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Reflect on 'China's Responsibility' Theories
UPDATED: August 27, 2010 NO. 35 SEPTEMBER 2, 2010
Why Is China Supposed to Be Responsible for the World?


Since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008, China's yuan had been largely pegged to the U.S. dollar. This is a special anti-crisis policy taken by China in special conditions, and its early recovery stimulated the global rebound. In contrast, some countries tried to devaluate their currencies during the crisis. In the post-crisis era, China resumed the reform of the yuan exchange rate regime in June 2010, expanding the yuan's fluctuation margin, so the exchange rate is able to better reflect market supply and demand. This is another example of China's being responsible for the world and it has been praised by the rest of the world.

What do you think is the real and deeper intention of Western countries exaggerating "China's responsibilities?"

By exaggerating "China's responsibilities," some countries hope to achieve multiple purposes.

First, these countries want to distract the world's focus of attention.

Against the backdrop of sluggish economic growth, increasing conflicts and tougher competition among big powers, Western countries again put forward "China's responsibilities," and even claim "China is the biggest winner of the financial crisis." It's nothing but a tactic to distract the international community's focus of attention, to cover the real cause of the financial crisis and to get rid of accountabilities. China has a large economic aggregate and rapid export-oriented development, and differs from Western countries in systems and values, so naturally the West chooses to transfer the blame on China.

Second, Western countries mean to urge China to adjust its policies according to these countries' will.

Major developed countries have been seriously hurt by the global financial crisis. In 2009, developed countries' economic growth rate was negative 0.6 percent while major developing countries maintained relatively fast growth, with China's growth rate hitting 9.1 percent. As a result, Western countries began to feel jealous. Major developed countries all overhauled their economic development strategies and reassessed the role of the finance industry in their economic development. They have paid more attention to the role of exports in economic recovery and boosting employment. In order to safeguard its national interests, the United States put forward the plan of doubling its exports within five years and increased pressure on China time and again to appreciate the yuan by a big margin, which is beyond China's economic capacities. The aim is to expand U.S. exports to China. Is the United States doing what a responsible country should do?

Third, Western countries are eager to let China take on more responsibilities in the world economy.

As early as February 2006, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a report on China-U.S. economic and trade relationships China should take on more responsibilities and even many obligations beyond China's WTO accession commitments. In October 2006, the European Commission issued the sixth document on its China policies, which claimed the China-EU partnership was moving from "mature" to "closer," as the two sides began to put more emphasis on the sharing of greater responsibilities and obligations than common interests and challenges. In 2001, China's GDP was even not one 10th of the U.S. GDP, but in 2009, China's GDP accounted for one third the U.S.'s. Western countries attempt to force China to take on more responsibilities beyond its capacities and to act according to Western countries' standards in terms of energy development, climate change fight and overseas investment, using the excuses that China has a large economic aggregate and China was the quickest to get out of the crisis.

Fourth, the attempts to force more "responsibilities" on China serve the Western strategy of curbing China's development. China differs from Western developed countries in values and ideology, so China has always been their concern. This is an important reason for differences between the two sides. Considering China's fast economic growth, the West will become more jealous and they will invent more excuses to burden China with "responsibilities."

Some people believe "China's responsibilities" will become a regular tool for Western countries to make China's road of development conform to their rules and curb China's rise in the post-crisis era. Do you think so? How do you think we should face up to this?

That's right. The so-called "China's responsibilities" may become long-term and regular. We must have a clear understanding the claims on "China's responsibilities" are as dangerous as another form of "killing China with flattery," to which we should stay alert.

External elements cannot push China to take on responsibilities beyond its capacities which will harm China's core interests. China is still a developing country that faces a lot of grave challenges in its development. With both the characteristics of a developing country and a growing large economy, foreign countries and China itself always conflict on the country's status in the world.

Developed countries focus more on China's status as a growing large economy. On one hand, they envy China for its seizing development opportunities in participating in globalization. On the other hand, because developed countries are now incapable of coordinating international efforts to correct global imbalances, they hope China will take on more responsibilities.

China should, above all, be responsible to the Chinese people and the country's interests to maintain the sustainable growth of China's economy. This is also China's largest contribution to the world. China will consider taking more responsibilities on this basis in order to strive for a fair and reasonable new world economic order, a new development mode for mutual interests through cooperation and a larger contribution to the world economy.


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