Stuart (Found in China) is angry – at John Lee, or Lee’s article at Forbes. Lee quotes a faint suspicion – that there’s a growing suspicion – that, in turn, there could be the remote possibility that China is increasingly taking a zero-sum rather than ‘win-win’ approach to open markets and free trade.
The issue here is China’s curb on the export of rare earths, and the suspicion would be that Beijing is attempting to force foreign companies who want access to large quantities of rare earth metals to form joint-ventures with local firms and base their manufacturing operations within China.
But it’s Lee’s conclusion which makes Stuart hit the roof:
The suspicion is that illegitimately optimising imported technology has become one primary strategy for many of China’s domestic champions – an approach that is condoned by the Chinese Communist Party. If so, this goes to the heart of whether China is emerging as a responsible stakeholder in the global economic system.
JR, the China Expert, mostly agrees with Stuart’s conclusions. With one exception, that is. Stuart, it seems to him, keeps calling for China to become a responsible stakeholder. But why should they, as long as they’ll get what they want, anyway? It takes two to tango, and western business people are breaking each others’ noses to get their turn with the CCP.
Less frequently angry than either of the a/m bloggers, Adam Cathcart wonders all the same why Chinese diplomacy – apparently haplessly stirring up security concerns among its East and South-East Asian neighbors -, is in fact in disarray, and why it doesn’t seem to matter to Beijing. Cathcart quotes from the Economist:
Maybe China has decided that, contrary to its own protestations, it does not really need smooth foreign relations. Or maybe its diplomacy is a mess. The Chinese scholar offers three possible explanations. One is the confusing proliferation of “non-diplomatic” bodies and special-interest groups in foreign policy, from oil firms to the army to, in the case of Japan, the marine affairs and fisheries bureaus. But the other two may be more telling: the increasing importance of Chinese public opinion and the absence of any senior political figure in charge of foreign policy. The foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, is not a member of the Communist Party’s 25-member Politburo, let alone its nine-member, decision-making Standing Committee. There is nobody to thump the table for foreign relations. Abroad does not matter very much.
Neither the middle kingdom’s near abroad, nor the middle of nowhere, i. e. America. Not even Africa or Latin America, places longing for being liberated from the imperialist world order. What counts, for now, is business.
Development is the Unyielding Principle (发展才是硬道理).
That helped and helps to solidify the CCP’s rule over China. Besides, if the outside world, near and far, begins to scheme against China, the resulting siege mentality inside the country will help to solidify the party’s rule, too. After all, not even an “East Asian NATO” would endanger China’s development – but it would look beautifully dangerous, and help to rally all patriotic forces behind their correct leadership.
In this game, diplomats are about as relevant as Chinese experts who attend “Global Times” workshops, or as Han Han. Or as a individual foreign joint-venture stakeholder, once the wanted technology has been successfuly
That the CCP is no longer a totalitarian party, but only authoritarian, is a narrative which is told among foreigners without reservations.
The problem is that Marxists are considered crackpots these days. Especially by business people, of course.
But JR believes that most Marxists have studied the CCP much better – and understand its ways much better – than those who keep repeating the business-friendly CCP mantra.
ECFA: China’s Primacy of Politics, July 3, 2010