Sweat not deception behind China's economic rise

CGTN Published: 2018-09-14 17:55:39
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By Zou Yue

An American friend asked me: "Why is China successful?" This summer I went to east China's Zhejiang Province on holiday. The region has the most vibrant economy in the country. I asked my local guide what is the one word that defines his compatriots, and he said, "eagerness." That sums up who we are as Chinese.

Chinese labor productivity grows at nine percent annually, the highest in the world. The country has maintained a strong labor force and high rates of working women. This year, China broke into the world's top-20 most innovative economies for the first time. American multinational conglomerate General Electric started doing business in China as early as 1906, with its slogan "In China, For China." R&D from its 2,500 Chinese engineers has made GE even more competitive.

When Deng Xiaoping started China's reform and opening-up 40 years ago, he not only shook up a stagnant economy, but also set the imagination of Chinese people free.

Farmers were no longer chained to the field, workers were no more burdened by travail, and entrepreneurs became truly enterprising.

In droves, Chinese people became porters and builders, canners and caterers, engineers and researchers, phone makers and shop owners. They are the beating heart of a growing economy and the backbone of an aspiring nation. Like the American pioneers in the West, they deserve every respect for their human ingenuity and determination. They are the real Chinese at their best. They are the good part of humanity.

You may ask what is the government's role in all of this? I'd say it is the catalyst. The true chemistry is generated by the hands and feet of hundreds of millions of Chinese workers.

I know some Americans perceive China as a thief, robber and plotter because it is richer, better, stronger and different. But this is not only wrong, it misses the point.

Like a speeding car, China powers ahead because of a strong engine not because it jumps lanes. No one should be blamed for making efforts, especially if they are willing to join hands with others. In this sense, the Chinese share the same dream as Africans, Europeans and Americans.

Colin Powell once said diplomacy is listening to what the other guy needs. A great statesman stands tall because he understands humanity in friends and in opponents.

The Chinese and American people are at another historical crossroad. Some say we are only connected by wallets; I don't agree. We are connected in more fundamental ways – in our creativity, aspirations, and introspections. How we imagine each other will not only affect others, it will define who we are.

English author Rudyard Kipling says "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." But adds, "There is neither East nor West when two strong men stand face to face."

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of chinaandgreece.com, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.