Interview

by Malcolm Riddell

2

2 | ‘My Humble Effort’

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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Founder of CHINADebate

&
July 25, 2021
2 | ‘My Humble Effort’
2 | ‘My Humble Effort’
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From my interview with Cheng Li. We'll publish the video soon.

Cheng Li

Director, Brookings Institution, John L. Thornton China Center

2

BIG IDEA | ‘My book, Middle Class Shanghai, is a humble effort to provide a different angle, based the cultural and the educational fronts, from the perspective of shared middle-class lifestyles, aspirations, concerns, and values.’

Malcolm Riddell: ‘Would please tell us your overriding reason for your book, Middle-Class Shanghai.’

Cheng Li: ‘I have message to share by emphasizing Shanghai.’

‘My fear is that Washington and Beijing are heading toward a dangerous pass, increasingly shaped by a zero-sum game mindset on both sides.’

  • ‘In the United States today, the ongoing policy and political discourse on China in the United States today disproportionately focuses on Beijing, on the Chinese authoritarian system, on the so-called China threat, and on the fatalistic view that often treats the most populous country in the world in a monolithic way.’

‘My book, Middle Class Shanghai, is a humble effort to provide a different angle, based the cultural and the educational fronts, from the perspective of shared middle-class lifestyles, aspirations, concerns, and values.’

  • ‘These are quite similar between China and United States, and I want to use the Shanghai middle-class as an example of this.’
  • ‘But looking at Shanghai, we can really see the marked contrast to Beijing in the ways two cities approach some things – and begin to see that China is in no way monolithic.’

‘Middle-class exposure to foreign influences and the cosmopolitan culture could provide a force for new mechanism for reshaping U.S.-China engagement.’

  • ‘For that reason, more broadly, my book emphasizes the similarities rather than differences between Americans and Chinese people.’

‘Neither country should be driven by ultra-nationalistic sentiments to demonize each other.’

  • ‘We should remember that U.S.-China relations are not just state-to-state relations, but also shared people-to-people relations.’

‘We should also remember that Beijing is not China.’

  • ‘Nothing illustrates that quite as well the contrast between and Beijing’s jingpai culture and Shanghai’s haipai.
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Interview

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
|

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
|
Brookings
&
|
1

1 | 'Middle Class Shanghai: Reshaping U.S.-China Engagement' by Cheng Li

‘Among the many forces shaping China's domestic transformation and its role on the world stage, none may prove more significant than the rapid emergence and explosive growth of the Chinese middle-class.’
7/25/2021

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings
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How China's Middle-Class China is Transforming China and the World

‘Among the many forces shaping China's domestic transformation and its role on the world stage, none may prove more significant than the rapid emergence and explosive growth of the Chinese middle-class.’
7/25/2021

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
|

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
|
Brookings
&
|
2

2 | ‘My Humble Effort’

‘My book, Middle Class Shanghai, is a humble effort to provide a different angle, based the cultural and the educational fronts, from the perspective of shared middle-class lifestyles, aspirations, concerns, and values.’
7/25/2021

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
|

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
|
Brookings
&
|
3

3 | The ‘Haipai’ - ‘Jingpai’ Divide

‘Just as New York and Washington are profoundly different from each other, the same can be said about Shanghai and Beijing.’
7/25/2021

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
|

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
|
Brookings
&
|
4

4 | The Shanghai Paradoxes

‘Middle-Class Shanghai actually reveals China's unsettled future because Shanghai embodies what I call two tales of a city. Now in my view, Shanghai was, is, and will be paradoxical.’
7/25/2021

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
|

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
|
Brookings
&
|
5

5 | 'It is premature to say that engagement has failed.'

‘It is premature to conclude that the U.S. engagement policy with China under the eight presidents prior to the Trump administration has failed.’
7/25/2021

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Tony Saich
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Harvard Kennedy School of Government
&
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Five Themes that Point to Where the Chinese Communist Party & China are Heading

As the Chinese Communist Party begins its second century, it’s useful to identify enduring patterns that might aid us in understanding China today and the directions it might be heading.
7/1/2021

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Tony Saich
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Harvard Kennedy School of Government
&
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From Rebel to Ruler: One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party by Tony Saich

‘In our discussions, you've identified five themes that have been more or less consistent throughout the history of the party but have oscillated between different points on a continuum:’
7/1/2021

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

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&
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'Forget about China': Clyde Prestowitz

Clyde Prestowitz has influenced U.S. foreign trade and investment policy for many decades, both inside and outside government.
6/13/2021

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

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&
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'Regime change in China is not only possible, it is imperative.'

‘We must make regime change in China the highest goal of our strategy towards that country.’ ‘The US and its allies cannot dictate to China the political system by which it is governed. But they can and must engineer conditions which embolden and enable those in China who also want regime change to achieve it.’
5/15/2021

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Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Mike Lampton
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School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University (SAIS)
&
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'Rivers of Iron': Changing the Face of Asia

‘But what's happened now is that Southeast Asia is rich enough to contemplate such infrastructure and that the Chinese have the technology, money, and high-speed rail industry so that they can both finance or help finance and build it.’
10/7/2020

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Shang-Jin Wei
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Columbia University
&
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Why China's Economy is Growing Faster than Others

‘First is China's relatively aggressive and decisive measures on the COVID public health crisis itself that managed to get the pandemic under control much faster than the other large economies.’ ‘The relative success in controlling the pandemic translates into how much people are willing to go back to their normal lives, to their jobs, and the like.’
8/27/2020

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Joerg Wuttke
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European Union Chamber of Commerce in China
&
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The Chinese Communist Party Fears Ending Up Like the Soviet Union

‘The propaganda ministry - within four to six weeks - managed to turn China into a problem for Europeans. China’s standing in Europe is eroding by the day.'
5/20/2020

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Tony Saich
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Harvard Kennedy School of Government
&
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The Party is Infallible

'The Hong Kong demonstrations can never be because of policy mistakes by the Communist Party itself.’ During our interview, Tony Saich of the Harvard Kennedy School told me: ‘Hong Kong, with its responses to the demonstrations, and the Coronavirus are both illustrative examples of how the culture of the Communist Party and the traditions it's built up over almost a hundred years reflect the way it behaves when it's confronted by certain crises.’
5/13/2020

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Craig Allen
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U.S.-China Business Council
&
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The Phase One Trade Deal

‘The good news is that 80% of our members said they thought the Phase One agreement was a good thing.' 'But only 19% said it was worth it.' 'What the 80% said they are happy about was that there no more new tariffs were coming immediately.’
5/6/2020

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Bonnie Glaser
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Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
&
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South China Sea & Taiwan

'It would not be accurate to say China claims the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territory because the Chinese are unclear about what exactly their claim is and what it is based on.'
5/2/2020

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Tom Barkin
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Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
&
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Why Inflation Should Not Be A Problem

‘This is a crisis where the first chair is held by the public health officials, and the second chair is held by the fiscal authorities. We at the Fed have the freedom to be able to move relatively quickly, but we're the third chair here, trying to help out where we can.’
4/29/2020

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

Bill Overholt
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Harvard Asia Center
&
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China, America, & the 'Jaws Syndrome'

‘Both Trump and Xi have a fundamental political divide problem that the COVID-19 epidemic has exposed and made more apparent – and made substantially worse.’
4/25/2020