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MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, CHINA’S UNSTOPPABLE MOVE TO

MODERNITY AS A CULTURAL STATE

By Francis C W Fung, Ph.D.

CHINA IS A CULTURAL STATE NOT A POLITICAL STATE

China is an ancient country with 5000 years of continuous history and tradition bound.
(See Appendix A) This is unique among modern nation states. Notwithstanding the
present Chinese government has made changes on the political scene, the Chinese remain
cultural bound and strongly influenced by Confucius teaching. The idea of mandate from
heaven and in family and nation there is always a central authority only weakened by
outside influence is still alive today. Most Chinese basically are not political activists as
long as the government is doing a good job in performance. Chinese people appear to be
less politically active wherever they are. This appears o be true in China as well as most
Chinese overseas communities including San Francisco, where the population is 40% or
more.

However the mandate of heaven is not irrevocable. This is evident as we witness the rise
of peasant revolts to overthrow the Emperors in the changing of non performing
emperors in history. This right to overthrow the non performing authority is also taught
by Mencius the most renowned Confucius disciple. In Chinese the word country has the
duet meaning of nation and family. So the connection of the concepts of family and
country is strong. An authority establishing social and family order is acceptable based
on performance. As a cultural state China can accept different religious and political
entities to exist in different parts of China.

That is why Deng Xiaoping’s proposal of one nation different systems for Hong Kong’s
return went off without a hitch. This idea of multi religions and political systems can
work in a cultural state and not necessary in a centralized political state. China as an
ancient culture never created a national religion of her own, instead she accepted all
outside religions. Most notably China merged Buddhism from India with Confucius and
Daoism philosophy into various forms of coexisting Buddhism. In time China will
develop her top down and bottom up converging democracy. It has to be in her way and
on her own priority. It is already happening according to John and Doris Niasbitt in their
book Megatrends of China. Outside pressure will only unite the Chinese people behind
her government. This is witnessed by the incident of U.S. bombing of the Chinese
Yugoslavia Embassy and the current dispute over U.S. arm sales to Taiwan. Millions of
net citizens are writing in to support the government.

As a cultural state, China will move towards modernity in a very unique fashion. It will
adopt western technology and modern management but she will retain her long traditional
culture. Like manner, in the future, large developing nations will modernize within the
context of their own ancient culture. The rise of China after the 2008 financial crises
becomes that much more dramatic. We will find China reach out to the world with her

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traditional friendship and harmony. Her way of harmony diplomacy will stand in stark
contrast to American aggressive Smart Diplomacy. The world watched our War on
Terror, Neo Conservatism and other foreign policies during the last decade as obvious
excessive use of military power. It is time to understand China as a cultural state and not
a political state and turn a softer side in reaching out to China. We are the most powerful
nation in the world we can afford to show our magnanimity without appearing weak.
President Obama with his diverse background has a unique and final opportunity. Laotzu
has said “The more powerful the more one should be humble”. Let us hope U.S. and
China can reach harmony consensus through better understanding.

CHINA’S UNSTOPPABLE MOVE TO MODERNITY AS A CULTURAL STATE

China missed out on the 19th Century industrialization. This time it is moving with
determination as a Cultural State and not a political Nation State. Soon President Obama
will go to Indonesia and Australia for state visit. He will be likely welcomed as a return
of the favorite son and will be told that China’s growth is good for Indonesia. In
Australia he will hear that for the first time, a white Anglo-Saxon nation state’s
continuing growth is dependent on China. Despite China’s current economic success,
according to Zhao Qizheng’s Feb.4, 2010 article, China has no desire to export her yet
developing model (See following Appendix B)
Before we go to the story of China’s unstoppable growth, let’s break for the educated
observation from Larry Summer, our preeminent economic adviser to President Obama.
In a Feb 1, 2010 PBS Charlie Rose interview, Larry offered the following three summary
of his view on the 21st Century. First, the most momentous event in the 21st Century is
the rise of the developing world, not the current financial crises, as devastating as it may
seem. Second, the most important thing a major nation must do is to empower the
growth of the vast middle class. Without growth and hope of the middle class no matter
how well a nation does in policy and strategy will be in vain. The U.S. middle class living
standard has been in decline relative to many nations during the last five decades except
brief intervals. Third, in the 21st Century we must know how to harmonize with the
developing world, most of all with China.

Above vision seem in all respect a fit description of China’s growing momentum as
analyzed in resplendent detail also by Martin Jacques’s book “When China Rules the
World” just freshly out of the press. Contrary to the title of the book, Jacques's final
conclusion is that China will not rule the world. He believes the rise of China will be the
revival of the Chinese culture, and China will resume its heritage as one of the
magnificent civilizations as a Cultural State. One is advised to refer to the book for
more details.

Martin Jacques also argued strongly that modernity is not necessarily Westernization
specifically in reference to China albeit in the 21st Century the developing world will
move towards modernity in their own way according to their own unique tradition and
stage of development. China is so immense, she will continue her development with the
major cities and regions as developed and the rural areas continue as developing regions.

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Jacques with in depth analysis to differentiate China from the European Political States,
also defined China as a Cultural State and not a Political State because of her long
civilization. Of interest, Jaques pointed out that China as a Cultural State in her
development will revisit her ancient cultural heritage and rediscover her cultural roots
such as Confucianism and Daoism and all their glorious teaching of Harmony. Also
China in her move towards pluralism will invent her own democracy. This is supported
by John and Doris Naisbitt, in their 2009 book China’s Megatrends .John and Doris
detailed in their book that a top down and bottom up convergence democracy is emerging
in China that is holding the government accountable. The readers are highly
recommended to refer to China’s Megatrends for an in depth objective and informative
analysis of modern China development.

Here we will only venture to tell a short story of why China’s move to modernity is now
unstoppable despite America’s intervention with the so called Smart Diplomacy. China’s
growth will benefit not only her but the whole world. Further, China can never challenge
America in military hard power rather in soft power because she is a cultural state not a
political nation state. Within China as a cultural state various political system is allowed.
That is the terms Hong Kong returned to China as one country two systems. In the same
way China extends her hand to Taiwan for reconciliation.

The world of China’s growth is unstoppable because the momentum she has generated
and the vast potential she has created for her continuing growth. Why does it happen so
fast without us acquiring the right perspective and catch us unprepared? Our hubris
belief, that the so called Communist China sooner or later will self destruct, is largely to
blame. The Western media in its eagerness to be politically correct is still writes with
deep rooted Cold War mentality. Haven’t we seen the fall of Soviet Russia so recently?
Is China really communist according to our Cold War definition? Will bring back the
Cold War work to bring down China? The truth of the matter is American took our eyes
off the ball because of our preoccupation with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars during the
last ten years, during that time China achieved unprecedented growth in human history in
scale and speed. Now for our future we have no choice but to harmonize with China for
win-win mutual growth from here on as implied by Larry Summer. In fact, any Smart
Diplomacy in criticizing China’s Internet management, selling Arms to Taiwan and
granting Dalai Lama audience by Obama will only demonstrate to the developing world
that we are interfering in China’s internal affairs. Such is the affinity of the developing
world with China as the leading developing nation.

We should learn that we are also losing the U.N. debate on Human Rights. America in
her Constitution upheld Freedom of speech as an absolute standard. Whereas Chinese
Constitution the rights of livelihood, education and medical services is also included
which was regarded by Americans as opportunities. In developing countries all those so
called opportunities are very necessary rights that the government should guarantee the
citizens. America holds the original Constitution as sacred and not easily amendable and
proud of its heritage as one the earliest Constitution. China allows periodic amendment
to keep up with her development needs and is thus more flexible.

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Instead, the story of China’s growth for our own healthy perspective should be seen as
the simultaneous growth of a massive collection of Chinese regions of Pearl Delta,
Yangtze Delta, Beihai Delta and cities like Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing,
Tianjin, Wuhan, Jilin, Xian and even Urumqi among many. Imagine, these incredibly
large number of formidable regions and cities are growing in the tradition of Japan and
the four Asian Tigers with Confucian work ethics? As if this is not enough, the powerful
Chinese government today sans any political agenda, is single mindedly focused on
bringing 1.3 billion citizens to the goal of reasonable well being. Their Motto is to follow
Deng Xiaoping’s teaching “Crossing the River by Testing the Stones”. They have no
political agenda or any pretention of offering a model to the world but develop with
Chinese characteristics. They are moving as a huge cultural state rich in 5000 years of
continuous history. That is what we need to prepare for.

If the most momentum event is the rise of the developing nations according to Larry
Summer then China is their shinning star. Our most pressing national priority is to turn
around our Middle Class slide into poverty but not to contain China as our dedicated
goal. China’s move to modernity will benefit the whole world as we can see. By
harmonizing with China we open up vast opportunity for us to grow also. Or else we will
be isolated outside the greatest movement in the 21st Century, the rise of the developing
world. All nations have different forms of prejudices, Black, White, Yellow or Brown.
President Obama has a unique chance to show the world that America is less prejudiced.
Deploying Smart Diplomacy to confront China not only will not work, it will actually
back fire. The developing world will see it as a powerful developed country practicing
information and value hegemony and not harmony.

There has been heavy criticism by Western media that China’s economy grows by less
desirable autocratic capitalism because the West believes modernization means
Westernization. There is no other viable mode of modernization. This is our double
standard of passing our judgment onto China when the Chinese move towards modernity
is actually very similar to the way Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore in their
move to modernity during the 20th Century. They all follow Confucius tradition with
heavy borrowing of technology from the West. Their individual central government
exercises strong influence on the global development and some industries. Chinese
government may still draft 5 year plans but the actual administration is passed down to
the provinces and cities as the case may be. In China’s case however, their development
consists of a hybrid system of government guiding both State and private industries
according to Martin Jacques. The Chinese innovation and success is remarkable due to
the ability of the State owned enterprises can also go public and raise private capital and
the private industries at times also get federal funding. This two way flexibility is what
turned around the failing Chinese State Owned Enterprises and helped many private
industries to flourish. This flexibility is what Deng Xiaoping called “Crossing the River
by Feeling the Stones” and is quite a stroke of Chinese genius.

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We routinely attack China as having an undesirable political system. But we are off the
target. China is not a political nation state. She is a cultural state. She goes through all
measures to prove non interference in other nation’s politics or domestic affairs. She has
neither political agenda nor a development model to enforce on others. China is a cultural
state with 5000 years of inscrutable tradition and preeminence. Her ancient cultural
influence was extended mostly through harmony rather than outright conquest. A long
lasting continuous culture like China’s cannot be subject to broad criticism from a young
dynamic country without appearing rude and hubris to other developing ancient cultures.
Particularly China is moving towards modernity in her own way and paces by satisfying
her vast middle class population. On record, China has lifted over 500 million poverty
stricken citizens to a reasonable life from a hopeless state and desperately in need of
livelihood in the shortest time in human history. That is quite an impressive miracle for
the entire developing world to see.

The relation of China with African developing nations is particularly worth mentioning.
Today China is the largest investor in Africa according to Martin Jacques. China’s labor
and technical teams are also busy working to build badly needed infrastructure in Africa.
Her help to African nations usually have no strings attached. Unlike China, Western help
generally follows with political agenda. Despite Western media’s unfair suggestion of
Chinese Neocolonialism, China’s economy is very complementary to African developing
economies. That is why African nations will be more likely to side with China in the
event of any show down between China and America. Traditionally African nations
consider China as their trusted friend because China delivers what she promises. This is
unlikely to ever change. It makes undeniable logic that America best harmonize with
China in our joint efforts for three way win-win development for all parties concerned to
help Africa modernize. Unity in diversity and win win mutual development is the
inevitable tide of the 21st century developing movement.

So far for the last 30 years U.S. and China have been operated on the principle of
cooperation. and not confrontation.. In future it is advisable for both nations to continue
their Harmony Consensus and share in the win-win development according to the
“Summer Trend” as suggested at the beginning of this essay. Otherwise America may
face being isolated by the developing world when China plays her developing world card.
Currently, U.S. media is debating who is more dependent on the other. Notwithstanding
that China is our biggest lender of our National debt; invariable continuing our hubris, the
media conclusion is that China is more dependent on the U.S. So America will continue
our China bashing and why not, we have kept China at bay for the last 30 years since her
reform and open up. Jacques in his book proved conclusively that the developing world
in Asia and China now understands China’s peaceful intention and their needs are
complementary with China’s needs.

It is well known to the Asian and African nations, Zheng He, the Chinese Muslim
Admiral sailed the seven seas during the early 1400’s in seven expeditions. At the time
China had the mightiest and most sophisticate navy compared to Europe. Zheng He’s
landings at Asia and Africa were friendly ceremonial gift exchanges and ambassador
exchanges with the visited nations. The mighty expeditions never led to occupation and

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colonizing of the lands visited. These expeditions deeply impressed Asian and African
nations today that China’s peaceful mentality. Although the West prefers not to give
Zheng He the credit of his achievements in comparison to Columbus, his remarkable
voyages of the seven seas finally is well recorded by Gavin Menzies, in his book “1421,
The Year China Discovered America”.

U.S. out spends the world combined on armament for the last 30 years after the Cold
War. In the 2010 budget, President Obama again escalated defense spending to increase
missiles and F35 fighter aircrafts for ‘security reasons’. This is very disappointing in
view that Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Fortunately all Chinese leaders
read Sun Zi, follow the Deng Xiaoping teaching for China “Observe developments
soberly, maintain our position, meet challenges calmly, hide our capacities and bide our
time, remain free of ambition, never claim leadership” and avoid serious confrontations.

China is a cultural state for the last 5000 years of continuing history. Rich in Harmony
Philosophy as taught by Confucius and Lao-tzu, even Sun Zi advised to win any
confrontation without the necessity of war. Hopefully, the current disputes between U.S.
and China created by U.S. arm sales to Taiwan, President Obama’s coming meeting with
Dalai Lama and the Google incited charge and counter charge of “Internet Freedom” and
“Information Imperialism” will not get out of hand. World Harmony can be practiced
between America and China through Harmony Diplomacy will not only minimize
conflicts between the two leading powers but is essential for world peace.

In conclusion, Jacques summarized in his book “The West will progressively discover, it
will increasingly find itself in the same position as the rest of the world was during the
West’s long era of supremacy, namely being obliged to learn from and live on the terms
of the West. For the first time, a declining West will be required to engage other cultures
and countries and learn from their strengths. The United States is entering a protracted
period of economic, political and military trauma. It finds itself on the eve of a
psychological, emotional and existential crisis. Its medium-term reaction is unlikely to
be pretty: the world must hope it is not too ugly.” Hopefully, Obama will be the harmony
president we elected him for.

Francis C W Fung, Ph.D.


Director General
World Harmony Organization
info@worldharmonyorg.net
San Francisco, Feb. 2010
Edited by James C Townsend

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APPENDIX A (From China Daily)

The natural way is to rule by morals

He who rules by the law dies by the law


He who rules by the sword die by the sword

The natural way is to rule by morals

The Chinese civilization is an experiment in ruling by wisdom and by morality.


Some times we fail, some times we succeed
When we fail, dynasties fall and there is much sufferings.
But this spirit has sustained us for 5000 years and will continue to sustain us.
We must not give up trying.

The American revolution started a new force


There, they believe in democracies, fightings, forming cliques and parties.
Of laws and of the sword.
Of checks and balances and of lobby groups.

Theirs are born of a firm conviction of the fallen man...that men are inherently evil born with the original
sin.
But, Confucius teach that men are born good and innocent
It is our duty to build a society based on morality, wisdom, trust and relationships.

Tyranny of the majority is not the aim


Unity is the aim for divided the nation will fall.

Ours is an onerous task.


In the pursuance of unity
We aim for 100% agreement through negotiations and harmony.
51% is not enough

We need to control the flow of information


The propaganda department has the key role to play
Unhealthy influences will be blocked

As food is nutrition of the body


Good quality information is the food of the mind.
The temple of the mind should be protected.
2010-1-30 03:02 PM

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APPENDIX B

Scope of 'Chinese model' too wide


By Zhao Qizheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-02-04 07:48

Comments(2) Print Large Medium Small


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China's development in the last three decades has been an enticing topic for the
international community. Joshua Cooper Ramo, an expert on contemporary China,
was a pioneer who summarized the reasons for China's economic success. He
believed China had a developmental route that suited the conditions of the nation
and the needs of society, and it sought fairness and growth of quality.
His "Beijing consensus" explanation cited hard work, active innovation, bold
experimentation, incremental progress, accumulation of talent, and resolute defense
of the national sovereignty and interests as the keys to success. "Commitment to
innovation and constant experimentation" was the soul of his Beijing consensus
theory that advocates dealing with problems in a flexible and case-by-case manner.
Many comments since then have extended the "Beijing consensus" to a "Chinese
model", and many works on this theme have emerged. Those authors give different
accounts of the so-called Chinese model from various perspectives. Many of them
are fairly objective, but there are also malicious voices from ideologues who preach
the platitude of the "China threat" and warn of the export of the Chinese model. In
fact, neither the "Beijing consensus" nor the "Chinese model" is brought up by China.

Related readings:
China pledges new efforts to boost
rural development
Chinese leader urges efforts for sound
recovery, sustained development of
world economy
People's happiness is the real goal of
development
China to achieve fast-paced
development, lasting stability in Tibet

The word "model" has an implication of


pattern, and may imply that China is to
teach other countries. China does not
have that intention, however. Hence,
we must be very cautious when using
the phrase "Chinese model". I would
prefer to use "Chinese case" and

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include the ideas, policies, practices,
achievements and problems in the
process of China's development since
the foundation of the People's
Republic, especially in the last three
decades. It combines a socialist
system and a market economy. It is a
process rather than a status, since it is
still developing.
Some Westerners comment that the
19th century was the British century,
since Great Britain was the master of
the ocean. The 20th century was the
Americans' century due to the US'
military and economic supremacy.
But the 21st century will be China's
century, or at least the Asian century. If
the Chinese century or Asian century
means that China and Asia is to revive
economically and culturally, it is a
probable scenario. If it implies China is
to dominate the world just like the UK
and the US did, then it is a false
judgment. Considering China's cultural
tradition, contemporary foreign
policies, national power and the will of
the people, Chinese hegemony in the
21st century is merely a fantasy and
will never come true. The international
surroundings do not allow for another
hegemonic nation.
Last year, Martin Jacques, a British
columnist and academic, published a
book named "When China Rules the
World" in which he forecasted that
China will be the largest economy in
the world by 2050. Goldman Sachs
made an even bolder projection that
China's GDP will be twice as large as
the US GDP in 2050. These
prophecies, however, are far too
optimistic. Even if they are fulfilled, per
capita output of China will still be much
lower than in the US.
But contrary to the appalling title of his

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book, Jacques's final conclusion is that
China will not rule the world. He
believes the rise of China will be the
revival of the Chinese culture, and
China will resume its position as one of
the magnificent civilizations.
China does not have any motive to
export the so-called Chinese model.
Any developing country, in its
development strategy, must account
for its own national conditions. The so-
called Chinese model is not universally
applicable, nor is the development
model of any industrialized country.
Comprehensiveness can only be valid
when it is subjected to cultural
diversity. For instance, fraternity,
liberty, peace and democracy are
universal values. But for different
nations and cultures in different
historical stages, specific forms of
these values can be quite different.
Francis Fukuyama, the author of The
End of History and the Last Man, once
believed that the contemporary
Western political and economic system
is the acme and the finality of human
history, and consequently, that history
has ended. He did not consider
prospective innovations in the Western
system, and denied the values of the
current and future systems of other
countries. Using the Western
democracy and free market as the only
benchmark, he ignored varied
historical and cultural backgrounds of
humanity, and rejected the fact that the
world is diverse. Therefore, his theory
does not stand the test of time.
The Chinese case theory is an ongoing
process and will be developed and
completed. Though China has
achieved a lot, difficulties have
mounted, too. Economic growth has
pushed China's environment to the

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brink of collapse. Economic and social
development is not balanced between
urban and rural areas, and among
different regions. The economic
structure is too export-driven. Stable
development of agriculture and
sustainable growth of rural residents'
income have become even more
difficult. Many problems dealing with
employment, the social safety net,
income distribution, education,
healthcare, judicial justice, public order
and others, are yet to be solved.
Corruption is still very severe. In face
of numerous thorny domestic
problems, China will continue to give
priority to its internal affairs.
China does not admire or expect the
status of a superpower. For many
years, it has focused on promoting
domestic development and solving its
own problems. Along with ascending
national power, China is willing to
undertake international responsibility
matching its capability.
For example, in the past China had not
participated in the peacekeeping
missions of the United Nations. Now
China has offered more UN
peacekeepers than any other Security
Council permanent member. China
has increased its engagement in
dealing with the global challenges such
as climate change, environment
pollution, natural disasters, terrorism,
cross-border crimes, drug smuggling
and epidemics. Perhaps by the middle
of this century, when China has
become a developed country, it can
offer a more profound understanding of
the Chinese case and contribute more
to the international community.
The author is director of the foreign
affairs committee of the National
Committee of the Chinese People's
Political Consultative Conference. The

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article was originally published in the
latest issue of China Reform.
(China Daily 02/04/2010 page8)

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