By Abigail Faith
When many Americans think about China, a picture of roads teeming with countless people and overbearing manufacturing power comes to mind. However, what many don’t realize is that China’s steady growth comes with a great responsibility on the global scale.
Thomas Christensen is a prolific speaker and professor and the successful author of the book, “Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power: The China Challenge.” He has attracted audiences across the world with his analysis of China’s rise to power in the past decade.
The night of Tuesday, Oct. 27, was no different, as students sat in the College’s Library Auditorium and listened as Christensen illustrated the growing issues associated with one of the world’s fastest developing countries.
Christensen began by commenting on China’s military power. He named weapons that China currently possesses, from submarine fleets to aircraft defense missiles.
Although an increase in weaponry is present, Christensen stated that “this is not a new Cold War. The Cold War was nasty, the Cold War was ugly.”
“I found it interesting when he compared China and the United States’ relationship to the Cold War,” freshman open options business major Erin Holzbaur said. “He revealed how the Cold War was completely different because, now, there are common interests involved.”
Claire Guerriero, a senior psychology major at the College, agreed with Christensen’s ideas.
“He demonstrated a truly comprehensive view of China,” Guerriero said. “After hearing what he had to say about China geographically and ideologically, my point of view really changed.”
Later on in the lecture, Christensen spoke about the issue of China’s involvement on a global scale.
“The world is much more tightly integrated with globalization than ever before,” he said.
He expressed his thoughts about China’s impact on the world, from its greenhouse gas emissions to its huge trade economy. He mentioned incidents over the past few years, such as the financial collapse in Greece, in which ailing countries called on China for aid and were met with stark refusal of assistance.
“China, on a per capita basis, is still a developing country that still has a lot of problems at home,” Christensen said.
He emphasized the idea that although China is flourishing with potential, the country is still working to establishing itself.
“Never before has a developing country been asked to contribute so much on a global scale,” Christensen said.
When speaking about Chinese relations with weaker countries, Christensen repeated the idea that the United States must halt its so-called “fetish” with regime changes.
“This is not a moral statement, this is a practical statement,” he said, underscoring the power of China in a sense that any intervention is met with the power of Chinese economic force.
Christensen ended the talk by answering questions from the audience and thanking them for attending his event.
“I’m really thrilled to be here and I’m really flattered that so many people came,” he said.