Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Chinese Superlatives

Over the past ten days, there has been yet another deluge of Chinese superlatives:

The Biggest, Most Expensive World Expo Ever: Shanghai Expo attracted about 73 million visitors over six months; built at the cost of $ 45 billion

World`s Fastest Train: The high-speed railway link between Shanghai and Hangzhou now covers the 200-km distance in just 45 minutes (av. speed 350kmph)

World`s Fastest Computer: The Tianhe-1A supercomputer at NCS-Tianjin performs 2.5 Peta-flops is about 50% faster than its closest US rival.

Yet, the Western media seems to be busy underplaying these achievements on one hand and feeding that frenzy about the Yuan valuation on the other. It makes you wonder if such a response is out of petulance, resentment, fear, paranoia...or all of the above!

So it was interesting to see the paragon of American enterprise & ingenuity, Bill Gates, take a contrarian position. In an interview to UK`s Financial Times (30 Oct 2010), this is what he had to say about the speed and energy with which China is developing:

“If all you care about is the US or the UK’s relative strength in the world, then it’s particularly scary...In the US case, 1945 was our relative peak. Since then other countries from Europe to Asia have rebuilt and become more prosperous...but I guess I’m just not enough of a nationalist to see it all in negative terms.”
And he reserved his sarcasm for those who complain about rising Chinese energy use –
“I mean, these Chinese are actually using as much energy per capita as the average in the world today, how dare they! How did that happen? The US uses four times the average and the Brits double. But now these Chinese are trying to use the average.”
Here is another rare columnist who prefers not to play the Blame China Game - Zachary Karabell in Time (30 Oct., 2010) - `Blaming China Won't Solve the U.S.'s Economic Woes`


Lunch with the FT: Bill Gates (Gideon Rachman, FT, October 30 2010)

Breaking records, Shanghai Expo closes doors (Ananth Krishnan, The Hindu, 31 Oct 2010)

China unveils world's fastest train (Ananth Krishnan, The Hindu, 26 Oct., 2010)

China Claims Supercomputer Crown (BBC 28 Oct 2010)

China Unveils Powerful, 2.5-petaflop Supercomputer (PCWorld 28 Oct 2010)

`Blaming China Won't Solve the U.S.'s Economic Woes` (Zachary Karabell, Time, 30 Oct., 2010)

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