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China Inside Out: 10 Irreversible Trends Reshaping China and its Relationship with the World by Bill Dodson

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Afterword
The modernization of China and its changing relationship with the world outside its borders is very much a story about asymmetries that teeter across fulcrums constructed of international standards and, for the most part, Western norms. Its self-image is reflected and refracted through a prism of historical mythologies it plies and applies as circumstances see fit. Its economic development strategy, its foreign policy, its militarization, its control of Chinese-language cyberspace, its consumption patterns, and its quest for natural resources are all based on the premise that it is and will always be at a disadvantage relative to others. The Chinese believe they have the short end of every engagement; there’s always more to be gained, to be won, to be shown off, they fret. Chinese feel they can seldom arrange an equitable deal between themselves or especially with foreigners in most transactions, and they have even less faith in their own government to do right by them. Meanwhile, their own government believes it will never be treated fairly by the West—hence, China’s mercantilist approaches to international trade and finance, and the guerrilla tactics of Mainland Chinese business and government representatives in dealing with outsiders. Chinese do not believe in “safe zones”, where win-win is the standard operating procedure.
However, there are asymmetries China has that work to the country’s advantage: for instance, the ability of its people to mobilize with great ...

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