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Who is exaggerating China's rise?
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17:41, August 29, 2008

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The extravaganza delivered by the Beijing Olympics tends to be described as eye-catching and even amazing in the international media, and thereby draws a recent hot debate: what is behind the splendid fireworks?

Some observers believe the Olympics is nothing but a showcase of China's rising strength. But there have appeared some commentaries overstating China's rising national strength, like the editorial published by The New York Times on August 27 entitled 'Compared with China, the U.S seems a third world country.' The article came as Chinese people were still wallowing in national pride and great jubilation; and undoubtedly gained popularity among Chinese readers. But when we get down to it, we could not help but reflect: Why did they exaggerate the thing?

In the article, the writer highlighted China's spectacular Olympic infrastructures, unmatchable opening and closing ceremony, and presented a striking contrast between New York's clumsy La Guardia Airport and the modern-looking Terminals in Beijing and Shanghai, aimed to show how swift China has risen to be a world power. Although he admitted that 'an hour's drive in Beijing will unfold another scene before your eyes,' he still intentionally overstates China's splendor and strength while deliberately turning a blind eye to the other side of the picture.

Why? We may not be reminded of the ugly scenes which had occurred on the global tour of the Olympic torch relay, and all the despicable means some Western anti-China forces employed to vilify China leading up to the Beijing Olympics. But why have some of them suddenly made a U-turn in their attitudes toward China, and what persuaded them to finally abandon their saber-rattling theory against China? To settle the bewilderment, perhaps we need to look to traditional wisdom: overkill on praise is much more harmful than a violent bar fight, as we are frequently taught.

Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, has also raised his doubts on the recent phenomenon of praising China and overstating China's rise hyperactively using the Olympics as a pretext. He deemed that China is still on its journey of development, and even though it is advancing rapidly, the country has realized the journey ahead is still long and arduous. In his article entitled 'china's rise is probably overstated,' Tony Blair pointed out that we should try to clarify that there is still a long way to go for China despite the ground it has already covered.

Indeed, China's rise is an undeniable from any perspective. Currently, China is an emerging economy with the fastest growth rate in the world, and possessing the second largest foreign exchange reserves, China has grown up to be a neo-strength in the world economic arena. Even so, the rapid rise in economic strength by no means indicates that China has made much headway in its cultural innovation abilities. China still lags behind developed countries in terms of the comprehensive national strength.

Therefore, never let the achievements so far scored turn our heads. We should stay sober and always realitistic in the face of hyper-praise or hyper-rejection. What especially deserves our attention is that the exaggeration of China's rise can be made with some ulterior motives, and may be allied with the evil intention to overstate 'China's threat.'

The Chinese culture has traditionally advocated peace and harmony, and the Chinese people, like many others living in developing economies, are longing to be better-off and generally optimistic in their views of the world and the country's prospects. This is the true story of China - a rising economy but always in pursuit of peace - and the true nature of the Chinese people - still struggling but increasingly confident.

By People's Daily Online

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