The revelation by Texas-based Global Language Monitor that the rise of China was the biggest story of the decade, outperforming the second biggest story, the Iraq war, by 400%, has bolstered the traditional jingoism of Chinese pundits. They believe the results of the study are not merely an observation but unwarranted flattery by the American media. According to Chinese observers, the results of the survey indicate the China has "tinkled [sic] the nerves of the West." "The list is the latest sign of the US media’s change from China bashing to China flattery," said Pang Zhongying, professor of international studies at Beijing-based Renmin University of China. Critics are concerned that the US is leading international opinion in labeling China as an emerging superpower that is not taking on its fair share of global responsibility. The current debates about carbon emissions are only a case in point. China believes it is being held to international standards it cannot possibly meet as a developing country. Its self-image is that of an underdeveloped nation struggling to catch up and improve the standard of living for its population of 1.3 billion. The US – and other nations – view the country as a burgeoning superpower, if not an imminent threat. The US, nervous about a China increasing in wealth, power and influence, is giving the less-developed nation more credit than it deserves and then insisting that with great power comes great responsibility.
China has decided not to play that game. Beijing had originally requested part of the US$10 billion allotted by developed nations to assist the world’s poorest countries in reducing their carbon emissions, sparking an indignant outcry from American political observers who were appalled to think that the US might be funding greentech programs in rival China. China and the US agree that the wealthiest nations are indeed obligated to provide financial to the developing nations: They simply disagree where China lies on that spectrum. Over the weekend, news emerged that China is now refusing financial aid for reducing carbon emissions from the US and the UK, but they are also declining to allow their carbon emissions to be monitored by international bodies. Without the carrot, there will be no stick, though Beijing promises it will stick to its commitments to cut carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product 40-45% by 2020. Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei said, "China will not be an obstacle [to a deal]. The obstacle now is from developed countries. I know people will say if there is no deal that China is to blame. This is a trick played by the developed countries. They have to look at their own position and can’t use China as an excuse. That is not fair."
For a more popularly-accessible (but perhaps more insidious) example of the difference in perception, the remake of 1984’s "Red Dawn," features China instead of the former Soviet Union as the power invading the small-town USA. Apparently, the Yanks feel the potentiality of such a threat very keenly, while the Chinese commentators seem merely dazed at such a possibility or impressed that such a film could be made in the US.
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