China Perspective

Experts lash out at 'China responsibility' theories

Updated: 2010-08-20 08:43
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BEIJING - Analysts said Thursday that various "China responsibility" theories are unreasonable and misguided, stressing that China could only accept its due responsibilities according to its own national conditions.

These "China responsibility" theories attempt to hold China accountable for problems in trade surpluses, exchanges rates, savings, and energy consumption.

The theories grew even louder after Japan issued figures Monday showing China overtook it as the second largest economy as its second quarter economic figures fell behind those in China, though Japan is far richer in per person incomes.

For instance, China's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is only $3,700 dollars per year, about 10 percent of that in Japan.

The "China responsibility" theories are fabricated to slow down and check China's development, revealing the uneasiness of some western countries after China continues to maintain a relatively fast growth and many major economies are undergoing a fragile recovery, said Ji Qiufeng, a professor of international relations at Nanjing University.

Some politicians and media agencies have exaggerated China's power and influences in addressing global economic issues amid the global economic downturn, Ji said.

China will be labeled as irresponsible if it does not meet their requirements or standards, Ji added.

The "China responsibility" theories are a cousin to the "China threat theory" and the "China collapse theory", though the latter two are full of blatant attacks, said Yang Zhiyong, a researcher at the Institute of Finance and Trade Economy of China Academy of Social Science (CASS).

The "China responsibility" theories are more covert and likely to have more adverse impacts, Yang said.

"If these accusations are true, China will be identified as the 'chief culprit' for the global credit crunch and required to shoulder international obligations beyond its capacities," Yang added.

Some western countries have been creating scapegoats to divert public attention from domestic problems, for example, blaming China as the cause of global economic imbalances.

Their accusations include China "intentionally maintains high savings and trade surpluses", "manipulates the yuan's exchange rate" and "holds huge US treasuries."

Zhang XiaoJing, director with the Institute of Economics of CASS, said it is ridiculous to ascribe all the problems to China as the global economic imbalances are a result of multiple factors and all countries across the world need to examine themselves in the post-crisis age.

The United States adopted fiscal and monetary policies that encouraged spending sprees and excessive borrowing that triggered the financial crisis, Zhang said.

Also, China has never intended to seek trade surpluses, experts note.

The United States has, on the one hand, imported huge amounts of Chinese goods to meet domestic demands, but, on the other hand, it sets obstacles to ban high-tech exports to China, Yang said.

Zhang Er'zhen, a professor of international economics at Nanjing University, said the United States imposes controls on high-tech exports, which significantly contributes to US trade deficits.

China's hi-tech imports have soared rapidly in recent years, but those from the United States dropped from about 18 percent in 2001 to less than 8 percent in 2009, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce.

This meant that US companies lost at least $33 billion in export opportunities in 2009 compared to those in 2001.

The high-speed growth and progress in steering the domestic economy out of recession in the global downturn have pushed China to the front stage of global affairs.

China's stable growth is the largest contribution it can make to the world's economic recovery, Zhang said.

"The 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package has pushed up imports, which stabilize global demand and employment," said Zhang.

Moreover, China has also made continuous efforts in alleviating climate change, and carrying out effective international cooperation in global issues such as fighting transnational crimes, terrorism and nuclear proliferation, Ji said.

Analysts stressed China should keep sober-minded in shouldering international responsibilities as it is still a developing country with 40 million people living under China's poverty line (below 1,300 yuan of annual income).

China should learn to say "no" to stressful requirements from some countries, such as one-off appreciation of the yuan and special carbon emission reduction amounts for China, Ji said.