Monday, November 22, 2010

Becoming China 2.0

Several years ago, I was in the Tiananmen Square, mingling among the crowd. There were various kinds of people. Those who apparently came from rural areas had red cheeks, very excited, trying to absorb everything that were around them. I was in the category of first comers, opening my eyes to the sheer vastness of the nation of China.

When I imagined the massive land that surrounded me, I felt I understood why the Chinese culture tends to be self-centered. They can afford to be. When you have a long history, massive land, with over a billion of people, you have the illusion that you are at the center of the world. You can put yourself under the delusion that you don’t have to really care for what’s happening outside. You feel that you are entitled to have your own way, supported by the great mass of momentum that is behind you.

The recent series of squeaking noises that surround the nation, notably this ongoing fiasco about the Nobel Peace Prize, seems to reflect a widening gap between the traditional Chinese mindset and the reality of the globalizing world. Yes, China is massive, yes, China is rapidly growing, and yes, there are more Chinese than any other ethnic group on earth. It may be true that in the past the Chinese could do pretty well by considering themselves as being at the center of the earth, having their way and imposing it on the nations around.

But things have changed. The brutal fact of the day is that China is only a part of the world, albeit a very important part.

The tendency of the Chinese media, fuelled by the self-confidence resulting from the recent economical growth (which is a good thing in itself), to regard its relation with the West in a confrontational context might be self-serving in the short run but is ultimately untenable. China needs to grow into “China 2.0”, where it recognizes the fact that it is an integral part of the grid that is covering the earth, for everybody’s benefit, based on the principle of cooperation and mutual respect. By becoming China 2.0, its excellent tradition of flamboyant and deep culture would shine even more, bringing benefit not only to the Chinese but also to the world at large.

China please wake up.


aritaharry said...

I totally agree with you. Under an interdependent world, no country would keep imposing its own selfish demands on others. In this sense, it's almost impossible for any country to be a real superpower in the globalized world economy. The Chinese leadership is well aware of this reality, I believe, and they will somehow try to change the country to what you called "China 2.0." The problem is that they want to do so within the obsolete communist rule, but there would be no complete transformation to China 2.0 with maintaining it.

Pupa said...

Basically I agree with your opinion.
I love China especially as a country that has turned out many competent thinkers like Lao-zi and Kong-zi.

I have come to see the modern history of China in a different light since I read " the war and the sin" written by Masaaki Noda.
Various questions about present- day issues flit through my mind.
Is it really true that we sing the praise of personal liberty?
What does China want to establish in exchange for the notorious nation?

I have respect for freedom, at the same time if there is a different universal value, I want to listen to it.

Haegwan Kim said...

Whenever I consider the relationship between the globalization and China, I can't shrug off the feeling on how Chinese people think about their government.

There's tons of Chinese people who know about what the world saying about them and what's exactly going on.

One side I think the government should be open to create the better global society and the other I would like to encourage their people - because they don't have to wait until politicians make a change.

砂山鉄夫(Tetsu Sunayama) said...

So far, I know the word "China 2.0" as a business term. But the concept of "China 2.0" in this entry is another and more important.

Furthermore, this is not exclusive.

This concept might become a key for solving difficult problems from now on.

Greg said...

This a very provocative (as in thought-provoking) post. However, I feel that it's less about "China 2.0" than "Earth 1.0." From the perspective of Japan, you could replace China with any other nation that experienced power, prosperity, or super-patriotism in the past, like the USA, Russia, the British Empire, the Mongol Empire, etc. I think all humans need to wake up to a different reality of how we live on this planet. We cannot maintain growth in the sense of propping up local/national economies through consumerism. The planet's natural resources are finite; so, we will have to learn to create systems that are sustainable. I'm optimistic that all of us will find and create a new way.