Juan Pablo Cardenal: Is China Taking Over the World?

Juan Pablo Cardenal, author of “China’s Silent Army”, debates in an article from New York Times as to whether China is taking over the world or not. Below you can read some excerpts from his opinion post. Juan’s article can be read entirely here

Juan Pablo Cardenal

The combination of a strong, rising China and economic stagnation in Europe and America is making the West increasingly uncomfortable. While China is not taking over the world militarily, it seems to be steadily taking it over commercially. In just the past week, Chinese companies and investors have sought to buy two iconic Western companies, Smithfield Foods, the American pork producer, and Club Med, the French resort company.

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This trend will only increase in the future, as China’s foreign direct investment skyrockets in the coming years. It is projected to reach as much as $1 trillion to $2 trillion by 2020, according to the Rhodium Group. This means that Chinese state-owned companies that enjoy a monopolistic position at home can now pursue ambitious international expansions and compete with global corporate giants. The unfairness of this situation is clearest in the steel and solar- panel industries, where China has gone from a net importer to the world’s largest producer and exporter in only a few years. It has been able to flood the market with products well below market price — and consequently destroy industries and employment in the West and elsewhere.

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As China becomes a global player and a fierce competitor in American and European markets, its political system and state capitalist ideology pose a threat. It is therefore essential that Western governments stick to what has been the core of Western prosperity: the rule of law, political freedom and fair competition.

They must not think shortsightedly. Giving up on our commitment to human rights, or being compliant in the face of rapacious state capitalism, will hurt Western countries in the long term. It is China that needs to adapt to the world, not the other way around.

About Juan Pablo Cardenal

Juan Pablo Cardenal is a Spanish journalist that has been Asia-based since 2003, first as the Shanghai correspondent for Spain’s daily ‘El Mundo’ and later in Singapore and Beijing for Spain’s economic daily ‘El Economista’. During these years he has mainly covered China’s economic and social developments and has travelled extensively in the region. Since 2009 he has travelled to 40 countries in both the West and the developing world to look into how is China becoming a global power and the impact of it at local level. The result of such a field research materialized in the book ‘China’s Silent Army’, and in a current book (on China’s approach to the West) that is now in progress.

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