Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online
Europe is in serious trouble now that the Greek debt crisis is spreading like an infectious disease. European media agencies begun fiercely debating again about how much China will buy European bonds this time and what conditions China will set? The U.K.-based Financial Times newspaper quoted a European official saying that Beijing has always tried to extract maximum political advantage from any bond purchase it has made.
The remarks are much exaggerated and have the habitual arrogance of Europeans. Instead of pursuing "political advantage," China has simply pursued the most basic fair treatment.
In fact, China has considerably increased its holdings of the bonds issued by many European countries since the international financial crisis in 2008. Instead of not being aware of the risks in bond purchases, China is convinced that it is now on the same boat with Europe. If Europe suffers from economic downturn, China will have its share of sufferings. If China and the European Union work together, they will surely get through the difficulties.
However, when China regards Europe as a friend of equality and a reliable cooperator, how has Europe treated China? Obviously, Europe still asserts that they should maintain their superiority over China.
At present, the European Union still has not fully recognized China's market economy status. The European Union has put China in a position between the market economy status and non-market economy status because it does not want to throw away the big anti-dumping stick. It is not surprising that some experts said that even some European Union members could not meet the technical standards it sets for China.
While some people of the European Union were claiming that China wants to obtain political advantages, the European Commission decided on Sept. 15 that it would collect a formal anti-dumping tax on the tiles imported from China, and the maximum tax rate will be as high as about 70 percent. This fact once again clearly indicates who is obtaining political advantages by using unfair measures. Even some European media have admitted that it is a political issue.
Europe's failure to fully recognize China's market economy status is political discrimination against China's enterprises. In an anti-dumping investigation, only after the China side has provided the European Union with sufficient evidence proving the Chinese enterprises are operating under market economic conditions will the European Union regard these enterprises as individual cases and may reduce or cancel the anti-dumping tax on them.
However, if these Chinese enterprises are state-owned enterprises, they will still find it hard to enjoy this kind of "treatment." The European Union insists that the state-owned enterprises are not independent from the government and contends that the prices they offer are distorted.
Another example of the European Union's political discrimination against China is its arms embargo on China, which has been a major political obstacle to China-Europe relations over the past 20 years. The European Union knows that the embargo exists only in name because China does not need to import weapons from Europe on a large scale no matter whether the embargo is lifted. Certain E.U. member states stick with the embargo simply because they want to keep the political pressure on China.
It is the European Union that first linked political affairs to economic affairs. The European Union maintains a discriminatory policy against China probably because of internal disagreements and external pressure from the United States and Japan. If these obstacles are not removed, China has every reason to believe that the European Union is trying to maintain an unfair political advantage over China in order to contain the Eastern country politically and economically. China's pursuit of fair treatments is "justifiable defense," and is nothing to be surprised about even if China really links the removal of these obstacles with its bond purchases in Europe.