China’s “rise” is advertised everywhere.
Sometimes in admiration, sometimes with fear and not too rarely with some envy.
If you want to understand China, you must imagine their own understanding of “rising”: coming back to where they (feel, believe, absolutely) belong. They don’t feel they just made some miracle happen. To them, it’s pure historical logic. Their last 150 or so years where felt as the great humiliation by the West. We wanted to sell them drugs so we could finance the tea trade. We stole their tea seeds, their technologies and their pride. Now what should we expect of them?
Think of them as the same ones that where there where they built pyramids. Or temples in the jungle. When us Germans hit the Romans and so on. Same language, same thought concept. If you read “Antifragility” by Nassim Taleb, you might call China very “anti-fragile”. Did not break under pressure, just became stronger. And all Chinese do feel attached to their past. It’s still China. They are still Chinese.
When we admire their rise, they quickly think we mock them secretly (as being completely ignorant of their history; why should you admire a champ to win?). If we fear them, they don’t get it as they never sent a bullet over to us (but we quite some to them).
If we want to stop them (and stopping means we want to limit them, tell them they should or shouldn’t do things), they feel a horrendous amount of anger. Because they feel China’s misery, their fall from being the number 1 industrial nation in the 18th century just had one single reason: us. That may or may not be the case. I am not discussing it. I try to prepare grounds for a better understanding.
Lots of people think, Chinese want to have a USA in the East. Or a EU like system. This is nothing else but western hubris. Sure enough, they have their points of criticism. But they are not much interested what we think of it and even less want to hear our “ideas” how “China can be better”.
Chinese people are utterly pragmatic. They manage their own fortune. And they do so in complete self-control. We might, being confronted with China’s comeback, best accept it. And draw our own conclusions. Nobody in China asks us to follow them, their ideas, their principles. They ask us to compete. They expect us to do so. Maybe not on our set of rules. But then again who says our set is globally binding?
Think of it as a kickbox competition: no need to complain of an elbow used. Better learn how to use it yourself.