We need to pay attention to China

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New World

China is going to be making many decisions that will shape our lives, but we haven’t really realized that yet. It actually already has, but many of the biggest countries to this day are still not showing respect to China for the superpower it is, and others are too fearful to argue with China about important matters. Both are harmful relationships to have with China. And although it can’t be said that respect for China is exactly fair, it is warranted. And it’s out of those countries’ interests that they start to make new relationships with China; one that respects China, while still holding it accountable as a responsible, modern nation. It’s also out of our interests that we, Woodstock students, consider China for our future.

Improved China, Power for China

Just in the past decade, China has had an incredible rate of progress in every aspect of society imaginable; it’s gotten more efficient, aggressive, strategic, and aware. Citizens are expected to live 3.3 years longer now, thanks to significant effort to reduce pollution and toxins such as PM 2.5. The government is also actively migrating people who live in villages to megacities, allowing them to live a new modern life. That’s partly the reason why only 3.1 percent of China’s population is considered to be in poverty according to the World Bank, while that number is 15 percent in the U.S. All of this contributes to China’s rapidly expanding middle class, and all of these changes eventually position China to have far more power on the world stage. China is thriving, and there are no signs of it slowing. And with all of these wonderful improvements to fundamental aspects of life, living in China is now more appealing than ever for us students.

Trade is China’s

China is only acquiring more power, and much of that power will come from its new vision for trade. For the most part, the world accepts China as the leader in this field, and maybe because of that, many are quite collaborative with the unpredictable and authoritarian China. With the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion dollar project, China plans to operate an entirely new level of trade, one that is intricate but also rerouted to be centered on China. The idea is to connect Eurasia with itself like never before, and the plan is in full motion already.

But it also makes America’s lack of direction and plans glaring, and it means that from now on, China won’t have much competition from other countries, at least in trade. The point here is that with this plan, and a myriad of other factors, China has an exceptional amount of power.

Relationships with China are Messed Up

With all of this power, China can leverage itself in the world as it controls trade. And this is where the world needs to change its attitude towards China. Currently, there are two main camps of countries. One group of countries can be described as sheepish, where specifically the E.U. is currently silent on criticizing Xi Jinping’s China due to the fact that China can threaten the E.U. with trade. The other group of countries, mainly America, have leaders who are unwilling to work with China, and persistently fight China. To summarize an ongoing issue, Trump started a trade war without much consideration. But for China, Trump’s tariffs are backfiring because China is simply playing its game more skillfully, and the U.S. is more reliant on China than the other way around. America, what once used to be the superpower of the world is now stuck, fighting with the new superpower, and itself.

Unlike with the U.S., it’s inspiring to see how a major country like India is willing to adapt. China and India are a bit alike; they have the world’s top two populations, they have been experiencing rapid change, and they have massive influence. In the past, India and China’s relationship has been rough. But more recently, the leaders of the two nations are making an effort to reduce tension and collaborate more. In April, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in Beijing for a summit to figure out how to ease tensions. Xi hoped that China and India would start to “usher in a new chapter of China-India relations.”

What’s fascinating is that both India and China have changed their attitude towards each other. And although there remain numerous issues to sort out between these two nations, India still understands that it needs to work with China. And in return, China has paid back the respect with a hope for collaboration. India and China are both seeing the bigger picture, and it’s refreshing to see these countries work towards a more peaceful future.

Here On

What all of this mainly boils down to is that China will, and does, have a lot of power, and nothing is going to change that. What nations can’t let happen is to let China freely do whatever it wishes just because it has the power to threaten others with trade. But that doesn’t mean they should not cooperate with China; because if that happens, countries that fight China will only end up losing. The world needs a clear and strong mindset when dealing with China.

India will most certainly be better off into the future than if it continued to battle China, and just over a week ago, China and India came to an understanding to step back from the intense confrontation that has been building up on the extremely controversial Doklam Plateau in Bhutan.

The future looks bright for India and China, and as America goes into an isolationist state with “America First,” losing international influence, perhaps China is the new alternative for Woodstock students to consider for college. The reason the U.S. has been so appealing for Woodstock students is that it used to promise the best future. But despite America looking quite bleak these days, 70 percent of Woodstock graduates are still going to the country for college. It may be better if the balance began to shift. And the advancing economy in China along with its dominance in fields such as technology and sciences are clear. China is a far more dynamic nation.

But here at Woodstock, a Chinese college seems to be ignored by every student, year after year. I spoke with Ms. Swati Shrestha, college counselor, about Chinese colleges. At Woodstock, only three students have gone to study in China since 2005. That’s 0.003 percent out of 803 graduates from the past 13 years — which is outrageous. Ms. Shrestha mentioned that students weren’t inclined to studying in China so far because of the political climate between China and the U.S. Since China clearly is the most important nation, it seems to be that Woodstock students are not looking at what’s just around the corner. Just like Xi and Modi are making an effort to collaborate, Woodstock students should make an effort to understand China. A new and better understanding of China doesn’t just need to come from political leaders, it needs to come from our generation as well.

Edited by Radha Laplamool

11 thoughts on “We need to pay attention to China

  1. Priyansha Agarwal, staff reporter

    It is quite surprising to know that only three students from Woodstock have gone to study in China in the past 13 years. I do believe more people should apply. Good job on the article!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dhrubhagat Singh, managing editor

    China, I agree with you, is definitely a country that we need to pay attention to. It’s sad that very few Woodstock students go to China for higher education; however, this isn’t as “outrageous” as you claim it to be when many Woodstock students are of Tibetan lineage. Wouldn’t it make slightly more sense when your Tibetan friends, whose families have been shoved off their country and forced to live as refugees, be a legitimate enough reason to not go to college there? Furthermore, you said that China is making great leaps by “actively migrating people who live in villages to megacities, allowing them to live a new modern life.” Isn’t this the same action as forcing people out of their homes for pure industrial and state gain? Hmm… forcing people to go into cities to work. Sounds a lot like the “Great Leap Forward” and the Cultural Revolution by Mao. Oh wait, wasn’t Xi actually referenced as the living Mao Zedong? It’s important not to judge a country purely out of statistics and monetary value. Keep that in mind next time you claim that a country with a totalitarian government such as China is an ideal hub for life and the future.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mikko Aoki Liu, Photographer

      Hello Dhrub. You bring up many good points that I, sadly due to my excitement over the topic, overlooked. But to take the conversation further, I will say that those Tibetan’s, even the ones who despise China for good reason, should still consider China for their future. I mentioned why in my op-ed. My argument was that, yes, China is remarkably corrupt and forcefull with its power. But people need still look past all of this, because as I said in my piece, China is too powerful and successful to ignore. I mentioned that countries who persistently fight with China end up suffering. That same principle may apply to us students as well. The point is, I believe that whatever China does, no matter how horrific, we shouldn’t fight them.

      And as for your comment on what China is doing with forcefully moving people, I completely agree that it’s appalling. Its one of many atrocities China is committing these days and its something that does need to change. I was only trying to understand the benefits that the forceful migrations may create for the economy.

      Finally, you said that I shouldn’t “judge a country purely out of statistics and monetary value.” But in this case, perhaps we ought to judge our future based on statistics and monetary value. If China is excelling in these two areas, and are only expected to improve, that seems to be good for our future. Besides, it seems that people already have this mindset with so many parents wanting their kids to become doctors, lawyers, scientists, and whatnot. Parents are already basing their children’s future on statistics and monetary value. Why don’t we take it a step further, and not only consider successful jobs but also successful countries. So many parents are doing this so well already.

      I believe we need to be pragmatic in our decisions. Having strong values are great, but its increasingly getting difficult to find places where values matter in our world of fake news and powerful leaders. And if I were to be pragmatic, I would see the success of China, and go for it. And guess what, as bad as China can be, its one of the most rapidly evolving countries right now. The future can be bright for everyone.

      Even you said it yourself. When you commented on Rohan’s piece on corruption, you pointed out that no one could care about corruption because like yourself, everyone only cared about “getting into college,” and that “sometimes nothing else matters but achieving that goal.” So there you have it, I rebutted your criticism of me with your own criticism of Roahn. It doesn’t matter that China is corrupt and that it abuses Tibetans. “Nothing else matters,” only “getting into college” does.

      keeping the conversation alive,
      mikko

      Liked by 3 people

  3. kyuminkyung

    Not necessarily saying that Capitalism is a bad thing, but according to your argument, it seems like China is taking Capitalism to another extent. The country is willing to sacrifice thousands of lives for its economic benefit; China is ignoring human rights and failing to acknowledge every individual as a human being before a resource to exploit.

    You argued that it is important to base logic on statistic because parents raise their children in such a way to ensure that they are the ones at the top of the statistics. However, I see the danger of basing your argument purely on statistic; in fact, this is the biggest problem with Asian education. Parents enforce their own “idealistic success” on the children and force the children to ignore and taunt those who follow their innate passions. In fact, you would be surprised to find that this expectation is what leads many teenage Chinese to commit suicide.

    Furthermore, I would like to argue that China is taking a “Great leap backward” because China is one of the many nations who never learn from their mistake and repeat the same mistakes over and over. It was clearly evident with Mao how dangerous it is to ignore humanity and only focus on economic benefits. Due to Mao’s developmental efforts, 30 million Chinese died. So is the economic growth really worth it?

    Yes, China might be the fastest growing country in the world but without respect for humanity, any positive results produced are mere a wolf in sheep’s skin.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Aarti Malhotra, managing editor

    I agree with Dhrub here. Just because people are basing their judgments off of statistics and monetary value doesn’t make it right for us to do the same, hence making your claim logically flawed. Further, since you appear to concede to claims that China has committed various humanitarian crimes, your claim that “China is clearly the best country” is problematic because it implies that you do not care for human rights violations as long as a nation prospers economically. That claim is also irrational because you are basing off your criteria for assessing best countries solely in terms of economic development, which seems quite arbitrary to me. And how exactly can China provide a future that is “bright for everyone” considering all the human rights violations it has committed that you yourself agree too? I think it’s for a good reason that students at Woodstock decide not to go to China for college. Moreover, I think it was quite insensitive to say that Tibetan’s should “consider China for their future,” considering how the Chinese have continually attempted to eliminate Tibetan culture off the face of this planet for decades. If you wish to know more about China’s ongoing cultural genocide of Tibet, let me know. I have more than forty sources that might offer you a convincing new perspective. Seeing that you’ve been studying history for the second year in a row, you should be aware of the dangers of nationalist imperialism, which is exactly what China is waging. Also, your claim that “nothing is going to change” China’s power is quite questionable considering how power dynamics constantly shift. And what we’ve done in AP European History in just the last few weeks should make this quite evident too. Lastly, since you used Dhrub’s “nothing matters” argument against him, you also invalidated your own argument about the importance of China.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Mikko Aoki Liu, Photographer

    HELLO
    Hello Aarti. Let’s make a few things clear for everyone and anyone who has read my op-ed. I’m not a racist, and I’m definitely not a Chinese fascist. I also hope I’m not a simplistic moron who’s blurting out idiotic incoherent ideas. I do, however, enjoy being stupid at times by being on the controversial side of things. It’s fun.

    WE PRIVILEGED HERE
    But to your comments. I believe that my claim is NOT logically flawed; here’s why. I believe we can sort of apply Darwin’s theory to this situation. We all want good futures, and we students shouldn’t compromise on our lives. It’s the “survival of the fittest” and for the ambitious ones in life, we can’t afford to protest a successful nation like China simply because there are aspects of it that we don’t like. Because really, we’re all privileged here at Woodstock, our lives aren’t threatened if we go to China, and all we would be really doing is protesting. A protest that would largely go unnoticed, while also being partly detrimental to our futures. At least for us, going to China for college would largely be harmless. I’ll say it once more, “the future can be bright for everyone.”

    HUMAN RIGHTS
    You also said that my piece implies that I do not care about human rights violations. Your argument, I believe, is that we shouldn’t support a country that’s horribly cruel. Just for perspective, the overwhelming majority of Woodstock students go to the U.S. for college. But if you think about it, America isn’t much better than China. The U.S. may appear better because its done a great job over the past decades promoting itself as the leader in peace and justice, but these days, the United States is just as horrific as China.

    China may have its issue with censorship, but the U.S. has an appallingly freighting problem with fake news. Not to mention a leader that normalizes dishonesty. China may be cruelly oppressing Tibetan’s, but America has a growing number of public white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and Neo-Nazis. China may be locking people up unjustly, but until very recently, the U.S. was seperating immigrant children from parents and locking them up. And how about women rights? Those are always nice. China’s not too good with that, but neither is the U.S. Trump is an infamous degrader of woman, and the U.S. Senate is about to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the next Justice; a man who’s widely believed to vote against the right to have abortions as well as being accused of sexual assault.

    Should we protest against America? Of course not, and there’s no way Woodstock students would ever delibelratley avoid the U.S. for college just because they want to be an activist who supports suffering immigrants. The point is, I’m not indifferent to humanitarian crimes, but its existence also shouldn’t hold us back.

    TIBETANS
    Guess what, the most bizarre of things happened the other day. Palden was very quick to share with me that many of his Tibetan friends have gone to China for college. That’s some pretty cool stuff. But in all seriousness, I still stand by my statement that even Tibetans should go to China if it means that they will undergo a valuable educational experience. What I’m fighting for, is that people need to have more of a pragmatic view. One that isn’t heavily affected by personal grudges and opinions. To do what’s best for their future. I understand the great struggle Tibetans are currently going through. But maybe like Palden’s friends, they might end up going to the People’s Republic of China. And yes, nationalistic nations are frightening; the world really does need to deal with the imperializing China but also with the current rise of fascism in Europe.

    MAYBE OUR FUTURE, STILL
    As for China’s power being “quite questionable”, I’d contest that. It’s quite clear that China’s influence is exponentially growing. No one’s really doubting China’s power these days. Power dynamics do shift, but in the case of China, it’s kind of obvious. I understand that my opinions and style of communication can be aggravating to many. My intention here is to take an extreme side of a topic to incite a real consideration, or at the very least an emotional response with questions along side it. But even with my extreme stance, I still believe that my writing is credible and accurate. It just might not be the most sensitive. A good education remains a good experience.

    china anyone?
    mikko

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Kaye Aoki Jacob

    Dead Mikko, thank you for sharing this essay and the provocative and articulate responses from your classmates. I must admit up front that I am your grandmother but I was also deputy principal and principal of Woodstock for six years. I also taught 11th grade English while I was there and am currently teaching AP English Language at a small international school here in the US. I applaud you for taking on a controversial issue and articulating a logical, well supported position with consistency. You have effectively drawn valid points out of your classmates as well, and this is the nature of respectful discourse, threatened as it is in the US right now by a deeply divided country where even policy makers have forgotten how to hear and absorb a valid argument, even if it is controversial. You have established the logos but are being challenged on the ethos and particularly the pathos!

    Like

    1. Kaye Aoki Jacob

      P.S. I am disturbed to hear that your mother, whom I raised to be a rational and fair minded individual (having taught her in eleventh grade English myself!), has failed to appreciate the consistency of your position! I will see if I can convince her to give it another thorough reading and to also note how you have engaged your classmates, all of whom raise excellent points! I urge each of you to keep writing and thinking and engaging!

      Like

  7. Pingback: China! China… China?

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