Scott: Over the past few weeks, we have been telling you about China’s rapid growth and about the country’s big goals for the future. Today, as we wrap up our series on China, Shelby Holliday takes a look at the importance of our relationship with the rising superpower.
Shelby: Everywhere you go in China there are reminders of the country’s rising power…
Where are we right now?
…So I was surprised to learn that the Chinese people view their American counterparts as friends, not rivals.
What do young people in China think about Americans?
Girl: Quite friendly.
Boy: Very strong.
Girl: Diversity, I think.
Boy: Have a lot of money!
Shelby: There was plenty of admiration for American culture.
Boy: Los Angeles Lakers!
Shelby: The Lakers? You like the Lakers?
Shelby: But when it came to politics, young people didn’t hesitate to criticize the American government.
Boy: America will be die!
Shelby: Eighteen-year-old Zhi Li told me he wants to go to Washington, D.C. with a message for the U.S. president.
So, what would you want to say to Obama?
Zhi Li: The Chinese military, the Chinese army, is not so easy to defeat.
Shelby: Li knows, like many in his country, that China is increasingly seen as a threat to the West. In the past few years, China has been beefing up the People’s Liberation Army, pushing for more power in the Pacific and expanding its presence in space.
Just last month, Chinese leaders announced a huge boost in military spending – $132 billion for 2014. That is only about one-fourth of America’s military budget. Still, it is enough to raise eyebrows.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: China is a very important power and influence in Asia. So we work with China. We must work with China, and we find the common interest with China.
Shelby: But common ground isn’t always easy to reach. Beijing and Washington have clashed over all kinds of issues in the past, from environmental regulations and human rights laws to the value of each country’s currency.
Feng Chen Xu: The U.S., they print a lot of money to boost their economy, but they will harm the other countries.
Shelby: Lately, a topic of great debate has been cyber security.
Paxton Hall: Being in China as an American, you’re kind of actively at war with, in a way. I mean, not the war that we’ve thought of in the past with troops and everything, but war via internet.
Shelby: It is a war over information and intelligence, and it has been brewing for years. U.S. officials and security experts say China is responsible for millions of hacking attempts on American businesses, universities and government agencies every single week. But Chinese officials frequently deny those claims.
The U.S. is accused of hacking China too. And according to documents leaked by former government worker Edward Snowden last year, the U.S. has spied on Chinese businesses, banks, government agencies and even top officials.
David Zweig: America has tried to make China look bad on the issue of cyber security yet America is also not so clean on this issue.
Shelby: The countries have also clashed over piracy and intellectual property rights, the stealing of ideas, inventions and creative expression.
Paxton: You can get Microsoft Word over here for, like, 100 kuai, which is maybe $16.
Shelby: Because it is ripped off?
Shelby: All kinds of fake goods are made in China – fake iPhones, Uggs, handbags and ripped DVDs and movies – and they are shipped all over the world.
Paula Heacock: China is still our number one source country for counterfeit and pirated goods. About 62% of our seizures are from China.
Shelby: It is estimated that all this fake stuff is costing the United States $300 billion every year.
President Obama: That’s theft. This can adversely affect the fundamentals of the U.S.-China relationship.
Shelby: The war over ideas and information is far from over. And Chinese and American leaders have yet to agree on any specific solutions. But there have been signs of improving relations between the countries. In the past year, presidents, vice presidents, first ladies and high-ranking officials have openly discussed policies and ideas. The talks have encouraged attitudes here in China and around the world that the two powers can work together to build each other up and make the world a better place.
Michelle Obama: The relationships between the United States and China couldn’t be more important.
Shelby: The two countries need each other. China needs Americans to keep buying its products and America needs China’s money. Our government has borrowed more from China than any other country.
What do you think the future will look like between the U.S. and China?
Girl: There are a lot of differences between China and the U.S., but they need to work together because they need each other.
Paxton: Each country has something to offer each other to make each other better. At the end of the day, it really is dependent on the leaders of both of these countries and the leaders of my generation.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.