Amer­i­can re­cip­i­ent of re­form friend­ship medal ex­plains a ‘real’ China

Global Times US Edition - - BIZMETROPO­LITAN R -

im­por­tantly is this big­ger pic­ture of what is hap­pen­ing in China.

The other part of what needs to hap­pen is some deep pri­vate re­flec­tion on why there’s been this change in re­cent years? Why that is the case?

And if you as­sume that the only rea­son is that every­body in Amer­ica wants to sup­press China, you will not find the right an­swer. You have to un­der­stand a deeper kind of anal­y­sis. GT: What are the most com­mon mis­un­der­stand­ings of China in the West? Kuhn: What is wrong [about Western me­dia] is that it gives the im­pres­sion that it’s 90 per­cent or even 95 per­cent of the story, when in fact, it may be 10 per­cent of the story. All the other things that are go­ing on in China are not re­ported. So, the is­sues that are re­ported are prob­lem­atic and dif­fi­cult is­sues. Al­though there are some peo­ple who make a pro­fes­sion out of at­tack­ing China, those peo­ple are not very many and they’re not very well re­spected. In the me­dia, they don’t tell the kinds of sto­ries that I like to try to tell, be­cause [our sto­ries] don’t have the snap of scan­dal or some big prob­lem. But to me, those are the things that are an im­por­tant part of the sto­ries. So, just for ex­am­ple, we did a tele­vi­sion se­ries of Closer to China with R. L. Kuhn(2015) a cou­ple of years ago. None of that was very scan­dalous. So, it’s not go­ing to be picked up by the in­ter­na­tional me­dia. That’s an ex­am­ple of the big part of China that’s not re­flected in Western me­dia, be­cause that’s not part of their way of think­ing. But that’s what we try to do. I think we’ve reached a lot of peo­ple who rec­og­nize that those big sto­ries are a very le­git­i­mate part of the way to un­der­stand China. The large ma­jor­ity of peo­ple GT: Could you use three sim­ple words to de­scribe the changes or the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in China? Kuhn: I would say “courage” in terms of change. The courage needed for change that has been in the past and in the fu­ture.

“Ex­per­i­men­ta­tion” has been a crit­i­cal strat­egy that China has used in the past in terms of ex­per­i­ment­ing with new things like free trade zones. China pi­loted a free trade zone in Shang­hai for three years be­fore they ex­panded at the 12 [trade zones]. That’s a good prin­ci­ple that China uses.

“Bold” or things are needed go­ing for­ward that don’t nec­es­sar­ily al­ways re­flect the past.

A clas­sic mis­take of plan­ners, cor­po­rate plan­ners, strate­gic plan­ners, is to ex­trap­o­late. To as­sume the fu­ture will be an ex­trap­o­la­tion or a trend line from the past. That it won’t be. There will be sudden changes that one must pre­pare for. On a go­ing for­ward ba­sis,it’s “ex­pect­ing un­cer­tain­ties.” GT: Why did you de­cide to start a new pro­gram fo­cus­ing on an anti-poverty cam­paign? Kuhn: China has been talk­ing about the anti-poverty cam­paign a lot, but the aware­ness of for­eign­ers, es­pe­cially very so­phis­ti­cated for­eign­ers is al­most zero. Ac­tu­ally, it is not some­thing that I would have frankly picked my­self to do, be­cause it is phys­i­cally dif­fi­cult. We rec­og­nize that the lead­er­ship wanted to do that. We should do that. We’ve done sev­eral pro­grams and I be­gan to learn and to see its im­por­tance. So, we cre­ated a doc­u­men­tary con­cept to present to the world what China is do­ing for its anti-poverty cam­paign. We fo­cus on five ways, in­clud­ing in­dus­try, ed­u­ca­tion, re­lo­ca­tion, eco-com­pen­sa­tion and so­cial se­cu­rity.

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