China, as a global powerhouse and economic colossus evokes a paradoxical mix of opinions across the world. Couched in contradictions, high speed rail marvels compete with human rights violations while enormous foreign exchange reserves contrast with environmental pollution and ecological harm. Popular exports collide with aggressive posturing in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean. China, as a dominant nation is at the cusp of change. Ready to take on the Western imperialist elements, it is no longer a force to be taken lightly. But the economic might of this Asian Dragon is overshadowed by its murky social and civil records. Wanton instances of unwarranted persecution and uncalled for prosecutions show Mao’s Empire in shady light. But be that as it may, the China factor is here to stay.
So should the Western world tread cautiously while trying to nurture ties with its Asian counterpart or unhesitatingly embrace China as a trading ally?
Fokke Obbema in his nuanced work provides an answer that has as its corner stone, a balanced approach. Caution, but not fear; enthusiasm but not expectation is his Mantra. Making use of expert views postulated by acclaimed Sinologists as well as Chinese thinkers and intellects, Obbema explores the potentials and perils staring China and the West as a result of a reciprocal engagement between the East and the West. While such a partnership is an inevitability, the outcomes may not be shielded by the gift of invulnerability . The trick is for Europe to not view China as an “Yellow Peril” out to thwart their ambitions and for China to stop stereotyping the West as the “barbarians” who subjected them and their land to a “century of humiliation”. So long as vested interests are kept at bay and superegos reigned in, the emerging joint foray can only mean good for the betterment of a world struggling with a sever shortage of natural resources.
“China and The West….” – Thinking global and being local!