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How Far Can China Rise?

Question: Will China need to adopt \r\nWestern-style democracy\r\nin order to keep its economy growing?


Edward\r\nTse:  It is hard to predict\r\nprecisely how the evolution is going to sort of evolve, but if you look \r\nat the\r\nsteps of today and look at you know how the Chinese people are looking \r\nat the\r\ngovernment I say you know while obviously you know just like you know \r\npeople in\r\nany other country, many of the Chinese people will have criticism \r\ntowards the\r\nChinese government, but by and large you know with respect to the \r\ndevelopment,\r\nin particular economic development, that you know Chinese… that China \r\nhas gone\r\nthrough in the last couple of decades I would say you know the Chinese \r\npeople\r\nhave been very supportive of the Chinese government’s policies and you \r\nknow\r\nwhat they have been able to achieve in terms of lifting the living \r\nstandards of\r\nthe Chinese.  Over time you know\r\none will expect that as the Chinese people become wealthier and many of \r\nthem\r\nwill you know go outside of China to become more worldly you know you \r\nwill expect\r\nthat there is going to be some more feedback from the Chinese people on \r\nhow the\r\nChinese government ought to be conducted and in fact, within the Chinese\r\ngovernment they also do recognize that in fact things cannot be sort of\r\nstagnant or it cannot be just you know stay where it is today and there \r\nis\r\nalways a lot of discussions within the Chinese government as to how the\r\ngovernment ought to be changed over time, but unlikely we’re going to \r\nsee a\r\ndrastic change overnight.  We’re\r\nprobably going to see a gradual evolution and in fact, right now within \r\nthe\r\ncommunist party there is quite a bit discussion about a so called \r\ninternal\r\ndemocracy.  In other words,\r\ncreating some competition within internally within the party on certain \r\nkey\r\nposts of the assignments and we expect this evolution will continue to \r\nhappen.


Question: Will debt to China pose a \r\nserious problem for the\r\nU.S.?


Edward\r\nTse:  Yeah, certainly.  Anytime\r\n you owe money to other people\r\nis always […].  I think it goes\r\nwithout saying at the country level as well.  From\r\n the Chinese standpoint Chinese obviously see that, you\r\nknow, as a way to invest their money. \r\nAt the same time China is also a bit concerned whether or not, \r\nyou know,\r\nwe’re putting too much within you know one basket, but at the same time \r\nyou\r\nknow are there are other sort of better alternatives one also needs to \r\nargue,\r\nso it’s a bit of a tenuous situation, but China is also sort of \r\nrevealing or\r\nmonitoring, you know, how we should be making our investments. 


Question: Will China rival the U.S. as an\r\n economic\r\nsuperpower in the 21st century?


Edward\r\nTse:  I think most of the\r\nChinese will expect that, you know, China will continue to rise in the \r\nnext\r\ncouple of decades overall speaking, economically and perhaps \r\ngeopolitically.  For the Chinese, you know, we \r\nbelieve\r\nthat, you know, for centuries in the past we’ve been in the center of \r\nthe\r\nworld.  In fact, you know, China in\r\nChinese means the middle kingdom that we are in the middle of the world.  Rightly or wrongly that is the belief\r\nand so this is a… you know, this current or recent rise of China is for \r\nmany\r\nChinese it is just the way that we get back to where we ought to be, but\r\n the\r\nrelationship between China and the U.S. will in particular U.S., need to\r\n be\r\nkept within a context of what I talk about in my book, which is open\r\nChina.  China actually is a\r\nrelatively open society.  China has\r\ntremendous motives of wanting to integrate into the rest of the world \r\nand the\r\nrelationship with the U.S. for example I think, you know, is a very \r\ndifferent\r\ntype of relationship compared to let’s say the U.S. and the Soviet Union\r\nrelationship in the Cold War era or even you know when Japan was also \r\nrising in\r\nthe ‘80s the relationship in the U.S. and Japan.  I\r\n think today if you look at China and the U.S. a lot of\r\ninterests are quite intertwined. \r\nThere is a lot of mutual interests.  Of \r\ncourse there are differences as well and that a reason…\r\nthat is to be expected, but at the same time there is a tremendous \r\namount of\r\nintertwined interests between the two countries, in particular, in terms\r\n of\r\nbusinesses that in fact as China continues to rise China will have to \r\nlearn\r\nabout, you know, how to play more effectively in the global geopolitical\r\n world,\r\nbut at the same time it’s not like China will have to sort of threaten \r\nor sort\r\nof rival itself with the U.S.  I\r\ndon’t think that is the motive.

Will China’s future economic success hinge on its willingness to democratize? Or will U.S. debt make the country a superpower sooner than we think?

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