China's identity dilemma topic of fierce debate

08:29, September 09, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

China should better handle its identity dilemma, caused by its status as a developing country conflicting with increasing external pressure for it to exert a greater global role, analysts said.

The analysts, attending a forum on Wednesday, had a heated discussion on China's future development amid the background of China's rising economic clout and what kind of role it should play in the world.

Gustaaf Geeraerts, director of the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies, said that despite China's economic achievement, the country is actually quite fragile in several sectors, including its low-ranking per capita GDP, its strong export dependence in combination with an underdeveloped domestic market, and its domestic problems including growing income inequality and environmental degradation.

"China, although growing fast, is at a different stage of development and has to overcome a great number of internal problems before it can take on the full scale of its international responsibilities," said Geeraerts, a leading China study expert in the world.

China has recently overtaken Japan as the world's second-largest economy, causing great expectations about its global strength. However, at $5 trillion, China's economy is still much smaller than the economy of the United States at $14 trillion, and the European Union at $18 trillion.

China's per capita GDP is very low, at about $3,700, compared to more than $45,000 for the US in 2009. In per capita annual income, China ranks only around the 100th in the world, Geeraerts said.

Yet the sheer size of China's development is changing the logic of globalization and makes it a critical factor in the international economy, Geeraerts said.

Therefore, Beijing is facing an ever-harder quandary between its identity as a developing country and its identity as an emerging power, said Geeraerts, who also noted that China's objective to sustain its rapid domestic growth sometimes puts the country at odds with Western interests.

As a result, Beijing is being pressured to strike a precarious balance between domestic economic development, which it sees as the most pressing challenge, and the evolution of China into a responsible great power, which it sees as the longer-term ambition, Geeraerts said.

Other experts shared similar ideas. Wu Baiyi, an expert on Latin American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China should lay the foundation of its diplomatic politics with other developing countries, which share wide common interests and history with China.

People living in newly emerging markets and other developing countries account for about 55 percent of the world's total population, said Jin Canrong, a professor with the Beijing-based Renmin University of China.

Therefore, the 15 percent of the population in the West must coordinate with the majority that will determine the landscape of the future world, he emphasized. Due to its complicated internal situation, China will still give priority to its domestic development, he said.

Wang Chenyan contributed to this story.

By Wu Jiao, China Daily

(Editor:梁军)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • A model presents creation by Mexican designer at Mexico Fashion Week, Mexico City, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
  • Models present creations by Mexican designer at Mexico Fashion Week, Mexico City, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
  • A model presents creation by Mexican designer at Mexico Fashion Week, Mexico City, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
  • A model presents creation by Mexican designer at Mexico Fashion Week, Mexico City, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
  • A model presents creation by Mexican designer at Mexico Fashion Week, Mexico City, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
  • A model presents creation by Mexican designer at Mexico Fashion Week, Mexico City, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion