Transcript: China: Scrutinizing the Tea Leaves | Oct 02, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and checked blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "China's political ambitions. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says CHINA'S INCREDIBLE GROWTH
OVER THE PAST FEW DECADES OWES
MUCH TO THE POLITICAL CLASS THAT
STEERED IT, REFORMING THE
INSTITUTIONS THAT HAD ERODED
UNDER MAO AND PURSUING
MARKET-ORIENTED ECONOMIC POLICY.
THERE ARE SIGNS NOW, UNDER
PRESIDENT XI JINPING, THAT
ANOTHER POWER SHIFT IS UNDERWAY
IN THIS EMERGING SUPERPOWER.
JOINING US NOW FOR MORE, FROM
THE U.S. CAPITAL:
DAVID SHAMBAUGH, PROFESSOR OF
POLITICAL SCIENCE AND
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AT GEORGE
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY AND AUTHOR
OF THE BOOK, "CHINA'S FUTURE."

David is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing a tan suit, blue shirt, and striped yellow tie.
A picture of his book appears briefly on screen. The cover is red, with a yellow question mark.

Steve continues AND PROFESSOR SHAMBAUGH, WE'RE
DELIGHTED TO WELCOME YOU TO TVO TONIGHT.
I WANT TO START BY SAYING THAT
FOR THE PAST 69 YEARS AND ONE
DAY, BECAUSE THE ANNIVERSARY OF
THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC IS
YESTERDAY, 69TH ANNIVERSARY, THE
LAST SIX YEARS HAVE BEEN
PRESIDED OVER BY XI JINPING WHO
IS NOW PRESIDENT FOR LIFE.
AND I'D LIKE YOUR TAKE ON
WHETHER YOU SEE HIM AS A MORE
PROGRESSIVE OR REGRESSIVE LEADER
IN THE TRADITION OF CHINESE LEADERS.

The caption changes to "Xi's backward glance."

David says WELL, I SEE HIM CERTAINLY AS
A REGRESSIVE LEADER, ALTHOUGH
IRONICALLY HE'S TRYING TO TAKE
THE COUNTRY FORWARD, BUT HE'S
DOING IT IN A VERY
RETROAGGRESSIVE, REGRESSIVE AND
REPRESSIVE WAY I WOULD ARGUE AS
WELL.
XI JINPING'S RULE HEARKEN BACK
TO THE 1950S AND '60S DURING THE
MAO ERA WHEN HIS OWN FATHER WAS,
IN FACT, IN THE LEADERSHIP.
XI JINPING IS A HIGHLY ILL
LIBERAL LEADER.
THERE IS NOT A LIBERAL GENE IN
HIS DNA, AND SO HE'S TRYING TO
MOVE, YOU KNOW, THE COUNTRY
FORWARD IN A NUMBER OF DOMAINS,
BUT CERTAINLY NOT THROUGH
DECENTRALIZATION.
CERTAINLY NOT THROUGH
LIBERALIZATION, CERTAINLY NOT
THROUGH TOLERANCE OR
ENFRANCHISEMENT OF OTHER ACTORS
IN SOCIETY.
THIS IS A REAL THROWBACK KIND OF
LENINIST DICTATOR WE HAVE IN
POWER IN CHINA TODAY.

Steve says WHAT SHAPED HIM IN HIS
FORMATIVE YEARS THAT WOULD HAVE
RESULTED HIM BEING THE WAY HE IS TODAY?

The caption changes to "David Shambaugh. George Washington University."

David says WELL, THAT'S A SORT OF
MYSTERY FOR CHINA WATCHERS.
I MEAN, WE DO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED
TO HIM DURING HIS YOUTH.
AND FIRST OF ALL HE WAS WHAT
THEY CALL A PRINCELING IN CHINA.
HE'S BORN TO HIS FATHER, AS I
SAY, WAS IN THE SENIOR
LEADERSHIP AND POLITICAL BUREAU
UNDER MAO.
HE WAS A LONG MARCHER.
XI JINPING AND HIS SIBLINGS
LITERALLY GREW UP IN THE
LEADERSHIP COMPOUND IN BEIJING,
WENT TO THE MOST ELITE PARTY
GRAMMAR SCHOOLS IN BEIJING.
HE WAS BORN WITH A SILVER SPOON
IN HIS MOUTH, YOU MIGHT SAY,
WITHIN A COMMUNIST SYSTEM.
UNTIL AGE 14 WHEN THE CULTURAL
REVOLUTION BROKE OUT, 1966.
HIS FATHER WAS IMPRISONED, AND
XI AND HIS SIBLINGS ARE SENT OFF
TO THE COUNTRYSIDE.
THAT BEGINS A LONG STORY.
BASICALLY HE SPENT ABOUT SIX,
SEVEN YEARS IN A PROVINCE DOING
MANUAL LABOUR AND LIVING AMONGST
THE PEASANTRY.
THAT WAS A VERY FORMATIVE
EXPERIENCE FOR HIM.
HE TALKS ABOUT IT, REFERS BACK
TO IT.
AND THEN HE WORKED HIS WAY UP
THROUGH THE PARTY APPARATUS IN
SEVERAL PROVINCES, FEW JING,
JUNG SU, SHANGHAI.
FINALLY HE GOT TO THE SENIOR
LEADERSHIP.
BUT THIS IS A MAN WHO BELIEVES
IN THE PARTY.
IN FACT, HE SAID TO THE LAST
PARTY CONGRESS, LAST NOVEMBER,
THE PARTY SHALL CONTROL ALL,
QUOTE UNQUOTE.
SO HE THINKS THAT THE PARTY HAD
ATROPHIED.
HE THINKS THAT CHINA IS BEING
BUFFETED BY A LOT OF ILLIBERAL
WINDS INSIDE THE COUNTRY AND
FROM OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY.
SO FROM HIS SIX YEARS IN POWER,
HE'S DONE A LOT OF THINGS.
HE'S CRACKED DOWN ON CORRUPTION.
HE'S CRACKED DOWN ON THE MILITARY.
HE'S CRACKED DOWN ON INTELLECTUALS.
HE'S CRACKED DOWN ON ALL DISSENT.
HE'S CRACKED DOWN ON RELIGION,
ON NGOS, ON SO-CALLED CIVIL
SOCIETY, ON THE MEDIA.
THIS IS THE MOST DRACONIAN
PERIOD CHINA HAS EXPERIENCED
SINCE THE AFTERMATH OF THE 1989
TIANANMEN UPRISING AND THE
SUBSEQUENT SUPPRESSION.
SO THIS IS, YOU KNOW, THIS IS A
MAN WHO'S TRYING TO KIND OF PUT
CHINA'S HOUSE IN ORDER, BUT HE'S
USING EXTREMELY ILLIBERAL
METHODS TO DO SO.

Steve says LET ME PLUCK ONE OF
THE THINGS OFF THAT LIST YOU
JUST GAVE, AND THAT WAS HIS
ATTEMPTS TO ROOT OUT POLITICAL
CORRUPTION.
I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU IF YOU
THINK THAT IS A GENUINE ATTEMPT
TO REDUCE CORRUPTION IN THE
COUNTRY, OR IS IT MORE AN
ATTEMPT TO PUT HIS POLITICAL
ADVERSARIES BEHIND BARS?

The caption changes to "David Shambaugh. Author, 'China's future.'"

David says IT'S BOTH, STEVE.
CERTAINLY CHINA IS RAMPANT WITH
CORRUPTION, OR WAS WHEN HE TOOK
OVER.
IN FACT, IT'S A LONG-STANDING
PROBLEM.
HIS PREDECESSORS, WHEN THEY GOT
INTO OFFICE, HOW DID THEY BEGIN
THEIR TERMS?
WITH CRACKDOWNS ON CORRUPTION.
BUT THEY WERE PRETTY SHORT
LIVED.
THEY LASTED SIX, EIGHT MONTHS.
XI JINPING'S IS STILL ONGOING,
SIX YEARS, OVER 1 MILLION PARTY
CADRES HAVE BEEN TAKEN DOWN IN
THIS ANTI-CORRUPTION PURGE.
4,000 MILITARY OFFICERS AND 120
GENERALS IN THE PLA, PEOPLE'S
LIBERATION ARMY, HAVE BEEN TAKEN
DOWN.
AND INDEED MANY OF THEM ARE
CORRUPT.
SOME OF THE STORIES THAT HAVE
BEEN PUBLISHED WITH THEIR
PROSECUTIONS ARE REALLY
SALACIOUS, YOU KNOW, IN TERMS OF
EMBEZZLEMENT AND MONEY AND
LIFESTYLES AND MANSIONS AND SO
ON AND SO FORTH.
SO YES, GENUINE CORRUPTION, BUT
LIKE ALL CHINESE COMMUNIST
CAMPAIGNS LIKE THIS, IT'S BEING
USED TO TARGET POLITICAL
ADVERSARIES OF XI AS WELL.

Steve says MANY AUTHORITARIAN
REGIMES ARE FOCUSED AROUND A
CULT OF PERSONALITY.
IS HIS BASED ON GENUINE
POPULARITY THROUGHOUT THE
COUNTRY, THOUGH?

David says WELL, FIRST OF ALL, ON THE
ISSUE OF CULT OF PERSONALITY,
THAT'S SOMETHING CHINA CERTAINLY
EXPERIENCED DURING THE MAO ERA
WHEN PING SUCCEEDED MAO HE
EXPLICITLY SAID WE WILL NEVER
HAVE ANOTHER CULT OF
PERSONALITY, INCLUDING HIMSELF.
THAT WAS IN DENG'S MIND ONE OF
THE REASONS CHINA HAD REALLY
GONE OFF THE PATH DURING THE MAO
PERIOD.
SO LONG STORY SHORT, THE
COMMUNIST PARTY HAS
INTENTIONALLY TRIED TO
CIRCUMSCRIBE PERSONALITY CULTS
FOR THEIR LEADERS SINCE 1978.
SO ALONG COMES XI JINPING.
WHAT DO WE HAVE?
A MAJOR PERSONALITY CULT JUST
LIKE OR MAYBE... WELL, NOT QUITE
AS MUCH AS MAO.
HADN'T GOTTEN TO THAT LEVEL YET,
BUT IT'S EXTREME.
IS HE POPULAR, THOUGH, YOU ASK?
IS IT A GENUINE PERSONALITY
CULT?
WELL, IT'S CONTRIVED.
THE PROPAGANDA APPARATUS IN
CHINA IS IN OVERDRIVE WHEN IT
COMES TO XI JINPING.
BUT HE IS A GENUINELY POPULAR
FIGURE, FROM WHAT WE CAN TELL.
AND WITH DIFFERENT SECTORS OF
THE PUBLIC AND PARTICULARLY THE
RURAL SECTOR.
SO THERE'S A KIND OF COMBINATION
OF THE TWO.
IT'S AN ARTIFICIALLY
MANUFACTURED PERSONALITY CULT,
BUT HE'S NOT AN ALOOF... WELL,
HE IS AN ALOOF FIGURE, ACTUALLY.
HE'S A VERY IMPERIAL... RULING
IN AN IMPERIAL WAY, I WOULD
ARGUE ALMOST LIKE A MAFIA DON,
BUT HE DOES HAVE GENERAL
POPULARITY FROM WHAT WE CAN TELL.

Steve says WHY DO YOU THINK HE'S
TRYING TO OVERCOME MANY OF THE
REFORMS THAT WERE BROUGHT IN 40
YEARS AGO NOW?

The caption changes to "Overcoming Deng."

David says WELL, HE'S TRYING TO OVERTURN
SOME OF THE POLITICAL REFORMS
AND SOME OF THE ECONOMIC
REFORMS.
SO LET ME JUST TRY AND GIVE YOU
A QUICK SNAPSHOT OF EACH.
ON THE ECONOMIC SIDE, DUNG'S
GENIUS WAS REALLY IN
DECENTRALIZATION AND LETTING THE
CHINESE PEOPLE REALLY EXPLORE
THEIR OWN ENTREPRENEURIAL
ABILITIES, AND IT JUST DROVE THE
COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC BOOM FOR THE
LAST THREE PLUS ALMOST NOW FOUR
DECADES.
IN FACT, IT WILL BE FOUR DECADES
IN DECEMBER.
SO IT'S ALL ABOUT DECONSTRUCTING
THE STATE, GETTING THE STATE AND
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OUT OF
ECONOMIC DECISION MAKING.
THAT'S BASICALLY... THAT PLUS
FOREIGN INVESTMENT COMING INTO
THE COUNTRY AND EXPORTS TO
DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, THOSE SORT
OF BEEN THE SECRET SAUCE OF THE
ECONOMIC BOOM IN THE LAST FOUR
DECADES.
XI JINPING COMES ALONG AND SAYS,
NO, WE WANT TO STRENGTHEN THE
STATE.
IN FACT, WHEN HE TOOK OVER, THE
STATE'S ROLE IN THE ECONOMY WAS
ABOUT 18 percent OF GDP.
IT'S NOW BACK UP TO 40, 45 percent.
XI JINPING REALLY BELIEVES IN A
VERY STRONG PARTY STATE IN ALL
RESPECTS.
SO THE STATE HAS HAD ITS SORT OF
REASSERTION AND VENGEANCE ON THE
ECONOMIC SIDE.
ON THE POLITICAL SIDE,
ABSOLUTELY.
HE IS JUST TRYING TO... WELL,
HE'S AFRAID THE COMMUNIST PARTY
OF CHINA HAS POTENTIAL TO GO THE
WAY THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE
SOVIET UNION DID.
HE GAVE A SPEECH RIGHT AFTER HE
CAME TO POWER IN 2012 AND SAID
IF WE DON'T GET A GRIP ON OUR
PARTY, WE'RE GOING TO WIND UP
THE SAME WAY.
SO THE LAST SIX YEARS HAS ALL
BEEN ABOUT STRENGTHENING THE
PARTY POLITICALLY, AND IT'S
CONTROLS.
I MEAN, XI JINPING IS A CONTROL
FREAK, AND HE CONTROLS
BUREAUCRACIES, THE PROPAGANDA
APPARATUS, THE INTERNAL SECURITY
APPARATUS AND OTHER
BUREAUCRACIES THAT HAVE, AS I
SAY, INSTITUTED THIS VERY
REPRESSIVE AND REGRESSIVE KIND
OF SECURITY SITUATION ON MANY
SECTORS OF THE COUNTRY.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP ON
THE ECONOMIC POINTS THAT YOU
MADE IN THAT LAST ANSWER.
I THINK I'VE SEEN ESTIMATES THAT
THE CHINESE ECONOMIC GROWTH RATE
IS GOING TO DECLINE FROM, SAY,
7 percent TO CLOSER TO 5 percent OVER THE NEXT
PERIOD OF TIME, AND WHILE WE
MIGHT BE THRILLED IN CANADA AND
THE UNITED STATES WITH A GROWTH
RATE OF 5 percent, I GATHER THAT'S NOT
THE CASE IN CHINA.
WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF A
5 percent GROWTH RATE THERE?

The caption changes to "Size matters."

David says WELL, ECONOMISTS THINK THAT
IT'S ALREADY AROUND 5.5 percent, SOME
ECONOMISTS, AND THAT THE FIGURE
THAT THE CHINESE ANNOUNCE IS
INFLATED BY 1 TO 1.5 percent.
THE THIRD QUARTER FIGURES FOR
CHINA THIS YEAR JUST CAME OUT
YESTERDAY AND SHOWS A
CONTRACTION OF THE INDUSTRIAL
ECONOMY, REALLY ACROSS THE
BOARD.
SO YEAH, THE GDP GROWTH RATE,
WHICH IS ONLY ONE IN I WOULD SAY
A RATHER CRUDE SIMPLISTIC
MEASURE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,
YES, IT'S NOW COMING DOWN
UNDER... CERTAINLY UNDER 7, MOST
LIKELY UNDER 6, AS YOU SAY.
YEAH, MANY DEVELOPED ECONOMIES
WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THAT.
THAT'S NOT THE POINT.
FOR CHINA, THE ISSUE IS NOT
ABSOLUTE GDP GROWTH RATE.
IT'S STRUCTURAL RE-CALIBRATION
OF THE ECONOMY TO BECOME THE
MORE SERVICE-BASED ECONOMY, MORE
CONSUMPTION-DRIVEN ECONOMY, AND
A MORE INNOVATION-DRIVEN
ECONOMY.
CHINA IS NOW, LIKE MANY OTHER
NEWLY INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES,
WE CALL IT, IN THE MIDDLE INCOME
TRAP, PER CAPITA INCOME IN CHINA
IS NOW ALMOST 1000 dollars, PPP TERMS,
SLIGHTLY MORE THAN THAT... 10,000 dollars.
AND SO CHINA HAS TO TRY TO
CHANGE THE MODEL FOR DEVELOPMENT
FROM WHAT WAS STARTED TO A MUCH
MORE CONSUMPTION INNOVATION
SERVICES-DRIVEN MODEL.
AND XI JINPING, WHEN HE CAME
INTO POWER IN 2013, HE UNVEILED
A HUGE PACKAGE.
BASICALLY THE WORLD BANK WROTE
IT FOR HIM, TO DO THAT.
BUT NOW HERE WE ARE FIVE OR SIX
YEARS LATER AND IT'S BEEN
STILLBORN.
THEY HAVE DONE VIRTUALLY NOTHING
TO IMPLEMENT THAT ECONOMIC
PACKAGE.
IT'S KIND OF LIKE A DRUG ADDICT
WHO JUST CAN'T GET OFF OF THE
DRUG, YOU KNOW.
AND XI JINPING, THE DRUG FOR HIM
IS THE STATE, AND YOU KNOW, HE
DOESN'T WANT TO DEVOLVE STATE
INTERVENTION IN THE ECONOMY, HE
WANTS TO INCREASE IT.
WELL, THAT'S NOT GOING TO HELP
CONTRIBUTE TO THE SERVICES
CONSUMPTION, INNOVATION-DRIVEN
GROWTH THAT I JUST DESCRIBED.

Steve says HMM.
CHINA IS UNDERSTANDABLY GIVEN
ITS RECENT HISTORY HAUNTED, I
GUESS IS THE RIGHT WORD TO USE,
HAUNTED BY CHAOS.
SO I WONDER HOW POWERFUL CHINA
FEELS IT NEEDS TO BE IN ORDER TO
STAVE OFF THOSE KINDS OF FEARS.

David says FRANKLY, PERSONALLY I THINK
IT'S VERY OVERBLOWN, THIS
SO-CALLED FEAR OF CHAOS.
THEY HAVE A WORD FOR IT IN
CHINESE, GREAT CHAOS.
YES, CHINA'S HAD CHAOS
THROUGHOUT ITS HISTORY.
THE LAST MAJOR TIME WAS 1989 AND
THAT RESULTED IN A MILITARY
CRACKDOWN.
PRIOR TO THAT IT WAS THE
CULTURAL REVOLUTION.
THIS IS SOMETHING THE CHINESE
GOVERNMENT CONSTANTLY TELLS ITS
OWN PEOPLE AND THE WORLD.
IF WE DON'T HAVE AN IRON FIST,
AN IRON CONTROL ON OUR SOCIETY,
CHAOS WILL RESULT.
I'M SORRY, I DON'T BUY IT.
I THINK THE CHINESE PEOPLE ARE
VERY CAPABLE OF LIVING
PEACEFULLY WITH EACH OTHER, THE
SOCIETY REMAINING STABLE.
SO IT'S A FALSE... TO ME IT'S A
FALSE EXCUSE FOR REPRESSION.

Steve says BROADLY SPEAKING, WHAT
ROLE DO YOU THINK CHINA WANTS TO
PLAY IN THE WORLD?

The caption changes to "Asserting global reach."

David says OH, IT WANTS TO RESUME OR
REGAIN THE ROLE AS A MAJOR
GLOBAL POWER THAT IT FEELS IT
DESERVES AND IT ONCE HAD.
AND THAT IS INDEED WHAT WE ARE
WITNESSING.
CHINA IS RETURNING TO THAT ROLE,
TO BE SURE.
AND WE SHOULD WELCOME THAT.
YOU KNOW, ON BALANCE, AND I GIVE
XI JINPING, IN FACT, PRETTY GOOD
CREDIT ON THE EXTERNAL SIDE.
INTERNALLY, AS YOU CAN TELL, I
DON'T HAVE A LOT OF GOOD THINGS
TO SAY ABOUT HIS RULE, BUT
INTERNATIONALLY YOU'VE GOT TO
GIVE HIM HIGH MARKS, WITH THE
EXCEPTION OF A FEW COUNTRIES,
THE UNITED STATES INCLUDED... IN
FACT PROBABLY AT THE HEAD OF THE
LIST, FOLLOWED BY JAPAN, INDIA
AND AUSTRALIA.
THOSE ARE THE FOUR COUNTRIES ON
THE PLANET WITH WHICH CHINA HAS
REAL DIFFICULTIES IN THEIR
RELATIONS.
EVERYBODY ELSE, INCLUDING
YOUR... IN CANADA, CHINA HAS
MIXED TO GOOD RELATIONS.
SO UNDER XI JINPING'S WATCH,
WE'VE REALLY SEEN THE BELTON
ROAD INITIATIVE THAT'S ROLLING
OUT THAT'S STILL GOING TO TAKE A
LONG TIME IN THE FUTURE, BUT
IT'S A REALLY DRAMATIC
INITIATIVE.
WE SEE CHINA HAVING VERY
EXPANSIVE PRESENCE NOW IN LATIN
AMERICA, IN AFRICA, ACROSS THE
MIDDLE EAST, IN CENTRAL ASIA, IN
SOUTHEAST ASIA.
SO CHINA'S RESUMING AND
REGAINING ITS POSITION AS A
MAJOR INTERNATIONAL POWER.

Steve says I DON'T WANT TO ASSUME
THAT EVERYBODY KNOWS WHAT THE
BELTON ROAD PLAN IS.
COULD YOU HELP US UNDERSTAND
THAT A LITTLE BETTER?

David says SURE.
WELL, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN
CHINA, THEY HAVE A SLOGAN FOR IT.
THIS IS THE SO-CALLED 21ST
CENTURY MARITIME SILK ROAD, AND
THE ECONOMIC BELT.
AND THEY BOTH CONNECT CHINA TO
EUROPE, AND IT'S A LITTLE MIXED
UP BECAUSE THE BELT, IN FACT,
GOES ACROSS CENTRAL ASIA AND
EURASIA TO EUROPE.
THE MARITIMES SILK ROAD GOES
THROUGH THE SOUTH CHINA SEA, UP
THE CANAL INTO THE MEDITERRANEAN
INTO EUROPE.
ANYWAYS, THIS IS THE LARGEST
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE
IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
ONE TO 4 TRILLION dollars.
1.2 TRILLION SO FAR HAS BEEN
COMMITTED TO IT.
IT'S AN INFRASTRUCTURE.
IT'S A MASSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE
INITIATIVE THAT THE CHINESE ARE
GOING TO BUILD PORTS, RAIL
LINES, TELECOMMUNICATION LINES,
ELECTRIC GRIDS, ALL KINDS OF
SO-CALLED CONNECTIVITY IN 68...
NO, SORRY, 82 COUNTRIES, 82
COUNTRIES HAVE SIGNED UP FOR
THIS THING.
AND THEY STAND TO BENEFIT ON THE
FACE OF IT.
HOWEVER, WE'RE ALREADY SEEING
MANY OF THESE COUNTRIES FALLING
INTO SO-CALLED DEBT TRAPS AND
RATHER DEEP DEBT TRAPS.
THE TERMS OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE
IS NOT ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE
RECIPIENT COUNTRY.
VERY ADVANTAGEOUS TO CHINA.
SO IT'S A LITTLE EARLY.
WE CANNOT CONCLUDE YET WHETHER
THIS THING IS GOING TO BE A
SUCCESS OR A FAILURE.
I THINK IT'S GOING TO TAKE ABOUT
FIVE YEARS AND FRANKLY IT WILL
BE A LITTLE BIT OF BOTH, BUT IT
DWARFS THE MARSHALL PLAN AFTER
THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
ANYTHING ELSE THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN.

Steve says NOW WHEN YOU TALKED A
MOMENT AGO ABOUT CHINA'S
INTERNATIONAL AMBITIONS, YOU
KNOW, FOR THOSE OF US WHO GREW
UP IN THE COLD WAR, I NEED TO
HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF
WHETHER YOU THINK THAT MEANS
CHINA SEES ITSELF AS A KIND OF
ALTERNATE BLOC, KIND OF LIKE THE
SOVIET BLOC WAS, RIVALLING
AMERICAN POWER ACROSS THE WORLD
AND SORT OF CARVING UP SPHERES
OF INFLUENCE AND ALL OF THAT.
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON THAT?

David says NO, I DON'T SEE THEM IN THAT WAY.
I DON'T THINK THAT... WELL,
CHINA CERTAINLY HAS AN IDEOLOGY,
AND THAT IDEOLOGY IS MARXISM AND
LENINISM, JUST AS THE SOVIET
IDEOLOGY WAS.
CHINA'S NOT INTO EXPORTING THAT
WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS, AS
THEY ALWAYS QUALIFY IT.
CHINA DOESN'T REALLY... IN FACT,
IT'S QUESTIONABLE THE DEGREE TO
WHICH THE CHINESE PEOPLE
THEMSELVES BELIEVE IN THEIR OWN
NATION'S IDEOLOGY, BUT CHINA IS
AN EXPANSIONIST ECONOMICALLY, NO
DOUBT ABOUT IT, AND IT'S
INCREASINGLY EXPANSIONIST
MILITARILY, AND IT IS POURING
OVER THE LAST DECADE PROBABLY
BETWEEN 10 AND 20 BILLION dollars A
YEAR INTO SO-CALLED SOFT POWER
AND PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND GLOBAL
PROPAGANDA EFFORTS, SO THEY
THINK THEY WANT TO BECOME A
CULTURAL GLOBAL SUPERPOWER
BECAUSE THEY NOW UNDERSTAND THAT
IMAGE MATTERS.
BUT THAT'S DIFFERENT THAN SAYING
THEY WANT TO CREATE A BLOC OF
OTHER LIKE-MINDED AUTHORITARIAN
STATES THAT WILL FOLLOW THEM OR
FOLLOW THE SO-CALLED CHINA
MODEL.
I MYSELF DON'T SEE THAT, SO THAT
IS AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION
BETWEEN THESE FORMER SOVIET
UNION AND CHINA.
CHINA IS OUT FOR ITSELF.
IT'S A VERY SELF-INTERESTED
COUNTRY, SELF-INTERESTED POWER.
IT DOESN'T HAVE THIS SORT OF
MISSIONARY COMPLEX THAT OTHER
MAJOR POWERS, THE FORMER SOVIET
UNION, THE UNITED STATES,
OTHERS, HAVE HAD.
SO TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, I
DON'T THINK... SO FAR WE DON'T
SEE, I DON'T SEE EVIDENCE OF
THAT.
IT MAY COME IN TIME.
SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT THEY SAW
THAT AND HEARD THAT IN XI
JINPING'S SPEECH TO THE 19TH
PARTY CONGRESS LAST YEAR, BUT HE
QUICKLY ROLLED THAT BACK IN A
SUBSEQUENT SPEECH.
SO LONG STORY SHORT, SO FAR I
DON'T SEE THEM AS AN
IDEOLOGICALLY EXPANSIONIST POWER.

Steve says OKAY, LET'S FINISH UP
ON THIS BECAUSE YOU'VE CLEARLY
LAID OUT THE CASE THAT CHINA HAS
EVERY INTENTION OF BEING A 21ST
CENTURY POWERHOUSE.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WE IN THE WEST
NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS COUNTRY
IN TERMS OF ITS PEOPLE, ITS
CULTURE, ITS HISTORY, ITS
APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS IN ORDER FOR US TO
UNDERSTAND THEM BETTER AND NOT
NEEDLESSLY ADD TO THE
PREDICTABLE TENSIONS THAT ALWAYS
COME IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS.

The caption changes to "Understanding the Middle Kingdom."

David says EXCELLENT QUESTION, STEVE.
OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD I WOULD
SAY PROBABLY THREE THINGS WE IN
THE WEST NEED TO UNDERSTAND.
FIRST IS... WELL, THE SENSE OF
HISTORICAL GREATNESS THAT CHINA
HAS.
THIS IS NOT A NEW GLOBAL POWER.
THIS IS ACTUALLY NOT THE FIRST
TIME CHINA HAS RISEN IN WORLD
AFFAIRS.
IT'S THE FOURTH TIME.
SO THEY HAVE A LONG, PROUD
CIVILIZATIONAL SENSE OF
THEMSELVES.
SECONDLY, THOUGH, THEY HAVE A
VERY DEEP INSECURITY ABOUT THEIR
ROLE IN THE WORLD AND THE
STAYING POWER OF THE CHINESE
COMMUNIST PARTY, AND THEY ALSO
WENT THROUGH WHAT THEY CALLED
THE CENTURY OF SHAME AND
HUMILIATION PRIOR TO 1949.
SO THERE'S A KIND OF CHIP ON
CHINA'S SHOULDER.
IT'S ACTUALLY A PRETTY BIG CHIP,
AND IT'S A CHIP THAT WAS CAUSED
BY THE WEST, AND JAPAN, AND SO
THEY ARE HYPER, HYPERSENSITIVE
ABOUT WHAT THEY PERCEIVE TO BE
WESTERN INTRUSIONS INTO THEIR
COUNTRY, WHETHER IT'S SOVEREIGN
INTRUSIONS OR CULTURAL OR
IDEOLOGICAL OR ECONOMIC
INTRUSIONS.
SO THAT'S KIND OF THE SECOND
THING, AN INSECURITY.
AND THAT MANIFESTS ITSELF IN
KIND OF OVER-COMPENSATION.
THEIR CONTROL COMPLEX I THINK IS
A REFLECTION OF THAT.
THERE'S A LOT OF XENOPHOBIA IN
CHINESE SOCIETY AND IN THE
CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY, SO
THAT'S KIND OF A SECOND FEATURE.
THIRD ONE GOES BACK TO YOUR
PREVIOUS QUESTION, THOUGH, ABOUT
CHINA AND DOES IT HAVE AN
IDEOLOGY IT WANTS TO EXPORT.
I WOULD SAY THAT WHILE I DON'T
SEE THEM HAVING AN IDEOLOGY THEY
WANT TO EXPORT, THEY ARE
DEFINITELY INTERFERING IN OTHER
COUNTRY'S INTERNAL AFFAIRS,
INCLUDING IN CANADA.
THEY ARE TRYING TO ESTABLISH A
WHOLE RANGE OF ACTIVITIES IN
VARIOUS COUNTRIES THAT BASICALLY
TRY TO CONTROL THE NARRATIVE
ABOUT CHINA ON A GLOBAL BASIS.
SO THEY REALLY FEEL THAT
THERE'S, YOU KNOW, THE WEST IN
PARTICULAR, AND OTHER COUNTRIES,
DON'T SEE THEM OBJECTIVELY, AND
THEY'RE REALLY... AND THEY TRY
AND USE VARIOUS METHODS,
INCLUDING SELF-CENTRESHIP,
BULLYING, INTIMIDATION TACTICS
TO TRY AND CONTROL THE NARRATIVE
OUTSIDE OF CHINA ABOUT CHINA.
SO WE NEED TO REALIZE THIS IS...
AND MAYBE THE LAST THING I'LL
SAY IS IN MY VIEW AND EXPERIENCE
CHINA'S NOT A MILITARILY
AGGRESSIVE COUNTRY.
THEY HAVEN'T FOUGHT A WAR SINCE
1979.
THAT DIDN'T GO VERY WELL AGAINST
VIETNAM.
THEY'VE NEVER OCCUPIED ANOTHER
COUNTRY.
THEY DON'T REALLY... THEY'RE NOT
IN THE REGIME CHANGE BUSINESS.
THEY ARE CERTAINLY BUILDING UP
THEIR MILITARY, BUT YOU KNOW, I
DON'T REALLY THINK THERE'S A
PRECEDENT SO FAR, DOESN'T MEAN A
COUNTRY CAN'T CHANGE, TO BECOME
A KIND OF MILITARILY
EXPANSIONIST POWER.
SO YOU KNOW, MYSELF, I'M NOT ALL
THAT CONCERNED ABOUT IT,
ALTHOUGH CHINESE MILITARY NAVAL
MODERNIZATION IN PARTICULAR IS
CHALLENGING A NUMBER OF ITS
NEIGHBOURS IN ASIA.
IT'S CHALLENGING THE UNITED
STATES AND IS EXPANDING ITS
FOOTPRINT THROUGHOUT THE
INDO-PACIFIC.

The caption changes to "Producer: Wodek Szemberg, @wodekszemberg."

Steve says I SUSPECT, PROFESSOR,
WE COULD DO ANOTHER 10 MINUTES
ALONE ON WHETHER TIBET IS OR
ISN'T BEING OCCUPIED.
SADLY WE DON'T HAVE THAT TIME
RIGHT NOW.
WE'LL HAVE TO HAVE YOU ON THE
PROGRAM IN FUTURE AND DEAL WITH
THAT ON ANOTHER OCCASION.
WE'RE GRATEFUL YOU COULD SPARE
SOME TIME FOR US ON TVO TONIGHT.
THANKS VERY MUCH.

David says MY PLEASURE.
NICE TALKING TO YOU, STEVE.

Watch: China: Scrutinizing the Tea Leaves