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China's developing status no Schrödinger's cat: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-03-29 20:38

The Capitol Hill in Washington DC, the US. [Photo/Xinhua]

US lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted 415 to 0, with 19 abstentions, to strip China of its developing nation status. In passing the "PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act" on Monday, they once again succumbed to hubris and habit; proving the point that while anybody can become angry and rant about this or that, to be angry at the right thing, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right reason, and in the right way is not something that is within everyone's power. Certainly it is beyond the occupants of the House, although the conviction of their omniscience finds its match in their belief in their omnipotence.

House representatives introduced the bill on the grounds that China was benefiting from its developing nation status by receiving development assistance and loans from international organizations even though it is now the world's second-largest economy. This ignores the fact that China's per capita GDP remains below that of the developed countries.

Claiming that China is bolstering its presence in organizations and treaties while avoiding having to contribute its appropriate share to solve global problems with the excuse that it is a developing country, they are aggrieved at what they perceive to be "China gets to have its cake and eat it too".

Yet such indulgence is the gluttonous hallmark of the US Having set the global rules to serve itself, now that it finds its share of the cake is no longer as large as it used to be, it is busy trying to rewrite them to restore its privileged portion.

Those politicians talking nonsense about China on Capitol Hill are wasting their talents; a quantum physics lab would be a better venue for them to demonstrate their acumen. For in the narrative of these China hawks, China's developing country status is like Schrödinger's cat. When the US needs China's market via its entry into the World Trade Organization, China is a "developing country". When the US wants to impose more international duties on it and deprive it of the incentives enjoyed by developing countries, China becomes a "developed" one.

As Till Schöfer from the Free University of Berlin and Clara Weinhardt from Maastricht University pointed out in an article published in Foreign Affairs in November, "China has barely used the special rights provided to developing-country members in the Trade Facilitation Agreement" and "China also had to take on more extensive tariff cuts".

While politicizing and distorting international rules to serve the narrow interests of the US, American politicians also turn a blind eye to the fact that China is endeavoring to shoulder its international responsibilities. Perhaps the fact that it offers a supportive hand to the South rather than "a tribute" to the North has something to do with this.

If they want the world to believe they are acting with at least a modicum of sense, the House representatives should accept that it is not China, but they themselves, with their own reckless ways, that have compounded the US' pains beyond its rightful share.

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