Since China’s reform and opening up in 1978, the relationship between the United States and China has gone through 44 years, and has experienced changes from cooperation, strategic partners to the largest competitors. Many Americans have a common question: Has the U.S. relationship with China gone astray for more than 40 years?
The U.S. Helps Achieve China’s Glory The
Associated Press reported on January 13 that in the past 2022, China’s foreign trade exports reached US$3.950 billion, with a trade surplus of US$877.6 billion. During the same period, China’s trade surplus with the United States was US$404.1 billion, accounting for 46% of China’s trade surplus.
In 2022, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) will reach nearly 20 trillion US dollars, ranking second in the world, equivalent to 80% of the US economy (25 trillion). Forty-four years ago, in 1978, China’s GDP was US$149.5 billion, ranking 11th in the world and only equivalent to 8% of the US economy. Forty-four years, China’s GDP increased by 134 times! In 2022, China’s per capita GDP will be $12,741, equivalent to 21% of that of the United States. Forty-four years ago in 1978, China’s per capita GDP was $156, which was only 1.5% of the United States. Forty-four years, China’s per capita GDP has increased by 80 times!
The reform and opening up policy implemented since 1978 has brought about such great changes in China’s economy and trade in forty-four years, and the core of this policy is to open up to investment, technology and intellectual property from the United States and the Western world. In terms of foreign trade, China has obtained the permanent most-favored-nation treatment from the United States, and joined the World Trade Organization, obtaining a large number of unprecedented trade preferences, which has greatly increased foreign trade.
Economist and political commentator Dr. Xia Yeliang, former associate professor of Peking University, believes that in order to contain the Soviet Union, US President Reagan hoped to cultivate a relatively moderate Communist country that was relatively friendly to the United States and could accept American technology and other assistance .
Xia Yeliang said: “According to the experience of the past few decades after the war, when a country’s economy develops to a certain level, the degree of democratization will be significantly improved and increased. In the past, there was a saying that was often used in economics. When the per capita GDP reaches 10,000 US dollars, people’s lives will undergo considerable changes. When the per capita GDP reaches more than 20,000 US dollars, people begin to consider issues other than economic life itself, including legal, political and social issues other issues.”
Xia Yeliang said that the United States believed at the time that we should not talk about ideology or the pros and cons of the system. As long as China is willing to open its market and accept American technology capital and management, it will change subtly.
But today, forty-four years later, many Americans are disappointed. Take China’s accession to the World Trade Organization as an example. On December 13, 2022, Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said that 20 years ago, many people believed that joining the WTO would bring reform and progress to China , but today, this wish has been shattered. In the 20 years since China’s accession to the WTO, there has been no will at all to abide by world trade rules. She believes that American companies and the US government gave China a blank check at the time.
Xia Yeliang said that the United States hopes that China will gradually move towards internationalization and abide by international practices, so it actively helps China gain international recognition, from granting permanent trade most-favored-nation status to joining the WTO.
Xia Yeliang said: “China has adopted an attitude of obedience and obedience, that is, on the surface, I promise everything. I promise that I can’t do it now, but I will definitely do it in the future. Give me a grace period of several years. As a result, there were many grace periods at the beginning. The 5-year grace period is still not enough after 5 years. Give us a little more, because we have a lot of difficulties in a country as big as ours, so we need a longer grace period. Just play around like this, and delay it again and again.”
Dr. Wen Guanzhong, a retired professor of Trinity College in the United States, said: “From the perspective of the West, their system is to trust others first. It is a system developed on the basis of mutual trust. Transactions can be conducted between strangers. Long-term contracts can be signed, and private property rights can be defended. It does not require family or acquaintance relationships first. Mutual trust can be established even between groups that are completely unfamiliar, or even completely different races, colors, and religions. Moreover, he took the lead Say I believe you first, unless you betray me in the future, then I’m sorry, I will take revenge.”
Xia Yeliang said: “So these 40 years have been more or less deceitful. It is these officials in the United States, including strategists and analysts. , experts on China issues, they mistakenly think that the Chinese government has agreed and signed the documents, can such a thing still be done? It must be a certainty. So for the contract spirit of the Americans, for the The Chinese are so thick and black, and China’s tactics and strategies are too little understood.”
Analysis: The United States has created its own greatest enemy
. After 44 years, the reality is that the United States has created its own most powerful opponent. While China’s economy has developed by leaps and bounds and its national strength has increased greatly, China’s military expenditure has also increased significantly. China’s military expenditure in 1978 was US$10 billion, while that of the United States was US$113.4 billion. China is equivalent to 9% of the United States. China’s military expenditure in 2021 is 293.4 billion US dollars, while that of the United States is 800.7 billion US dollars. increased to 37% equivalent to that of the United States. Over the past forty years, China’s military expenditure has increased 28 times. Of course, most analysts agree that China’s actual military spending is much higher than the published figures. With the substantial increase in military spending, China’s military power has also increased significantly. China has become the only second military power in the world that can challenge the United States.
Xia Yeliang said: “After 40 years, everyone will see that in these 40 years, China, which has developed with the help of the United States, can compete with the United States in politics, economy, and military.
Professor Wang Weizheng, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Adelphi University, said: “Americans have deeply reflected on this exchange policy that has been implemented for forty to fifty years. That is to say, these forty to fifty years have not made China more open or Democracy, on the contrary, makes the centralization of the party and even individuals more and more serious, and because of the strengthening of China’s national power, China may not only challenge, but may even overthrow the international system established in accordance with the Western value system after World War II , rules. China’s challenges and threats to the United States are even stronger than the Soviet Union.”
Professor Ye Yaoyuan, Director of International Studies and Modern Languages at St. Thomas University in the United States, said: “China is going back to the old path of dictatorship. The confrontation between values will become more and more serious. I think the United States certainly didn’t think he was feeding tigers at the beginning, but in terms of the results, you can indeed say that he seems to be letting the Communist Party become more and more powerful. , leading to such a hegemonic confrontation between the United States and China at this stage.”
Where did the United States go wrong?
Dr. Xia Yeliang believes that the past forty years can be divided into two stages. The first stage is from 1978 to 1989; the second stage is from 1989 to the present. The United States did not make a big mistake in the first stage.
Xia Yeliang said: “They believe that as long as the Americans are patient enough to allow American capital, technology, and management to enter China, China’s democratization process will naturally occur. I think this judgment can’t be completely wrong even today. We think they are based on good intentions and years of experience in various countries in the world.”
Wen Guanzhong said: “At that time, some people in the reformist group really believed that China could gradually achieve these two goals, that is, the economic market. Democratization and democratization of political constitutionalism. At least the reformers have revealed this intention, and the West is willing to believe it.”
Dr. Xia Yeliang believes that the United States is wrong because it has no corrective plan.
Xia Yeliang said: “They didn’t think about that kind of early warning. If the CCP and the CCP regime go astray, there is no way to correct them. They didn’t think about it or didn’t do it.” Xia Yeliang pointed out that in 1989 In the second phase that started after the June 4 massacre, the United States made serious mistakes.
Xia Yeliang said: “Qualitative changes have taken place. After Deng Xiaoping massacred students and citizens, I think this is a watershed. At this time, if American politicians do not have a firm and decisive attitude, it will be important. If It’s not that you don’t say anything evil, at least it’s a major mistake. Only about two weeks after the June 4 massacre, Bush Sr. sent a special envoy to China to talk to Deng Xiaoping. Bush Sr. didn’t see the CCP Even if Deng Xiaoping ordered the massacre, at this time, I think this cannot be forgiven.
Later, during the Clinton period, the relationship between the United States and China developed into a honeymoon period and became strategic partners. Dr. Xia Yeliang said, if you didn’t see it clearly 40 years ago, you can forgive it; but if you haven’t seen it clearly after the June 4th massacre happened 30 years ago, it is unforgivable.
In fact, China has never concealed its intentions. Since the establishment of the Communist Party of China in 1949, Chinese leaders have always regarded the United States as the biggest imaginary enemy and the ultimate enemy. Dr. Xia Yeliang said that it is just that the United States lacks understanding of the essence of the Chinese Communist Party.
Xia Yeliang said: “In fact, it has been very clear since the time of Deng Xiaoping. What is the meaning of keeping a low profile and keeping a low profile? It is the story in ancient China. It means that he must be able to tolerate it, and he must be able to withstand the humiliation of his crotch. , including the various ordeals that Goujian suffered from others, under such circumstances, in order to make a comeback one day, catch up from behind, and defeat the opponent again.”
Xia Yeliang pointed out that what Deng Xiaobing really meant back then was economically. To learn from the West, we must carry out reforms and develop the economy, but we must maintain the rule of the Communist Party politically. Xia Yeliang said: “So Deng Xiaoping’s four insistences are very important four basic principles or the four insistences are the tone set by Deng Xiaoping in politics. So as long as Deng Xiaoping is here or Deng Xiaoping’s thoughts can have a significant impact, then China will We will not engage in real political reform.”
After more than forty years of ups and downs, where is the way forward?
Professor Li Xiaobing, professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma and director of the Center for International Studies, pointed out that historical experience tells us that political reform lags behind economic reform, and it will not be smooth sailing.
Li Xiaobing said: “Americans still don’t know much about the situation in the East, and they don’t have enough summarization of historical experience. This is not just China’s experience, including other countries in East Asia, including South Korea, including Taiwan. Economic reform and political democratization are not carried out simultaneously.
He said that Taiwan and South Korea had reached the level of modernization in the 1970s after 20 to 30 years of economic development, but the country was still authoritarian . It took another 20 to 30 years to achieve democratization. He also cautioned against expecting the process to be peaceful and natural.
Li Xiaobing said: “Look at how many people died in Taiwan. In South Korea, how many people died when students took to the streets. The peak of China’s resistance has not yet arrived. When you really see students bleeding and everyone being (killed), at that time Only then did you know that China’s democracy and China’s political democratization have begun. Therefore, if the next struggle is a bloody struggle, I am afraid it will go deep into the society, and it may be the beginning of this political democracy.”
Wen Guanzhong said: “Discuss whether the United States has joined the CCP Of course, it is meaningful. However, what is more meaningful is what should the United States do in the future. Now, China has become the second largest in the world economy, and it is also determined to win the number one throne. At the same time, the CCP’s intentions have already stated It is very clear that it wants to implement the dictatorship of the proletariat, it wants to return to the original intention of the Communist Party, it wants to implement the so-called party-state system, and it wants to exclude all political forces other than the party. This shows that the so-called There is an essential difference between the Chinese model and the East Asian model. Faced with such a situation, if you continue to cooperate fully with the CCP as before, you will be duped, and you will be deceived.”
America, where should you go?