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A summary of discord between the west and China

The Space Between Us. James De Burghe 17th November 2021

It is not unusual in the run of human affairs for differences in culture and beliefs to drive wedges between nations and peoples. In past centuries these wedges often led to bloody and protracted wars.

When you look at todays’ world you can still see these old prejudices and tribal instincts at play in international politics and trade. In the relationships between the west and the Islamic world they have been played out in violence and protracted wars that have brought only death and economic ruin to all parties. In the relationship between the Anglosphere and China there is a conundrum. This seems to be based on a deliberate act of misunderstanding initiated within the Anglosphere.

If I sound a little harsh I believe that the facts bear me out. China opened its doors to the west back in the 1970’s. This initiative led by an agreement between China and the USA was the beginning of a process that yielded benefits not only to these two countries but began a number further processes that had a profound and beneficial effect on the rest of the world. When the fall of the Soviet Union happened there was a huge expectation in the Anglosphere that China would now adopt western style democracy and more important western style capitalism. It did not happen.

The usual attempts at the destabilisation of China, using students failed to gain popular support and led to the myth of the Tienanmen Square massacre. A story acknowledged as false by Bill Clinton but which is still used as a propaganda story against China to this day. Despite this western capitol continued to pour into China attracted by low wages and high productivity. These capital investments ignored the social consequences of their acts on their own national economies. Tens of thousands of workers in the west lost their jobs and that meant a huge drain on government funds in unemployment benefits whilst at the same time losing tax income. Likewise these western governments did nothing at all to stem this outward flow of capitol, claiming that free trade, globalisation and the free movement of capitol was more important than the welfare and livelihoods of their citizens. In the west this attitude led to growing poverty and a huge disparity between rich and poor.

China itself recognised the growing problem and made a conscious decision to develop its own industries. To this end it made huge investments in education, science, and research and development. This was all carried out in a political environment described by China as Marxist Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Capitalism was welcomed but controlled and as time passed and lessons were learnt it was continually modified to suit the purpose and aspirations of China. The country progressively opened up more and more of its economy, joined the World trade Organisation and promoted multilateralism at the United Nations. The Chinese economy grew rapidly and surpassed every western nation except the USA. China was also aware of the impact that its growth had made on other nations and it set out to ameliorate these impacts by buying government bonds in the USA and other western countries to help shore up their economies. China invested two trillion dollars into the USA alone. Chinese companies also began to invest directly in western countries creating taxes and jobs in the USA, UK and other western countries.

China warmly embraced western culture, music, art, food and language were all warmly welcomed by the Chinese people as were the thousands of foreigners who poured into China. English became a compulsory subject in all Chinese schools. Today 60% of all Chinese people can have at least a basic understanding of English, but in the west only around 1.5% of the population can understand any Chinese language.

In the west and in China there were always those who opposed any kind of détente between the two cultures. In China they were disregarded but in the USA and UK in particular from the year 2000 onwards they began to gain political power and an undercurrent of anti-Chinese rhetoric began to swell in both the USA and UK in particular. By the time we reach the present day that undercurrent has turned into a mainstream torrent of abuse, propaganda, false news and distortion. Ignoring the fact that China bailed out the west of its last major economic disaster, ignoring the fact that China has lifted more than 800 million of its own population out of poverty, ignoring the fact that Chinese medical aid and vaccine gifts have saved countless lives in the third world and that Chinese investment has started to lift Africa out of poverty. Today western warships patrol off the coast of China and the west is indulging in a new cold war with China. But are China threatening the west? Well according to western news media everything China does threatens the west, Everything China achieves is a lie and The Chinese people are the subjects of a repressive authoritarian regime. Either deliberately or in ignorance they omit to tell their readers that China has 8 political parties, that no one can enter politics in China without a popular vote and that every process of law and policy in China has to be approved by the Peoples congress manned by people voted for by the Chinese population.

There is a small ray of hope, the USA now faced with rampant inflation and growing unrest has at last held talks between the US president and the Chinese President in the hope of normalising relations between the two countries. Of course this was largely ignored by the western news media.

Submitted: November 17, 2021

© Copyright 2022 JDB401. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Criss Sole

Very eye opening.
I was born in the Soviet Union, and moved to Canada when i was 6. I would very often watch the news from America, and from Russia, and see a big discrepancy.
This article really spoke to me.

Tue, December 7th, 2021 2:11pm

Jake J. Harrison

I don't believe China is the threat the press makes it out to be. But neither do it believe it's a total force for good in the world. China does but have a free political process, just look at Hong Kong. It threatens Taiwan on a daily basis and threatens the island with war. Whatever happened to self determination? China has been free ton invest in the West but has always had strict con controls on investment in China. The country does not enforce intellectual property law and conducted a state sanctioned campaign to steal Western technology and business ideas. What China doesn't realize is that it's "reforms" will ultimate set it back. Socialism/communism is a failed economic model. So, let's not romanticize China.

Fri, December 31st, 2021 2:02am


I doubt we will ever agree on this but after nearly 20 years of living and travelling in China I see it very differently to you.
The political process is different to western processes but nevertheless covers 8 different political parties who agree to consensus government. No one can enter a political career without winning a popular vote and voters have the power of recall for the first 10 years of that politicians carreer. The peoples congress is also made up of delegates voted for by the people and has a power of veto over government actions. The benefits of this system is its stability and that enables long term economic planning.

The Hong Kong Riots, arson and murder were nothing to do with democracy but an attempt to destabilise China as witnessed by the open bragging on some internet sites of the amounts of money they had sent to these people. Hong Kong is part of China as is Taiwan recognised as such under international law. Imagine how you would feel if China put its tropps into Puerto Rica.

As an experienced investor in China I can assure you that you can eassily invest in China, open a company and do whatever business you like with the same provisos on national security issues you find in any other country including the USA and most western nations.

The entire industrial revolution that powered the west from 1700 onwards was based upon technology stolen from China. But in answer to your accusation I can personally testify to the long lines of western business men and companies trying to sell their patents to China, there was no need to steal it was sold to China by greedy individuals.
For a failed economic model it is doing a lot better than the USA or any other western nation..

Fri, December 31st, 2021 3:13am

Jake J. Harrison

Yes, we'll have to agree to disagree. I've also done business in China and it is not an easy proposition. China requires that it maintain a majority of any foreign venture as one example. It also routinely raids offices of foreign companies and can shut them down without any due process. It's why many Western companies set up shop in Singapore where the business laws are more friendly. I don't necessarily blame China for doing this. As you mention, Western companies tripped over themselves to get into the Chinese market and in the process, have away the store. But that doesn't make China a beneficent force in the world.

Fri, December 31st, 2021 7:47pm


I am sorry Jaker but you are sadly misinformed. A foreigner opening a company in Chgina has a number of Choices;

A wholly owned foreign enterprise, ie 100% owned by the foreign investor.

A joint Venture with a Chinese corporation but the foreigner must own more than 26% of the equity. The equity can be earned by cash or by transferring technology rights.

A non limited simple trading company used to run a bar or a shop.

I have many friends and aquaintances among the ex-pat business community and in all the years I have been here I have never heard of one of them being 'raided'.

Shutting down a compoany whether through bankruptcy or any other reason requires a due process through the courts.

As to China's impact on the outside world it is certainly more beneficial that your own country in that it refuses to interfere with other countries internal matters. Is the largest donor of vaccines and medical equipment to the 3rd world. Wrote off third world debts to countries whoise economies were hit by the pandemic. promotes free trade globally without sanctions. There are no Chinese warships patrolling off your shores or Chinese aircraft spying on you.

Fri, December 31st, 2021 7:32pm

En Raiter

This was eye opening I admit I do not know a lot about China, but I know better than to just absorb propaganda.

What's your take on the concentration camps?
Do you hold the same reservations about it's investments in African countries that if they can't repay China can repossess land, property etc like a large national bank.? What to you is the worst element that China is pushing? What would you say is the best?

I really appreciate this article and I'm going to look more into China.

Thu, March 3rd, 2022 6:54am


I went there, to every location claimed by Zenz to be a camp - it was nonsense. I spent 8 weeks searching with an Uighur friend who could translate for me. we found nothing even remotely like the accusations. I filed a report which has been printed in part by SACU.

On the African investment side I can only tell you what IMF and others say. When the pandemic struck a lot of African nations could not make debt repayments. China wrote off the debts of the really hard hit countries and deffered repayments on the rest. I cant find any evidence at all of a single instance of re-possession.

I have lived in China since 2004 and quite honestly I find it a far better place to live than the UK. far less rules. fairer and much more relaxed. That view does not make me very popular in the west but it does not alter that fact that western propaganda is either deliberate lies or total misunderstanding. There are 56 different nationalities in China, they all learned to live together a long time ago. It is a very live and let live kind of place.

There are books by Needham and articles by Russell that throw some light on the background of the country. But my own conclusion so far is the niether time, emperors, revolutions or wars have changed the root nature of the mass of the people which is based around family and friends. In the west many people are afraid of government. In China the government is afraid of the people - which is as it should be in my book. The Chinese people have shown that they will sweep aside any goivernment that does not serve their needs. and they have done just that for thousands of years regardlkess of the cost in Human terms.
Thanks again for your comment,

Thu, March 3rd, 2022 11:47am

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