Myths About China (That I’m Sorry I Helped Spread)

Evan Osnos, who recently published a new book, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New Chinadebunks several widely held myths about China at Politico Magazine:

China’s economy is doomed to collapse! (Unless it takes over the world!) The larger China looms in the American mind, the more we see it as a caricature, bound to fail or destined to dominate. Four years ago, when China’s GDP was growing at 10 percent per year, it was unfashionable to draw attention to its economic weakness. Today, with debt rising and growth falling, optimism is too often written off as naïve. (The calmest voices are betting that China will muddle through.)

The larger point is that we should retire the choice between absolutes. The story of China in the 21st century is often told as a contest between East and West, between state capitalism and the free market. But in the foreground there is a more immediate competition: the struggle to define the idea of China. Understanding China requires not only measuring the light and heat thrown off by its incandescent new power, but also examining the source of its energy—the men and women at the center of China’s becoming. [Source]

See also Osnos on his decision not to publish the new book in mainland China, and his selections of top China myths in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

May 19, 2014 6:39 PM
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