Wednesday, October 05, 2005

PBS NewsHour: China on the Rise

Beginning to air on Oct. 4, 2005. Check it out here.


Josh said...

I found this article very interesting.

Changing Places: China and the United States
by Moss Roberts
October 02, 2005

Douglas Crossman said...

After Dr. Anderson put up the Gini Indexes in my IPE364 class today, I became quite interested in where China stands in the whole scheme of economic distribution.
If you’re ever in China and actually venture outside of the tourist portions of the cities, or the tourist attractions themselves, you’ll see an unbelievable change in the environment, income, infrastructure, and modernization I regularly took my scooter to the small town of Hebei, not more than 150kms outside of Beijing. Within minutes, I would leave the Audis, BMWs, and North American cars behind and see small Chinese-made Jinbei vans, oxen pulling ploughs, people making tiles out of clay for their roofs, and dozens of villagers employed as garbage pickers along the roads.
In 2003 the Gini index gave China a rating of 40.3 out of 100 (the lower the number, the more equal the distribution of income) and the United States was rated with a 40.8. This means that in 2003, China had almost the exact same income distribution between it’s rich and it’s poor as the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world. It placed better than even Singapore, at that time. Now, in 2005 the Gini Index is showing a disturbing trend. While many developed countries have remained relatively stable, China’s rating has risen to 44.7. Despite claims of a huge, prosperous, and growing middle class, I feel that the rift between the rich and the poor in China is growing at least as quickly as the economy is.
Now the question arises; is it just that the rich are getting richer, or are the poor also getting poorer? Despite what reports indicate, it seems to the naked eye that China’s poor are living in conditions reminiscent of the Cold War era. They live in conditions seem far worse than what the economic indicators are describing, albeit not as unbearable as the ones described to us in class. With more research done on this, I am sure that we will see that the poor are becoming slightly richer, but not by much, and in some areas I am sure that there has been no improvement whatsoever.
Throughout our lessons on China, it is important to remember that despite the fact that their economy is growing at an astounding rate, and despite the growing middle class, this is a country of roughly 1.4 billion people that still cannot compete with the wealth of many smaller countries. There is no doubt that China has a very bright future, but we cannot let ourselves be blinded by this light.

Dr. Wenran Jiang said...

Doug, Thanks for this post, and I recommend that you read the article in the last issue of China Quarterly. Then, I would like to see your feedback.

simin said...

how about the social implication for this widening income gap, Mao defeated Jiang in 1949 mainly through the rural support, now most of the poor are still located in the countryside, they would be the main source for social unrest, as what have been occuring for the last few thousand year in china's history

simin said...

Josh, please check the latest issue of "international security", it's a special issue for "soft balancing" theory, do you think China, along with Russia and EU, are soft balancing against the US? by soft balancing, i mean actions that do not directly challenge U.S. military preponderance but that use nonmilitary tools to delay, frustrate, and undermine aggressive unilateral U.S. military policies. Soft balancing using international institutions, economic statecraft, and diplomatic arrangements has already been a prominent feature of the international opposition to the U.S. war against Iraq.

josh said...


I checked out the issue but only have had time to read the abstracts. I think states will utilize options that could be classified as soft balancing when it serves their interests, but when the U.S. has pretty much thrown international law out the window with its doctrine of preemptive war, what options remain? I would think that states with something to gain from supporting international institutions (IE. states without sufficient military or economic pull) would constantly be working to use soft balancing as a brake on the U.S. - but states like China/Russia or those within the EU who have substantial militaries are working to increase their military capability. I think of soft balancing as the actions that go on in front of the curtain while military options are carefully worked out behind it.

I'd like to give this more thought after having read the articles; unfortunately i'm at work all day. Let me know what you think and hopefully there'll be some time over the weekend to discuss this further.

On that note, has anyone thought about setting up a message board or forum to discuss issues like this? A big link on wenran's front page would probably help it attract some traffic.

simin said...

josh, good comment, a lot of IR scholars share the same view as you.

when it comes to hard balancing, there are basically two kinds, internal balancing and external balancing, the military building you mentioned belongs to the internal balancing, but the US military expenditure accounts for 47 percent of the whole World military expenditure, do you think China, Russia, and EU is catching up or actually further leg behind the US?

josh, you also mentioned the US "preemptive war", this reminds me something, do you think the US is doing "preemptive containment" policy to china in asia region?

overall, a mixture of realist and liberalist policy has been employed in the region, which makes it particularly hard to do analysis. you just gave us a good example of it: china is conducting multilateral cooperations(liberal view) with a realist purpose-counterbalancing the US.

simin said...

i hope other students besides doug and josh can also participate in this blog, i am anxious to know the views of other students. we need more liberals to balance the realists here! :-}

josh said...


Just because the U.S. DOD is spending billions paying out Raytheon and Halliburton doesn't mean they're getting the greatest value for their dollar. I'm half kidding I guess. U.S. spending is astronomical compared to other nations, yes - but technologically the gap is closing on a tactical level. Ex: China can now put UAVs up in the air the same as the U.S. - I recall reading about them in the early - mid 90's as a key advantage in land based combat for the U.S. - now many militaries are fielding them. China is constantly bringing quiet KILO class diesel subs online, which while not the equivalent of a U.S. nuclear attack sub, will definitely give any U.S. naval forces in the area something to think about. I have a hard time talking about the superiority of the U.S. military given the current situation, but it's hard to compare a guerilla type conflict that is tying up a hundred thousand troops to any kind of theoretical theatre level combat. Anyways, i'm getting off track.

Yes, I do think actions the U.S. is taking now are in preparation for China's emergence as a superpower. Just check out the East Asia section on the PNAC website -

From the looks of it the hawks in US policy making are very worried about China.

As for blog participation, I think it would be easier if we were to setup something more conducive to dialogue like a forum or listserv. Just a thought - I doubt many of our classmates will scroll down the page and notice a bunch of comments.