I have not been able to write anything of late either due to the dearth of anti-China news other than the daily over-saturated China’s food quality issues on melamine which I think has been blown out of proportion by the Western media. On a personal level, I did not deny the fact that from all these negative publicities, which to a greater degree, will push China to introduce a result-oriented, cost-effective food monitoring mechanism with less avenues for corruptions especially to improve the Chinese people’s confidence towards the food production process in the world’s fastest growing economy. I am not unduly concern about China food exports as the West and other importers’ nations constituted a small percentage of the total production volume.
But there was this piece of news report that caught my eye about the Indians communities (in India) constant use of the Chinese as the sole barometer (or an easy punching bag) whenever there is a rare progress made in the economic and scientific fields, much to the envy of much of its readers like myself.
If we revisit 50 years ago to the days of the two great Asian statesmen, Chou En-Lai and Jawaharlal Nehru, we would have noticed that both China and India were developing nations with a high percentage of its people living under the United Nation’s defined poverty status. The size of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both the countries was about the same. Unfortunately, there was an outbreak of hostilities in the short Sino-Indian war in 1962 over certain territorial disputes along its borders which remain unresolved till to this day. Since then, both of them have embarked on their very own economic development strategies and growth programs.
India is believed to be the largest democracy bogged down by its heavy bureaucratic elected government, with countless differing opinions which would take ages to arrive at a much needed compromise like for instance the inherent difficulty to secure a position even for a simple matter to build a steel plant over a highly sensitive and populated river. China, on the other hand, was embroiled in the Cultural Revolution which set them back, possibly 10-15 years. Fortunately, the course of the “revolution” was short and it requires the foresight of an inspiring leader to chart an “open-door” economic policy in 1979.
Today, we could see the glaring differences between the state of economic development between China and India. China’s coastal cities are booming with high rise buildings and mega-structures which would have been impossible 30 years ago. Shanghai is gradually but slowly taking its place as one of the dynamic financial centers across Asia, possibly eclipsing Hong Kong in the near future. India’s development path is sporadic and its cities are clogged up due to poor planning. If you drive in Mumbai, you need to be “street-wise” to avoid crashing into its hordes of pedestrians. The only bright spark in its economic development is the successful creation of Hyderabad as the Information Technology and Outsourcing Center for Western corporations.
About two weeks ago, when India successfully launches its lunar probe, there was a full round of applause from the Indian scientists on its space achievements who apparently were not provoked but openly proclaimed out of an inert psychological “beat China” desire as reflected in the many nationalistic comments, "We're catching up! We're better than China in some areas and we can beat China”.
The prideful Indians, though not glaring, and tainted with sheer jealously, were dented on many occasions when China commenced its first nuclear program in the 60s, China’s own “astronaut” from its indigenous space program in 2003, the many successfully mega business-ventures, the success of China’s diversified industrial growth, the 30-years of sustainable economic growth, the significant achievement in its sports and the current GDP size which is more than three times the size of its own.
In China, the people are not bothered with what India is doing. The Chinese are looking at the US as a country to benchmark against in its economic and scientific developments. The Chinese being pragmatic recognized that they still have a long way to go before they could match the US in the areas of scientific development and space exploration. But the Chinese are slowly working on its weaknesses in its quest to be a developed nation, possibly in 40 years’ time.
The support and the all-weathered partnership with India’s rival, Pakistan, also does not help to build trust and even though efforts have been made especially in the past 10 years to strengthen bilateral relations but China is still view within the Indian circles as a hidden “enemy” which India must always be on top in terms of defense.
The Western media hyped up reports that India will surpass China in terms of economic and technological excellence with a projected GDP’s standing next to China, overtaking the US, in 2042 did not help to reduce India’s highly charged emotions and nationalistic sentiments which were largely vented against China.
I believe China has always viewed India as an important neighbor and also an equal partner in which closer economic cooperation will indisputably advance their present economic status and prosperity of the two countries for its people, creating the next economic engine of growth for the world.
The Indians should monitor and measure its own economic and scientific progress from within its targeted objectives and goals based on its internal resources rather than comparing with China, in almost all its major achievement to date.
On a final note, the Chinese holds very strongly to its Confucian values which is present in other East Asian countries as well (including South Korea and Japan) and I have no doubt these highly disciplined traits will continue to bring measured success to China in the areas of economic, cultural and scientific (space included) developments. Perhaps, we may see a Chinese winning a science related Nobel Prize in the not too distant future.