May 25th, 2020

Why United States is a Busybody

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I was having an interesting discussion with a friend in China over a certain recent event.

He said “Chinese thinking: Why are you meddling with my business? You are deliberately provoking conflicts. I must push you back or I will look weak!”

This comes from a Chinese saying: 各人自扫门前雪,莫管他人瓦上霜 : Everyone swept the snow in front of their own door and not to worry about others. It may sound very selfish but it is very fundamental to the Chinese society harmony – You don’t poke your nose into other people’s business and likewise.

I replied “American thinking: With great power comes great responsibility.” 

Although the phrase comes from a comic book, it reflects deeply what it means to be an American and the sense of duty they have to the rest of the world. 

Back to the certain event, most people think it is like 1989 but I think the outcome would be similar to the 228 Incident instead. God help us.

December 18th, 2019

Sino-US relationship

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Most Americans think US engagement with China starts with President Nixon. But Sino-US history goes back as far as back as the American Revolution and before that.

In the 17th century, China was already trading with the US, then a U.K. colony. Tea, silk, and porcelains were imported from China. After independence, the US became China’s number two trading partner after British.

Through the 300 odd years of engagement, the relationship between the US and China had good times and bad times, but more often somewhere in between.

In the mid-1800, a large number of Chinese labors came to California in search of gold. By the 1860s, the Chinese were the largest aliens in West America. Expectedly, the US pass laws to ban more Chinese from coming.

Around the same time, many US Christian missionaries went to China. They were impressed by Hong Xiuquan and supported him in the Taiping Rebellion. Taiping Rebellion is one of the bloodiness rebellions in human history that leaves 40 million death, in an attempt to create a new “Heavenly Kingdom” in China. Ironically, the US State Department supported the Qing government instead and squash the rebellion.

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November 18th, 2016

A Collision of Expectations

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This article is written as the contribution to GIIC as their commissioner.

The world’s economy is quickly approaching a potential crisis, and the impact could be far reaching. The crisis stems from a collision of conflicting expectations involving one of the largest economies ever, and includes tangible, large-scale impacts on real communities. At this late hour, it is unclear whether the crisis can be averted and if so, what the consequences of trade-offs might be.

In July, 2001 China concluded negotiations with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and an agreement was ratified in December, 2001. Part of China’s understanding was that they would be granted Market Economy Status (MES) on the 15-year anniversary of the agreement, which will occur in December of this year. However, that understanding is not held by the other countries of the WTO and this disagreement has the potential to significantly impact economies around the world.

The accession to WTO opened up opportunities for Chinese industries, but has also brought about a number of unintended consequences. In the 90s, Europe was moving aggressively towards the use of renewal green energy, however manufacturing of solar cell in Europe was very costly because of the European environment protection regulations. The Europeans found a manufacturer in Wuxi, China who was able to provide solar cells very cheaply because of China’s less restrictive environmental protection regulations. The manufacturer became very successful and soon other companies began making solar cells. Unfortunately, the new manufacturers did not seek to enhance the original product, but chose to simply produce exact copies, which is usually the case in China. The “copycat” mindset often leads to overcapacity, and such was the case for solar cells in Wuxi. The European Union took notice of the situation and in 2011 cut back on demand, resulting in a large glut of solar cells, causing prices to plummet by nearly half.

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