The adage goes that you don’t want to see sausage or laws being made.
The same can be said about reading or watching news. If you know something about a subject, you likely will be dismayed by the news.
For me, that is the case when it comes to U.S. coverage of China.
For the past three years, I have studied the language, history, economics, and politics of China. I’ve traveled throughout the country, spending months in four separate trips.
Now I have to endure sophomoric accounts about China.
Axios.com, a prominent website for Washingtonians, has been shouting from the rooftops for the past week.
Here is an excerpt: “Trump showed you can turn China into a villain on trade. But a smart politician could turn China into a unifying villain on virtually every topic — a reason to move fast and together on infrastructure, immigration, regulations, space, robotics, 5G, and next-gen education.”
Turning China into a unifying villain? That sounds like something straight out of Ronald Reagan’s playbook–not the left–when dealing with the former Soviet Union. More important, China’s politicians are a lot smarter than the Kremlin geriatric ward of the 1970s and 1980s.
Axios and other media outlets often miss the point.
What China has most of all is patience.
For example, the country has committed itself to a massive public transportation system. In a recent visit to Luoyang, a “small” city of two million people, I saw the project of building four subway lines at a cost of billions of dollars. The roads of the city have come to a virtual standstill during rush hours because every major road is a building site. The project began in 2016 and won’t be finished for another year at the earliest. In the past decade, China has built nearly 2,000 miles of subway lines–more than the systems in the United States and Great Britain combined.
Drivers may honk their horns in occasional frustration, but nearly everyone I talked to understands that the public transportation system will cut traffic and lure many tourists to this attractive town, which boasts a number of top-flight locales, such as the Longmen Grottoes and the Shaolin Temple. Simply put, the locals are proud! Here is some background information about the city’s building plans: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-09/19/c_136621169.htm
Remember the massive infrastructure program President Trump touted during the campaign? It remains mired in Congress because the Democrats apparently don’t want to give Trump a win before the midterm elections.
Moreover, just imagine what would happen in a major U.S. city if there was a plan to build a massive transit system. Protesters would claim the digging was creating a major environmental hazard or desecrating some forgotten trove of bones. Road rage would soar. Cost overruns and corruption would be rampant.
One of the major differences between the populations of the United States and China is patience. At the end of a major endeavor, most Chinese realize that something better will happen.
That’s one of the major weapons China has over the United States—one that most journalists don’t understand.