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Kris
June 3rd, 2003, 11:16 AM
June 3, 2003

Bringing China In From the Cold

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

The loopiest aspect of the Group of 8 conclave in Évian is the notion that global leaders are confronting the challenges of the 21st century in the absence of the nation that may well dominate the century.

That's right: China.

Even if China's gross domestic product is measured using its official, undervalued exchange rate, its economy is far bigger than those of G-8 members like Canada or Italy — and almost three times the size of Russia's. If one values China's economy using another approach, purchasing power parity, then it is already easily the biggest economy outside the U.S.

As it happens, France invited China's new leader — Hu Jintao — to Évian, where he may have the highest I.Q. in town (he's an engineer with close to a photographic memory, along with a third-rate conscience). But Mr. Hu may be the second most important man in the world, and he deserves a place in a Group of 9.

On short- and long-term issues that the G-8 grapples with — from dealing with North Korea to preventing global warming — the two key players in the world are China and the U.S. And it's ridiculous to include Russia in the G-8 but not China (which adds a Russia's worth of economic output to the world every two years).

Several objections can be raised to expanding the G-8 to include China:

It's a summit meeting for industrialized nations, and China isn't one. It's true that China has more peasants than any country in the world, but it also has more industrialists. Hey, it's China.

China exports more manufactured goods than Canada, Italy or Russia; it is launching a space program to put a man on the moon; its biotechnology is superb (thank goodness it wasn't during the Cultural Revolution, or we would have a billion Mao clones). And while the industrialization of China is still in its early stages, the world needs to wrestle with what that means: if the Chinese come to use as much energy per capita as Americans do, that will amount to more than the total amount of energy now produced worldwide.

China isn't a democracy but a thuggish Communist dictatorship. Yup. I was at Tiananmen Square when troops opened fire in 1989, and all that blood will never be washed from my memory. But today China is not Communist but fascist, in the sense of a nationalistic one-party dictatorship controlling a free-enterprise economy. In any case, the key question is not whether some of China's rulers are thugs but whether they are thugs we can work with. And they are.

China is an irresponsible power that can't be a team player. It's true that China's mishandling of SARS, for example, allowed the disease to spread worldwide. And it has often cheated on agreements and imprisoned dissidents. But China has steadily become more responsible over the years on issues ranging from trade to terror, and in the last few months it has shown real leadership on resolving the North Korean crisis.

President Bush has managed relations with China very well, mostly because Pentagon hawks who had been trying to turn Beijing into The Enemy were distracted by 9/11. There are real risks that we will become enemies — there could be clashes between the U.S. and China over Taiwan, the Senkaku Islands, the South China Sea — but they will be lessened if we give China opportunities for global leadership.

Some experts predict that SARS will be to China what Chernobyl was to the Soviet Union: the crack that eventually brings the entire facade tumbling down. I doubt it. Chinese reformers have long urged (behind closed Politburo doors) a freer press, but the party remains instinctively repressive.

Last week, China sentenced Xu Wei, a journalist, to prison for 10 years just for talking about politics with friends; he said he had been beaten as well. Seok Jae Hyun, a South Korean photographer (who regularly takes pictures for The New York Times) got two years in prison for photographing North Koreans escaping through China.

No, Hu Jintao is no Gorbachev.

He's more like a Franco, a Pinochet, a Park. And, knock wood, the China he rules will follow Spain, Chile and South Korea in fostering the educated middle class that will lead it to democracy.

In the meantime, China is too important to leave out in the cold. As the leaders in Évian struggle over SARS, AIDS, Iran and North Korea, they need China within their ranks, as a member of the G-9. *


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

chris
June 3rd, 2003, 02:31 PM
common sense

Lightning Homer
June 3rd, 2003, 05:51 PM
You're so kind. With what happens in Tibet, I would compare such a guy to a real Stalin !
Do you remember Tian An Men ?
And who cares about the genocide of the Tibetans ?

Lightning Homer
June 3rd, 2003, 05:54 PM
Also, does someone here know that Chinese medical authorities innoculated AIDS to many millions people especially in some locations around Beijin ?

Or do you need also pictures to believe me ?

Where are the pacifists gone ?

chris
June 3rd, 2003, 06:11 PM
"Containment of China" just isn't going to happen. Seeding some sort of revolution would be certain to lead to a US/Chinese war that neither party should want (though some members of both side of the Pacific think is inevitable in the next 50 years).

A slow and controlled transition to a free market democracy is the only workable prescription I see. Membership doesn't condone past history, but pragmatically I think the world stands to gain a lot more here with a carrot than a stick.

Besides, China as a modern industrial state is not at the same stage of its evolution as western states. Consider that when America was going through a similar stage in its growth; economic and industrial development we were just coming out of slavery and a civil war. Think about how it wasn't so long ago that blacks or even women got the right to vote, or that Native Americans were declared American citizens. Put in the grander context of history, China isn't all that far behind.

I don't think China wants to be a spoiler, they want respect.

Lightning Homer
June 5th, 2003, 01:48 PM
Maybe it'll still be a G8. With China in... and France out.

Kris
June 5th, 2003, 01:52 PM
You may be out of somewhere long before that happens.

chris
June 5th, 2003, 02:07 PM
France is an industrialized nation. Other than as a sarcastic jab, that doesn't have much merit.

There is serious talk that France could loose its seat on the UN security council. It was given to them as a token from the US over loud objection by all other security council members when the security council was first formed, but the US stuck to its position and insisted that France have a seat. With the EU, at the hand of France and Belgium, insisting that Europe form its own defense pact, separate from NATO it is even more pointless for France to have it's own security council vote, which will likely lead to a common EU security council seat (Which, in reality, will still be a French vote anyway).


(Edited by chris at 2:10 pm on June 5, 2003)

ZippyTheChimp
June 5th, 2003, 07:26 PM
Also, does someone here know that Chinese medical authorities innoculated AIDS to many millions people especially in some locations around Beijin ?

Or do you need also pictures to believe me ?
Are you saying that this was deliberate? *Pictures are not necessary, but a link to a published article would be nice - or else this gets added to your already long list of foolish remarks.

If you are referring to this...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/aids/story/0,7369,789051,00.html

then your problem is reading comprehension.

chris
June 5th, 2003, 07:34 PM
OK, lack of continuity here... you're replying to Homer... OK, gotcha... whew...

ZippyTheChimp
June 5th, 2003, 08:45 PM
LOL *:)

Lightning Homer
June 6th, 2003, 03:08 AM
Ohhhh, is that something wrong in my reading or is it just because you didn't like one of my jokes wich has nothing to do with this thread anyways, Zippy ?
Don't get confused, and don't make people confused here, I mean : try not to mix facts and your emotions. Thanks.

NYatKNIGHT
June 6th, 2003, 10:18 AM
Honestly, it is hard to tell when you're joking.

Kris
June 6th, 2003, 11:16 AM
When he is, he's annoying; when he's not, he's laughable.

Patrick Pearse
June 15th, 2006, 08:41 AM
What about India? They are another rapidly developing economy. The purpose of the G-8 is to group together the world's largest economies.