Can China Do a Big Thing in an age of Donald Trump?


Montreal, Canada –Ali Osman

“The United States brags about its political system, but the President says one thing during the election, something else when he takes office, something else at midterm and something else when he leaves” -Deng Xiaoping, Chinese Revolutionary and Statesman

It was the visionary Deng Xiaoping who started the idea of economic zones as a way to create economic growth. The manufacturing boom resulted thousands of factories producing millions of products for the world and millions of jobs for the Chinese. Today, China is world economic power with millions of middle class and fast growing economy.

It is no doubt the biggest market for Chinese products by far is the United States. Any disruption of this export follow to the United States will be a major setback for the Chinese economy as a whole.

The United States President elect Donald Trump made it clear he is not a friend of China. Speaking about the Chinese import to the United States, Trump said “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing,”

President elect Donald Trump further inflamed China by putting question mark its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of “One China.” by speaking on the phone with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan.

Does the President elect Donald J. Trump mean business and want to change the status quo vis-à-vi China –US trade relationship and One China Principle or is it sabre rattling hot-air designed to appease his die-hard alt-right movement? China thinks the former; it flew a nuclear-capable bomber around South China Sea in a show of force less than a week before Donald Trump’s phone conversation with president Tsai Ing-wen.

China’s response to President elect Donald J. Trump seems to be classic text book response to a bully President. Chinese leaders were sending a signal that he needs to be careful when it comes to their sovereignty and they have every right to do that. But was it the right response?

For obviously reasons, China cannot challenge militarily or economically the United States. For militarily, it does not have the offensive force projection capability that the US has and economically it is in a very weak position as it needs an access to the US market. Also, nuclear war is not an option as it will ensure a mutual destruction of both nations. President elect Donald J. Trump knows this and he holds all the cards in this equation.He is playing hard ball and  if China chooses to respond in kind, it is a no-win situation.

But it is not all lost for China. If China takes the advice of its former statesman Deng Xiaoping who said “Keep a cool head and maintain a low profile. Never take the lead – but aim to do something big”. In the face of US bullying, China can do something big. Invest in green energy and become a leader of the green energy revolution.

The rise of China was never a military one, but economic one and the election of Donald J. Trump created a window of opportunity for the Chinese government. Donald J. Trump is a Fossil Fuel president and all you need to know is just look his cabinet picks. They are either military generals or oil men and it is really a bad combination for the United States and sustainable energy.

The United States is backtracking from green energy and climate change and this opens a window of opportunity for the Chinese to invest in “green energy” such as Solar Thermal, Wind, Turbine, Photovoltaic, Biomass, BioGas, and Energy Efficiency. China must do four things to be the leader in the green energy of tomorrow.

First, let the government invest in green energy research in big way and create green energy economic zones. This includes providing funding to Universities in green energy research and providing incentives and funds to commercialize that research.

Second, give existing Chinese manufacturers incentives such as tax holiday if they invest in green technology and create new green energy industry.

Third, create open borders and attract hundreds of green energy entrepreneurs, scientists and innovators all over the world. You really need diversity of ideas to pull this green energy revolution off the ground. Create economic zones and financial funding to create the ecosystem to experiment, prototype and commercialize.

Fourth, encourage local consumption of green energy by employing smart regulations and incentives.

China is a world economic power and if United States makes a wrong turn or the wrong choice, China can make the right choice. China has an opportunity to lead the world in green energy and climate change and will benefit not only China but the world as a whole. China, please ground your long-range nuclear bombers and do something “big” as the wise Chinese statesman Deng Xiaoping reminded us.


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