Alternative food for thought
I am writing to draw your attention to an article "The odd couple - America should be much more confident in its dealings with its closest rival, China" in the Oct 22 edition of Economist.
I do not want to repeat the criticisms against many a practice in China. Rather, I find it interesting that another reader of the magazine, who addresses himself as Bailout Nation, has made a fair comment in the magazine's webpage:
"CNN, NYTimes, Financial Times, even the Economist, just about every article about China carries the intent of 'exposing' something about China. These self-righteous hypocritical left-wingers who dominate our media never fail to put 'Communist' before the word "China" to set the tone."
Americans may question the fairness of our media when it comes to domestic affairs, but when it comes to foreign affairs, most Americans simply accept whatever gets reported in our media, which plays a major role in shaping the public opinion on foreign affairs. We think because our media is free, they must be fact-based and unbiased. When in fact, it simply means they are free to publish opinions of their journalists.
To be fair, the pen is mightier than the sword and hope your paper will carry on covering the other side of the same coin of China and related international issues so that the average Joe can be better informed. For better or worse, our editorials and opinions do provide much alternative food for thought to many readers of the Western media.
Rebranding of Chinese products
In the recent past, many European countries and the US have put some restrictions on Chinese goods like tires, steel pipes, toys and shoes by increasing duties, in order to protect local interests. Although these countries may say it is not protectionism and China has to resolve it through dialogue or take the WTO route, China should try to change its past excessive dependence on exports and develop itself into a self-reliant and internal-driven economy. The days of export-fueled rapid growth may not be sustainable.
Moreover, China should rebrand "Made in China", which indicates cheap products in the minds of the Europeans, by focusing on quality and innovation, just as Japan did a few decades ago. China has been treated as the workshop of the world and many countries used it to their advantage until it started hurting them due to the recent economic crisis. China therefore should push for economic structural adjustment and focus on spurring domestic demand and consumption through quality and innovation. It can then demand the price for its export products and be proud of "Made in China". It has the potential and the intelligence to achieve this as demonstrated to the world last year in Beijing.
(China Daily 10/30/2009 page8)