Mar 27

Should Chinese Leaders Learn to Speak Up More?

Written by Allen on Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 7:04 am
Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, General, News, politics | Tags:, , ,
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I think Chinese leaders are among the tamest leaders in the world.

Despite being called “butchers of Beijing” (or much worse),  constantly being maligned by a maniacal Western press, and even having one of its own be the target of a shoe throwing protester, leaders from the CCP continue to consistently keep up their cordial and composed demeanor.

Most recently, when it has become alarmingly clear that the U.S. government’s idea of fixing the economy is to throw more good money after the bad, Wen Jiabao simply said “We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.”

When the Fed announced it was going to buy back debts, effectively promising to print more money, thus raising the specter that Chinese investments in U.S. debts will be diluted by future inflation, nary a complaint was heard from China – reputedly the largest creditor of the U.S.

Contrast that with what the E.U. leaders have been saying.  In case you have missed it, the current European Union president has just branded the U.S. administration’s handling of the economy as creating a “road to hell,” emphasizing all European leaders have been “quite alarmed” at the White House’s policies.

So – should Chinese leaders learn to speak up more?

Should Chinese leaders adopt a more “European” way of speaking?

Or do you prefer the Chinese current – more subdued style.  Perhaps Chinese leaders are communicating much more to the U.S. behind close doors?

Many observers, such as in this recent commentary, have urged the Chinese to be more stingy about lending more money to the U.S.  Lending more money to a money addict is detrimental to both the lender as well as the addict.

But do the Chinese government have a real choice about whether to lend or not?

In light of the G-20 (or G-2 as some have suggested) summit coming up, how should Hu be preparing to work with Obama?

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10 Responses to “Should Chinese Leaders Learn to Speak Up More?”

  1. Another Mainlander Says:

    “Lending more money to a money addict is only detrimental to both the lender as well as the addict.”

    Maybe it’s time for China to pay back what she vows to west, the Opium War. But this time with little bit different name, the Inflation War. After all, US would be in the hell of financial break down for a long time. For for the moment let lend them money, once the US really can not pay back the loan, then it’s China’s turn to start an Opium War, or Inflation War, taking Alaska as insurance for dept…

  2. kui Says:

    I am posting from Tian Jin, China. I can access BBC, Times, and FM without problems. I might try more websites to find out what is “internet censorship” about.

  3. Berlin Says:

    One of my professors told a joke about how the department tries to encourage the international students (who are too quiet and passive) to be more “assertive.”

    “Now the problem is how to get them to shut up.”

    I wonder if anybody really want to hear Chinese leaders speak up if they choose to.

    But I still hope Chinese leaders should speak up more. Not in an agressive way, but “assertively”.

  4. Charles Liu Says:

    Um, “butcher”… Was China the one that invaded Iraq on false WMD pretext, dropped 1000 tons of depleted uranium munition on Iraqi babies, and used incindiary weapon in Falluja Massacre, or imposed economic sanction that killed 500,000 Iraqi children???

    Yet they are the “butcher”.

    But I don’t think punish us will get China very far, as such self-righteousness will only beget more self-righteousness. What China needs to do is give us more money, and buy them fountain heads back @ 20 mil a pop, to keep old ma’sas happy.

  5. zepplin Says:

    I would say no. Stay on message and follow the instructions from the MOFA. There is no need for rhetorics; it’s not like there’s an election coming up. Leave domestic PR to the publicity department and opinion leaders, and don’t even bother with foreign PR unless you are on a goodwill trip which isn’t the case here.

    As for whether the official message is loud enough, I wouldn’t presume to question the MOFA. They have done well in the past, gimmicks and all. It’s simply too hard to judge a diplomatic message without any information on motives, especially since it is an effective way for China to affect the value of the dollar to which the yuan is pegged.

    On a side note, I personally love the “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” response. It’s quite a unique conversation ender that asserts representation, allows many follow up options via vagueness, is unassailable logically, and plays well domestically without doing much foreign PR harm.

  6. Otto Kerner Says:

    Ha. When I saw the headline, I thought you meant the leaders would learn to speak up more about corruption and human rights abuses by the rest of the government.

    I definitely think Chinese leaders should speak up more about the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve. However, Chinese leaders apparently believe in the exact same economic theories that the Fed does, so they have limited basis for criticism.

  7. Fobtacular Says:

    The Chinese government has NO choice but to buy US debt. Everything Chinese export to the USA is being paid with the green back dollar, with such trade deficit it is only a matter of time the Chinese central bank accumulates huge amount of dollar. If they just stash the dollars away at some underground vault, the dollar would devalue just from inflation.

    Buying treasury bill, for a long time, was the only way for them to spend the dollars. Of course, the Chinese could have used the dollars to buy something from the world market. However, undervalued RMB means everything on the international market would be priced too expensive for the Chinese. Another reason for the pile up of the dollars is there is nothing the Chinese would deem worthy to buy on the international market, and things that worthy for the Chinese to open their wallet is never on sale. Things such aircraft carrier, military technology, etc. In short, what the West is allowed to sell to the Chinese is ABSOLUTELY FUCKING WORTHLESS. Chinese want what is not on the menu.

  8. Jed Yoong Says:


    IMHO, “assertiveness” is a Western concept.
    When I was in business school in the UK, we were made to read “case studies” on Japanese business culture.
    Can’t remember much except that it was repeatedly highlighted that the Japanese needed to be more direct/straightforward…oh yeah, assertive!
    Then there was the hoohah over the “collective” vs the “individual”.
    IMHO, perhaps the West should learn to be more subtle……..
    And as Oli suggested in another thread, change their paradigms and move beyond their cultural/linguistic definitions that shape their worldviews.

  9. TonyP4 Says:

    Do they have public speaking, debate teams in Chinese class rooms? I know Chinese students are excellent in taking tests.

    Sometimes talking too much/too honestly is politically incorrect. Examples: Obama’s joke on his poor bowling average, the Mass. senator said in a commencement ‘if you do not work hard, you will go to Iraq.’…

    Hope we have one as good a speaker as Obama, Clinton, Tony Blaire…

  10. Chops Says:

    The current batch of Chinese leaders may not speak up more, but the next batch might, if they are Western-trained.

    “China’s Best Westerns”

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