Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

[G20 + Eurowatch] China: A rich fool? [BBC]

Eurozone watch: is China staying cautious to prevent being themselves being ‘kidnapped’ by European debt? Or is China going to be the rich fool falling into the trap of a cunning plan to curtail its rise?

Apart from this BBC report, Shanghai Liberation Daily also suggests that China has, dues to its commitment to international stability,  become obliged to write a ‘rescue’ story of the ‘poor saving the rich‘ (Shanghai Liberation Daily).

– – –

China: A rich fool?
Damian Grammaticas, Beijing correspondent
Source – BBC, published November 4, 2011

This is, everyone agrees, a dangerous time for the global economy. China’s President Hu Jintao was saying so at the G20 in Cannes: “At this critical moment, the G20 must work to address the key problems, promote global economic growth and financial stability,” he said.

So what does he mean as far as China is concerned? The utterances of China’s leaders can be, to borrow from the Greeks, positively Delphic. Is China prepared to put its money on the table?

Here in Beijing it’s worth listening to the swirl of commentary in China’s newspapers. They have a lot to say about Europe’s crisis. Remember China’s media is state-controlled, so it gives a pretty good idea of the way the currents of thinking are running.

The first thing that is striking is how cautious China is of getting too deeply entangled in Europe’s problems. “Honestly we should not get too involved in [Europe’s debt crisis]. The chances of us getting our money back are relatively low, it’s a dangerous game,” is a typical comment in the English-language China Daily.

That’s pretty understandable, any investor wants to know their money is going to be repaid, and leaders here know they will face a public backlash if people believe, in the words of the Beijing News that they “squander China’s foreign exchange reserves” and “waste national wealth”.

But what is more surprising is to see how suspicious many are about getting involved in any European bailout fund, some describing it as “a trap” that could mean “China is ‘kidnapped” by European debt.

‘Don’t be dazzled’

Ordinary Chinese I’ve spoken to have said they think helping out Europe could be in China’s interest. But China’s papers are voicing suspicion that an indebted West is trying to lure China into wasting its hard-earned cash, the implication is that this could be a ploy, to weaken China and contain its rise.

So there are warnings that a profligate, rich Europe could be trying to get China, that’s still relatively poor by comparison, to hand over its wealth cheaply. The information centre of China’s own cabinet, the State Council, warns that “China ‘saving Europe’ is actually ‘the poor saving the rich’ .. China should not be dazzled by this so that it acts impetuously and blindly”.

When Klaus Regling, the head of Europe’s bailout fund, was in Beijing a week ago he was baffled when a Chinese reporter put it to him bluntly that the fund was a “trap” for China. His reply: “No, China needs to invest its surpluses and we can offer a good rate of interest.”

But what’s clear is that China wants more than that. Much of the comment focuses on how Beijing should demand concessions for any investment, like market economy status that would make it harder to bring WTO cases against China, the lifting of restrictions on high-tech exports to China, and an end to the EU arms embargo in place since the Tiananmen massacre.

There is a clear feeling that “supporting Europe” does make sense, but as Shanghai’s Liberation Daily says: “China is not a rich fool, it is not obliged to write a ‘rescue story’, of the poor saving the rich.”


Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, European Union, Finance, Foreign aid, Greater China, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,575 other followers

East/West headlines of Rising China

East/West headlines of Rising China

About Wandering China

Click to find out more about this project

Support //WC

Support Wandering China now - buy a Tee Shirt!

Be a champ - Support Wandering China - buy a Tee Shirt!

The East Wind Wave

China in images and infographics, by Wandering China

China in images and Infographics, by Wandering China

Wandering China: Facing west

Please click to access video

Travels in China's northwest and southwest

Wandering Taiwan

Wandering Taiwan: reflections of my travels in the democratic Republic of China

Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Click here to view the Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Slideshow reflection on Deng Xiaoping's UN General Assembly speech in 1974. Based on photos of my travels in China 2011.

East Asia Geographic Timelapse

Click here to view the East Asia Geographic Timelapse

A collaboration with my brother: Comparing East Asia's rural and urban landscapes through time-lapse photography.

Wandering Planets

Creative Commons License
Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at Wanderingchina.org. Thank you for visiting //
web stats

Flag Counter

free counters
Online Marketing
Add blog to our directory.
%d bloggers like this: