Western Representations of China’s Rise
Chapter 6: The ‘China opportunity’: false promises (and premises)
CHINA OPPORTUNITY: A POSITIVE SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY? The preceding chapter examined the dangerous implications of the ‘China threat’ paradigm as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Mindful of this danger, some observers turn to the ‘opportunity’ paradigm which treats China as a partner or opportunity worthy of engagement. With constructive and sustained engagement from the West, China is more likely to integrate into the international system and behave responsibly, both at home and abroad. Or so it is claimed. In his testimony before the Subcommittee on Trade of the House of Representatives in 1994, Robert Kapp, at the time the President-Designate of the US-China Business Council, was a strong advocate of this ‘China opportunity’ thesis. As he argued, ‘The economic advancement of China, linked part and parcel to China’s immense engagement with the world economy, is the best hope we have of witnessing the evolution of a more humane and tolerant Chinese domestic political environment’.
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