others because China treated them as equals and traded with them without strings when most Western nations looked upon them as pariahs – Burma, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe to name but a few.


China is on track to become Brazil’s No. 1 investor in 2010

Just past a port where workers are building a two-mile-long pier to accommodate huge vessels known as Chinamaxes that will transport iron ore for China’s ravenous steel industry, past berths for tankers to lug oil to Beijing, a city of factories is sprouting on an island almost twice the size of Manhattan. Many of the structures will be built with Chinese investment: a steel mill, a shipyard, an automobile plant, a factory to manufacture oil and gas equipment.

“They do not want to be perceived as just natural-resource eaters,” said Eike Batista, the Brazilian billionaire behind the port project and one of the world’s richest men. “To them, it’s common sense.”

Starting last year, China became Brazil’s biggest trading partner, replacing the United States.

Another set of nations will be indirectly grateful because China paved the way for contract manufacturing, and as the so-called ‘China price’ rises steadily (see sidebar) – wages have increased by up to 30% in the past few years, especially in large factories aimed at mass production’ and the yuan keeps appreciating – and Chinese factories move up the quality chain, these nations start to become the factories of the world – countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines  Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Mexico – as also some ex-Soviet satellites in eastern Europe. This is already happening for certain goods such as textile goods and low-end electronics.

See also: 


China price

China will likely see “strong” increases in salaries in the five years through 2015 as the nation’s supply of labor dwindles and consumers begin to spend more and save less, Credit Suisse Group AG said in a report.

Wages may increase to be equal to 62 percent of China’s gross domestic product by 2015 from 50.5 percent last year, a team of Credit Suisse analysts led by Vincent Chan and Peggy Chan wrote in a report.

China’s leaders said last month that boosting incomes is a major task for the nation in its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).  

From China Daily – May 2011


What is not commonly known, according to HE Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to Great Britain, is that China is the largest peacekeeping troop contributor of the UN Security Council, having sent c10,000 peacekeeping personnel on 24 UN missions; that, in addition to trade-aid support to 69 developing countries, it has also sent medical teams of 21,000 doctors and nurses treating 260 million patients in 69.

Negative reactions?

Our perception is that there will be four countries resentful of China’s achievements and standing: the USA because of it losing its position as Number 1, either by 2036 or not long after; India, because of its rivalry for the top rank within the 21st century as well as a not quite resolved border dispute; Japan due to long-standing historical envy and enmity; and finally Russia who may be tempted to hark back to the Stalin-Mao era when China was the follower and Russia the leader. However, the reality of China looms large. Oleg Deripaska who runs Rusal the world’s biggest aluminium group in June 2011 said he is planning to invest billions of dollars in Siberian hydroelectric plants to supply northern China with power. It is not an altruistic plan but rather one of creating mutual benefit.

There are also potential issues with some of its neighbours due to either diversion of water, such as with Burma and India, or due to contested seas for either fishing or mineral extraction reasons.

In addition, not all African reaction will be positive.  Already an estimated 1m Chinese live and work in Africa – not all on large construction or mineral extraction projects. And of those there is resentment that so many jobs, such as 10,000 in construction, that could go to Africans are not. Quite different from colonial times when only the ‘sahibs’ were non-African. Furthermore, there are an estimated 1,000 small traders operating shops and other SMEs. It is not entirely clear whether they are adding or reducing jobs for Africans. It should be noted that unlike Western powers, China regards Africa not as a continent in need of aid, but as a vast continent full of opportunity. (See The Dragon’s Gift: Deborah Brautigam.)

More recently, large tracts of arable land in Africa are being acquired by foreign firms including the Chinese. Most of the land will be used to grow crops. But some are earmarked for biofuel rather than human consumption. This has both a positive and negative effect. Positive as the investment and yield are likely to be substantially higher. Negative, as the produce is more than likely to go abroad, leaving Africans even shorter of food than ever. Land is being bought elsewhere, such as in Australia and South America; and large tracts of farmland is being leased in Ukraine.

Tom Friedman, NY Times, author of The World is Flat, is supposed to have said: One of the most unsettling things about the Chinese is not their communism but their capitalism.

Rivals: How the Power Struggle between China, India and Japan will shape the Next Decade

In the view of Bill Emmott, ex-editor of The Economist (1993-2006), there will be, hopefully, a three-way balance of power. He sees great parallels between China of recent decades and Japan from the Meiji Restoration to modern times. However, he hopes that the military belligerence of the Japanese during that period will not be repeated by the Chinese, not least (according to Martin Jacques, the author of When China Rules the World‘) because of the invisible but real resumption of a tributary state system with China in the middle – hence Middle Kingdom surrounded by a host of sovereign states paying tribute to China. Nevertheless, Emmott worries that Tibet may prove to be the flash point between China and India.

Additionally, apart from any border dispute, there is an inevitability about water dispute. Earlier, we mentioned China’s plans to divert water from its wet south to the dry north along three canals.  The western most starts in Tibet and if implemented could have severe consequences for India as one of the rivers to be diverted (40 billion cubic metres a year), the Yaluzangbu, is also one of the main sources of the Brahmaputra a main tributary of the Ganges.

How the West was Lost

In the view of Dambisa Moyo, ex-Goldman Sachs, author of ‘How the West was Lost’ there are three significant differences between ‘the West’ and China that will cause this sea-change to happen within a few decades:

  • the Western approach to personal and national wellbeing through debt financing versus the Chinese (and Indian) propensity to save and spend from savings.
  • the Western attitude to children as creatures to be pampered and who hanker for instant fame and fortune in entertainment or sport versus the Chinese (and Indian) attitude that children must be educated and steered to seek meaningful and worthwhile careers.
  • the Western attitude to individual human rights often to the disbenefit of the greater whole – which we see in the UK in the overly ‘liberal’ interpretation of the European Human Rights legislation versus the Chinese attitude that the majority needs to be protected, sometimes at the cost of the minority.

More balanced view in recent booksfrom 

“The latest book on China\’s position in the world this century offers a nuanced picture of the country\’s strengths and weaknesses

Will China emerge as the dominant force of the 21st century? The debate on the former Middle Kingdom\’s global position has been opened up again by leading China commentator Jonathan Fenby.

His new book, Will China Dominate the 21st Century?, which is published in the US this month and worldwide in March, concludes the country\’s domestic challenges such as reliance on state investment and environmental concerns will divert it from being the leading actor on the world stage.

In this special edition, we not only debate the issues raised by Fenby but present again the views and opinions on China of the leading thinkers, authors and academics who have appeared in the China Daily European Weekly over the past year.

Our Cover Story and Last Word profile subjects have included the foremost China commentators from around the world and today we are giving them another opportunity to stake out their latest positions.

Fenby\’s latest book deals with perhaps the biggest question of all as to China\’s future role in the world.

He argues that we are unlikely to move from a world dominated by the United States – as was the case after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 – to one dominated by China.

He believes that by the end of the century, there will be a greater sharing of power with Europe, India, an emergent Russia and new players like Indonesia exerting greater influence.

He makes the case also that China will be held back – at least for the next few decades – by economic issues relating to the weakness of its private sector, underdeveloped banking sector and its inability to innovate as well as management skill gaps.

The book is the latest of a new genre of China\’s books that presents a more nuanced picture of China\’s strength. It follows on the heels of US Sinologist David Shambaugh\’s China Goes Global: The Partial Power and Timothy Beardson\’s Stumbling Giant: The Threats to China\’s Future.

This contrasts with perhaps more heady titles that appeared just after the Beijing Olympics, including Martin Jacques\’s highly acclaimed When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World, which has now sold more than 350,000 copies worldwide.

Rana Mitter, director-designate of Oxford University\’s new China Centre, believes Fenby reflects a more realistic perspective of China that is now emerging.

\”We are now in an era in which people are writing forward projections about China based on the reality that the supercharged economic growth of the last decade is behind us.

\”China will continue to grow but at a moderate pace and I think people have adjusted their geopolitical lenses to take account of that fact.\”

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2 Comments to “China’s relationship with the Rest of the World”

  1. সবাই লক্ষ করুন, এই নোটে কিছুটা বোঝার ভুল আছে। আমাদের পতাকার রঙ গাঢ় সবুজ এবং গাঢ় লাল। আর ভারতের পতাকার রঙ হচ্ছে হালকা সবুজ। এখানে রঙের কম্বিনেশন দেখলে বুঝবেন যে, মাঝখানে সাদা রাখা হয়েছে এবং দুই পাশে হালকা রঙ রাখা হয়েছে যা আসলে ভারতের মত। একটা জিনিস আপনাকে স্বীকার করতেই হবে তা হচ্ছে এই মোমবাতির রং ভারতের পতাকার রঙের কাছাকাছি।বাংলাদেশের পতাকার রঙ ব্যবহার করার ইচ্ছা থাকলে দুই পাশে গাঢ় সবুজ ব্যাবহার করে মাঝখানে লাল ব্যবহার করা হোত। কিন্তু তা করা হয়নি। আর আরেকটি বিষয় হচ্ছে এই মোমবাতি সংস্কৃতি এতদিন আমাদের দেশে ছিল না। এটা পার্শ্ববর্তী দেশ ভারত থেকে আমদানী করা হয়েছে। এমনকি আমাদের দেশের পতাকার রঙ ব্যবহার করার উদ্দেশ্য হলেও এই মোমবাতি জ্বালানোটা ভালো হবে না কারন সেক্ষেত্রে বাংলাদেশের পতাকা পোড়ানো হয়ে যাবে।আওয়ামী লীগ যে ভারতের পা চাটা দালাল এটা সবাই কম বেশি জানে এবং বোঝে। এখন কেউ যদি এটা বুঝেও না বোঝার ভান করে তাহলে আর কিছু বলার নাই।একটা জিনিস মনে রাখবেন যে ১০০% ভাগ নিখুতঁ ভাবে ভারতের সাথে মিল রাখতে গেলে তারা ধরা খেয়ে যাবে এবং জনগনের রোশানলে পড়বে। তাই স্লো পয়জনিং করা হচ্ছে। মানুষের মানসিকতাকে ভারতের সাথে খাপ খাইয়ে নেওয়া হচ্ছে। এটাকে বলে flaiaimrization করা। টাকার ডিজাইন ভারতের মত করা হচ্ছে। ভারতের পতাকার রঙের কম্বিনেশন বিভিন্ন জায়গায় ব্যাবহার করা হচ্ছে। ভারতের সংস্কৃকি, হিন্দি ভাষাকে আস্তে আস্তে ঢুকিয়ে দেওয়া হচ্ছে। বাংলাদেশের স্বার্বভৌমত্বকে আস্তে আস্তে বিলীন করে দেওয়া হচ্ছে। বাংলাদেশের স্বকীয়তা বা নিজস্বতাকে আস্তে আস্তে বিলীন করে দিয়ে ভারত flaiaimrization করা হচ্ছে।বাংলাদেশের সেনাবাহিনী, বিডিআর ধ্বংস করার পরিকল্পনা করা হয়েছে। আস্তে আস্তে বাংলাদেশের নিজস্বতা বলে যখন আর কিছু থাকবে না, বাংলাদেশ দুর্বল হয়ে যাবে, এবং বাংলাদেশ যখন ভারতের সংস্কৃতি, রীতিনীতি, নিয়মনীতি, আচার ব্যাবহার, ভাষায় অভ্যস্ত হয়ে যাবে তখন এটাকে ভারতের অংশ বানিয়ে ফেলা হবে। এবং এই ধরনের কাজ ভারত আগেও করেছে। সিক্কিম (দার্জিলিং) ছিল তিব্বতের অংশ। কিন্তু ভারত সেটা দখল করে নিয়েছে তিব্বতের দুর্বলতার সুযোগ নিয়ে।কি দরকার এই সব মোমবাতি জ্বালানোর? কি দরকার এই সব ভারতীয় সংস্কৃকি অনুসরন করার? এগুলো না করে কি আমরা এতদিন স্বাধীনতা দিবস পালন করি নাই?আজ টাকার ডিজাইন, কাল মোম্বাতির ডিজাইন, পরশু আরেকটা জিনিস এই ভাবেই আস্তে আস্তে ভারত flaiaimrization করা হচ্ছে। এভাবে একটু একটু ছাড় দিতে থাকলে আমাদের বাংলাদেশের নিজস্বতা বলে এক সময় আর কিছু থাকবে না। এবং কেউ এর প্রতিবাদও করবে না কারন জিনিসটা এত আস্তে আস্তে ঘটনো হচ্ছে যে খুব কম লোকের নজরেই এটা পড়বে। খুব কম লোকের কাছেই এটা অস্বাভাবিক মনে হবে। যেমনটা এখন আপনার কাছে মনে হচ্ছে যে এতা কোনো বিষয় না।(আপনার সৎ সাহস থাকলে আশা করি আমার এই কমেন্টটি ডিলিট করবেন না।)


    • Marcelo – according to Google translate your comment is:
      “All of this, some understanding of the notes wrong. Dark green and dark red colors of our flag. The Indian flag is a light green color. Understand that the combination of colors seen here, has been the center of the white and light colors on the two sides, which is like India. One thing you must acknowledge it is the color of the candles near the Indian flag colors.’s Flag colors if you wish to use both sides of the center of the dark green to red to use hota. But it is not. Another issue is the culture and the candles were not shipped to our country. It has been imported from India and neighboring countries. The color of the flag of our country to even use candles, but in this case because it’s flag burning jbalanota will be better. Awami League is less than that in India we know and understand what it is toady broker. Now, if I did not understand it and then pretending nothing to say. A thing to remember is that 100% of nikhutam match with India to keep up, they can be used, and the public will rosanale. It is slow poisoning. Manasikatake the case with India being gluttonous. It has been flaiaimrization. Money is being designed in India. India’s flag, the color combination is being used in different places. Sanskrki India, Hindi language into being gradually. Bangladesh is sbarbabhaumatbake slowly fade away. Individualism or the gradual decay of Bangladesh with India nijasbatake being flaiaimrization.’s Army, has been plans to destroy the BDR. Respect is something that’s slowly and will not be poor Bangladesh, and Bangladesh when India’s culture, customs, rules, ritual use, can be used in part by India and it will be removed. India already has this type of work. Sikkima (Darjeeling) was part of Tibet. India has occupied Tibet, but that weakness. You need to switch on all the candles? You need to follow these all Indian sanskrki? If they are not what we think of it Independence Day? Designed for today, tomorrow mombatira design, day after tomorrow is another thing to be this way gradually flaiaimrization India. As little as one-time exemptions if the individuality of our customers and some will not. And I will not be because of the protests is that very few people ghatano substitute so slowly, it will najarei. It is unusual for people to be very close. As of now, do not you think that there is no eta. (If you dare to be honest I do not delete the comment.)”

      Thank you!


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