Commentary from the Web, Week 37, 2020

Tesla rising above geopolitics to serve Chinese market 

Youtube video

The 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services, or CIFTIS, is underway in Beijing. It is the first major international economic and trade event held by China since the COVID-19 outbreak with innovation seen as key to adapting to new realities. Both Chinese and foreign companies have showcased their latest products and services. The American firm Tesla is one such company. While Tesla is best known for green energy, electric vehicles and self-driving cars, in China it is known for its Shanghai Gigafactory. As the White House urges decoupling, Tesla is determined to serve the Chinese market. The Tesla Gigafactory is churning out Tesla Model 3s and is on course to produce 150,000 cars this year. CGTN's Tian Wei met Grace Tao, Tesla China's global vice president, at the Tesla Pavilion to find out more.


Is America a Myth? 

By Robin Wright, New Yorker, September 8, 2020.

This article is of interest because the internal conflicts of society and politics are the main source of America’s hostility to China. The following are quotes from the article.

“The United States has deepening political and cultural cleavages—possibly too many to repair soon, or, perhaps, at all.” 

“We are very different Americans, each with different origin stories and value sets, many of which are incompatible.”

The country was settled by diverse cultures: Puritans in New England, Dutch around NYC, slave lords from Barbados and the West Indies in the Deep South.

“At nearly every step [in America’s history] it required morally indefensible compromises that only pushed problems further into the future.”

“Since the eighteen thirties [emphasis mine], the United States has gone through cycles of crises that threatened its cohesion”: the Civil War, the 1930s, the 1960s, and now in the present.


Xi’s Post-Virus Economic Strategy for China Looks Inward

New York Times, September 7. 2020.

The Chinese leader’s latest approach calls for a more robust domestic economy to insulate growth from tensions with the United States.


The myth of ‘debt-trap diplomacy’ and realities of Chinese development finance 

By Ajit Singh (2020) Third World Quarterly 

In recent decades China has emerged as a leader in international development finance, with the potential to provide sorely needed funds to address major global developmental gaps. However, not everyone is optimistic about this new source of lending. A narrative of ‘debt-trap diplomacy’ has emerged to describe Chinese lending to developing countries – most ardently advanced by the United States – contending that China seeks to ensnare smaller countries with onerous levels of debt in order to realise neocolonial aims. This article argues that the theory of debt-trap diplomacy does not accurately describe Chinese finance.


The China I've seen: YouTuber defends China from anti-China rhetoric

Jerry, a YouTuber living in Qingdao, shares why he thinks it's untrue and unjust to depict China, a country, as a "villain."