30 Issues: China

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: What is the future of U.S.-China relations? Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations

Open Prep: Questions, Articles, and Links to Get You Started

Key Questions

  • Should the President approach China as a friend or foe?
  • How do the two countries perceive one another?
  • Should we worry about China's investment in other countries?

What are your key questions on this topic? Post them below and get the conversation going!


  • Rob Schmitz, China bureau chief for American Public Media's Marketplace
  • Sheryl WuDunn, investment banker, writer, and Pulitzer-prize winning former reporter with the New York Times

Got a Follow Up?

Each Friday we'll be following up on one of that week's issues. Got a particular follow-up question from this conversation? Comment below or tweet us. 


30 Issues Interactive from the WNYC Data News Team


Rob Schmitz

Comments [15]

Justin Zhang from Chicago

Gosh Jill, even after loosing a ball to the testicular cancer, a famous US cyclist still cheated to get ahead. What does that have anything to do with the perception of the Chinese people?

Oct. 20 2012 01:20 PM

Get a load of the guy complaining that China didn't support the Libyan rebels! Ha! You mean the same Libyan rebels that just blasted our Libya ambassador to bits with a shoulder fired rocket? Those rebels?

Oct. 16 2012 01:33 PM
Cristian Segura from Newark, New Jersey

I wonder if you will be willing to dedicate some time, not to the undecided voters, but to those who have already decided not to vote at all, because they see no meaning in it.

Thank you.

Oct. 16 2012 11:31 AM
Jessie Henshaw from Way Uptown

If all the world's resources end up in China, as they take more and more to continue growing economically, or in the US as we do, or if we do it jointly and share them 50-50, What'll we have??

The phrase is "tragedy of the commons"

Oct. 16 2012 11:25 AM

"Should the President approach China as a friend or foe?"

Neither. It should maintain diplomatic coolness as a trade partner. China is a grossly unequal society, where an aggressive state-sponsored variant of capitalism (though not quite fascism) is built upon the backs of a populace cowed by Chinese communism. Their "burgeoning" middle class exists because rural poverty is so great and so devastating that smart people are fleeing it, creating an internal brain drain. They will emigrate to the United States or Europe in time.

"How do the two countries perceive one another?"

China perceives the United States as suckers for buying their cheap, poorly-made products. They view the US as an internally conflicted, politically confused "trade partner" which is afraid of a trade war and the consequences for our elections and our economy.

The US views China as a sleeping tiger, but it's a paper tiger.

"Should we worry about China's investment in other countries?"

No. They're just trying to corner the market on oil, heavy metals, etc. It's capitalism and neocolonialism. The people who should worry are the citizens of those countries. Just ask Tibetans and Uyghurs what Chinese imperialism looks like.

Oct. 16 2012 11:22 AM
Ed from New Jersey

The United States has a complicated relationship with China. We depend on each other economically through trade, manufacturing and consumerism in both directions. The political views differ between our two countries as well as views on human rights and personal freedoms. As an example China supports both the Cuban government and is supplying the Libyan government with arms. To this end China and Russia are alined and have worked together to veto attempts by the UN to give assistance to Libyan rebels. Which the US and other countries support. The United States has also experienced cyber attacks that have come out of China. In the end the US needs to work with China, and they with us. But we need to be wary of their political and military goals.

Oct. 16 2012 11:20 AM
Dick Hubert from Rye Brook, New York

I just returned, literally early Monday Morning, from a 17 day trip through China (my first) ..from Shanghai to Beijing and Chungking and Hong Kong and beyond. Frankly I was overwhelmed by the incredible infrastructure challenges the Chinese have overcome, and their monumental big fear - their exploding (and, yes, aging) population, and best to keep it employed, fed, and reasonably happy. I don't know where to start in this dialogue, but let me pick one tiny little point. Here in New York we can't get our act together on replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River. The Chinese are building Tappan Zee type bridges (over the Yangtse for example) everywhere, along with high speed train lines, new apartment and office buildings, etc. etc. Compared to that effort, we look weak and inept. And I did find Ms. WuDunn a bit bellicose. The Chinese have a real sense of history. They have not forgotten how we patrolled their Yangtse River for nearly a century..with our warships! Imagine how we would feel about China if in the 20th Century they finally stopped patrolling the Mississippi! So talking about an inevitable U.S. war with China, as Ms. Wudunn did today, is both irresponsible and highly inflammatory. Brian, your segment today was far too short and ill informed. Give us an hour for something this serious.

Oct. 16 2012 11:00 AM
john from office

Folks, these warm people had a cultural revolution that was no party and just beat a driver, almost to death, because he drove a japanese car. Hello, read, listen to news and get educated. Some of these callers are scary

Oct. 16 2012 10:48 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Shouldn't we REALLY be worried about the possible Japan-like recession China may be courting, given the income inequality and, in turn, bubble economy its monetary and fiscal policies are courting?

Oct. 16 2012 10:47 AM
John from NYC

I fail to see the guest's comment that we as Americans have benefited from buying less expensive goods here. We get the immediate benefit at the point of purchase and then pay another price in low wage jobs and other negative impacts. All you have to do is watch the PBS Frontline episode on WalMart to see that there are other factors/repercussions with consumers in America buying cheap goods.

Oct. 16 2012 10:47 AM

My gosh - even their Badminton players cheat to get ahead. Come on people.

Oct. 16 2012 10:46 AM
Louisa from brooklyn

I find this conversation very belicose. Why should the existence of competing economies immediately suggest going to war?

Oct. 16 2012 10:45 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

China has done amazingly well the last 20 years but it is still a poor country. China is flushed with cash but it has yet to deal with the inevitable social obligations for its aging population, or the increasing wage demands of its workers.

It has a rancid, corrupt leadership, that its urban, increasingly affluent population is losing its patience with. Also, the chinese govt will surely face an Arab-spring type uprising, the next 10-15 years and I doubt that the world will accept another Tiananmen type crack-down this time around.

Oct. 16 2012 10:42 AM
Micky JOB from Brooklyn, NY

The main difference between the USA and China is that it is now mandatory in the university of China to learn English which makes the US universities far behind this level of education. 1.5 Billion Chinese will speak our language when less than 1% of American will be able to speak Mandarin. No need to describe our economical future

Oct. 16 2012 10:37 AM
Jill from Westchester County

Why would anyone hold China up as a role model-- horrific abuses of human rights and the environment!!

Oct. 16 2012 10:37 AM

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