By Irina Rusanova
With recent shifts in political power and control, the United States has come to face new international problems. America is currently in the midst of a trade dispute with China, a middle-income country with a rapidly growing population and economy.
In order to improve the lives of Chinese citizens, Xi Jinping, who became the Chinese president in 2013, must make tough decisions. For this reason and others, there remain flaws in Xi’s decisions and the ways in which the standards set for China by other nations affect these decisions.
Dr. Tina Johnson, associate professor of history and director of Chinese studies, explains that China, being classified as a developing country, receives certain benefits, through organizations, such as the World Trade Organization and the World Bank, which it may no longer require because of its rapidly growing economy, especially in the last decade.
China as a growing power, especially in the business and economical field, has been filling the gaps left by America’s growing isolationism. As America pulls away from world affairs, China is able to get involved in areas previously overseen by the United States.
One example of this is the formation of the Belt and Road Initiative. America’s inability to form ties with foreign countries through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, due to the program’s inability to take off, allowed for China’s development of the Belt and Road Initiative. This program lets China connect with Europe, Asia and Africa through the historical Silk Road trade routes and other passages. By developing infrastructure and further investing in these areas, China aims to become a more dominant world power.
“China’s more authoritarian,” said Johnson. “They’re more patriarchal.”
This fact makes America’s growing isolationism and China’s lack thereof concerning. If China is successful, America, whose aims are to spread capitalism around the world, will face the introduction of an unfavorable dominating system.
“[China has] really started to modernize and grow and change their economic system, starting in the 1980s,” Johnson said. “So, […] we need to revisit international relations with China.”
Despite these political and economic tensions between China and America, Saint Vincent College steadfastly continues its ongoing relations with the foreign nation.
On Feb. 5, the college hosted a Lunar New Year festival in the Carey Center, showcasing the importance of maintaining friendly interactions with other countries, especially with growing powers such as China.
In her introductory speech, Dr. Doreen Blandino, chairperson of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, introduced the Chinese tradition of celebrating the coming of the New Year in the Lunar Calendar. She spoke about the significance of the Chinese Zodiac and addressed the contrast between Chinese and American associations with this year’s zodiac animal – the pig. She then revealed the necessity of America forming bonds with China and learning more about Chinese language and culture as the country gains more power in the worldwide market.
Johnson followed with her own welcoming speech. She introduced the supporters and organizers of the event. Che Chunhui, visiting assistant professor of Modern and Classical Languages, took charge of the performance program.
A selection of stage performances commenced, ranging from traditional dances to children’s songs. Many of them demonstrated a synthesis of American and Chinese culture though there was a focus on Chinese tradition. Children from neighboring K-12 schools joined in on the fun, as did their parents. A buffet and activity center marked the end of the event.
“I think we had more people than we expected,” Johnson said. “The auditorium was almost at capacity, which is pretty impressive!”
The faculty hopes for another successful program next year.
新年快乐！Happy New Year!