Young Chinese don’t see India as a threat, or even a challenge

Sanjaya Baru in The Indian Express:

In Cabaret (1972), Bob Fosse’s film adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin, a handsome young member of the Hitler Youth stands up at a roadside beer garden and inspires a group of young people to sing with great confidence the chilling number, “Tomorrow belongs to me.” A couple of elderly Germans sink their heads with furrowed brows. That scene crossed my mind when a handsome young Chinese scholar told me last week in Beijing, almost as a matter of fact, as an elder next to him wore an amused look, “Today the United States is Number One economy, China is Number Two; by 2020 China will be Number One.” Tomorrow, he was sure, belongs to him.

It was not his self-confidence that bothered me as much as the question he then posed: “Where will India be?” I mumbled something about the problem with linear projections of national income and added that similar studies place India at Number Three by 2020. “Really?” asked my interlocutor, “Is that possible?”

In 1995, I first visited Pudong, across the river from old Shanghai, when it was still under construction. A guide escorting me around a display of construction plans proudly claimed that the new city was designed to be like New York. My dispatch on the “Manhattan of the East”, as I dubbed it, began with the line, “the only thing Red about China is the liberal dose of lipstick that every young woman on the Shanghai bund displays!” Today Pudong stands tall as a metaphor for New China.

China has travelled a long way in these 17 years and many books have been written on this unprecedented human endeavour. In his impressive 850-page tome on the architect of this New China, Deng Xiaoping, Ezra Vogel outlines in detail how Deng conceptualised the reconstruction and transformation of China and systematically implemented his vision. More:

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