Pomfret's China

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Hillary's China-Bashing

Every election cycle, somebody likes to bash China. (Remember Bill Clinton accusing George Bush of coddling “butchers in Beijing”?) China is an easy target, and bashing it is fun because it’s so much simpler to blame foreigners for our troubles than to focus on our own issues. But more broadly, I think, making a case for relations with China is tough for politicians who feel the need to dumb-down their rhetoric and identify an enemy.

Let’s take Hillary Clinton as an example. After mowing down NAFTA, Clinton has now turned her anti-aircraft heavy machine gun toward China. Here are a few snippets from her campaign:

"We do have to get tough on China," she said on Sunday while campaigning in North Carolina, which has seen a loss of more than 200,000 factory jobs since 2001. "It is long past time for us to blow the whistle."

"This country manipulates its currency to our disadvantage, they engage in broad-based intellectual property theft, industrial espionage, they do not follow the rules they agreed to follow when they joined the WTO. What do we get in return from them? Well, we get tainted pet food, we get lead-laced toys, we get polluted pharmaceuticals."

HARSH! (And very interesting considering Bill Clinton was the godfather of the trade-will-set-the-Chinese-free school of U.S. diplomacy – another canard, but that’s another blogpost.)

Yes, I know there’s a massive trade imbalance here, about US$260 billion at last count. But let’s take a closer look at some of Clinton’s claims. On the tainted imports, sure, Chinese companies – and arguably the Chinese government -- have been sleazy, but the real problem is right here at home. It’s easy to blame China, but the real story is that the U.S. regulatory structures have failed to cope with the globalization of trade. Yes, there are bad actors all OVER the globe (China included, although actually more product recalls involve Mexico than China). But the real solution is not to shut down trade with China, it’s to make a better FDA and Consumer Product Safety Commission. But that’s harder to do, so Clinton bashes China.

As for currency manipulation, wrong again, Senator. China has quietly allowed its currency, the Yuan, to gain substantially against the dollar over the last year. In April, $1 bought less than 7 yuan for the first time since 1994. Over the last three years, the Yuan has appreciated more than 18 percent vis-à-vis the dollar. Yes, China is allowing the yuan to gain against the dollar for domestic reasons – because it might help lower China’s high inflation. But the point is that they’re doing it. In April, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson recently praised China for doing so, although he added that China should let the yuan appreciate more.

On the issue of stealing U.S. jobs, again, China is an easy target but Clinton seems to be firing blind. First, manufacturers have been bleeding jobs in the United States to developing countries for decades. So any developing country is an easy target: Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, you name it. China just happens to be big – and Asian. (it all has the whiff of Japan-bashing in the 1980s). But trade goes two ways, and Clinton’s call to “get tough” with China ignores the fact that Americans profit from trade with the PRC.

First, low-cost imports keep prices down – and that especially helps consumers living through a recession. And, second, all those imports means China has a lot of extra cash to buy foreign goods. And buying they are. The U.S.-China Business Council (you can tell by the name that they’re pro-trade) released a report on May 1 that shows that:

1) Almost all congressional districts (406 out of 435) registered triple-digit growth in exports to China between 2000 and 2007.

2) Nationwide, from 2000 to 2007, exports to China grew 301 percent to $65.2 billion. Worldwide U.S. exports grew only 44 percent.

3) Contrary to common perceptions, congressional districts in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, and Michigan also benefit from rapidly growing exports to China—and these exports include manufactured goods and machinery, computers and electronics, transportation equipment, and other high-end products.

In North Carolina, where Clinton railed against Beijing, China is the state’s third most important export market. Last year, North Carolina exported almost $1.8 billion worth of goods to China, up 405 percent since 2000. As for Indiana, where Clinton has continued her China-bashing, exports have jumped 355 percent since 2000 to $758 million.

Politicians seeking to look at China with a more textured view also get little love from pundits who, as one former U.S. official involved in U.S.-China ties said, “are more comfortable talking about American values than American interests.” A close relationship with China may not jibe with American “values” – human rights, the First Amendment, religious freedom – but it’s crucial to American interests. Somehow we’ve got to get used to that.

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Comments (142)

Yunnan:

Wow...Some people are really insulting, and really off-topic. I have to agree with Mr. Pomfret on this issue. This post just reinforces that Hilary Clinton would make a very bad president. No diplomacy whatsoever. She really needs to take a look at the news

UncleRev:

U.S -- The No.1 exporter of War,Poisonous Addictive Drink and Junk Food!
U.S -- The No.1 exporter of War,Poisonous Addictive Drink and Junk Food!
Hillary -- the poor deserted woman who's despised by its own husband!
U.S -- The No.1 exporter of War,Poisonous Addictive Drink and Junk Food!

UncleRov:

U.S -- The No.1 exporter of War,Poisonous Addictive Drink and Junk Food!
U.S -- The No.1 exporter of War,Poisonous Addictive Drink and Junk Food!
Hillary -- the poor deserted woman who's despised by its own husband!
U.S -- The No.1 exporter of War,Poisonous Addictive Drink and Junk Food!

Anonymous:

"I don't mean to offend to anyone here, but all of you people are nuts."

Gosh, how could we possibly be offended by a charmer like you?!

"You people either need to get a live, get laid, or get rich."

Sounds like some good suggestions.

"Politics is politics and the most wonderful thing is that you can agree or disagree with it."

Yeah, if you live here in the U.S. or in most nations in the Western world.. But what if you happen to reside in Totalitarian China? Like the 30+ writers and journalists that disagreed?

"Politics is like religion in a way that they all claim their god is the only god in this world and all other faiths are the work of the devil."

Uh huh.. that's a very wise thought, too. They never change, either.. Democracy never happened. Right.

"Obviously, my way or the highway attitude isn't going to get you very far in live."

Yep. It's that way in China, for sure.

"It's better to keep your opinion and belief to yourselves then to express them to the goddamn world."

Geez, it's too bad you weren't around to tell that jewel to our U.S. Founding Fathers here in the States!

Anonymous:

"I don't mean to offend to anyone here, but all of you people are nuts."

Gosh, how could we possibly be offended by a charmer like you?!

"You people either need to get a live, get laid, or get rich."

Good suggestions all, for "us people":)!

"Politics is politics and the most wonderful thing is that you can agree or disagree with it."

Yes, if you live here in the U.S. or in most nations in the Western world.. But what if you happen to reside in a place like Totalitarian China? Like the 30+ writers and journalists that disagreed?

"Politics is like religion in a way that they all claim their god is the only god in this world and all other faiths are the work of the devil."

Uh huh.. that's a very wise thought, too. It never changes, either.. Democracy never happened. Right.

"Obviously, my way or the highway attitude isn't going to get you very far in live."

That's a very good thought that Totalitarian regimes happen to love to instill!

"It's better to keep your opinion and belief to yourselves then to express them to the goddamn world."

Geez, We're lucky you weren't around to tell that jewel to our Founding Fathers here in the States!

TO BE OR NOT TO BE:

I don't mean to offend to anyone here, but all of you people are nuts. You people either need to get a live, get laid, or get rich. Politics is politics and the most wonderful thing is that you can agree or disagree with it. Politics is like religion in a way that they all claim their god is the only god in this world and all other faiths are the work of the devil. Obviously, my way or the highway attitude isn't going to get you very far in live. It's better to keep your opinion and belief to yourselves then to express them to the goddamn world.


Anonymous:

I've seen stories about the nuclear race where they talked about doing tests in the upper atmosphere. The US would explode a device in the atmosphere, then russia would do two, then they went bananas doing dozens in matter of months. It was either insanity, ineptitude or a dedicated attempt to blow a hole in the atmosphere.

Jed Clampett:

maybe, I think with these weapons the goal is just that, to kill earth.

Anonymous:

To jiaming,

You said, "..Let me ask all those Tibet, Taiwan and human rights activists, the defenders of the Western civilization. How long have you guys been predicting the spectacular fall, the great implosion, the final demise, the total disintegration, the permenant collaps of the "evil Chinese empire"? what 20, 30 years now?"

I am definitely a human rights activist, but have never said such a thing. I believe there will be hard won progress, but it will probably be a gradual process.

You go on to say, "Look at China now. The Chinese people are more confident than ever in their country's future."

You live in a heavily polluted, narrowly educated society with no freedom of the press; in fact over thirty Chinese journalists and writers are imprisoned for attempting to speak the truth.

And, you even add, "You guys keep up the insanity.." It appears that you are the one who is delusional.

"Ha ha ha..." Indeed.

Anonymous:

Chen,

You said, "..Sounds like a typical white racist imperialist to me.. blah, blah, blah."

Not at all. You need to have your hearing checked, then your cognitive ability. I don't feel racist at all. Extremely prejudiced against Totalitarian liars, spinners, and dissemblers? Definitely.

Anonymous:

"Winner? do you really think there is a winner in a nuclear conflict?"

Yes, the Earth. As long as the human population get completely wiped out. Eventually the Earth would recover.

Jed Clampett:

Winner? do you really think there is a winner in a nuclear conflict?

Maybe ET.

Anonymous:

"evil Chinese empire"?

What Chinese empire? If you call what makes up China today an empire, please research the very definition of an empire. The Japanese had an empire when they took over most of East Asia, The Mongol's had an empire, The Roman's, Greek's, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Inca's, Myan's, and several others, but China, a very large kingdom yes, empire no? To be considerred an empire, you actually need to conqure someone, and the China today just "reclaimed" what others have done.
Learn Mandarin, please. Sounds similar to the calls for everyone to learn Japanese in the 80's or Russian in the 60's or german in the 30's, etc... There have been at least a half dozen pretends to US power over the past 100 years, tens of millions of Chinese are learning English as I site her typing. I bet you will say out of curtesy? lol. Please, it is out of business interest and that English is being used to colonize the world. There are only about three or four languages that are colonizing the world, as it is required to do deal with each other. Mandarin is not yet one of them. They are English, Spanish, amd Portuguese for sure. Why, you ask? When the world deals with English speaking countries they use English, When the world is dealing with Spanish speaking countries, they use Spanish, When the world is dealing with a Portuguese speaking country, they use Portugese, period. The only confusion tends to be when they deal with one another. Portuguese trumps Spanish, as is when they deal with Brazil, English tumps everyone. Mandarin is only official in one country, maybe known in other asian countries with large Chinese population.

"Perhaps you don't realize the US would first pulverize the planet than let the Chinese win a war against it. Do you?"

You also forget Russia. They would also pulverize the planet rather than let the Chinese run it. US 5000 nukes, Russia's 12000 vs China 150? How would you even judge the winner, by the body count? It would not be hard to beat China if that were the measure, considering the 4 to 1 population difference. If people want to judge the US military for it Iraq experience. The may such at occupation, but they are the best at pure attack.


Timmy:

while the US's trade deficits to China is growing, but the trade deficits to East Asia is dropping. So even without China, there will still be great trade deficits for the States. It is globalization. Jobs go to countries with cheaper or more productive labour.

China does not export cars to the states. but the American is still losing business to their Japanese and European competitors.

Timmy:

Jed Clampett:
Funny thing about the mongolians. Ghengis the great got so fed up with his people being attacked, robbed and otherwise abused by the chinese that he formed an army and took over all of china.
=======================

Jed,

Seems you have no idea of the history at all.

Ghengis formed an army to fight other mongolians over the mongolia for more than a decade. The then Mogolia did not border Han dynasty Song at all. between them there are another two regimes, Jin of Jurchens and Xixia of Tangut.


Anonymous:

To all chinese who try to reason with Jed:
Here is a little background information about Jed Clampett:
At the beginning of The Beverly Hillbillies series, patriarch Jed Clampett strikes oil while hunting on his land in the Ozarks. Jed moves with his family to the wealthy Los Angeles County city of Beverly Hills, California, where he attempts to live a rural life despite his wealth.

SO the person who uses this screenname considers himself a hillbilly. Just leave him alone or have some fun. Or get a DVD of the Beverly Hillbillies and watch it.

Anonymous:

Perhaps you don't realize the US would first pulverize the planet than let the Chinese win a war against it. Do you?

To Jiaming:

If these guys can't keep up with you in English,
how could they possibly keep up with you in Mandarin?

jiaming:

Ha ha ha...

This is halarious. Let me ask all those Tibet, Taiwan and human rights activists, the defenders of the Western civilization. How long have you guys been predicting the spectacular fall, the great implosion, the final demise, the total disintegration, the permenant collaps of the "evil Chinese empire"? what 20, 30 years now? Look at China now. The Chinese people are more confident than ever in their country's future.

You guys keep up the insanity. But I'd practice some Chinese writing and Mandarin if I were you, privately of course. You'll need it soon. Meanwhile, do continue the ranting because we Chinese need some entertainment.

Ha ha ha...

Chen:

Anonymous said:

Don River, Chen, and Greg,

Hopefully you all presently live in Totalitarian China.....Blah....blah...blah...

Sounds like a typical white racist imperialist to me.

Americans say, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".....Obviously, they know what they are talking about, because they just can't learn that their white racist philosophy does not win. Just ask Al; he stopped traffic in all of Manhattan yesterday.

Jed Clampett:

It rather sad that the CCP has to start off with a state of tension to begin with so they can start negotiations from an extreme position in order to seem as if it has made great concessions at the end. I would expect nothing less from gangsters though.

LOL:

@Jed Clampett:

your decription of Ghengis Khan shows you are just another ignorant and foolish westerner pretends knowing something about China, but you know jack.

Jed Clampett:

You think too much. Wrong way at that. The last thing I wish for the Chinese people is for China to implode. The brutal overlords that hold sway over her is another matter. Not you would care or understand my wishes or fantasies, but here goes anyway. I wish that the CCP would realize it is a part of the world now and that it must behave like grown ups in a diverse world rather than some machine trapped in stone wanting to control everything because it thinks itself to be God. While the CCP is convinced that it has to rule through fear, that fear is power, it might discover there is a much greater power in love, caring and understanding.

I find it quite interesting that you would once again threaten global war if not allowed to have your way with the people under your care. It shows the immaturity and latent hostility in the chinese leadership. If they were to recognize that the greatest and most powerful empires were those that treated the people with benevolence and understanding, those that had regard for their population. You see, much like Soddam Insane failed to realize, a brutalized people may fight with you if forced to at the point of a gun, but they won't lay down their lives FOR you and may even turn on their tormentors.

Not that you would understand any of this... being a mere tool. But your handlers understand.

Don River:

Jed Clampett: I think your hope for Chinese implosion may be based more on fantasy and wishful thinking than fact. As I have observed elsewhere, one should fear, not hope, for a nuclear-armed state descent into chaos. Irrational Western liberals may not know this, but this cheer-leading for Tibetan independence may have very dangerous consequences for the survival of the whole human race.

Jed Clampett:

Funny thing about the mongolians. Ghengis the great got so fed up with his people being attacked, robbed and otherwise abused by the chinese that he formed an army and took over all of china. The CCP would do well to take heed of this lesson in history. There are very important reasons that Tibet enjoyed it's outonomy even under the rule of Chinese emperors. They even were advisors to the great lords and helped them maintain their empire whole. Even the old warlords understood the power of the monks and allowed them freedom to be themselves even if they were Chinese subjects.
This time, there won't need to be an invading force or other foreign attack. China may be made to implode under the strain of it's own brutality.

news are not facts:

To the poster named "ASIAN",

"And as you said, PRC is a Chinese dynasty, not Tibetan(Uyghur, Mongolian)." Chinese includes all 56 ethic groups living in China. For example, the YUAN dynasty is a dynasty ruled by Mongolians, and the QING dynasty by Manchu.

Also, what's your point of quoting Dalai's allegation: "The population transfer of Chinese into Tibet...by reducing the Tibetan population to an insignificant and disenfranchised minority in Tibet itself..." -- are you using Dalai's quote as evidence to support your pro-Dalai viewpoint? Dalai's claim can be easily verified by census data --- over 95% of population living in Tibet today are ethic Tibetan Chinese. Would you call 95% a "minority and insignificant"?


Asian:

To Don River

For the welfare and happiness of 1.1 billion Chinese and 0.2 billion ethnic minorities living in PRC, I really hope that Chinese will work towards harmony and human rights for all races in PRC(esp. the weak, ethnic minorities).
And I hope that Chinese can persuade CCP to change their(esp. Hu Jintao and his tuanpai(Chinese Youth League of China, 共青团) oppressive and crafty policies on ethnic minorities(esp. Tibet, Uyghur, Mongol). If they can in PRC.

Don River:

Sure, Mr. Asian is entitled to his opinion on whether Tibet, Mongolia, or Xinjiang is or is not part of China.

Native Hawaiians or Israeli Arabs are similarly entitled to their personal opinions on their nations' histories and relationships with their conquerors. The fact of the matter is, neither US, nor Israel, nor China will ever budge on such issues, no matter which political party or dynasty is in power.

Such is the Hobbesian nature of the world. The strong will always vanquish the weak. As true in nature as in the human realm.

For the welfare and happiness of Chinese of minority ethnicities, the sooner they drop the dream of independence and work towards harmony and human rights for all races, the better.

Asian:

To Don River

I think that Tibetan, Uyghur, Mongolian are not Chinese.
And I believe that they and people of the world also think that they are not Chinese.

Some Chinese say that Tibet(territory) was, is and will be part of China.
Let's be more realistic.
Tibet was not ruled by China(Chinese country) before 1951's invasion.
And I think Tibetan(Uyghur, Mongolian) do not like CCP as people of the world do not.
If CCP would rule PRC longer than expected(by using Olympics and Tibetan unrest) and would not change their oppressive and crafty policies on Tibet, Will Tibet be part of China forever?

At last, I want to say "more proper word / less proper word"

Uyghur(or Eastern Turkistan) / Xinjiang(新疆, which means newly expanded territory by Chinese)
Mongol / Mongo(蒙古, which means foolish and outdated and was made by Chinese)
China / PRC(PRC includes China, Manju, Inner Mongol, Uyghur, Tibet)

Don River:

Mr. Asian believe that Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians are not Chinese. Opinions differ on this matter. Some of them clearly don't identify themselves as Chinese, but some do. (The Torch was carried to the Himalaya by a number of Chinese Tibetans. They proudly identify themselves as Chinese.)

Similarly, if you say Native Hawaiians are not Americans, some of them will agree with this statement. Or if you say Israeli Arabs are not Israelis, some will agree too.

Such discussion of ethnic divisions is futile in today's world. Whether CCP will rule China in 100 years, or some other form of government will be the ruler, there is no chance that any Chinese government will let Tibet, Mongolia, or Xinjiang to be independent. Similarly, there is no way an American government will allow Native Americans, or native Hawaiians to be independent, nor will Israel allow Israeli Arabs to form an independent state.

Let's talk more realistic goals, shall we? Such as improving human rights for all people living in China today?

thmak:

To Anonymous: You said "I feel so frigging cheated and used by the politicians.". You are too late to realize that a democratic, human righteous, freedom that and this, law and order, rule of law political institution can be so genuinely hypocritical.

Asian:

Mr Don River seems to believe China's system so much.
I agree to some comments like "Bush II is even going to attend the Olympic opening ceremony (against long-term American interest and freedom-loving people of the world.)"

But I do not agree to some comments like "China's system seems indeed closer to the classical Greek ideal." I really want my government to follow Western democratic system, not to follow China's system(now CCP).

"The CCP will pass some day, as has all the Chinese dynasties before it." I really hope so, if possible, in the near future.
And as you said, PRC is a Chinese dynasty, not Tibetan(Uyghur, Mongolian). As a human being, I hope that Tibetan(Uyghur, Mongolian) will have their own country some day. But I don't want Tibetan to rule Chinese as Chinese have done since 1951's invasion.

Anonymous:

"Clinton, Bush I, Bush II, etc. all bash China before the elections. Afterwards, they are all lapdogs to CCP. Look, Bush II is even going to attend the Olympic opening ceremony!"

What I don't understand is why they fan the public with hatred toward China with all human rights, freedom and democracy issues and then they themselves just cannot resist to 'work' with them. I am supporting all the causes of human rights, freedoms and democarcy in China but I feel so frigging cheated and used by the politicians.

Don River:

Mr. Asian seems obsessed with CCP, Tibet, and so forth. The CCP will pass some day, as has all the Chinese dynasties before it. What I am discussing here is the failure of the Western democratic system, esp. the American one.

Perhaps failure is too strong a word. Politicians in the West have learned to lie to their supporters before every election. What they do after election seems quite uncorrelated with what they said before.

Clinton, Bush I, Bush II, etc. all bash China before the elections. Afterwards, they are all lapdogs to CCP. Look, Bush II is even going to attend the Olympic opening ceremony!

See, the current form of democracy is no match against a benign authoritarian government such as China's. China's system seems indeed closer to the classical Greek ideal.

Asian:

Don River said :
"The Chinese system of government come a little closer to the Aristotelian and Platonic ideal of government that the Western form of democracy today."

If he is not related to CCP, he may be right.
I think the CHINESE system of government is of, by and for CHINESE, not Tibetan(Uyghur, Mongolian).

But if he is related to CCP, he may be clever.
Because he tries to justify and lengthen CCP regime.

And he also said :
"We should disenfranchise all voters with below-average intelligence and knowledge."

Who is "all voters with below average intelligence and knowledge" in China?
Tibetan(Uyghur, Mongolian) and Chinese blaming CCP?

Dalai Lama said :
"The population transfer of Chinese into Tibet, which the government in Peking pursues in order to force a "final solution" to the Tibetan problem by reducing the Tibetan population to an insignificant and disenfranchised minority in Tibet itself, must be stopped."

Greg:

to you Mr Anonymous,I don't know your name,so I cited the first part of your comment to specify which Mr Anonymous you are.
I(actually we)don't live in the so-called Totalitarian China.The govervnment did not control us in a strict way.we can criticize the government in public and complain about their faults.They did not detain us.It is true.

Anonymous:
Don River, Chen, and Greg,

Hopefully you all presently live in Totalitarian China, and plan to stay, although you might not like their handling of delusional folks..

Chen, you said, "You can't teach and old dog new tricks." (traditional American proverb)"In reality, this and many of the negatives you all ascribe to Westerners apply infinitely more to present day Totalitarian China. Not only do you have more than thirty writers and journalists in jail, but this, in today's paper:

China rights lawyers pressed under Party thumb: report

Don River:

Certain ignorant commentators here are blind admirers of democracy. However, if they learn a little about Western political philosophy, they will find out that Aristotle and Plato's notion of democracy is far different from today's form. In their minds, only educated "free" citizens are entitled to a say in governance. Translated to today's society, that would imply only college graduates, or people who can pass a basic intelligence and knowledge exam, can vote.

I think this is the best form of society. We should disenfranchise all voters with below-average intelligence and knowledge. I think the Chinese system of government come a little closer to the Aristotelian and Platonic ideal of government that the Western form of democracy today.

Asian:

Promfret says : A close relationship with China is crucial to American interests. Somehow we’ve got to get used to that.
I am sorry to hear that. Promfret seems to say only in an American position (esp. interest (for SHORT period)).

If CCP would have hegemony in place of USA, Could Western people feel happy?
It seems that George Bush wants to give the throne of the world to CCP in Beijing Olympics and to give many freedom-loving people(Tibetan, Uyghur, Mongolian and Asian people) to CCP also.

I (as an asian) can welcome the rise of China(Chinese) but can not welcome the rise of CCP.
I think that CCP make ill use of Olympics and Tibetan unrest for lengthening their political power.
But as we know, Chinese blaming CCP have been called traitors to CHINA since Tibetan unrest in March.

The rise of China is the rise of CCP..

Anonymous:

Don River, Chen, and Greg,

Hopefully you all presently live in Totalitarian China, and plan to stay, although you might not like their handling of delusional folks..

Chen, you said, "You can't teach and old dog new tricks." (traditional American proverb)"In reality, this and many of the negatives you all ascribe to Westerners apply infinitely more to present day Totalitarian China. Not only do you have more than thirty writers and journalists in jail, but this, in today's paper:

China rights lawyers pressed under Party thumb: report

Reuters
Tuesday, April 29, 2008; 5:13 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's lawyers face official harassment, meddling, even jail for defending suspects and sensitive causes, a rights group said in a new report, adding to criticism of the nation's rights record before the Olympics.

Human Rights Watch says the ruling Chinese Communist Party's avowed commitment to rights and rule of law has not been matched by its treatment of lawyers seeking to defend those principles.

"Chinese lawyers continue to face huge obstacles in defending citizens whose rights have been violated and ordinary criminal suspects," the New York-based monitoring group said in the report. "China has a long way to go to lift arbitrary restrictions on lawyers and establish genuine rule of law."

The criticisms and demands for better protection for lawyers will add to a long list of human rights complaints about China ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games in August.

Since the late 1970s the ruling Communist Party has abandoned its disdain for courts and the legal profession, and lawyers can now make a lucrative living from commercial law.

The government also says it is committed to improving citizens' political and economic rights and that Western criticisms are often unbalanced.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu dismissed the report as being written by a "biased" group.

"Chinese lawyers are Chinese citizens. Chinese citizens enjoy all sorts of freedoms and rights in accordance with the law," she told a news conference.

But the Human Rights Watch report said China's small but nonetheless influential band of "rights defence" lawyers remained under an oppressive Party thumb.

The report describes cases of lawyers who have endured intimidation, beating and detention for defending dissidents and protesters.

Among the most prominent was Gao Zhisheng, a combative Beijing lawyer who relished contentious causes, including representing members of the banned Falun Gong movement who said they had been tortured.

Gao was sentenced to four years in jail for subversion in 2006 but won a good behavior reprieve from prison for cooperating with authorities.

Lawyers for Chen Guangcheng, a blind rights dissident who exposed forced abortions, were briefly detained and roughed up when they tried to defend him in 2006.

"The silence of the central authorities implies that they endorsed the actions of the local officials who beat up lawyers," one of Chen's attorneys told the rights group.

Even in otherwise unremarkable prosecutions for violent crimes and corruption, defense attorneys risk themselves becoming the targets of officials, and have been jailed for perjury on highly doubtful grounds, the report said.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Alex Richardson)
© 2008 Reuters


news are not facts:

"This allegation pales in comparison with what the Totalitarian Chinese government has perpetrated on the people of Tibet for so many years!"

First, thank you for your thoughtful response, and admitting that the unbiased coverage on Iraq prior to the war was completely missing (and it is a costly exception as you put it).

Secondly, the "pales in comparison" -- are you refering to comparison based on facts, or comparison based on mass media coverage? I don't trust CPP propoganda but how much do you trust the news from HHDL & his "government-in-exile"?
I'd say both sides have their own motives and neither are unbiased. I give more credits to the historical documents and historians' research (there are a few western historians specialized on Tibet ).

"While I'm sure the Dalai Lama is not perfect either, he is a very good man, representing a just cause- that is why we don't hear negative stories"

This is one of the reasons why "news are not facts" that I'd like to bring up, and you provide the perfect example. Self-censor of journalists --they filter the facts based on their own belief and judgement of "right or wrong", and implicitly impose their belief and judgement on the readers.

There are a lot of coverage on the "free-Tibet" cause (becashe it is "good" as you put it), but little if any on how a "free-Tibet" would be governed? Would Tibet be back to the theocratic dictatorship as it was prior to Dalai's exile? What would be Dalai's role in the government -- he is not elected by popular votes, is he. What happens to the sects that don't worship Dalai (BTW, Dalai only represents the "red-hat" branch of Tebtan Buddhism folloers, about 20% of total Tibetan believers. There are other Lamas--Penchan Lama in CHina for example.) Even for the red-hat branch, Dalai and his "government-in-exile" are out of touch with Tibetans in China for decades, is Dalai really the representative of these Tibetans rights? How to enforce the separation of church and state, The pillar of any democracy.


That's too many questions and too complicated for the mass media with a fast-food culture. SO the complicated issue (loaded with race/religion/political ideology..) are reduced to one catchy phrase "Free Tibet", and the issue can't be more black-and-white -- either you are with the "free-Tibet" cause led by Dalai, or you are with the "Totalitarian" government. Even the middle ground "pro-Olympics" are comdemned. Haven't we seen something like this before, just before the Iraq War -- remeber French fry was renamed "Freedom Fry"?

Don River:

I despise politicians of all stripes (with the possible exception of Obama, but we shall see about him). All they know what to do is to appeal to the basest instincts of the most ignorant segment of the population.

From a practical point of view, this is inevitable, as the ignoramus form the largest part of any populace anywhere in the world. However, democracy magnifies this problem because this system gives the biggest voice to the most ignorant.

Sometimes, you just got to admire the efficiency of benign authoritarianism as exemplified by China (but not Burma or Cuba.) The new Beijing airport, the largest in the world, was completed under budget and on time under 4 years. No glitches so far. Compare that with Heathrow Terminal 5. Sigh...

Chen:

Quit wasting time trying to the educate the typical "Ugly American". No matter what the issue, it really isn't the issue. They just hate us Asians, even their so-called allies, the Japanese. Look at all the comments about Myanmar today, as though they have a dog in the hunt! White people think that are indigenous to Myanmar and parts of China...you know....like...Tibet.

If they had their way, Westward Expansion would have continued across the Pacific, and onto China. Then, they would have attempted the same genocide on us, just as they did to our genetic cousins, who have been on this continent for more than 10,000 years.

"You can't teach and old dog new tricks." (traditional American proverb)

Greg:

American politicians are so mean.Whenever they need,they will cruelly attack China.After they get their interests such as election.They will say we really think US-China relationship is very important and in many ways US should talk with China and cooperate with China.It seems that those politician are very friendly to China.But I wonder whether China have got used to American political styles yet over many decades.American politicians's cruel opinions often offend China and Chinese.Whenever they attack China or Chinese government,Chinese will get angry so much.Can these afterthoughts(sometimes these afterthoughts are very nice about China)make up for those unfair and malicious opinions.

Why do the politicians speak truth after they left government or retired?They speak the truth:China did nothing harmful to US and China is very important to us.

Anonymous:

News Are Not Facts,

You said, "..My initial posting is to highlight the risk of decision-making solely based on information from news, especially on foreign affairs in remote countries. "

Again, I'm in no way saying Western news coverage is perfect. In aggregate however, I think that most objective observers would say that Western journalists do the job to the best of their abilities, usually under moderate to extremely difficult circumstances, and often these difficult circumstances are directly caused by the most powerful governments in these remote regions.

You followed this with, "..We have learned our lessons from the Iraq War (haven't we?)." As I feel you should know, this tragic, disastrous fiasco was started on false information. The media was fed this false information, as well. Where the media failed, was in not doing a diligent job of questioning this foolish administration thoroughly, as was their duty. They fell in line because in my opinion and that of many others, the majority of the press did not want to appear "unpatriotic" in the aftermath of the historic trauma of 9/11, and while understandable, this led to them not diligently questioning those shaping Iraq war policy. But again, they were misled on the facts, originally.

Your mention of the Dalai Lama, .."own human rights violations, both prior to and post his exile, such as the oppression of Dorje Shugden believers.."

This allegation pales in comparison with what the Totalitarian Chinese government has perpetrated on the people of Tibet for so many years! While I'm sure the Dalai Lama is not perfect either, he is a very good man, representing a just cause- that is why we don't hear negative stories. I disagree with the premise of your second paragraph on the whole; one does get varying viewpoints in the West about major foreign affairs issues if one cares to look, and I don't feel that respectable news organizations pander to public opinion; if their negligence following 9/11, up to the start of the Iraq War was an exception to this, I think it was an aberration in modern times. Good news organizations have a tradition of upholding stringent, objective values, and by "good", I do not mean those such as Fox.

jian:

By the way, who is Mr. Pomfret? Never heard of him before. So he speaks Mandarin then? I found his view and mentality on China a bit odd and rather inconsistent as revealed in his posts here...

jian:

"Hillary's China-bashing" is just another good example of the vulgarity of democracy.

Anonymous:

Osama for President!

you are thugs and goons:

No matter what article Pomfret posts here, the comments will always be the same.

news are not facts:

"I am not saying that the Western media is perfect, and the various press/media companies are definitely profit driven. However, this is very largely mitigated by the inherent competiveness of our free press..."

First, I am not defending the Chinese government run news agencies, and thank you for admitting that the western media are profit-driven and not perfect. My initial posting is to highlight the risk of decision-making solely based on information from news, especially on foreign affairs in remote countries. We have learned our lessons from the Iraq War (haven't we?).

Secondly, "largely mitigated by the inherent compositeness" may be the case for domestic affairs, but is over-stated for foreign affairs. The competition among mass media is also profit-driven. If the public by and large favors one side of a story, I bet none of the major media firms would bother to cover the other side of the story. One recent example is the coverage on Dalai Lama and his “government-in-exile”. You can’t find any negative coverage on him -- he is the designated spokesman for better Tibetan human rights, but his own human rights violations, both prior to and post his exile, such as the oppression of Dorje Shugden believers in recent years (another branch of Tibetan Buddhism), are never mentioned. -- why bother if the public has already bought the angelic Dalai story.


meihui55:

Don't get used to anything against values for the sake of interests. Values last long, while interests may vanish soon.

Indeed, closer relationship between US and China is crucial to American interests, but it may not fit in with American values – human rights, press freedom, religious freedom. Mr. Pomfret concluded "somehow we’ve got to get used to that."

I feel sorry that Mr. Pomfret did not hint us how to cope with this conflict between American values and American interests. And that is the most difficult part for Americans, and for most of the people from the free democratic states to face the emerging China.

Or maybe, Mr. Pomfret assumed that no need to release any tip here as there have been numerous coping skills presented in the international arena.

Take health right for example.

According to Article 1 of the World Health Organization Constitution: "The objective of the World Health Organization shall be the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health." In Article 2, it authorizes the WHO "to establish and maintain effective collaboration with the United Nation, specialized agencies, governmental health administrations, professional groups and such other organizations as may be deemed appropriate."

Under Beijing's pressure, the WHO and the members, giving up the universal value of "health right," keep excluding Taiwan from participating. That is the excellent case for coping "values" and "interests."

But this is not the case for Taiwan. The annual World Health Assembly will convene on May 19. The democratic government of Taiwan and 23 million Taiwanese will make its twelfth consecutive bid for membership in the WHO even though Taiwan has shown its strong willingness to have closer economic ties with China in the years to come.

For the case of Taiwan's bid to WHO, the value of health for all is always with the Taiwanese and global interest. Disease is without borders.

Don't get used to anything against values for the sake of interests. Values last long, while interests may vanish soon.

Anonymous:

"Shawn" said:

".. Or you might not even an ordinary American, who's probably exiled from China for political issue."

While that would definitely be a logical conclusion for a Chinese citizen to make, I'm afraid you're wrong again.

And, "Shawn" adds, "Who knows, but i'm not going to waste any more typing on you."

I think rather, the objective truth is that you don't have a leg to stand on, and that the truth indeed, hurts.

And "Shawn" so poignantly ends with: "news is not facts has said what I wanted to say. I just feel it's pity to waste such a good comment on you."

Yeah, have to admit, News Is Not Facts really had me shaking. That's a real brain trust you have there:)! "Shawn", Old Buddy, I'm gonna miss you!


Anonymous:

"News Is Not Facts", you say:

"..Western mass media are profit-driven, and they generate news tailored for their customers' tastes, to meet or exceed their customers' expectation, whether the news are objective is not the first priority.."

I am not saying that the Western media is perfect, and the various press/media companies are definitely profit driven. However, this is very largely mitigated by the inherent competiveness of our free press/free enterprise/rule of law society. Just ask CBS, Dan Rather, and many others. And we certainly don't have 31 writers and journalists in jail for writing something our governments don't happen to agree with.

Our free press, and its relationships and responsibilities to our respective societies, is drastically different than that of government controlled, Totalitarian China's, and most of us are immensely grateful for it.

Anonymous:

"News Is Not Facts", you say:

"..Western mass media are profit-driven, and they generate news tailored for their customers' tastes, to meet or exceed their customers' expectation, whether the news are objective is not the first priority.."

I am not saying that the Western media is perfect, and the various press/media companies are definitely profit driven. However, this is very largely mitigated by the inherent competiveness of our free press/free enterprise/rule of law society. Just ask CBS, Dan Rather, and many others. And we certainly don't have 31 writers and journalists in jail for writing something our governments don't happen to agree with.

Our free press, and its relationships and responsibilities to our respective societies, is drastically different than that of government controlled, Totalitarian China's, and most of us are immensely grateful for it.

Alice:

"But the real solution is not to shut down trade with China, it’s to make a better FDA and Consumer Product Safety Commission."
That's a 'patch', a 'hack', an imperfect solution. I am not saying that 'bashing' China is in itself a solution, but can you imagine the whole every country start export goods with inadequate checks, and the burden of making the appropriate checks becomes the importers job?

Let's suppose that every country in the world spends millions to improve their ability to detect defective/dangerous goods, and as a result, a larger number of problem goods (from China and elsewhere) are stopped from being sold. No one gains from such arrangements: not China (the goods won't get sold, their reputation will suffer), not the importing countries (who have to spend all those money - and every country will have to do their own checks - itself a form of inefficiency).

Now suppose China becomes better at performing their checks exporting. Sure, the importers will/should still perform their own checks, but will be less resource would need to be tied on that. And while China will need to spend more to do the additional checks, the process will probably be less expensive than the sum of every other country having to do so. Plus (I suppose that China doesn't care that much about the 'greater good' aspect of the last point), it won't have as much of it's exports rejected it will get less negative publicity in this area.

Shawn to anonymous:

I think you are just an extreme at the other end. Or you might not even an ordinary American, who's probably exiled from China for political issue.

Who knows, but i'm not going to waste any more typing on you.

news is not facts has said what I wanted to say. I just feel it's pity to waste such a good comment on you.

J.D.Solano:

I agree with Hillary (and with Obama, of course) about the urgent need to bring global trade down to zero as soon as possible, including NAFTA, the FTA with Central America, and obviously all trade with China, India, and so on.

That way, America will get back those manufacturing jobs. No more Made-in-China Mattel toys, no Made-in-Indonesia Sony camcorders, no Made-in-Finland Nokia phones, no Made-in-Bangladesh Nike shoes.

No more ethnic food such as "burritos" coming from the southern border. No more paper nor wood from the northern border. No more wine from France. No more Playstation games from Japan.

No Made-in-Mexico Nissans, no Made-in-Italy Ferraris, no Made-in-Germany BMWs.

No more bananas from Ecuador. No more fish from Peru. No more steak from Argentina. No more coffe from Colombia. No more mellon from Honduras.

No more oil from Saudi Arabia nor Venezuela. No more copper from Chile. No more steel from Japan. No more gold from South Africa.

Oh yeah, what a wonderful world would it be!

news is not facts:

"we have a free press in the Western world, unlike you, and don't need to actually go to see a nation so far away in order to have a good idea of what it is like"

free press doesn't mean objective and unbiased coverage. WE are all too familiar with the recent media coverage on Rev. Wright. But this is nothing compared to the level of manipulation when it comes to foreign affairs of which you don't have much first-hand knowledge.

Western mass media are profit-driven, and they generate news tailored for their customers' tastes, to meet or exceed their customers' expectation, whether the news are objective is not the first priority.

The demand & supply is like "I'd like some news on Chinese crackdown on Tibetans please"--"would you like some bloody pictures to go with that"--"sure" –“pay at the next window please”….and you get your news as “facts” to confirm whatever your believe, and you never bothered to check that the bloody pictures were taken in Nepal and the “peaceful protesters” are actually rioters who eventually killed 19 innocent people, both Han and Tibetans, including one toddler.


Anonymous:

"Shawn", you said:

"..If you are talking for your countryman when bashing China, so be it, as you have the right.
But don't bash China by saying for the freedom,democrate and etc for Chinese. You should go China and stay a while before making these comments."

Thankfully, we have a free press in the Western world, unlike you, and don't need to actually go to see a nation so far away in order to have a good idea of what it is like. China jails the brave journalists who dare to tell the truth; please don't insult Western readers' intelligence with your nonsense.

From National Public Radio's All Things Considered on April 30, 2008:

"Well, he's one of, as you say, 39 Chinese writers and journalists who are in prison at the current moment...

You are free to go to NPR.org and listen to the entire interview. Sorry, that is if you don't live in China; I forgot about the censors for a moment. And no, I don't purchase Chinese made underwear- I value my privates too much:)!

Jed Clampett:

Cheap products do nothing to keep costs down in the american market. It merely allows the executives and directors to give themselves a bigger paycheck. Not even the investors are enjoying the profits of 'slave like work conditions' in china. only the slave drivers there and the corporate raiders make any profit of the peoples labor.

Shawn to Balraj: :


discard my previous post as several typo.
-----------------------------------
Hi,

Didn't expect here becomes a battlefield for Indians.

I got two points disagree with you.

1. the 1962 war wasn't initiated by China. It's because of some border dispute plus the Tibet issue which was found by CIA. You can refer to India-China War by Nevill Maxwell and the CIA Secret War in Tibet by Kenneth Conboy. But you might choose not to believe them in the first place as you are educated in your own way.

Anyway, it's just some past dispute nobody really knows the truth. But If you still suggesting Nehru trust the brotherhood and lack of preparation, then I don't understand why those captured 3000 India soliders were all equiped with US weapons? Do your brother take millitray aid from your enemy?

2. The Chinese do respect India, for it's Culture and Civilizaion, it is the orginal of Buddhism which populared in China 1000 years ago. Chinese are aiming at west as they are producing the civilization of this generation. Don't think China would respect India because you can make things western made, They would probably call you a copy machine. The best thing is you can have your own proud. And remember, you don't live for other's praise, but to live with your own dignity.

personally speaking, I quite respect India in a lot ways, I'm taking Yoga course everyweek! Don't under estimate yourself and live under other's shadow!

Shawn to Balraj:

Hi,

Didn't expect here becomes a battlefield for Indians.

I got two points disagree with you.

1. the 1962 war wasn't initiated by China. It's because of some border dispute plus the Tibet issue which was found by CIA. You can refer to India-China War by Nevill Maxwell and the CIA Secret War in Tibet by Kenneth Conboy. But you might choose not to believe them in the first place as you are educated in your own way.

Anyway, it's just some past dispute nobody really knows the truth. But If you still suggesting Hehru trust the brotherhood and lack of preparation, then I don't understand why those captured 3000 India soliders were all equiped with US weapons? Do your brother take millitray aid from your enemy?

2. The Chinese do respect India, for it's Culture and Civilizaion. Chinese are aiming at west as they are producing the civilization of this generation now. Don't think China would respect India because you can make things western made, They would probably call you a copy machine. The best thing is you can have your own pround. And remember, you don't live for other's praise, but to live with your own dignity.

I personally speaking, are quite respect India in a lot ways, I'm taking Yuga course everyweek! Don't under estimate yourself and live under other's shadow!

BALRAJ:

In case anyone got the wrong idea from Ramesh, who says "We Indians hate Britain" - Indians do not hate either Britain or the English language. There is a small minority of what you could call Indian fenqing, young men raised on cartoon images of evil Britishers in red uniforms shooting Indians. They are generally fluent in English and use it for communication and advancement, even with their friends and family. London is the default destination for Indians heading abroad -- much closer than America, and with a much larger Indian population. You can even hear Indian music played in the shops in the transit lounge at Heathrow.

People like Ramesh should not be taken too seriously. They may say they hate Britain, but they will invariably fawn over Brits at a party. This 'hatred' is a very notional piece of historical resentment that resides at the back of their minds and can be produced and put back at will. English has been growing in usage and importance ever since independence and is now unchallengeable. After the Tamil riots of 1964 nobody can ever seriously raise the issue of ending the official use of English again in India. Now with liberalisation there are all sorts of new private schools, from the Goenka schools on down, all of them, naturally, in English.

To work in India for Infosys, Wipro, the Tatas, Airtel, Kingfisher, Jet, Taj, Oberoi, Reliance, ITC, ICICI, and so on, you need to speak fluent English. A few young Indians who have not realised that English is an Indian language (like Ramesh) have unresolved resentments about this, but they tend to express these in English. This mad Asian brotherhood theme that Ramesh propounds has a name. It is called 'Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai', and it is one of the dirtiest words in Indian politics. It means 'India and China are brothers'. It was the slogan of that arch-confused self-hating English-speaker, Jawaharlal Nehru, who led India into a devastating surprise attack from China in 1962, totally unprepared, because he thought they were Asian brothers who would never attack us.

India will not make that mistake again. All our ties of culture, understanding, literature, music, so far as they lie outside India are with the West, not with China. That isn't an either-or choice, but it does look like China is determined to make it one. To the extent that India can aspire to a leadership role in the world, it is as the future leader of the English-speaking world, not of Asia. The battle for Indian influence in east Asia was lost long ago. Indians are seen there are useless beggars. Whatever respect India has there is second-hand via the west (if India does something that the west begins to respect, such as developing a software industry, then the Chinese will respect India for that because the west does, but they don't like or understand us on their own).

All these are rather complex issues that you can't expect a candidate in the U.S. presidential election to have an appreciation of, poor thing.

Shawn:

Anonymous,

You sounds like you are a saint that must save the world!

If you are talking for your countryman when bashing China, so be it, as you have the right.

But don't bash China by saying for the freedom,democrate and etc for Chinese. You should go China and stay a while before making these comments.

Still go to the basic, if you can afford LV everyday, why you bother to buy S1 underwear made in China? Cost is always the things people cared about. Don't tell me China also steal the patent for making underwear from you.

Bertrand:

It is a sad and undeniable truth that American middle class wages have been stagnant for years. Of course, politicians have no real incentive or ideological inclination to actually do something about that, no, that would be "Communist". Instead, it's much more convenient to simply blame some foreign boogie man to assuage American middle class' economic anxieties.

However, the fact of the matter is, without cheap products from places like China, the average American family would see the purchasing power of their stagnant wage diminish year after year and turn far more frustrated and disillusioned with the system than they do now.

Cheap Chinese imports have saved American middle class families by allowing them to maintain their way of life and enjoy all the same material things while their wages remain the same. It is also one major reason why the American government can print money like toilet paper to finance multi-billion dollar wars and provide tax give-aways to the rich all the while still keeping inflation at bay.

The issue of trade deficit and currency valuation are completely manufactured phony issues for domestic political consumption. These phony issues are designed to allow politicians to market themselves as economic populists to an electorate that is largely illiterate and uneducated when it comes to economics and the realities of international trade.

The Chinese Yuan has appreciated against the Dollar by double digit percentage points in less than two years and this trend is continuing. Now, has such currency appreciation had any effect on the trade deficit? Of course not!! Because that is not why we have a trade deficit in the first place. The fact that the Chinese currency has risen by double digit percentage points against the US dollar while we maintain the same if not higher level of trade deficit proves the currency issue is a phony and bogus one.

Would majority of Americans know that? Of course not! As I had mentioned earlier, the majority of Americans are illiterate when it comes to economics, and they certainly don't read Wall Street Journal or The Economist. Majority of Americans get their news from few sound bites on the nightly local news, and from highly "objective" demagogues like Lou Dobbs on CNN.

The truth of the matter is, American trade deficit with third world countries have two obvious and natural reasons that have nothing to do with some sinister Chinese plot or currency manipulation (and let's remember, trade deficits by itself is not necessarily bad for a country): 1) when a rich country trades with a poor/poorer country, by the very fact that the rich country has more money, hence the word "rich", it will buy and consume far more than the poor country (think of it this way, if you are a rich man and you enter into a commercial relationship with a poor man, who do you think is likely to buy more goods and services, you the rich man or the poor man?); 2) many American corporations have relocated their manufacturing to China to take advantage of the cheap labor there, and then ship these products back to the US, and these shipments of goods financed and originated by American corporations are counted as part of this so-called trade deficit, even though it is the American corporations that are on both sides of the deal and ultimately benefit from the trade.

Last point, yes, American corporations have shifted certain jobs and manufacturing to China and other oversea locations due to cheaper labor. But before you go into another one of your hysterical fits, you need to be reminded that as America becomes an information economy, it is only natural that these low margin, labor intensive manufacturing jobs are moving out of our economy. What we end up with are in fact the higher margin service and knowledge based jobs. For example, the popular iPod everyone seems to have these days are in fact manufactured exclusively in Southeast Asia. However, the Apple corporation makes all the high margin retail profit here in the U.S. and also all the associated higher paying marketing, technology and design jobs are here in the U.S.

I hope now you have a better perspective on international trade and won't get bamboozled so easily next time some politician or a media talking head tries to get you all riled up about currencies or trade deficits.

An Indian:

What I have to say is off the track. It is not about what John Pomfret has written about Hillary Clinton's remarks about China.
One of my fellow country man has been bashing British in this colomn. I find it difficult to agree with him in this aspect. May be I am one of the very few person to think like that. I will never put all the blames on British for all our ills. On the other hand but for them we would have been in much worse state.
He has remarked in a sneering way about the railways. It has been and still it is the lifeline. Most of the passenger and goods traffic is by the railways. Without railways how India would have been is unimaginable.
He has remarked that only less than half of India was under British rule. Curiously that has prospered better than those under native rulers.
I am very much thankful to Lord Macaulay who put the basis for modern education in India. He gave us the English language which was really a window to the outside world. But for that gift none of the present progress could have been possible. But for the British we would have been still in Rudyard Kipling's India .
He has told that some 45 million people were killed by British after 1857 uprising against the British rule. I feel it is an exaggerated figure. What was the total population of India then?.
He has also said that in the whole world Hindi is spoken much more than English. It is news to me. In India it is spoken only in some of the North Indian states.

Anonymous:

Michael D. Houst said, "..You can say what you want about buying American, but if the product is good, you buy it where it's most cost effective."

And he goes on to say, "You can claim that the chinese are being worked in excreable, unhealthy conditions for slave wages in sweatshops, but most factory workers in China aren't all that worse off than factory workers in America used to be during our growth phase, and in many cases are better off due to lessons learned from us."

This thinking is part of the problem that I tried to outline in my post shortly after 8:00 am this morning. First, if the product is "cost effective" as you say, look at the reasons why. These reasons are abhorent to any decent human; think global climate change, disregard for human rights, disregard for rule of law (patents, copyright), and unfair trade policies (subsidies, currency, etc.) When you purchase these products you are implicity endorsing all of these negatives. Your way of thinking is why our POLITICAL LEADERS MUST GET INVOLVED.

Regarding Mr. Houst's rationale that Chinese workers are working in conditions similar to what Americans worked in years ago, we've evolved and changed as a nation and now have laws and regulations regarding work place conditions. Trouble is, by outsourcing industry to China, these laws and regulations are effectively circumvented. In effect, "the dirt is being swept under the rug". And of course, Chinese workers have little to no say in the matter; they do not live in a democracy, plus have no freedom of the press with which to form intelligent, reasoned opinions.

And again, purchasing products made in China reinforces these negatives. I use the internet whenever I need to purchase something, and always avoid anything made in China. When in doubt, always call (it's usually toll-free) and ask. Customer service reps tell me they are recieving more and more calls like mine; they very often share our concerns and are passing our sentiments on to the appropriate people.


cris:

all the people who likes to bashed China are also the ones who goes to Walmart every weekend.

Patrick:

I suggest a little lesson in accurate comparison. You can't say Market A grew 10% and Market B grew $400 million. But that's what you've done here with part of your reporting on US exporting to China and the rest of the world. What is the value of US exports to the rest of the world. If it's a similar number, than that's fine. But if the value of the rest of the world is 100 times greater than that with China, then you've failed miserably in your reporting.

RLSRD:

Right you are. China makes a great tractor, and you know why. Because they steal the designs at trade shows. They also will by a product(one) and strip it down piece by piece and then replicate it for sale as their own.

Michael D. Houst:

China makes a decent, low-price, compact utility tractor line that it sells all over the world. Costs about half of what a John Deere or Kubota costs, and has darn near the same quality.

You can say what you want about buying American, but if the product is good, you buy it where it's most cost effective.

You can claim that the chinese are being worked in excreable, unhealthy conditions for slave wages in sweatshops, but most factory workers in China aren't all that worse off than factory workers in America used to be during our growth phase, and in many cases are better off due to lessons learned from us.

really?:

For THMAK
incompetence
i-n-c-o-m-p-e-t-E-n-c-e
incompetence.
1. Regulation is not the answer. So, we're going to make a bigger government (i.e., more rules) to deal with the "bad actors"? How about we hold the corporations selling the product responsible, REGARDLESS of where it's made?

2. How about LESS STUFF? From anywhere?

unconscionable

Lydia:

Get real. There should be a balance with global trade, something that the U.S. government has failed to master at the expense of it's own population just to save/gain a $1 that does not translate over into the average citizens pocket. Most of the money gained goes right back to the big corporations. We are beholden to China and other third world countries because we put ourselves in that position. What the average consumer gets back are tainted goods and high gas prices. We have active oil fields here, but yet we don't produce. We have plenty of viable farm land left, yet we don't grow. We have the present and affordable capability to utilize clean solar energy to power this entire country, yet we'd rather import coal from China just because companies are worried about how to make extra profits. Even now, we continue to export record amounts of food to other countries, force local farmers to use most of their crop production for fuel production, and yet still won't allow them to grow food for U.S. citizens in order to maintain the import balance with other countries. Like both can't be done. And mind you, many of these other countries have cut their exports to feed their own people, which is th eright thing to do. It's ridiculous. The U.S has fashioned itself after ancient rome, while ignoring the one key element of the social wellfare of its people. And we know what happened to Rome and the U.S. will have no one else to blame but itself. It won't be terrorists. It's China and our greed destroying us from within.

Anonymous:

Although I am relatively new to reading Mr. Pomfret's column, and have agreed with the first few I've read, I have to take serious issue with this one.

Regarding Mrs. Clinton's quoted statement, I believe it is a bit simplistic, but profer that it doesn't go far enough, and moreover, she doesn't mention perhaps the most dire problem China contributes to, its huge industrial pollution, thus its heavy contribution to global warming. This is something industry could not get away with in the West, and constitutes not only a moral offense, but very definitely, amounts to a huge cost advantage in global trade. Why is it legal for Westerners to purchase China's products, when they could not be legaly produced under the conditions with which they are made there, in the West?

Treasury secretary Paulson is right to push for more movement on currency. Mr. Pomfret has grossly neglected to mention that Treasury Secretary Snow and previous administrations cajoled China for years to act on this issue, before Secretary Paulson did the same.

Yes, I'm sure U.S. jobs have been going to other countries besides China over the years. However, China is by far the biggest, and the one with which we are running the huge trade deficit.

Politicians SHOULD BE CRITICIZING CHINA, as free trade is fine, but FAIR TRADE is the only kind worth partaking of. This is what I can't believe more people are not talking about, and politicians are not taking action on. When we have a Totalitarian Chinese Government proactively and centrally, directing trade policy to compete with Democratic, "free-market" nations, the Democratic nations are bound to lose unless they wake up. Just ask the decimated auto parts manufacturers in N. Carolina about China's trade "policies".

The Chinese government has clearly and blatantly sold short its environment. It has in the past, and continues currently, to manipulate its currency. It provides nothing meaningful in the way of labor rights, let alone human rights, for its own people, practices trade and military espionage on a large scale, and more. Its time the trade playing field was leveled, not endlessly rationalized and apologized for. If the spinners want to label this "China Bashing', so be it; they very much deserve it, in my view.

Regarding his assertions of the burgeoning exports to China from the states mentioned, frankly I'm startled at this. I'm definitely not a trade expert, but if true, this is interesting. I'd really like more elaboration and verification. My visceral, long held feelings and practical observations are that that more and more of the goods I've considered for purchase over the years have 'Made in China' on them. I vividly remember images from documentaries showing huge stacks of containers on Chinese docks bound for Western nations, while virtually no manufactured goods were coming into China. My initial thought is that if true, this is going to strengthen China's manufacturing capabilities and efficiencies even more, and it can't be healthy for the West to lose manufacturing to this extent, especially to a Totalitarian government with the record of unfair trade, environmental pollution, disregard for human rights, and business as well as military espionage that China's has.

thmak:

China bashing is an indication of incompetance to be the President of USA. Wrongfully blaming other for one's own incompetance instead of constructive proposals is a sign of mental aberation

RB:

Why do we have to get used to China? I for one am tired of Wall Mart and the China connection. Wall Marts goods make up over 90 percent of their sales and factoring in inflation, it keeps rising for defective and dangerous goods that are Made In China. Americans need to send a signal to Wall Mart and China, no more! We need to stop buying from them and tell Congress that we want products made in America. Can you find any products made in America lately? Do some investigation and you will find that we have bought and surrounded ourselves in China and I'm not referring to the utensils you eat with.

know it all:

broekzelle:

Is China helping or trying to help Myanmar? You know, sending people to help, food, medical help, all those thinks needed in a tragedy? Did China helped the surrounding countries, after the tsunami? Do China help anyone?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There is a trendy saying

" Don't be too CNN! Westerners"

China donated money to the tsunami victims and sent medical experts and equipments to all countries hit by the tsunami.

So don't be too CNN


know it all:

broekzelle:

Is China helping or trying to help Myanmar? You know, sending people to help, food, medical help, all those thinks needed in a tragedy? Did China helped the surrounding countries, after the tsunami? Do China help anyone?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There is a trendy saying

" Don't be too CNN! Westerners"

China donated money to the tsunami victims and sent medical experts and equipments to all countries hit by the tsunami.

So don't be too CNN


know it all:

broekzelle:

Is China helping or trying to help Myanmar? You know, sending people to help, food, medical help, all those thinks needed in a tragedy? Did China helped the surrounding countries, after the tsunami? Do China help anyone?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There is a trendy saying

" Don't be too CNN! Westerners"

China donated money to the tsunami victims and sent medical experts and equipments to all countries hit by the tsunami.

So don't be too CNN


Anonymous:

Why is'nt Mr Pomfret talking about Obama instead?
He looks like the sure winner.

Shawn:

broekzelle:

Is China helping or trying to help Myanmar? You know, sending people to help, food, medical help, all those thinks needed in a tragedy? Did China helped the surrounding countries, after the tsunami? Do China help anyone?

----------------------

I believe you only read report from CNN. you are just too CNN.
FYI, China donate more than 96Million US dollar after the Tusnami and 1M Dollars by now to Myanmar.

Beside the number, I don't think it's really important to be the top donor in number. Remember, there are still millions of people need financial aid in China as well.

Shawn:

"Vince Wade:

New submarine bases, anti-satellite weapons, chronic currency manipulation, wholesale extortion or theft of U.S. technology, relentless cyberattacks on our computer networks, military aid for every genocidal dictatorship in the world...Yes, indeed, we must look after our national interest by coddling China.

You sound remarkably like Neville Chamberlain before Hitler marched on Europe. I'll bet you predict peace in our time if we'll just accommodate the totalitarian Communist Chinese."
---------------------

Another arrogant American who believes they are right on everything.

Can I ask "why you have so many Craft Carrier patrolling around the world? why you have military base everywhere around the world? when you say "military aid for every genocidal dictatorship", who are the one invading to other countries? first Yugoslavia, then Afghanistan and now Iraq. "

No meaning to argue with you if you cannot ask yourself these questions before your above comments, because you are just keep eyes on others.

broekzelle:

Is China helping or trying to help Myanmar? You know, sending people to help, food, medical help, all those thinks needed in a tragedy? Did China helped the surrounding countries, after the tsunami? Do China help anyone?

Mariano Patalinjug:

Yonkers, New York
07 May 2008

Let's make one thing clear enough. John Pomfret is not a politician--and is not running for political office.

Which explains why he feels no need to bash China, or any other nation, except that he has to bash Hillary Clinton, a politician, because she is now bashing China.

I must assume that Mr. Pomfret is conversant with politics, with American politics in particular, and knows that American politicians do what they feel they need to do to capitalize on certain issues, such as the issue of China on the part of Hillary Clinton, which resonate with certain sectors of the population and thus gain some needed votes to get the nomination of a political party and, onward, to win an election.

Many Americans are all too aware of these facts of American politics. And I am sure that many of them likewise know the facts about the problems engaging US-Chinese relations. They know what's true, what's hype, what's spin, and what's untrue.

The Chinese are not and cannot be assumed to be ignorant of the nature of "democratic" politics in general, and American politics in particular. And so, they understandably and normally take the negative things that an American political candidate says about China with more than a grain of salt.

It would be a different thing altogether if it were George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Condoleezza Rice, or Robert Gates, or Stephen Hadley who does the bashing of China.

But, in the nature of things, these high-ranking American officials do not normally or routinely bash a country irresponsibly, let alone publicly. There are normal diplomatic channels of communication through which a country may lodge a complaint with another, in the proper form--and through which channels a country may respond, also in the proper form.

You can be sure that at the very least there will be a quick response, or rebuttal, or an expression of indignation--or worse, a threat to sever diplomatic relations.

As that saying goes, John Pomfret, that's just the way the ball bounces.

Mariano Patalinjug

MarPatalinjug@aol.com

Timmy:

As for the tainted imports, the importer and/or the big supermarket should take up more responsibility to monitor the quality and safety. Anyway they got the biggist slice of profit. one of my friends in China sold ASDA UK 10 thousands of scarves at 37 cents(CIF)per piece which ASDA will sell at 3 pounds in UK ( around 6 US dollars).

Shawn to Capozzola:

Hi Steve Capozzola,

to reply your comments:

"Pomfret seems willing to ignore what even children understand-- namely, that rules matter. Beijing is cheating on not only currency issues, but also, dumping, subsidies, intellectual property theft, l..."

You tone makes me believe you are just an arrogant westerner who believe you are right on everything.I'm not going to argue one by one. Just to pick up environmental Issue, do you also suggest Iraqis and Afahgan must reach your environmental standard before they can produce any product to sell US? So you are not going to trade with them or even impose sanction on them until they can reach your standard, right? You must evaluate the situation from other's stance as well. As I know, China is seeking advanced environmental tech constantly, they have just sign up some agreement with Japan on this issue today. You make me feel you are just as blind as Hillary to shoot your machine-gun everywhere.
-----------
"Pomfret praises the Chinese for revaluing their currency, the Yuan, by roughly 18% over the past three years. In doing ...And at a time when the dollar is falling worldwide, Beijing has only marginally altered is position, leaving the Yuan still grossly undervalued by approximatey 40%."

It's surprise you dare mentioned this. I think Idiot also know to raise other's currency when press mine when owing debt. When you mentioning Beijing manipulate currency, you never doubt your own government is probably doing same as well. You would argue it's the market making dollars falling, but you never know there's a bigger hands than market behind the scene. Beside,the $$ falling down is just issue in half a year, but Yuan raising started several years ago.
------------------------

"Currency manipulation is considered one of the more serious.... A further irony, though, is that, while Pomfret points to a 300% increase in U.S. exports to China since 2000, he neglects to mention that the U.S. trade deficit with China has also jumped 300% in the same period. His selective ...”

When you talk about trade deficit, you should ask yourself why you are spending so much? as long as you are willing to spend, and spend faster than you earn, you are going to have deficit. The Chinese has surplus is because they are saving rather than spending. I think you should blame on your own rather than others. don't blame China for selling $1 underwear and $2 bra, it's because there are people buying. If you aren't, just go and buy LV or Channel, you won't have any deficit to China anymore, but might be 100 times of deficit to France.

all your comments just make me believe you are a short sighted business who lose profit and becoming a protectionist

Timmy:

Many commenter here seems upset by the imbalance of the trade. For them the trade deficit is too big. But US buy the product since it is no longer economical to produce them in US. If US don't buy them from China, US still need to buy them from other part of the world. So it is easy to understand that while the trade deficit to China is growing, but the trade deficit to the East Asia as a whole keeps shrinking.

Ramesh:

Mark, what fantasy world are you living in? India is a nation deserving respect in many ways, but your pro-India/anti-China message bears the mark of a fool. We Indians hate Britain, and for all your fantasies about a "common language," it's time you woke up-- the vast majority of Indians don't speak English, perhaps about 5% of us speak English with any competency. The Indian nation and culture go back millennia, and were producing great art and mathematics well before the first British soldier decided to defecate on our country back in the 1700's.

The British and Anglophones in general seem to indulge in the fantasy that somehow, we in India consider them something special to our history and culture. Well, hate to burst your bubble Mark, but we don't-- you are a tiny little blip on the radar screen of India's history and culture, and a fairly unimportant one at that. As the UK continues to decline into irrelevance, and as the USA sinks into bankruptcy, India will rise, and our ancient cultures and languages will rise with them. Hindi is by far the dominant language in India, with even more speakers worldwide than English has, while Tamil (my own family's native tongue) and Bengali, among others, have their own ancient literary traditions, far predating that of English.

Also, it's funny that Mark speaks of "British colonial domination" as a good thing, for India or anywhere else. The British actually only ruled less than half of India-- the other half was independent, or under French or Portuguese control. Yet the British still managed to kill about 45 million people in India after we dared to rise up for our independence in 1857-- executing entire families by firing squad, then burning down farms and exporting scarce food to Britain, or to Afghanistan where the British were busy getting themselves humiliated as the Afghans defeated the British on multiple occasions. Even the few "railroads" that the UK managed to build in India, were designed expressly for looting riches out of India. (Loot is originally a Hindi word, after all.)

The point is, Mark, Indians despise the British, and we now have contempt for them as our economy rises past that of the UK. And we have just as much contempt for the historically-deluded fools like you, Mark, who speak glowingly about the British colonial period, and how this in any way obligates any kind of relationship between India and the USA. (For that matter, how was the USA ever dominated by the British? Over 80% of US territory came into the Union after 1783, when the Americans-- a mixture of Dutch, Germans, French native Americans and Irish, not just British) defeated the British in war. India was the world's second-richest nation (after China) before the British came-- after the British looted us dry, we were among the poorest. Almost all development in India has occurred after the British were kicked out.

We Indians are hardly as hateful of China as you seem to be. We've had our own complicated relations in the past, but we respect China as an Asian nation that stayed strong and weathered its challenges, as China was never colonized, and which ultimately defeated the British and other Western nations in coastal battles and in 1950-- a country that stood up for itself. Is China ideal? No, they definitely need reforms, as we've been pointing out on other threads. But they're not some "totalitarian Communist dictatorship" as the bigots on many of these forums like to claim-- they're a nation still evolving the recognition of rights, intellectual property protection and judicial systems needed in a modern nation. As for electing leaders-- considering the fiasco that is the US's current president, maybe China is smart to avoid following in the same footsteps, and being more cautious about the power-succession system itself.

And we in India intend to regard China as a fellow mature nation and a full trading partner, as it continues to mature in its own rights regimes. Keep in mind, many India-haters have launched the same "human rights abuse" attacks at India following turmoil in our nation-- the Sikh massacres in 1986, the Nagaland Christian conflict, the 1998 Gujarat riots, the Maoist insurgency and the Kashmir issue, of course. These attacks on India are foolish for the same reason as the attacks on China are-- we are also an evolving nation, and while these events were horrid and their perpetrators worthy of condemnation, they don't define India. We from India were as appalled, for the most part, as anyone in the USA about these things.

The UK and USA seem desperate to manipulate China, India and other Asian countries into fights against each other, as the UK, USA and Australia themselves fall apart economically and lose militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, it's not going to work-- we have far more to gain from trading with each other. If the UK and USA want to profit from that trade, they're welcome to join us. But if they antagonize us, then yes, China, India and Russia will unite against you. We're not going to tolerate any Western neo-imperialistic BS against our countries.

Mat:

Having seen their dollar reserves almost cut in half by the sinking value of the dollar I would not be surprised if China nationalizes foreign owned companies after the olympics. It was hard earned money, money that is now lost. I can hear them gritting their teeth in Beijing.

GLQ:

Chinese will thank candidate Hillary for reminding them to move the polluting factories back to US at some stage.

HUNTER:

I've been dealing with the Chinese since 1990, if you want to know "globlization" (including China, or Asia, or Afica) better, understand better, don't site at home!!!

mtlyorel:

I'm quite surprised at Pomfret's article. Normally I detect a not-so-subtle bias against China but today's article seems almost embarrassingly apologetic. Could it be he is using China as a pretext to bash HRC? Politicians will sell their left kidney to win an election and both candidates have kissed so many bottoms for votes that Charmin's inventory must be sky-high.

China's trade and quality control problems are intrinsic. Yes all countries manipulate their markets and currencies to a certain degree. Yes the main beneficiaries have been US multinationals and the US economy - dollars are recycled right back into the US. Yes China needs to fix their quality problem. However all this can not come about willingly from China. You can bet that any big industry or manufacturer in China is aligned if not owned by the People's Liberation Army or with the regional governments. You can bet the ingredients sold under falsified product descriptions have the blessing if not the total sanction of the local or Chinese government. The government and the PLA loves money just as much as the next unscrupulous businessman.

Because these problems are state-sanctioned, state-condoned, and state-created, other countries must force China's governments to confront and repeal these insidious practices through foreign pressures such as embargo or boycott. Stringent product safety requirements are strong measures that will only improve China's competitiveness in the world market. By forcing the companies to be responsible for the products they ship or sell, other countries would be ensuring not just the well-being of their own citizens, but also help the lives of ordinary Chinese citizens who have to live with the contaminated products on a daily basis.

observer:

DO THE TALK PEOPLE!! YOU ALL SOUND AN EXPERT TO ME...DO THIS, AND DO THAT...NOW WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO CORRECT YOUR PERCEIVED WRONG?

trade benefts US:

China may manufacture 90% of the low-value added, labor-intensive products sold in US, but the US firms that market and sell the products capture the lion-share of the profits. Globalization is one of the leading factor driving the earning growth of large cap US companies.

The $300B trade deficit to China each year does not end up in China's coffer. It is exchanged for US treasures, and fed right back into US government.

The US consumers and business benefit from both the low inflation due to less expensive imports, and low borrowing rate due to purchase of US treasures by China. This creates a favorable economic environment for the US business and consumer (which unfortunately has been abused by US financial system and lead to the current sub-prime crisis).

What does China get in return for the products sold to US? A piece of IOU (and some of the toxic MBS and CDOs), which US wants to depreciate dramatically (20~50%) by forcing the appreciation of Chinese YUAN.

And US is whining about getting the short end of the stick.

Head-scratching:

I don't understand why Chinese posters have lately stormed the readers fora of what seems to be all Western newspapers. It's a bit odd, a bit scary, and I can't imagine ever deluging Chinese web fora with some UK or US nationalist tripe.

That said, I don't understand how even the most bigoted nationalist can seriously talk of China-bashing. What is happening in US politics is Mexico-bashing. Mexico, not China, is the truly weak, politically unpopular fish that everyone is frying so gleefully.

China, which poses infinitely more problems, has been given quite the free pass. Be happy, guys.

Moreover, China has hardly been hurt by US trade or other policy, ever. It seems that Chinese dumping practices and trade violations have helped it grow at 12% pa while the rest of the world is forced to fundamentally reorient their economies and see millions lose their jobs, for better or worse.

Time to rethink the bad old relations? It's certainly time for a discussion (whether or not a frank discussion gets labeled "bashing").

To the author: cheap Chinese products are hardly a blessing for the US or anyone. Sure, inflation was down for 10 years, but global inflation is too godlike a force to be tamed by a centrally planned, closed government. It's been building up all along and has leapt up in the last year.

All of those cheap goods are now coming home to roost. After the era of cheap goods has ended, Western nations that abandoned their own manufacturing sectors and bought Chinese goods on credit are depleted of capital and forced to deal with wholly untenable current account deficits of up to 6-7% in the UK's case. That is an extremely mixed blessing.

santafe2:

Is this the best arguments that can be made for ocontinuing to trade with Commie China?


I mean, even if exports are going up, the real question is what is the "balance" of trade. And as I understand it, the imbalance in favor of Commie China and against the USA is going up every year.

Why didn't the writer talk about that?

Seems to me someone in America should start worrying about jobs here, but it won't be anyone on the WaPo staff. Can't wait 'til these blog sites are outsourced to India.

santafe2:

Is this the best arguments that can be made for ocontinuing to trade with Commie China?


I mean, even if exports are going up, the real question is what is the "balance" of trade. And as I understand it, the imbalance in favor of Commie China and against the USA is going up every year.

Why didn't the writer talk about that?

Seems to me someone in America should start worrying about jobs here, but it won't be anyone on the WaPo staff. Can't wait 'til these blog sites are outsourced to India.

Vince Wade:

New submarine bases, anti-satellite weapons, chronic currency manipulation, wholesale extortion or theft of U.S. technology, relentless cyberattacks on our computer networks, military aid for every genocidal dictatorship in the world...Yes, indeed, we must look after our national interest by coddling China.

You sound remarkably like Neville Chamberlain before Hitler marched on Europe. I'll bet you predict peace in our time if we'll just accommodate the totalitarian Communist Chinese.

Vince Wade:

New submarine bases, anti-satellite weapons, chronic currency manipulation, wholesale extortion or theft of U.S. technology, relentless cyberattacks on our computer networks, military aid for every genocidal dictatorship in the world...Yes, indeed, we must look after our national interest by coddling China.

You sound remarkably like Neville Chamberlain before Hitler marched on Europe. I'll bet you predict peace in our time if we'll just accommodate the totalitarian Communist Chinese.

Cayambe:

magellan1:
Very pithy!!! I could not have said it so well.

But your second paragraph leaves an opening. If, as you suggest, the government is incompetent to provide protection from manufactured imports threatening to consumer health and welfare, are we then to depend on making importers, distributors, and/or retailers liable to consumers represented by trial attorneys? I.E. shouldn't ToysRus, Walmart, Kmart, Baxter, Merck, Safeway, etc., etc. be liable to punitive damages for buying and passing on dangerous crap to the poor suffering consumer?

That Chinese heparin affair was downright deadly, as was the Chinese glycerin affair. These things need to get dealt with one way or the other. What would be your preference?

Gun control:

Let Americans buy more guns.

Once they kill each other off, we shall inherit the land!

Dan:

Mr Pomfret,

Do you really think that China is getting a bum deal? That is quite a naive view to take.

I am a business strategy consultant at a Fortune 500 firm. With every company I advise, the central question is: Can you cut enough American (or EU or Japanese or Korean, etc.) jobs and build enough factories in China to stay competitive with Chinese state-backed companies that can undercut global prices by violating WTO rules?

I don't like it, the companies I advise don't like it, but when China flouts WTO rules and Washington refuses to assert its own interests on a level anywhere near what China does, businesses have no option but to go to low-cost countries. And because of the illegal support it gives businesses, China is the granddaddy of them all.

Forget pollution, forget poisoned dog food, forget currency manipulation; the problem is much bigger than that.

Companies increasingly are "shipping" jobs to China, as they must. This is because the Chinese government is actively creating a monopoly over world production of nearly everything and creating its own, state-encouraged companies by 1) financing, via cheap state-bank loans, factory construction plans that will vastly increase total world supply in industries from nylon textiles to computer chips to cardboard boxes; creating oversupply like this will force higher-cost factories in the US and developed countries to close; 2) subsidizing energy for manufacturers to the point that state oil companies complain about lack of profits; 3) offering WTO-violating VAT rebates to exporters; 4) despite recent appreciation, still pegging an undervalued yuan to the dollar; and 5) using protectionism to bar foreign investment banks (other than GS and UBS) on the mainland, as well as law firms and other services; and limiting foreign movies to a dozen or so per year while letting piracy and intellectual property theft run rampant.

You accuse the US of protectionism or trade dishonesty? My friend, you have been drinking the Kool-Aid in Tiananman Sq for too long.

The world and the WTO do nothing to counter the Chinese government's actions to monopolize world manufacturing. And where manufacturing jobs go, so will R&D, management, etc. go; the same executives who export blue-collar jobs today are tying their own nooses for tomorrow.

Despite your assertions, no country -- not Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, or any other place -- is the threat to businesses the world over that China is. None of them uses illegal subsidies or protectionism to undercut prices on products from plastics to cardboard boxes to food to electronics by 40% or more.

When you buy anything in a Target or Best Buy or Gap, where is 95% of EVERY type of product made? I don't see too many Made in Mexico labels these days. Unlike 10 years ago, today it's hard to find anything not made in China.

That dependence on one country for nearly every consumer good isn't a "reality" we have to "adapt" to. It's the product of a twisting of global trade rules, and it's making the US a debtor nation of bloated consumers and few consumers. The growing lack of economic diversity, the stagnation of the middle class, and the increasing gap between haves and have nots is a problem in the US, and China is one of the biggest - though not the only - forces in that.

The United States writes a check to China for nearly $300 billion every year, and that number is growing. Let's face it: China is building skyscrapers and Olympic venues while the US middle class is hollowed out. And the Chinese people see about a third of that money; the rest is effectively confiscated by the government because it is in foreign currency. (See James Fallows' recent Atlantic article on this.)

US banks and financial services firms are going hat in hand to Beijing's sovereign wealth fund because of this tectonic shift in wealth. And what purpose does it all serve? Why does the Chinese government undermine its WTO partners at all costs? To stay in power and keep its citizens from questioning its rule. A nihilistic party's desire to control power is bankrupting America.

Mr Pomfret, I don't know if you're frightened of government surveillance, if you've started a family in China, or if you have the expat attitude (which I once did as an expat) that you're savvier than your countrymen, that things can't be black and white. But your piece is borderline apologist, and you seem not to understand what anyone in America can see - that, as was reported in Foreign Affairs some months back, the US economy is no larger as a result of Chinese trade than it would've been without it. China's protectionist, WTO-abusing growth does little to benefit others, and there are very few shades of gray in that. Sometimes you do just have to write the straight news story because the feature isn't panning out.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have given much more wind to attacking Mexico or even Canada than China. As someone involved in business who, unlike most China business "experts," has no interest in China, I see no other place that is hoovering up US jobs and capital like China.

Quite the opposite of what you say, I am shocked at how silent US and world politicians have been about China's zero-sum rise. The US has kept up its WTO obligations. China has not. Guess who is hurt by that. I can merely wonder why Pelosi, Clinton and Obama attack free trade but leave China's unfree trade unscathed.

Indeed, the question should be, Why has no politician directly addressed the biggest geopolitical problem of our times? Do they fear China will dump dollar reserves? Are they worried that Beijing will overreact to any attempt to clamp down on China's aggressive assertion of its own interests to the harm of the world? Or do they think voters can't understand anything more complex than Mexico- (not China-) bashing and "terror"?

I fully agree that the United States needs to look out for its interests better and cool down on the values-speak. But Mr Pomfret, I fear you have watched too much CCTV.

If Hillary win the election, as a president, she will change her policy toward China:

Just like many Presidents in US, Hillary Clinton
would change her policy toward China if she win the election.

Because the whole Americans will not agree with her to loose their benifit from the trade with Chinese companies, even Hillary will lose the support from American people. Futher more, China will continue to develope without American though it also will lost a lot.

The only thing she should do is to reform the national politic and economic system of America itself, but not to bash China.

If Hillary win the election, as a president, she will change her policy toward China:

Just like many Presidents in US, Hillary Clinton
would change her policy toward China if she win the election.

Because the whole Americans will not agree with her to loose their benifit from the trade with Chinese companies, even Hillary will lose the support from American people. Futher more, China will continue to develope without American though it also will lost a lot.

The only thing she should do is to reform the national politic and economic system of America itself, but not to bush China.

Not Just Hillary:

To be fair, every candidate have already bashed China in their campaigns. Hillary just seems like more of a hyprocite because of her husband's previous relations with China.

The candidates say what the people want to hear, and unfortunately China's viewed as a big threat to the general American population (many thanks to the media of course). But since politicians rarely back up what they promise, I wouldn't look too deeply into her words.

come on man:

It is of coz ok for Chinese to import something from the US, but what do you have and what do you want to sell? If you don't sell, how can the Chinese buy?

Pull out of Iraq:

CNN-Money publised on January 11 2008:
(Fortune) -- The Iraq war has already cost the lives of nearly 4,000 U.S. troops.
The bill for Iraq over the past five years is now approaching a cumulative $500 billion.

Saddam has been removed.
Accept it as a victorious exit.

kkk:

Asking for currency depreciation by foreign trade partner is like asking for debt forgiveness.

Once your friend owe you 1 trillion dollars, you ask to have that debt depreciate in values (19% currently for China, or 50% in the case of Japan in the 80s). Hmmm if only the same courtesy is extended to Africans.

Anonymous:

Madam Hillary, we still have that wonderful photo of u and your presidential family walking along the Great Wall of China!

Li Bai Riady:

Ha ha ha ha.

Clintons bash China?

Xiao Wang, Liu Nuer, these PLA officers went to the White House and to fundraisers and gave Clintons money.

Normy Hsu was busted earlier this year.

Like Mao said to Nixon, yes, hammer us in public.

Clintons kiss up to Chinese communists even more than Bush.

ignoramus:

Why not the workers at home work for lesser pay. After all the chinese are not coming to US and offering to work for lesser wages. If the domestic workers accept lesser wages the companies will not be getting the manufacturing done outside. There will not be any lay offs. It is not easy to have a cake and eat it too.

ignominious American:

American need oil but don't want use money, so they robbed Iraq. They are beasts. These beasts need money but don't want to plod, so they are coveting Iran. How ignominious American are!

magellan1:

So, let's see. There is a trade deficit of $260 billion with China but exports to China grew a whopping 301% to $65.2 billion! I'd feel better about that but, in other words, China's exports to the U.S. grew to over $325 billion! Guess they have to buy something with all those surplus dollars. Lead exports must be way up!

Then we have the ultimate absurdity: "But the real solution is not to shut down trade with China, it’s to make a better FDA and Consumer Product Safety Commission. But that’s harder to do, so Clinton bashes China." It's okay if China sends us crap, it's OUR fault because we don't have enough guvament to keep watch over them! It would be fun to hear how this fool thinks he can make FDA and CPSC better. Bigger yes, but better? Not on YOUR life!

skylark:

No amount of education helps a worker if their skills can be found elsewhere for a tiny fraction of the worker's wage. The Asians, both South and East Asians are stealing our jobs. Mr. Pomfret has not been personally harmed and he obviously doesn't give a damn about his fellow citizens. Neither do the posters here who agree with him.

Realist:

Geez people! Exactly what part of 5% unemployment bothers you? Most countries would LOVE to have 95% of their people employed. To read what some of you write, you'd think China had stolen HALF of America's jobs.

People who can read what Pomfret wrote and still complain about China "taking our jobs," are the same people who have no desire to improve their skills.

Well, you losers can complain all you want, but your jobs are going to Chinese, Indians, Vietnamese, etc. Get off your lazy asses and learn something. Try reading instead of watching TV (Sports Illustrated doesn't count).

Stu Wilde:

This blog reminds of the critique of the Bush Presidency; namely, that ideology steers policy regardless of how foolhardy and irrational the course becomes. Pomfret wanted to rip Clinton about her most recent saber rattling by propping up China and whitewashing their despicable conduct in many areas.

China is not our friend nor are they our enemy. They are quietly building up their military power and they conduct military , commercial & industrial espionage every chance they get. They are a Communist country that does not believe in any of the freedoms contained in our Bill of Rights.

With regard to trade and economic concerns -- I am surprised that Pomfret would blame our Government for China's intentional and/or gross negligence in exporting goods that are hazardous to the health of U.S. citizens. The U.S. corporations that are exporting these products should be held more accountable -- as should their counterparts in China.

One word about the yuan... China moves at a glacial pace -- a civilization some 5,000 years old. They have let the yuan appreciate against the dollar but it is always gradual and at opportune times when it benefits their economy.

They will be a future competitor, so if we don't re-define our relationship, China will eventually surpass the U.S. in international influence.

Finally, the bottom line is that China needs access to our economy FAR MORE than we need access to theirs. They've been hanging the attractive notion of 1.3 billion Chinese consumers over our head for so long, yet there is minimal penetration of the domestic Chinese market by U.S. companies. Instead, they flood our markets with cheap goods and are home to an ever-flowing stream of factories and manufacturing facilities... at the detriment of U.S. workers.

Get real Pomfret.

talkingabutcheator.:

There is no bigger cheator on currency than the United Stats of America. They borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars from China and Japan, after 8 yrs spending frenzy by dubya they are now bankrupted, so what they do? they started a printing dolloars frenzy! what's a better way to pay ur debt in dallars than to print dollar bills like there's no tomorrow? Dollar's irresponsible declining in the past a few yrs is the major reason for a lot of unrests in the world, ie, oil price, inflation worldwide, now food price.

And yet a US president candidate has the guts to come out and accuse other country as "cheator on currency"?? and resonates well within Americans? WOW...just wow, isn't ur country amazing? I guess I have to go puke now.

Chris:

When I first read the title, I expected something substantive, but was disappointed. Clinton's comments seem reasonable and mild, and fully within the bounds of rational policy debate over how to deal with the China juggernaut. To categorize them as "China bashing" is unfair and fear-mongering.

I agree with everything Steven Capozzola wrote in his comment, especially with regard to Pomfret's selective use of the facts and deceptive way of arguing.

For example, "On the tainted imports, sure, Chinese companies – and arguably the Chinese government -- have been sleazy, but the real problem is right here at home." Non sequitur. Maybe both sides share some blame, but in one sentence he admits, and then dismisses, the main point that he's trying to argue against. By starting the next paragraph with this line, "As for currency manipulation, wrong again, Senator," as if the point is settled, he is just making this reader, for one, even less impressed.

Another example, "On the issue of stealing U.S. jobs, ...." Pomfret, typically, switches topics, to how trade benefits consumers.

John, I met you once before, at a talk you gave in Chinese, in D.C., about your book "Chinese Lessons". I read the book and loved it, and I know you're a smart guy. I just discovered your blog two days ago, and had high hopes. This kind of sophistry just wearies me, though, and I would ask you to stop it.

yangzhixiang :

I think China-bashing was,is and will always be one tool in the president eletion,not only in United States ,but also in many other countries.

country bumpkin:

All those talks about appreciation of yuan and depreciation of dollars are above my head. But about the simple thing about poisoned toys and medicines I have some doubts.
If you suspect the paints on the toys to be lead based why buy it at all. Why import it. Nobody is compelling a consumer to buy it. Go for something costlier which is better. If an American company wants to get the manufacturing done in a third world country, is there no mechanism where the goods are inspected at the factory. When the contract is made such a stipulation can be made. If it is something imported from a foreign country the batches can be inspected before it goes to the market. Many a goods have been rejected because it was substandard.
If you go for cheap goods it do happen. Not only in America-everywhere.
One question. A foolish one. Before the safer bases for paints were found out, all the paints were lead based. The grantparents of the present generation must have been exposed to the lead in the paints, lead pipes used for water, lead sheets on roofs and such. They have all survived and that too without much damage to their brains. So is it that harmful as everyone will have us to believe?

greenpoint:

Although lots of workers(Pomfret NOT one of them) have, and will forever, lost their jobs, they can still live well by buying cheep goods.

Harold F. Crockett Jr.:

The Global Economy is something that we Americans don't really understand. Business in America understands. That's why corporations, needing to increase shareholder's profits, ship jobs overseas where wages are low. American Unions priced themselves out of existence on the world labor stage years ago. The greed of Union leaders doomed any chance of a viable Union movement continuing in this Country. The original idea of fellowship through Unions in order to protect workers was a positive step in American History. When Unions, however, became greedy and abusive themselves to their own members, the good old days were over. If one wants to blame the foreign countries taking our jobs gladly, don't blame them. We need to blame ourselves. The answer, at this stage of the labor shift, is to shift our labor to high tech, green, and white collar. The blue collar jobs are gone, never to return. To wish so is folly.
Our disenfranchised workers need to be retrained in jobs for the present and the future and our young people need to do the same. The horse is out of the barn. I doubt that we will be again a leading manufacturing country in the world. If positive change is to come, it must come from within. Other countries, trying to emulate our industrial success, are not going to help us. The new economy must become our 21st century moon shot program, taking us to economic heights only imagined during the last twenty years or so. The technology is here to move ahead in the new Global Economy.

Ugly American:

Why is it that these simple, xenophobic political messages still resonate with the American public? Our trade policy is hijacked by the few special interests who are stuck bearing the adjustment costs of free trade, while the rest of the country is denied the benefits which come with increased trade. Yes, China is cheating, and we need to make sure Beijing follows the rules - we have the WTO to solve that. What disgusts me are politicians such as Ms. Clinton or her Democratic colleagues in congress who would rather antagonize an important trading partner than address our own deficient domestic regulatory agencies or our paucity of domestic savings. The problem is us, not China, and it would be nice is a politician would finally stand up and offer the tough medicine needed to fix our economy. Until then, it's $500 tax rebates and tariffs on Chinese goods to the rescue.

Mark:

It is amazing how pervasive the China propaganda machine has become. Indeed, China makes many things, but so does the rest of the world. And to support such a hopeless, fascist regime that has so little concern for humanity, is an abomination.
If anything, the United States would be keen to build up its relation with India. With a common history of British colonial domination, a common language, and a common dedication to human rights and democracy, India is the natural trade partner to the United States.

Jamie:

"As for currency manipulation, wrong again, Senator. China has quietly allowed its currency, the Yuan, to gain substantially against the dollar over the last year."

Umm... you do realize that if a currency is valued based on the market, then a government doesn't ALLOW its currency to do ANYTHING, right? The yuan's real value is much higher, and the Chinese government is pegging it at a desirable rate. The simple fact that China has so graciously ALLOWED its currently to appreciate relative to the dollar is the very definition of manipulation.

Chinese junk.:

This writer is soft, and I don't want our deal making, with anyone, save possibly Canada, to be soft. Why criticize Clinton at all? Are you afraid we may get something out of it? This we are going to hurt the Chinese juggernaut? Does China deserve this? To quote Billy Muny in The Unforgiven, "Deserve Ain't Got Nothing' To Do With It."

Clinton's words are not harsh. The fact is, the cheap products we get from China are crappier than they should be. The expensive items like sneakers should be much cheaper. So what's in it for us but full landfills and rich corporate execs? And the low prices induce buyers to run up debt on stuff they could do without. Smarten up consumers! Cheap is junk.

Ted :

I wonder if she is trying to prove that she doesn't show any favoritism toward China due to prior scandals such as the fund-raising investigation related to donations from Chinese operatives or allegations of donations of laundered money coming from businesses in Chinatown.

Ted :

I wonder if she is trying to prove that she doesn't show any favoritism toward China due to prior scandals such as the fund-raising investigation related to donations from Chinese operatives or allegations of donations of laundered money coming from businesses in Chinatown.

ana kai:

Why only talk about Clinton? Obama did the same amount of bashing and the difference is Obama always paint china with led poisoned paint.

Dave G:

The author fails to recognize which segments of the US population are benefiting from the trade increase with China. It's certainly not the blue collar and middle classes, but the corporate world that is seeing windfalls at the expense of both US and Chinese lower classes. But then I suppose you'll just dismiss me as an unthinking corporate-basher.

ec:

I'm not sure "threatened" is the right word to use, but China's neighbors are certainly concerned with China's growing power, and they are working to hedge against this possible threat in several different ways. It's been at least a year since Russia has terminated selling weapons to China for "strategic review", while SE Asia has been trying to pull China into regional institutions to normalize it to international standards of transparency and non-violent conflict resolution. In the meantime they do continue to strengthen their official and unofficial ties with the US through naval base access and ship refueling. Its not running scared of China, but it certainly isn't seeing it as a buddy.
China's massive trade deficit is partly due to currency manipulation by the Chinese, but it is also due to the fact that China has become the final point of assembly and export for many items in Asia. Declines in trade imbalances with other nations in Asia roughly correspond to the increases of the US China trade deficit.
A key problem is that while American's spend wayyy too much, Chinese consumers save too much and spend too little. We need to pare down our consumption in line within our means, and China needs to reform its financial structure and make it easier for its citizens to get credit.
They also need to open up their markets to the US, as much as we are afraid of their low cost advantage, companies in China are afraid of branded American products, which outperform Chinese goods in China.

jiaming:

This woman will sell her kid to get the presidency.

ANONYMOUS:

"It seems that the further geographically distant from China, the more threatening China appears to many Westerners."

Given the brutal history of the 1700s-early 1900s when the West was rising and bringing wars to Asia, Africa and the Americas, the very westerners assume China would repeat the same: wars, colonism and gobbling up world's natural resources. So much for the western "life styles", as bragged by the western democracies. The earth can not support another billion to have cars, houses the way everyone has in the west. And the west does not want to lose what it has. They have a reason to feel 'threatened' that's why china bashing is such a fad especially now.

As for Hillary, what can I say. She's strengthening the general American nationalism: I'm the best and I can do no wrong. It's always someone else's to blame. Well, she's not getting my vote.

dumb voter:

Her goals are to get the dumb voter who haven't getting outside of the USA border.

Steven Capozzola:

John Pomfret seems to undercut his own arguments when he freely acknowledges the “tainted imports” that come from “sleazy” Chinese companies and the Chinese government. He also recognizes a “massive trade imbalance” with China. And yet, inexplicably, he finds this “close relationship with China” to still be “crucial to American interests,” no matter the unfavorable terms.

Pomfret seems willing to ignore what even children understand-- namely, that rules matter. Beijing is cheating on not only currency issues, but also, dumping, subsidies, intellectual property theft, labor rights, and environmental standards. While these may collectively produce the “low-cost imports” that he celebrates, it’s worth considering the serious net losses that come from closing U.S. factories and sending jobs overseas.

Pomfret praises the Chinese for revaluing their currency, the Yuan, by roughly 18% over the past three years. In doing so he’s still implicitly recognizing China’s ongoing, illegal currency manipulation. And at a time when the dollar is falling worldwide, Beijing has only marginally altered is position, leaving the Yuan still grossly undervalued by approximatey 40%.

Currency manipulation is considered one of the more serious transgressions of world trade law, and it’s hard to see why Pomfret makes apologies for Beijing’s regime. A further irony, though, is that, while Pomfret points to a 300% increase in U.S. exports to China since 2000, he neglects to mention that the U.S. trade deficit with China has also jumped 300% in the same period. His selective use of the facts overlooks the cost of this increasing deficit-- more than 1 million manufacturing jobs lost in “Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indianapolis, North Carolina, and Michigan,” the states that he specifically points to as benefiting from “rapidly growing exports to China.”

Facts are stubborn things, and an objective appraisal shows the United States being taken advantage of by a repressive regime with only its own stark interests at heart. This should be unacceptable no matter the criteria, be it sound business practice or simple humanitarianism.

Pomfret should visit www.americanmanufacturing.org to learn more about the need for balanced trade.
##

Jack:

Well, Pomfret's argument is the usual neo-liberal line that free trade benefits all. He points to exports growing to China, but at what cost? The Economic Policy Institute is an thinktank that has hammered trade with China as being responsible for 1.8 million jobs lost in America since 2001.

In addition, I recall a paper in Foreign Affairs called " A New Deal for Globalization" that admits that globalization and international trade DO lead to wage stagnation from high school dropouts to people with nonprofessional master's degrees.

I think if a Democrat is going to be elected, and that seems to be a good bet to make, there is going to be major protectionist sentiment for the coming 4 years. It would do neo-liberals good to either admit that globalization has its shortcomings or to explain the benefits it brings beyond that we can buy a DVD player for $45.

DC.:


The neighboring Southeast Asian nations aren't threatened by China, yet a growing population of Americans and Europeans thousands of kilometers away feel more threatened. Diplomatic relations between Russia and China are the best ever in world history with strategic cooperation. Southeast Asia is rapidly integrating into the Greater China Economic Bloc. Australia's largest trade partner is China and the largest immigrant group of Chinese is transforming that country into a multi-ethnic society. Even India and China that fought border wars in the 1960's have recently conducted joint military exercises. It seems that the further geographically distant from China, the more threatening China appears to many Westerners. What China's rise does represent is the end of Western geo-political dominance to a multi-polar world order which is perhaps the real reason that the Washington Consensus so terribly fears the Chinese.

kissing up:

She will crawling back to the Chinese feet and begging for forgivenese when she is a president.

VA22101:

Former President Clinton advise his wife:
Follow my example of success.
Bash China to dumb votes.
After you get elected, do business with China.
It is good to both US interest and ours.
Yeah, I cannot complain for getting this toy dirt cheap. If there is anything wrong, just blame the Chinese and we will be alright. What, the toy brand and the importer is American and they did not check the quality? Just blame the Chinese. Just remember, when all this is over, we shall fly to many places, Beijing included, to give speeches at $500k a pop.
Hello my assistant, have you get my tomorrow's speech written?

Janman:

Quote, "America was screwed up by none other the Americans".

Xiao:


The end of the empire and the sinews of war talk always come before a US election. While the US has many problems, we are hardly going to be overtaken by anyone anytime soon.

xiao

bob:

American values are about as meaningful as the church in the 17th century, what good is a value if it doesn't benefit national interest? Communism was pretty nice on paper too, but it bankrupted the Soviets. The US is going bankrupt for their values exactly the same way as the Soviets: ignoring economy for the sake of ideology, launching wars without taking a look at the cost, at the end of the day, he who have more money wins, it was the US in the 1990, not anymore.

Xiao:

Ohio and Michigan benefit from trade with the Middle Kingdom? Perhaps a bit, due to increased export traffic, but for the most part one wonders what manufactured goods are being sent to China from Detroit? My visits to Beijing and Detroit of late suggest Beijing doing a bit better on that trade off.

Mr. Pomfret is correct in this thesis, the goons in China make a good target, however the problems in the US are made in the USA for the most part. Blaming others for your own corruption and mis-deeds is something China does better than about anyone and is not something the US should emulate.

Xiao

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