June 15th, 2012 | Global Times West shows too much optimism over Chinese economy
China’s growing economic clout is gaining increasing recognition, the results of a Pew Research Center survey revealed Wednesday.
Among the 14 countries surveyed by Pew each year from 2008 to 2012, prior to the financial crisis, 45 percent believed the US was the world’s leading economic power but just 36 percent believe that is the case today, while 42 percent now perceive China to be in the top spot, up from 22 percent in 2008.
The Pew report has found that many see China as the world’s economic leader against the background of a global financial crisis and the country’s steady rise, and this view is also echoed among some major European countries, “specifically, solid majorities in Germany (62 percent), Britain (58 percent), France (57 percent) and Spain (57 percent) name China as the world’s top economic power.” Even in the US, 40 percent of Americans name their own country as the world leading economic power while 41 percent say it is China.
Chinese people, however, don’t share Westerners’ optimism of China’s economic power. Only 29 percent of Chinese surveyed by Pew believe China has surpassed the US economically. Their views were shared by large numbers of netizens in China after the Pew report was circulated online in the country. The fact is, the US economy remains ahead of other countries and the GDP of China is less than half of the US’.
According to the World Bank, China’s GDP reached $5.93 trillion in 2010 while the US’ was $14.58 trillion.
Western opinions on China’s economic development often go to extremes. They either forecast a “China century,” in which China will dominate the world economy, or anticipate a spectacular collapse.
The West is keener than China itself on forecasting when China will take over the US as the No.1 world economy.
But even if China’s GDP reaches the US level, the country will still not be able to compete with the US in terms of its international influence and standard of living.
Economic aggregates cannot represent a country’s level. Becoming obsessed with chasing economic development while failing to coordinate this goal with adjustments to the social system will be disastrous.
Moreover, China’s economic growth in the previous three decades has already resulted in serious environmental consequences, and the country faces great challenges over the sustainability of its future growth. China has created an economic miracle, but maintaining the growth momentum is a tougher challenge.
By Yu Jincui