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Jon Huntsman’s “gonna take China down” comments

November 23rd, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Former U.S. Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, in a televised Republican primary debate told Americans he would reach out to the 500 million Chinese Internet users; to lead them towards change which would ultimately “take China down.” Video below has been circulating in China. It contains what Huntsman said captioned in Chinese. I want to share reader silentchinese‘s response.


Undoubtedly some of the English language ‘China’ blogs will dismiss Chinese reactions to this as ‘nationalistic.’ Their carts are in front of their donkeys aren’t they? Americans wanting to understand ‘China’ will also have to look at her own actions critically.

While I absolutely agree with silentchinese’s analysis on what Huntsman said, I hope the Chinese bend backwards and try to take this in with a big grain of salt. Romney and Perry call each other liars in front of millions of Americans. The American political climate is venomous. Perhaps I am a new convert, but I do believe this phenomenon needs to be kept in mind when looking at what American politicians say.

Yes he was talking about changing china’s political system.
but the interesting thing to me is this: the implication of changing china’s political system, from his standpoint to his audience, was that the change will neutralize china’s manufacturing and economic growth. and bring prosperity and economic growth back to america
2 things one must note in that statement.
1) he thinks (at least speaks as if he thinks) this is a zero sum game between America and China, which clearly and factually baloney. but he felt compelled to sell that as zero sum.
2) and what I think is more interesting: he is stating he believes that a political change in china would slow down china economically… which means, one, current system is actually good for chinese prosperity and growth. and two, his hopeful alternative for the chinese state, a chaotic, pseudo-democratic, post-soviet era like state for China, would means economic dislocation and disruption for chinese prosperity and growth.
Do I hear an implicit endorsement of chinese state? that he is actually acknowledging the current chinese state, which he is so desperately trying to dislodge with all his help “constituencies” in china, is working for china?!
such rare admittance from former US ambassador to china and republican presidential hopeful, a moderate at that.
this should give all the starry eyed “democrats and liberals” in china a clear spalsh of cold water.
or may be not, may be they knew all along the plan to dislocate the current state. and the economic dislocation it would entail… may be they are not thinking in the best interest of china, may be they are ….. gasp… hanjian.
ha.
p.s.
oh I am very sure US is trying all it could to dislocate the current political system. the very fact that china is on such a trajectory now, and is fast becoming in US political elite’s eye an dangerous existential threat to US economic/political/military hegemony, AND thus multifront efforts are being spent to dislocate the very political system that has brought china this far. … is ample enough proof that, despite all the bad about chinese political system (and there are plenty), in a macro-historic standpoint, the system is actually working for china.
which brings me another gloomy observation:
carthago delenda est
sinae delenda est.

Obviously this goes beyond rhetoric. Look at the NED funded Liu Xiaobo, Hu Jia, and scores before. Look at the U.S. media longing for a Jasmine revolution in China. As in Professor Yan’s recent essay, this is a battle for the hearts and minds of people. For countries like China and Russia where the U.S. or NATO cannot outright bomb into submission, they engage in such battles. Qualitatively, this is much more benign. And I think it is important for people in China to be cognizant of it. For if not, they would be playing into the hands of those who precisely want to escalate into real bombs and bullets.

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  1. zack
    November 24th, 2011 at 01:07 | #1

    yinyang
    there’s nothing benign about trying to influence another country’s politics for one’s own realpolitik aims; perhaps there are some in the US who do honestly respect China’s cultural traits and society and way of life and don’t wish to “westernise” the Chinese or attempting to influence China’s decisions by “converting China to the orthodoxy of liberal democracy”.

    Huntsman doesn’t strike me as someone who’d say something untrue just to get ahead; look at his views and stances on gay marriage or the budget-he’s not even ahead in the Republican candidates race because of such honesty and this comment of his, coupled with his activities in China such as attempting to benefit politically from the “jasmine-revolution-that-wasn’t” speaks volumes about his intentions.

    To be honest, i believe all US Presidential candidates and Congressmen honestly do wish to China to be a weaker, compliant version of China-such as Japan or South Korea. What better way to assure US supremacy this century than by feeding off China’s strength? Is it possible for a Sino-US “G-2” Alliance to cooperate together and lead the world? i believe so, but i hardly think it’s possible given this current generation, nor the one after that. Obama’s rather transparent efforts to militarily contain China this past month have been as blatant as it gets. i think Beijing should be commended for not escalating the situation.

  2. November 24th, 2011 at 01:38 | #2

    There’s nothing surprising about what Huntsman said. This is the same guy who was caught on film “sight seeing” during the so called Jasmine revolution. The same guy who cracked a condescending joke about the Chinese on Stephen Colbert’s show. He is no different from most other Americans who believe in American exceptionalism, the Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, and all that crap. I thought Obama was different but he turned out to be the same. Of all the presidential candidates, only Ron Paul correctly recognizes that perhaps other countries don’t like the US sticking its nose in our business.

  3. November 24th, 2011 at 01:41 | #3

    Of course, we shouldn’t forget this video from Wangfujing earlier this year.

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/02/u-s-ambassador-john-huntsman-caught-on-video-teased-by-chinese-at-jasmine-revolution-rally-at-wangfujing/

    Sure people may attribute this mostly to one man, but imagine if the Chinese gov’t is implicated in funding the Occupy movement …. Also things have been attributed to the Chinese gov’t with much tenuous connections – e.g. cyber attacks originating servers with mere Chinese IP addresses (chinese cyber attacks), companies with CEO who used to serve in the PLA (huawei), etc….

    I am not calling anyone to action, but just noting the discrepancy / injustice / hypocrisy here.

  4. Nihc
    November 24th, 2011 at 04:45 | #4

    I wasn’t able to view the Youku video from Australia, is there some proxy hopping I need to do?

    I assume this is the same video content on Youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCulPyAxZV4

    Speaking of Rick Perry forced abortion charge:

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/perry-communist-china-destined-ash-heap-history-35000-abortions-every-day-there

    Have it occur to people that China has a lot of abortion because China has a large population?

    According to the Guttmacher Institute, China has a similar rate of abortion as India (but safer), and infact has a lower abortion rate than SEA.

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/IB_AWW-Asia.pdf

    So does that mean India and the rest of Asia is also doomed to the Ash Heap of History?

  5. JJ
    November 24th, 2011 at 05:39 | #5

    Stephen Colbert cuts Jon Huntsman China gaffe

    A less-than-tasteful joke was edited out of Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s appearance on “The Colbert Report.”

    When the show played a stereotypical Chinese musical jingle, Huntsman joked, “When’s the delivery food coming?” After a few moments of awkward silence, host Stephen Colbert asked the former U.S. ambassador to China, “Did that go over well in Beijing?”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/66786.html

    In my opinion, Ron Paul is the only good candidate out of both parties. In fact he’s the first candidate in years in which I was moved enough to donate to his campaign.

  6. silentchinese
    November 24th, 2011 at 20:27 | #6

    It’s not just huntsman that I have problem with.

    Looking at the republican crowd that night, it was a race to see who can bash china the most.

    (Ron Paul has something called principle so he is the only one that didn’t do that, but sadly he will not get anyway because voters in this country do not like principled people. at leas they haven;t voted for any one who has principle.)

    Huntsman was just offering an alternative and more “devious” method to achieve the goal of “take china down”. other wants trade or hot wars.
    in another word, it was not a debate on the goal, it was a debate on the method.

    these candidates form these unanimity opinions , not because they believe them, (or else Huntsman group would pull all of their investment out of china, if they really think china would be “taken down” by a member of their family).
    but because the american voters really wants to hear these things from them.

    this, my friends, is the true problem. the american voters are so brain dead, that they can not stop blaming others for their problem nor do they believe in any win-win situation only in a life-death zero-sum game. even when they themselves are to blame for the dire circumstances they have put themselves and the world in.

    who else do you blame in a demoracy but the voters?

    or is America truly is a democracy?

    if it is . then I would say democracy really does makes people dumber, selfish, and really doesn’t work.

  7. Charles Liu
    November 25th, 2011 at 15:27 | #7

    @silentchinese

    America is not a democracy (it’s a republic); America is only democratic in the sense she provides for her citizens at the death and deprivation of others. Huntsman’s remark is a fine example – give the deaf and dumb what they want to hear, speak for them. He may or may not act on it, but who cares? When push comes to shove, we’ll just nuke China.

    And Huntsman’s remark not only reveal some truth about him, it also reveals his perception of Chinese netters and youth – they are idealistic and can be easily manipulated to wreck their own country.

    I really wonder if this is true of all young people. Look at what’s happening in Egypt now, young people recklessly exercise their right to violently attack their own government. Even OWA jobless garbage in US cities protesting Black Friday (if they had money they’d be shopping.)

    Why isn’t China pumping money into OWA to create chaos, teach these young people “non-violent warfare” to escalate the protest to incite violence – I hope this also reveal some truth about the Chinese government.

  8. zack
    November 26th, 2011 at 02:42 | #8

    did it ever occur to Huntsman of the impact of his words? Previously neutral Chinese would’ve taken in his message and if they weren’t thinking of ways to take down the US before Huntsman and his colleagues discussed ways to “take down China” then now they probably are and have more than every right to feel the way they do.
    It’s also probably more than likely that they are now actively aware of ways the USG is attempting to cause chaos and instability in China

  9. melektuas
    November 26th, 2011 at 12:46 | #9

    So the viper reveals its fangs…

  10. November 28th, 2011 at 06:50 | #10
  11. November 29th, 2011 at 02:45 | #11

    (To be clear, up front, I am NOT a Huntsman supporter, nor am I against him. Not every opposing or supporting viewpoint has to do with political affiliation.)

    I find it quite interesting how much has been read into his words, when they were pretty simple to follow.

    There IS a generational change going on in China (as he said), and there are hundreds of millions of newly informed youth (on the internet) in China (as he said). Was he calling for them to “take down China” politically??? Be serious. His whole conversation was dealing with trade, economies and manufacturing.

    He was speaking of avoiding a trade war with China. Anyone who has spent any time in China, or at the very least has kept themselves informed on the Chinese perspective of trade, would easily understand his point.

    The masses in China have been fed the party line, and been manipulated into viewing EVERYTHING from a single perspective. They honestly feel that China is “following normal, fair trade practices”, that the trade imbalance “also benefits the US”, and that any complaint by the US is “a knee-jerk reaction to economic problems within the US”. This is now the mantra within China when speaking about international trade.

    You would be hard pressed to find anyone in China who realizes that while they have seen major economic growth over the past 31 years (becoming the second largest economy, second largest importer of luxury goods, second in number of billionaires, largest automotive market, largest trade surplus, fastest growing economy), the Yuan has only appreciated a grand total of $0.01 a year over the same period of time. They are only seeing the results at home, and accepting the government’s line on how it is being done.

    Nobody in China is focusing on how foreign trade (which makes up 50% of China’s economic growth), has grown faster over the past 25 years than its GDP.

    Informing the youth of China about the realities of the global market, and what China is doing, would surely be a better strategy than simply “let’s start a trade war”. It would also remove the common blind support the government of China would depend on when it starts trying to rally support for trade war with the US.

    People have no idea the “anger card” that the Chinese government has in their back pocket at all times. 60+ years of an indoctrination of hatred, allows them to wave that card in almost every situation that arises between China and other nations. The idea of 1.3 billion angry Chinese is a powerful manipulator.

    If we can put a chink (no pun intended) in that control over the minds of the people, it would serve the US better, obviously. But sitting around screaming about it at home is not going to do anything, as long as 1.3 billion people are being duped into blind support of any and every underhanded and unfair trade practice that the Party tosses out.

  12. Nihc
    November 29th, 2011 at 03:33 | #12

    “The masses in the USA have been fed the party line, and been manipulated into viewing EVERYTHING from a single perspective. They honestly feel that China is “following unfair trade practices”, that the trade imbalance “damages the US”, and that any complaint by China is “a knee-jerk reaction to economic problems within the US”. This is now the mantra within US when speaking about international trade.”

    //You would be hard pressed to find anyone in China who realizes that while they have seen major economic growth over the past 31 years (becoming the second largest economy, second largest importer of luxury goods, second in number of billionaires, largest automotive market, largest trade surplus, fastest growing economy), the Yuan has only appreciated a grand total of $0.01 a year over the same period of time. They are only seeing the results at home, and accepting the government’s line on how it is being done.//

    Apparently a purpose of money is being a store of value. In this respect, minimal changes in currency value in China is a good thing. (For China, probably not for US).

    “Nobody in China is focusing on how foreign trade (which makes up 50% of China’s economic growth), has grown faster over the past 25 years than its GDP.”

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=ch&v=85
    http://www.indexmundi.com/china/gdp_(official_exchange_rate).html

    According to IMF and CIA data, export make 25% of China economy in 2010. On the other hand, the second biggest Exporting nation Germany, export make up 40% of the GDP. Moreover, 10 years ago, export only make up 20% of the economy in China, whereas in Germany export made up 30% back then.

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=gm&v=85
    http://www.indexmundi.com/germany/gdp_(official_exchange_rate).html

    Compare this with American ally and presumably democratic Taiwan:

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=tw&v=85
    http://www.indexmundi.com/taiwan/gdp_(official_exchange_rate).html

    Their export to GDP is as much as 63%.

    So apparently, Taiwan and Germany are cheaters!

    On the other hand,

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=us&v=85
    http://www.indexmundi.com/united_states/gdp_(official_exchange_rate).html

    USA has a miserable 8.7% export to GDP. Maybe US is underperforming and the economy should be much smaller than it is?

    Even Japan is doing much better at 14%

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=ja&v=85
    http://www.indexmundi.com/japan/gdp_(official_exchange_rate).html

    Australia where I live is similar at 17%.
    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=as&v=85
    http://www.indexmundi.com/australia/gdp_(official_exchange_rate).html

    We should also compare a nation with similar GDP per capita as China: Thailand (where I spent most of my youth). It has a whopping 60% export to GDP ratio!

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=th&v=85
    http://www.indexmundi.com/thailand/gdp_(official_exchange_rate).html

    Malaysia: (where I was born)
    88.6%!!!

    Singapore: (A special case for an island nation)
    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=sn&v=85
    http://www.indexmundi.com/singapore/gdp_(official_exchange_rate).html

    The GDP is almost 160% (higher than the GDP because GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports)) and Singapore need to import a lot too.

    “People have no idea the “anger card” that the American politicians has in their back pocket at all times. Years of indoctrination of hatred, allows them to wave that card in almost every situation that arises between USA and other nations. The idea of 300 million angry American is a powerful manipulator.
    If we can pull a yank (pun intended) in that control over the minds of the people, it would serve the US and everyone else better, obviously. But sitting around screaming about it at home is not going to do anything, as long as 300 million people are being duped into blind support of any and every underhanded and unfair trade practice that the media and the politicians tosses out like QE1 and QE2.”

  13. November 29th, 2011 at 05:31 | #13

    If our politicians had 1/1000 of the brain of Steve Jobs, we would be in better shape. Recently they accuse China for depreciating the currency. We will not gain anything, but lose a lot.

    * From recent history, China will retaliate like stopping our export of chicken feet, a delicacy over here but not fitted to feed our cows. Not to mention selling them airplanes and other farm products.

    China is the best of the cheap labor countries, but there are many who will take China’s place and we do NOT gain any job. The $20 wage will never compete with a $2 wage.

    * China will not care about our economy if we do not allow their import. To pull back the trillions of debt is a no brainer to them. Again, our politicians have less than 1/1000 of the brain of Steve Jobs, and stupid folks will do stupid things.

    * We hypocritically depreciate our USD by QE1, 2, and potentially 3. Hence, we try to lower our debt burden.

    * It hurts US in the future by forcing a lot of pro US decision makers in China losing power/positions. Do you remember the Chinese missile scientist was falsely accused of being a communist and was forced to return to China and became the father of Chinese missiles? History is repeating itself.

    The silly politicians insult our intelligence by blaming all our ills on China as they cannot fix our problems. They want to be re-elected and we should never fall into their stupid trap. We are not as stupid as our leaders as it would start the double dip recession.

  14. pug_ster
    November 29th, 2011 at 07:17 | #14

    @凯尔

    There IS a generational change going on in China (as he said), and there are hundreds of millions of newly informed youth (on the internet) in China (as he said). Was he calling for them to “take down China” politically??? Be serious. His whole conversation was dealing with trade, economies and manufacturing.

    Jon Huntsman was really vague on this one. First he was talking about China’s economic might, then he was talking about the newly informed Chinese youth, and then he said ‘take down China.’ It could be interpreted in many ways, he could mean that US should compete with China economically, but why did he mention Chinese youth in the first place? Is he asking Chinese youth to take down China?

    As for the “The masses in China have been fed the party line, and been manipulated into viewing EVERYTHING from a single perspective.” skit, it is mostly coming from the US. If the US don’t air their China-Bashing sentiments, you won’t hear these Chinese-Nationalist sentiments.

  15. silentchinese
    November 29th, 2011 at 07:55 | #15

    @凯尔

    forget the interpretations.
    so, tell me, how will the scenario millions of youth “taking china down” benefit china?

    all the wishy washy interpretation glossing over aside.
    he was clearly making an pro-american comment (as he should be).
    his message (to his prospective voters in N.Carolina) was clear, the way to “bring back prosperity to america” was to “take china down”. wether or not the million blogger in china helps in that endeavor or not , it is an argument on the method, not the goal.

  16. scl
    November 29th, 2011 at 19:31 | #16

    Using internet to subvert Chinese government is just a U.S. pipe dream. See http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2009/12/can-authoritarianism-survive-the-internet.html. The establishment of anti-CNN by young Chinese was one of the most visible actual effects of Western anti-China rhetoric. Every year before Chinese government transition, the noises of Western rhetoric increases. It’s just same old same old.

  17. November 30th, 2011 at 05:32 | #17

    @Nihc

    Thanks for proving my point:

    As I said… “The masses in China have been fed the party line, and been manipulated into viewing EVERYTHING from a single perspective. ”

    And as you clearly pointed out… “Apparently a purpose of money is being a store of value. In this respect, minimal changes in currency value in China is a good thing. (For China, probably not for US).”

    As I said… “Nobody in China is focusing on HOW foreign trade…”

    And as you clearly missed the point, you went on to show statistics that had nothing to do with the how.

    Devaluing the currency 587.5 % in one pop (from 1.2元:$1 to 8.25元:$1 in 1980) and allowing it to appreciate less than 1% a year over 31 years (while the Per Capita and nominal GDP grew by nearly 1000%), should already be considered a trade war. However, you are still sitting there, ignorant of what is going on. Angry and defensive to something that I wrote without any personal attack on anyone.

  18. November 30th, 2011 at 06:26 | #18

    @pug_ster

    Again, respectfully, I think the vagueness is simply because people are not listening to the second half of his ‘take China down’ statement (and possibly because some have not spent any time in China). I realize that the moderator was talking over him, but I hear it quite clearly; he clearly followed with “while we have an opportunity to go up, and win back our economic manufacturing muscle”. If we are to take his “Take China down” statement as meaning some major political revolution, then what is the “opportunity to go back up” that he is speaking about with the US?

    He is not CALLING for it, it is already happening, slowly. It is more likely to be a gradual change through social awareness of the issues that are going on in China (i.e. what I referred to in my first comment), and one in which an informed youth will be needed to cause that change (Which I think he was speaking of).

    I honestly don’t think that anyone who knows this place actually believes that there is ANY chance of the educated youth of China to “take China down” politically (in the context that people seem to be putting his words into) in the next 50 years. That is simply a pipe dream of westerners who hold on to the likes of Ai Weiwei. It’s just not going to happen.

    I guess living here (China) 24/7 for nearly a decade has caused me to view things a little differently. If I had never been here, I would probably agree with you and many others about what his intentions were, and I might also agree with your statement about “China-Bashing”. But as it is, I see a hardline Party that has even talked itself into believing that they are following fair trade practices, and a continued one sided indoctrination to that end through the media. (In the US, you will have both aspects covered in the media (maybe not within the SAME media company). But in China, you are only going to find the Party line throughout the media, and vilification of anyone who says differently.

    I see the educated youth of China blinded by the influx of cash to even consider that there might be something underhanded going on with the way the government handles foreign trade. Sure, they will complain about cheating, corruption and 关系 all day long, but they cannot put 2 and 2 together to realize that the same practices that are giving the Party officials multiple townhouses and Ferraris, are the same practices that are giving China paved roads, high speed rails and a space program… through unfair foreign trade practices.

  19. November 30th, 2011 at 06:42 | #19

    @silentchinese
    Pro-American, true. Bringing back prosperity with change in China, true. But the “Take down” is where people are really skewing his meaning.

    You said it is an argument of method, not goal. It really ISN’T an argument – as he said, it is already happening.

    You asked how “taking down China” could benefit China – great question. If you look at it from the narrow standpoint of simply “Taking down China” politically (from the outside in), it seems like a zero-sum approach for the youth of China. But that is not what is going on, or what he was speaking about.

    But if you take it in the context of the change that is already happening (through no action of the US), coupled with “Reaching out” to those who are making those changes already, it is not a question of how it benefits Chinese – it is a question of how the US can create a closer tie to China, thus benefiting from the removal of those old Party ways, and bringing fairness back to trade.

  20. silentchinese
    November 30th, 2011 at 07:58 | #20

    凯尔 :@silentchinese Pro-American, true. Bringing back prosperity with change in China, true. But the “Take down” is where people are really skewing his meaning.
    You said it is an argument of method, not goal. It really ISN’T an argument – as he said, it is already happening.
    You asked how “taking down China” could benefit China – great question. If you look at it from the narrow standpoint of simply “Taking down China” politically (from the outside in), it seems like a zero-sum approach for the youth of China. But that is not what is going on, or what he was speaking about.
    But if you take it in the context of the change that is already happening (through no action of the US), coupled with “Reaching out” to those who are making those changes already, it is not a question of how it benefits Chinese – it is a question of how the US can create a closer tie to China, thus benefiting from the removal of those old Party ways, and bringing fairness back to trade.

    ok, your argument is really convoluted.

    First, I hear clearly in his statement that he wants to “reach out” to the people who are “his constituences” in chinese blogsphere. clearly that is a attempt to influence. why would you want to “reach out”

    A. His entire argument is based on the presumption of a zero-sum game between US and China, in “manufacturing and prosperity”. correct? i.e. Chinese “manufacturing and prosperity” Down = US “manufacturing and prosperity” Up.

    B. “it is a question of how the US can create a closer tie to China”?
    so the “removal of those old party ways” and “closer US ties to China” would in fact bring political and economic dislocation to china?

    if a sane chinese person buys the argument A and B.
    the question is , why this sane chinese, with their right mind, wants to support that agenda. i.e. destroy their hard earned relative prosperity for “closer ties to US” and “removal of those old party ways” which I presume means the current political system (that also partly responsible for the current relative prosperity, or else huntsman woul;dn’t so eager to see it “bring it down”. ).

    do you get it? you are attempting to convince people with a line of argument that goes directly against their own interest.

    This is mushy thinking at its best!

    this get me thinking… which I really shouldn’t because we are talking about American politics here… mushythinkingland…

    Republicans has been very succeseful in American politics to convince vast swath of mid class americans to vote against their own economic interest.
    may be huntsman is attempting to do the same.

  21. raventhorn
    November 30th, 2011 at 10:47 | #21

    @凯尔

    “Devaluing the currency 587.5 % in one pop (from 1.2元:$1 to 8.25元:$1 in 1980) and allowing it to appreciate less than 1% a year over 31 years (while the Per Capita and nominal GDP grew by nearly 1000%), should already be considered a trade war.”

    That’s a very new definition of “trade war”. (Not necessarily correct, but somewhat original and creative).

    Are you suggesting that currency value should track GDP growth??!

    In that case, I don’t see how the “Free market” system was working for Europe and US, as apparently, all these years, most of Europe had rather fake and pumped up GDP’s, while keeping substantially same currency rate vs. US.

    Or are you suggesting that the whole time, perhaps since 1980, US was waging trade war against Europe??!

  22. Nihc
    November 30th, 2011 at 15:40 | #22

    @凯尔

    “Thanks for proving my point:
    As I said… “The masses in China have been fed the party line, and been manipulated into viewing EVERYTHING from a single perspective. ”

    You proved nothing except your own bigotry against Chinese people. I was never brought up in China. I am a third generation immigrant who spent most of my life in American allied countries (Thailand & Australia). I went to a private school with western education. As well as having a degree from an Australian university. (I am adding Master’s to that shortly). How exactly could I be fed by the Chinese government when I never live there?

    But even as westernized as I am, I struggle to make sense of your incoherent argument.

    “Devaluing the currency 587.5 % in one pop (from 1.2元:$1 to 8.25元:$1 in 1980) and allowing it to appreciate less than 1% a year over 31 years (while the Per Capita and nominal GDP grew by nearly 1000%), should already be considered a trade war. However, you are still sitting there, ignorant of what is going on. Angry and defensive to something that I wrote without any personal attack on anyone.”

    I was not even angry at you. It wasn’t obvious to me how your explanation made sense. 1980 is when China reformed its economy from a communist system to a market oriented one. There wasn’t a great deal of trade with the rest of the world before that. In all likelihood, the currency prior to 1980 was completely unrealistic. I am no expert in China or economics, but I believed China was pressured to devalue its currency significantly in 1980, either politically by the US, or just pure economic forces.

    When I was growing up, the Thai Baht was trading at a controlled rate of 25 to the USD. After the Asian financial crisis in 1997, where the currency comes under attack by speculators, it dropped to more than 50 Baht to the USD. To this day it never recovered to 25, its still around 30+.

    I believe the Chinese Yuan had to do something similar around the time of 1997.

    Either way though, it was freaking 30 years ago. If that was a supposed trade war, why was the rest of the world sitting on their bum doing nothing about the exchange rate instead of investing and buying from China. Oh, because 30 years ago China was an economically inconsequential nation and no one could possibly foreseen what it will become today.

  23. Nihc
    November 30th, 2011 at 15:58 | #23

    @raventhorn

    I agree with you Raventhorn, there is nothing that suggest GDP is suppose to grow in line with the exchange rate, I have never seen this with Thai currency for example. If there is some special economic explanation of that matter, its too specialized for the masses (even educated) ones to understand. Since I doubt 凯尔 is an economic professor, I hardly think he is any more qualified to make judgement on whether the currency regime was unfair or even corresponding to the vast economic growth in China.

    @凯尔

    “are the same practices that are giving China paved roads, high speed rails and a space program… through unfair foreign trade practices.”

    Where is the evidence? And why would Chinese youths want to stop this if this was true. Its not as if western countries grew out of fairness and justice. Where’s the justice when westerners held onto their ill gotten colonial gains, along with all its abundant natural resources, but protest other races from immigrating to the same land? I have lived in Australia for almost 10 years, and I failed to see why Australians deserved a better living standard than people in China, when Australians are hardly the exemplar of hard work. And I personally think this country is a lot more corrupted than portrayed, basic infrastructure such as a tram stop takes a ridiculously long time of months and months to complete, who knows how many millions of dollars have been wasted on triviality. While my Chinese friend from the claimed that the same work can be completed in China within 3 days. Given the economic rise of China in the last 10 years, I am inclined to believe him.

  24. Nihc
    November 30th, 2011 at 17:11 | #24

    @凯尔

    “Devaluing the currency 587.5 % in one pop (from 1.2元:$1 to 8.25元:$1 in 1980) and allowing it to appreciate less than 1% a year over 31 years (while the Per Capita and nominal GDP grew by nearly 1000%)”

    I have to add: it seems you are suggesting that there should be a mathematical correlation between economic growth and currency appreciation. There may well be, but you seems to suggest that GDP growth should grow linearly with currency appreciation.

    According to the exchange rate, China GDP have grown from 202 billion to 5.878 trillion, 2900% growth not 1000%, get it right. With purchasing power, the growth is even higher at 247 billion to 10.119 trillion at 4000% over 30 years. That is the average income went up 40x not taking account of inflation (which is very substantial indeed). Should the currency have grown 29-40x as well? Assuming currency should have gone up at the same amount, you will be looking at a GDP with an official exchange rate of 29 * 5.878 trillion = 170 trillion USD. Is that a realistic number for you?

    “And as you clearly missed the point, you went on to show statistics that had nothing to do with the how.”

    You are obviously the one missing the point, I have yet to see you come up with the correct statistics or reasoning to back up your arguments.

    What are you doing in China? Not teaching children economics I hope. If you are in the finance industry I will laugh.

  25. raventhorn
    December 1st, 2011 at 07:34 | #25

    @凯尔

    “Devaluing the currency 587.5 % in one pop (from 1.2元:$1 to 8.25元:$1 in 1980) and allowing it to appreciate less than 1% a year over 31 years (while the Per Capita and nominal GDP grew by nearly 1000%), should already be considered a trade war.”

    Another point about 1980 “devaluing” the Yuan, US and Europe agreed to it. It’s not like China had the economic power in 1980 to force US and Europe to set the exchange rate according to China’s standard.

    If US and Europe didn’t agree with the 1980 valuation of Yuan, they could easily set it to some other higher rate for Yuan, (in which case, China could have gained a lot more foreign reserves in the last 30 years).

    *I think you are practicing quite a bit of that Madoff/Enron style creative accounting. If pegging currency exchange rate artificially low is some kind of 1 way sure way to victory in “trade war”, then every country would do it.

    Well, it’s not some magic trade victory strategy China designed 30 years ago, which is paying off now!

    Every economic policy is uncertain, China tried its currency policy as 1 of many policies for development. (By the same uncertainty, US and Europe didn’t think such policies would work for China, and that’s why they allowed it).

    *another case of 20/20 hindsight to connect the dot to some grandiose conspiracy plans of China. By your logic, LOTS of countries are waging “trade wars” against US already! Who knows, 30 years down the line, when India’s GDP takes off, you will the result of India’s “trade war” against US!!

    🙂

  26. zack
    December 1st, 2011 at 17:44 | #26

    Yo, Huntsman

    if you’re reading this, then you’re probably well aware that your translated comments have made the equivalent of front page news on the Chinese web and suffice to say, every Chinese citizen is more than aware of the saboteur role you and your government have played with regards to China.

    All i can say is, you’re not going to expect any sort of compromise from a China that believes you and your colleagues are after her downfall; rather, you can guarantee that the now enlightened Chinese public will now be working just as hard to surpass the US.

    Well Done Huntsman, you’ve just guaranteed the self fulfilling prophecy of a strong, powerful and resilient singleminded China that will do all it can to succeed and in the zero sum paradigm which you and your colleagues subscribe to, that effectively means (from your POV) that the US has lost.

  27. kchew
    December 1st, 2011 at 19:01 | #27

    Don’t underestimate the influence the US has on Chinese intellectuals and journalists, particularly those in the Southern media. Even the communist party school director and instructors are filled with those sympathetic to US values.

    Hopefully, things will be clearer once the top leadership succession has taken place.

  28. zack
    December 2nd, 2011 at 10:40 | #28

    @kchew
    if there’s something that can be said for China’s leaders, they are pragmatic. If something has been proven not to work-or to cause more harm than benefits to the rest of society, then it shouldn’t be implemented.

    Huntsman’s hoping that greater democratic change in China will equate to greater chaos and intractibility in Chinese politics-kinda like what’s happening in the US right now; there’s evidence even that US “non governmental groups” actively try to incite unrest so whilst some in the Southern Media group may be sympathetic to some democratic practices, they’d be idiots or even traitors to want to ideologically turn China into an effective slave of the US

  29. Nihc
    December 3rd, 2011 at 05:56 | #29

    Guys, although not all western practices are good, its important to learn from the things that have worked reasonably well in the west such as protection of rights and environment.

    There are some horrendous issues that plague China, off the top of my head are:

    Illegal land seizures by corrupted officials and properties developers. Although China recognized them as illegal, they dont’ do enough to stop it from happening. Its nasty stuff that make people do radical actions like setting themselves on fire out of desperation. You don’t want a second round of peasant revolution do you?

    Allowing polluting industries to be set up near communities. This often destroy the livelihood of whole villages. These occur even though there are laws to forbid this from occurring. However, China is notoriously bad at enforcing laws. Lets face it, even basic traffic law isn’t enforced. I was just watching a documentary today about a incinerator built within 200m of a village, even though thats officially against the law. In the end, the villagers have to leave what have been their homes for hundred of years because people are dying from cancer.

    Sadly I am not sure these problems would go away even if there was universal suffrage and democracy.

  30. kchew
    December 3rd, 2011 at 12:24 | #30

    Yes, unfortunately such things happen in China and in most developing countries.

    However in China at least, it has become increasingly difficult for officials to get away with such acts nowadays due to laws targeting forceful evictions, greater public awareness of legal issues and media exposures.

    One needs to be careful in using Western documentaries on China as main source of news. They are far from being objectives as they have their own agenda. Many of the cases are much complicated than what’s portrayed as there are always two sides of the coin. The second point is that China is such a huge countries, with warts and all. More than half the constructions and infrastrucures in the world today are being built are in China. However, the documentaries are only interested in the warts, while the overwhelming success stories of the real China are neglected.

  31. zack
    December 4th, 2011 at 01:40 | #31

    question:
    what actions would one take if another country was actively attempting to “take you down”?

  32. wwww1234
    December 4th, 2011 at 03:08 | #32

    @Nihc
    “Illegal land seizures by corrupted officials and properties developers

    perhaps you need to understand “legal land owner(ownership)” in China before you commend on “illegal land seizures”.

  33. Nihc
  34. JJ
    December 4th, 2011 at 04:38 | #34

    @wwww1234

    I don’t want to go into specifics but this happened to a friend of mine. They were “persuaded” to sell their land because the local government official wanted to build something on it.

    My friend is actually quite connected as well and was trying to avoid selling it but in the end it would have been too costly.

    He still made quite a lot of money from the sale, but it was almost half of what it was worth.

    @Nihc

    Wow, it’s great to see the central government actually take this stuff seriously! Hope the next step is to kick up the enforcement.

  35. wwww1234
    December 4th, 2011 at 20:08 | #35

    @JJ
    “their land”

    The structure of land ownership in urban China is people own the structure but not the land, and the idea is no body should get a win fall simply because one happened to have been assigned (given) a place from previous work unit simply by luck when the government exited the housing market more than 20 years ago. Imagine you got a place in Manhattan and someone got a place in Harlem? If compensation is based on market value of the land, that really is by itself gross inequality and would induce much resentment and social conflict between the lucky and the unlucky. What the government does is when the land is redeveloped, the “owner” or even their extended families gets compensated for the size(structure) of the place, where I have a place (Hainan), there is a choice of cash, or a modern unit (80-140 meter square), often close to the original spot but sometime not. Most people are happy. But for some, eg, who now occupy the beach/prime area which has become very valuable, often no amount of compensation is good enough.
    When you buy a new apartment in China, the land is for 70 years use, much like Hong Kong in its colonial days (in both the lease Kowloon part and the ceded Hong Kong Island part). When that lease is up, the Hong Kong government has a choice of either taking it back with minimal compensation for the structure, OR charging market value for its redevelopment by the owners.
    My sister-in-law has a unit on the Hong Kong side with 25 years to go, that can sell for 250000 USD. Without this expiration date, it would be worth 20X or more.
    Higher relocation compensation will push real estate prices further. Ultimately the cost will be for China’s nascent middle class to bear. As it is now, housing price is already suffocating further urbanization/modernization effort. Does the above information change your perception?

  36. wwww1234
    December 4th, 2011 at 20:24 | #36

    @JJ
    “. They were “persuaded” to sell their land because the local government official wanted to build something on it.”

    All cities have detailed city planning, as all cities are being redeveloped from scratch.
    In many major cities, eg Shanghai and Chongqing, future city models are on permanent display in major architectural sites occupying several floors. They become tourist sights, and at least couple of years ago, a fee was charged.
    There is little uncertainty as to how the city will be like in its various stages. The plan is seldom if ever modified as it probably requires central government approval and compromise from various vested interests. You can confirm this by checking if a new model has ever been made. It is thus very easy to invest in Chinese real estate if one cares to visit such places.
    Certainly there are irregularities in actual practice, and people get rich in the process of any economic activities, sometimes illegally. But that is not the underlying rationale.

  37. Nihc
    December 4th, 2011 at 20:43 | #37

    @wwww1234

    The problem is not because people have only 70 years land use or that the government owns the land. The fact is that the some of the land confiscations/ eviction are illegal according the the central government.

    Say if a farmer lost his land and have no replacement, since he has no other skills he cannot survive. The government is worried about this because they came to power the same way. It would extremely ironic for them to be ousted by a peasant rebellion.

  38. JJ
    December 5th, 2011 at 04:12 | #38

    @wwww1234

    Thanks for the info and it’s definitely helpful for those folks who don’t know anything about real estate in China. And even the US government can take private land through eminent domain if it’s for the “greater good.”

    But in my friend’s case, it’s a very different scenario:

    – First, the land was commercial, not residential.

    – Second, this was not a project from the central government, but a land grab by a local official with ties to a private company.

    – And third, the local official stands to make a lot of money from the redevelopment (and just conveniently, the official’s family member is the owner of the construction company…)

    I also mentioned above that my friend is pretty connected and he actually had the power to refuse to sell.

    However, most of his connections are now older and not in that area. We all know the saying 強龍不壓地頭蛇 so in the end my friend gave in and sold the land.

    So as you can see, this really isn’t a central planning issue. It’s more about corruption and the whole 官商勾結 behavior that lacks a viable means of reporting it without retribution.

  39. raventhorn
    December 5th, 2011 at 06:01 | #39

    @JJ

    That sort of competition of corruption is common, even in US. In US, they just call it lobbying.

    If you backed the wrong Congressmen in the last campaign, you can kiss your government connection good bye.

    But that’s the risk that your “friend” took, when he got into the game with his “connections”.

  40. JJ
    December 5th, 2011 at 07:34 | #40

    @raventhorn

    I know it happens in the US as well but let’s be honest, at the very least this type of news would be reported and there would have been legal means to handle the situation.

    And it would never be as blatant as it would be hard for a congressman to survive that kind of scandal and be re-elected.

    Also, who cares if this also happens in the US. Is that the measuring stick China should have? The fact is that this type of corruption is wrong and they need to work hard at enforcing the legal system to deal with it. Not point at the US and say, “Well they do it too!”

    – – –

    Look, I’m not saying that the entire Chinese government is bad or corrupt or anything like that. But if we can’t admit and comment on the bad things that do happen, then there will never be room for improvement.

    And China still has a lot to improve in this area. I have quite a few friends and family members that own businesses in China and these under-the-table dealings are just a common part of life. The fact that they need to do those things just to get government workers to do their job is ridiculous.

    I believe that China can improve and change but before that happens, it has to be OK to talk about it.

  41. wwww1234
    December 5th, 2011 at 07:39 | #41

    @JJ
    all land, commercial and residential , are owned by the public(government).
    I wonder how your friend got his commercial property to start with, afterall, all land and housing were confisticated after the revolution. (except some residential houses that belonged to oversea chinese).
    Your friend, or anyone, can refuse to sell to another private entity. I take your point that it is worth more when it is owned by someone with better connection capital.

  42. raventhorn
    December 5th, 2011 at 07:49 | #42

    @JJ

    “I know it happens in the US as well but let’s be honest, at the very least this type of news would be reported and there would have been legal means to handle the situation.”

    I would honestly say that there are LESS reporting of this kind of “corruption” in US than you think. If you are in the business of “connections” as your friend is, whether in US or in China, you don’t complain if you are on the short end of the stick. (1) you know they have dirt on you, (2) you hope you can still make friends in the future, (3) if you complain, no one will want to be your “connection” in the future.

    That’s the universal rule in the “connection” business in China and in US.

    It’s like they say in the movie: Rule#1, you don’t talk about “connection” club.

    Re: “Legal means”? It’s all either illegal or all legal. Seriously, were your friend’s “connections” legal??

    Another old saying: If you wrestle with hogs, you will get dirty.

  43. wwww1234
    December 5th, 2011 at 08:06 | #43

    @Nihc
    what you stated certain happens, probably not infrequently.

    I have driven along resettlement areas for those dislocated from dam construction, national part construction, highway and rail etc.. Most of the time, compensation in the form of both housing and monetary, and sometimes a job, is very generous, and those who are being relocated often become the focal point of envy by their neighboring villages.
    However, with rapid development and GDP growth, what was a good bargain becomes an exploitation when measured by current price. Like everywhere, most peasants are not sophisticated investors. Like where I am at, a rocket launching center is being built, and all in a sudden you see so many new cars in this farming community.
    That is part of the reason farm land can only be for self use, and cannot be legally sold, as the “dispossessed” would have no where to go if they become unemployed in the city.
    I dont really know enough to give a better picture.

  44. JJ
    December 5th, 2011 at 08:22 | #44

    @wwww1234

    Right, my friend technically could have refused but the advice he got was that he would face many challenges if he didn’t.

    My point is that if my friend—as connected as he is—was powerless in this situation, then how much harder is it for folks with no connections?

    – – –

    @raventhorn

    Like I said, I don’t care how the US handles this situation. I know all about Blackwater and The Carlyle Group and all those scandals but who cares?

    I’m not here to compare the US to China. My concern is about China and how the country can improve itself.

    And I’m unsure what you’re implying when you ask if my friend’s “connections are legal.” He’s a business person who networks with a lot of people.

    When he was pressed to sell his factory he resisted at first and ask his connections what his options were. They advised him to sell, so he did. And it was in this process he found out that the company that was hired to redevelop the land just happened to be a family member of the local official.

    – – –

    Anyway, like I said, I don’t care if this happens all the time in the US or even if it’s worse in the US. The fact is that this type of behavior is wrong and there needs to be a way to protect against this. But the truth is my friend was powerless in this situation.

    Also, one of his main concerns was for all his workers who were suddenly unemployed. He took it upon himself to continue paying them even though they weren’t working any more and is actively helping them find new work.

  45. raventhorn
    December 5th, 2011 at 09:51 | #45

    @JJ

    I don’t mean to jump on you or your friend, but you did make the assertion about how US would have “reported” or “legal means” to handle this kind of “corruptions”.

    That aside, I appreciate your friend’s “business connections”, but ethically, I think these kind of “business connections” are inherently questionable, even in US.

    **”When he was pressed to sell his factory he resisted at first and ask his connections what his options were. They advised him to sell, so he did. And it was in this process he found out that the company that was hired to redevelop the land just happened to be a family member of the local official.”

    I think your friend was advised correctly, and he shouldn’t complain. So what if the company hired to redevelop the land happened to be a family member of the local official?? That doesn’t automatically imply unethical conduct.

    *
    I can’t say for certain if this type of behavior is wrong. Unless you are making a blanket rule that no government officials’ family/friend can do government contracts, I don’t know what can be done to prevent it.

    Case by case determination will unlikely resolve anything. You can allege improper behaviors of corruption, but you need proof, as in most courts. (And in most countries, you are not going to get the proof, ie. “Don’t talk about Connection club”).

    Just saying, we might want the idealistic “corruption-free” system, but practically, it is not possible, not even in your friend’s case.

  46. JJ
    December 5th, 2011 at 10:33 | #46

    @raventhorn

    It doesn’t matter if it’s idealistic or not. The fact is that my friend was left powerless in this situation and unable to have the means to fight back and not get hurt.

    This isn’t a debate about whether improper behavior took place. It did, plain and simple. There was no open bidding (not even closed bidding) for the construction contract. Corruption took place, and nothing could be done.

    I really enjoy your articles and I appreciate your desire to help educate people about China. But anyone familiar with business in China knows that there is a lot of corruption and under-the-table deals are often required to get things moving.

    This hinders good and ethical entrepreneurs and hurts China in the long run. And it’s something the Central Government needs to work on and enforce the laws better.

  47. raventhorn
    December 5th, 2011 at 12:29 | #47

    @JJ

    I do not dispute that there are lot of corruptions in general in government contracting.

    But I think there are always practical limits to how much improvement can be made in this area.

    During time of fast development, there is increased probability of corruption, simply because there are not enough focus on monitoring. (But too much monitoring, it hinders development.)

    There are a lot of people in US who are arguing that there is already way too much “government” that’s hindering businesses (which hints at loosing regulations on corporate abuses and corruption).

    *now, some may say, why should Chinese care what happens in US? Well, it is a comparitive experience on limits of government monitoring and prevention of corruption.

    Not saying US is the absolute guideline, just saying, there is a limit in every country.

    Whether China can do more at this point to prevent corruption? Some can always argue yes. But I don’t know if it is practical.

    I personally view the heightening clampdown on corruption as a natural development WHEN a country reaches a certain level of development. I’m not sure China is there yet.

  48. wwww1234
    December 6th, 2011 at 19:02 | #48

    @raventhorn

    While corruption is inherent in any society, esp developing countries, given its extensive political wisdom over the milleniums, I think China could do /could have done(?) better.

    China has been sending out tens of thousands of government officials to Singapore as observers/trainees, and has adopted many ideas of its social policy, except the policy of “high pay to discourage corruption”.

    High salary for officials is against the self-sacrificing ideal prevalent during the revolutionary years(that is still the official party line); and Mao’s advocacy of “serving the people” is still ingrained in the expectation of many of the current generation. So it becomes an impracticality.

    The prime minister of Singapore takes in around 20 million RMB annually, while extremely capable Chinese government officials of similar responsiblility cannot even expect to send their kids overseas for school with their regular pay. The government can only lavish them with fringe benefits(education allowance isnt one of them). I hope one day, with the on going change of expectation, this will be corrected.

  49. raventhorn
    December 7th, 2011 at 05:56 | #49

    @wwww1234

    There are certainly many ideas that can be tried.

    But realize that the Central government in China has less money than the provincial governments. This is 1 of the major causes of corruption in China, “Local abuses of power”.

    The local governments ciphon off government income/budget, and use them for corrupt pay offs. The central government have little control over it.

    The local officials are also generally paid by the local government, and thus further encouraging local corruptions.

    Unfortunately, with a country so large as China, there is inevitably local political fiefdom and corruption, and Central government would find it difficult to keep a hard grip on that tendency.

    Singapore, if you will forgive my generalization, is not a good comparison, because it is a much much smaller country. Assuming same average human tendency for corruption (per person basis), China would be several magnitude more likely to experience greater overall likelihood of corruption than Singapore.

  50. zack
    December 12th, 2011 at 01:25 | #50

    i should also point out that for large systems of executive decision making, you need to have a greater degree of decentralisation so as to boost efficiency. personally i don’t care much for accusations for corruption-i would only care if the Chinese ppl care ie if and when they protest and they do (on that note, notice how in any survey on the Chinese ppl, the poller asked them what they wanted and liberal style democracy and western style notions of ‘human rights’ weren’t even in the top 5 of things the Chinese wanted. what they do want was less corruption and a better standard of living).

    anyway about corruption, so much in Chinese practices would be classified as “corruption” to the cynical critical western eye. guanxi is a part of Chinese life, the confucian society based on interpersonal relationships and indeed, i say the westerners are living in their own idealised dream world where even they themselves do not follow their own rules. they practice their own forms of ‘corruption’ but they call it lobbying and old school ties. well the Chinese have enshrined what is basically the Golden Rule, into their lives and culture. connections and networking is how u do business in any age, modern or ancient.

  51. January 16th, 2012 at 13:07 | #51

    So Huntsman bows out.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/huntsman-says-hes-quitting-g-o-p-race/

    Wonder what his next project would be – if not sauntering the streets of China trying to stir up revolution or acting as president to take China down…

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