Foreigners don't know beans about China, says NPC official: The SinoFile

With deep uncertainties looming in the future for the stability of China's rise, it seems some in Beijing have forgotten the foremost lesson of Deng Xiaoping's development project -- Hide your capabilities, and wait for your time to come.

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It often appears that, as far as China's soft power in the global arena is concerned, one leap forward is countered by several leaps back.

 

In 2008, China stunned the world with a masterful Olympic games – the better part of a decade in the making. Many in the international community heralded the incredible success of Chinese public planners in the Olympic Games as a sign that China's economic growth represented a formidable change in the traditional East-West power dynamic.

 

Nearly three decades after Deng Xiaoping launched China's monumental economic success story by welcoming Overseas Chinese to invest in a series of Special Economic Zones, it appeared the effort had been a success. China had become a formidable power.

 

Since 2008, Chinese media and Chinese friends have taken a different tone toward the international community. Quick to note that China came out of the recession relatively unscathed (but looking at a potentially crippling real estate bubble), the media outlets and people that once qualified China as a growing nation started to note that China has so rapidly become the world's second-largest economy.

 

The US is no longer the leading trading partner with many countries in the non-West – China is. And now China is Canada's second-largest trading partner, beating out the UK for a slot behind the US.

 

Fu Ying's comment at the 2013 NPC – so sharply pointed at international media and leaders who do not ascribe to the more recent gesture for reform with Chinese characteristics – is a political misstep.

 

And the US's own Congressional China Commission is equally backward – addressing alleged Chinese human rights violations as though Beijing still needed – if it ever did – to listen to US legislators while making domestic policy. Still, amid a series of the US's own rhetorical and political missteps in its addresses to Beijing leaders, has it ever presumed to say that they, quite bluntly, are too dumb to understand human rights imperatives?

 

With deep uncertainties looming in the future for the stability of China's rise, it seems that some participants at the NPC have forgotten the foremost lesson of Deng Xiaoping's development project, a famous quote from the leader that survived Mao and rebuilt what had been decimated in the 60s and 70s:

 

Hide your capabilities. Wait for your time to come.

 

Perhaps the People's Congress has been a little quick on the draw, as far as its messages to foreigners are concerned.

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