China¡¯s Ascendancy

President.China-U.S. Friendship Exchange, Inc.

By Dr. Sheng-Wei Wang
October 14, 2007


The U.S.-China relationship is very important. It is not only bilateral 
and regional, but also global. Never in history has China been as 
closely related to a Western superpower in economic, geopolitical and 
global strategic interests as it is today. Due to the two nations¡¯ 
enormous differences in areas like culture, history, economy and 
politics, their relations are predictably complicated and may change 
over time more often than not. 

The U.S. is striving to understand this immense Asian nation and its 
role in the world. But most American media, academics and political 
strata have presented their views from the standpoint of U.S. strategic
planning on how to contain rather than how to cooperate with China. 
As a result, the ¡°China threat¡± rhetoric has created frequent 
jitters that have shaken the healthy, normal progress of the U.S.-Sino

China¡¯s Ascendancy

China is writing its own version of what it wants to accomplish without
resorting to war and conquest. Several issues merit attention in 
understanding modern China:

First, China¡¯s ascendancy does not pose a threat to the U.S. since 
China is far behind the U.S. on many levels. As a nation, China 
suffered deeply throughout history. American media and politicians 
have painted a very rosy picture of China¡¯s economic development 
despite the fact that hundreds of millions of Chinese people still 
live below the poverty line, and severe environmental degradation and 
rampant corruption are eroding the nation¡¯s progress. 

For example: economic data show that in 2004 China¡¯s per capita 
income was only US$1,490 and ranked 105th of 192 world countries; the 
U.S. per capita income was then US$41,400 (about 28 times higher) and 
ranked fourth. Although China¡¯s per capita income increased to 
US$2,001 in 2006, its urban and rural gap between rich and poor 
continues to widen. In addition, the World Bank reported that the 
average Chinese personal asset value was only US$9,387, less than 2 
percent of the average U.S. value. The U.S. currently ranks the second 
most competitive economy in the world and is first in technology and
innovation, technical readiness, company spending for research and 
technology, and quality of its research institutions. China trails 
the U.S. by more than 30 nations in these important areas. Among the 
20 top world universities, 18 are American; the U.S. invests 3.25 
percent of its GDP in higher education, compared with 0.5 percent in 
China; in addition, the U.S. spends 2.59 percent in research and 
development compared with 1.31 percent in China. China has few 
patents (U.S. 2.02 per 100,000 population; China 0.50). America 
remains by far the most attractive destination for students, taking 
30 percent of the total number of foreign students globally.

Second, peaceful development by China should be regarded as beneficial 
to the world rather than harmful. Were China not a country deeply 
committed to peace and harmony, there would not have been the Silk 
Road which spread Chinese civilization to the rest of the world. In 
the early 15th century, China had the world¡¯s largest seagoing fleet 
equipped with the most advanced cannon, but it did not attack other 
countries or seize their territories. The Chinese idea of building 
a harmonious world is an extension of the concept of a harmonious 
society at home originating with Confucianism, a Chinese variant of 
humanism and ¡°soft power.¡± In addition, the quintessence of 
traditional Chinese culture exhibits a spirit of ¡°tolerance¡± 
and ¡°benevolence.¡± Because of tolerance, China is happy to absorb 
American culture. This is a sign of the confidence the Chinese have 
in their own culture. And because of benevolence, China strives to 
build a harmonious atmosphere in its own society while pursuing world 
peace in the international community. It is unwise to apply the Cold 
War strategy to China since globalization has increasingly intertwined 
the fates of all nations; also, China gets so much global attention 
because of its economic power, not its missiles. The reason is simple:
military might may vanquish, but not govern; once the soldiers and 
generals leave, unrest would resurface, unless the military action has
achieved what the majority of the people want. 

China is the third largest trading partner of the U.S. and its fourth 
largest export market, while the U.S. is China¡¯s second largest trading 
partner and its biggest export market. More than 50 percent of China's 
exports come from foreign-owned producers. American companies are 
prospering as they gain greater access to the Chinese domestic market, 
according to a seven year annual survey conducted by the American 
Chamber of Commerce. Two-thirds of American companies surveyed made
appreciable profits in China and 42 percent reported that profits made 
in China were higher than world-wide averages for other countries.

Third, China is currently engaged in extensive domestic, economic, 
social, and political reform including the preparation of an adequate 
national defense to secure its external environment for peaceful 
development. China has ¡°groped for stones to cross the river¡± 
instead of dramatic change through potentially dangerous ¡°shock 
therapy.¡± It pursued its own course to develop its rapidly growing 
economy. Internationally, it has adopted a pragmatic approach to 
handle relations based on the principle of non-interference in the 
domestic affairs of other nations and multilateralism for balancing 
the power of big countries. The whole package is termed the Beijing 
Consensus by Western scholars and politicians. China has emphasized 
stability as the foundation of its economic and political reforms 
and its foreign policy. 

The Beijing Consensus has attracted attention and won respect from 
many underdeveloped and developing countries. It seems that the Chinese 
policy is seen favorably because China is also a Third World nation 
that has fought imperialism and stood with the Third World against 
Western pressure. The success of the Beijing Consensus lies in: 1) a 
strong willingness to innovate as a path to prosperity for poor 
countries; 2) a strong belief in sovereignty and multilateralism as 
a determination to find its own route; and 3) a desire to accumulate 
the tools of ¡°asymmetric power projection¡± to balance world powers 
to be in charge of the Chinese national destiny.


China is in the midst of a revolution again and it is a peaceful one. 
We are witnessing an unprecedented Chinese migration from rural to 
urban areas. We are also witnessing the Yangtze River Water Dam project 
which has changed the course of the river and reshaped the map of 
China.  China¡¯s ascendancy is inevitable. Any U.S. attempt to hinder 
economic modernization in China would hurt both countries. Healthy 
competition between China and the U.S. should be viewed as a stimulus 
to progress. More importantly, competition is both constructive and 
common among world powers. It is essential that the American public 
accept peaceful development in China as a historical trend, as 
suggested by Dr. Henry Kissinger and many others.

The world should appreciate the effectiveness of China in limiting 
its population and striving, for the past 58 years, to solve its own 
problems of employment, food, lodging, crime, and other civil issues 
without seeking help from the world. The world should also be pleased 
that China has successfully mediated the six-party talks concerning 
the Korean peninsula nuclear crisis and taken a positive attitude 
towards the request by the UN to send peacekeeping troops to Darfur. 
China is playing a larger role in keeping the world peace.
Nonetheless, China still has a long way to go. History will document 
the actions of the Chinese people just as history recorded the 
greatness of Americans with their technological breakthroughs and 
visions that have changed the world. 

About the Author

Sheng-Wei Wang was born in Taiwan. She graduated from National Tsing 
Hua University with a B.S. degree in Chemistry and earned a Ph.D. 
degree in Theoretical Chemical Physics from the University of Southern 
California. She was a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory 
after many years of scientific research at Caltech and Stanford Linear
Accelerator Center. Prior to founding in 2006 the China-U.S. Friendship
Exchange, Inc., she was also a self-made California real estate developer 
for 15 years.  

She considered herself nonpolitical until Taiwan¡¯s 2004 presidential 
election. She used her physics research skills to write a JFK-conspiracy-
expos¨¦ arguing that President Chen Shui-bian¡¯s minor skin wound must have
 been staged. She briefed the U.S. State Department about her findings 
in May 2004 and was interviewed on TV. This investigation made her a 
well-known Chinese-American media figure. 

In order to strive for peace across the Taiwan Strait, she is devoting 
her efforts to China¡¯s peaceful reunification. Her translated English 
book, ¡°One Country, Two Systems¡± in Taiwan (a Chinese book by Taiwanese
writer Hsing Chi), was published in the U.S. in 2006 by International
Publishing House for China¡¯s Culture. Her earlier article, ¡°The Answer 
My Friend Is Blowing in the Wind,¡± was published in the ELM magazine on 
February 1, 2006. Her latest essays, ¡°For Whom the Bell May Toll?¡± and 
¡°The Blue Danube on Gulangyu Islet,¡± appeared on American Chronicle¡¯s 
May 1 and May 12, 2007, issues. Her second English book, China¡¯s 
Ascendancy: An Opportunity or a Threat¡ªWhat Every American Should Know 
about China, is published in November 2007 by International Publishing 
House for China¡¯s Culture.

She can be reached at or, 
an English and Chinese bilingual website. 

************************************** Website Introduction   
This website aims at improving the Sino-U.S. relations and promoting 
peace between China and Taiwan. It is published at a critical juncture 
in Chinese and American history when both countries can celebrate a 
fruitful mutual engagement, yet face some uncertainties for their 
long-term interactions. 

It is run by the China-U.S. Friendship Exchange, Inc., which was founded 
in Northern California in September 2006 by Dr. Sheng-Wei Wang, a scholar,
writer and media figure. The site will host monthly web publications 
in English and Chinese languages by invited experts on major China-U.S. 
issues and related Taiwan topics. Forums and book publications are planned 
as the website further expands in the future.

Copyright(c) 2005, National Association for China's Peaceful Unification(NACPU), Washington D.C., USA. All rights reserved.