Myth of China as a Superpower

Many people in the West believe that China is already a superpower, or will quickly replace the United States to become a superpower. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center reveals that 44 percent of Americans believe that China is the top global economic power, while in reality, China’s economy is barely one-third the size of the U. S. economy. This kind of misconception has engendered many unrealistic fears about China.

The truth is that China is not a superpower, and I doubt it will ever become one.

Fareed Zakaria, CNN host and Washington Post columnist, defined in his bestselling book The Post-American World that a superpower is a country that achieves dominance in ideas or ideology, an economic system, and military power. Continue reading

My First Taste of Freedom

In January 1989, I came to the United States to pursue my graduate study. Like thousands of Chinese students, coming to America was not merely a chance for academic advancement. It was a way to seek a better future in this “land of opportunity” and “country of freedom.”

Today, these phrases sound more like clichés. But for those of us who had not known the meanings of words like “opportunity” or “freedom,” America was a place for the impossible, a romantic version of what the world was not, and a fantasy land with the glittering skyline of New York City, wild cowboys in California, and humming boatmen on the Mississippi River. For me, America was a dream coming true.

Shortly after I arrived, I went on a school-organized field trip to Washington DC for a conference. The world was still in the grip of the Cold War. Continue reading