Changing China-- A Search for Perspective
James E. Bass
During much of the past decade, the American public has been saturated with two images of China: economic miracle and human- rights wasteland. For convenience, the media rarely strays from these two polar axes, and in response, U.S. foreign policymakers and public policy commentators in Washington endlessly debate which focus should be privileged. Recently, one caricature has begun to unravel, as it is no secret that the inflated expectations for profit opportunities in China were naive when conceived. Regarding China's economic development, U.S. perceptions suffer from hot and cold pendulum swings, lacking a middle distance for gauging China's landscape. To lend perspective, it may be helpful to look to the U.S. past. With a deeper comparative perspective, we may be better able to frame a next-generation approach to economic relations with China.
Whether in the economic or human rights spheres, Americans and their policymakers need a greater sense of history in discussing China's development. Unfortunately, instant gratification through