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Are States United?

What’s the first thing you think of about the US? Aircraft carriers and Hollywood movies.

By NewsChina Updated Dec.1

Xu Changyu,  
41, General Manager of a Shenzhen-based startup, Guangdong Province 

 
What’s the first thing you think of about the US?   
Aircraft carriers and Hollywood movies.   
  
What is the first thing you think of about Sino-US relations? Why?   
It’s a love-hate relationship, I think. The two countries have good memories about many successful instances of cooperation, but there are also bad memories about conflicts of interests and values.   
  
How do you think US President Donald Trump will deal with the Sino-US relationship? Why?  
He’s a shrewd businessman, so Trump will take a tough stance on some interest issues and he’ll push China to make compromises. But as he gets a clearer idea of China’s values and core benefits, he’ll also compromise [on other issues] for a better bilateral relationship and cooperation.   
  
What do you think is the ideal Sino-US relationship? What is the key to such a relationship?  
Understanding, under which the two countries lead and promote closer cooperation between Western developed countries and emerging developing countries, and jointly safeguard global security, stability and prosperity. But this security will be destroyed and the Cold War and even regional hot wars could come back if the US insists on a policy of global hegemony and drives emerging countries away from sharing power and interests. It’s bad for both countries. Given the two countries face complicated issues mixed with conflicts of interest, we could see a bad relationship. So, China must make itself strong enough to push the US to join hands with it. It’s what Chairman Mao Zedong said – you need to “struggle for unity.”  

Wang Jingya  
27, Lecturer at the People’s Public Security University of China, Beijing
What’s the first thing you think of about the US? 
Ethnic differences, riots – probably a bit more recently. 
 
Do you think China and the US know each other’s culture and ways of thinking?  
I don’t think so. American media outlets still use old fashioned ways to talk about China, and news anchors are biased when they interview people. And the two countries still have stereotyped ideas. For example, Americans think Chinese are math geniuses, old-fashioned and inflexible, and sometimes they also think Chinese are rich but undisciplined. Chinese always think Americans are rich. 
 
How do you think American President Donald Trump will deal with the Sino-US relationship? 
Trump, you know, is a businessman, so it’s inevitable he’ll deal with the Sino-US relationship according to his business ideals. As for the future relationship between China and the US, they’ll be like two big enterprises. Trump will maintain a friendly trade relationship because China is the world’s largest consumer and Chinese investment will be helpful for US economic recovery. But there will also be competition when it comes to their interests. The US dollar especially will face a greater threat when the yuan becomes a world currency. So Trump won’t allow China to develop rapidly, and he’ll take actions to interfere with Chinese geopolitics to slow the pace of China’s development. 

Gao Shuang,  
37, Internet tourism company, Beijing
What do you think of the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
China and the US have been on friendly terms for a long time, but there have been frequent minor frictions. From the trade perspective, the two are dependent on each other. From a cultural exchange perspective, Chinese people’s expectations of Western education continue to grow. From the perspective of regional disputes, I feel that disagreements will linger over the South China Sea, the Taiwan issue and the most urgent, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.  
 
How do you think American President Donald Trump will deal with the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
President Trump is a tough president with a clever business mentality. Based on this, I feel his method of handling the Sino-US relationship will be to focus on fostering an overall friendship between the two to revive the US economy. At the same time, from the angle of regional disputes, he also needs China to play an active role in Asia, especially in eastern Asia.  
 
What is the key to the China-US relationship? 
The key for the Sino-US relationship is to foster mutual understanding between the two, and increase inter-governmental communication, as well as in civil society. 

Yi Zhuan,  
52, Public Health Service Contractor, Hunan Province
What’s the first thing you think of about the US?  
The US is a superpower, well-developed, advanced, and rich. 
 
How do you feel about the Sino-American relationship? Why? 
The Sino-US relationship is controllable. The two countries can be relatively friendly to each other, although China has shown more friendliness and respect toward the US. 
 
What do you think is the ideal Sino-American relationship? What is the key to such a relationship? 
The Sino-US relationship can never be as close as that between the US and its allies. In my opinion, the mainstream of this bilateral relationship has been friendship and cooperation since the 1980s. The US has handled the relationship with China reasonably, based on national interests, and downplayed the discrepancies in ideology. The ideal bilateral relationship should have more mutual trust, more friendliness, more respect, more communication and collaboration, and they should put aside discrepancies and bias in ideology. But the thing is, neither side will ever ally with the other.  
 
Do you like the US? What is your image of it? 
I have a positive image of the US in my mind. It’s not a perfect country, but I like it. Maybe my affection is only on the surface, and I just have a limited knowledge about it. I like the US because it’s a developed country where people live rich lives; it’s democratic and there’s equality between people and Americans are relatively progressive and ambitious – they pursue the American Dream, although the US is already a superpower. I can respect this. Last, most Americans believe in Christianity, which is idealistic. Although not everybody is a believer, most people really hold the belief. I think a nation based on the belief in love ought to be nice. 

Pei Jiyang,  
27, Manager of Public Policy, China Region, United Technologies Corporation, Beijing
What’s the first thing you think of about the US?  
When somebody mentions the US, I get this image in my mind: a politician delivering a disingenuous, tedious speech with solemnity, but whose words are quite beautiful while the content is mainly nonsense. Politicians always talk big, they always talk friendship, but their minds think about interests. There’s a hypocritical smile on their faces, which some people regard as sincere, but when it comes to real business, they’ll show their real faces. 
 
What is the first thing you think of about Sino-US relations? Why? 
I think first about the anti-dumping investigation on China proposed by the US Ministry of Commerce, its punitive tariffs, and the trade war which is ‘always imminent.’ I think of these because my work is concerned with these issues. 
 
How do you feel about the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
Friends are friends, and business is business. I don’t necessarily love you, but I will do business with you.  
 
What do you think is the ideal Sino-US relationship? What is the key to such a relationship? 
An ideal scenario for the Sino-US relationship would be one with fewer disputes and quarrels, more cooperation, and no fighting with each other. The best way to get along with the US is to do more business with their people. The key to perfectly handling this bilateral relationship is for the US to trust Chinese people, who really love peace, and never threaten to wage war against the US. But it seems the US doesn’t believe it, which leads to the Thucydides’ Trap. 

Lu Nan, ��
28, Researcher on Arabic Literature, Beijing
What’s the first thing you think of about the US? 
The cult films of Quentin Tarantino and the Cohen brothers pop into my mind. Or, I would rather say, when talking about this country, I might think about an assembly line which is quite economical, handy and convenient, through which nearly everything could be manufactured, from commodities, values and political systems to a lifestyle of no frills. All these standardized, smartly made products are being exported worldwide in bulk, thanks to the power of global capital flows, while they seldom take local adaptations into consideration. But anyway, it’s really a viable way to make things happen. 
 
What is the first thing you think of about Sino-US relations? Why? 
I think about the trend of studying abroad. When Chinese students go to foreign countries, they will manage to reshape their value systems, and come to think about the current status and problems China is facing from different perspectives. Especially, when the post-85, post-90s, even post-noughties generation went to the US, they accepted new values more easily, which plays a very important role in shaping the image and enriching the intellectual world of Chinese youth. They are the generation of China’s future. Also, they may change the Americans’ image of China. 
  
What do you think is the ideal Sino-US relationship? What is the key to such a relationship? 
Diplomacy, by nature, is an endeavor to maximize national interests and manage to take things as one demand. A full understanding of each other is impossible even when everything is in the most ideal condition. So it’s pretty good for each other to keep communicating in a reasonable way. 
 
 What do you think Trump got out of his China visit?  
Trump will have gotten to know China more through his China visit, and check the scorecard of bilateral cooperation programs. But what’s more important is the mess in East Asia – North Korea, THAAD (the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system deployed in South Korea) and other things. Trump is getting to know how to handle these tough problems. 

Tan Zhenzhen,  
34, foreign tourism board, Beijing
What’s the first thing you think of about the US?  
 The Statue of Liberty, of course. 
  
Do you think China and the US know each other’s culture and ways of thinking?  
I think there’s still a lack of mutual understanding between the Chinese and US public about each other’s culture and ways of thinking. But in intellectual circles, like scholars and politicians, mutual understanding goes much deeper. When I come across American tourists in Europe and the US, they still talk to me about China in the days of Chairman Mao.  
  
What is the first thing you think of about the Sino-US relationship? Why?  
 I immediately think of the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in [former] Yugoslavia in 1999. Back then, I was still in high school. The whole class would watch Xinwen Lianbo [China Central Television’s flagship daily news program] together every night. I can still remember the anger on my classmates’ face when we saw the news. The teacher then gave us a writing assignment to do about the incident. Our politics teacher even guessed that we would be required to write about China-US relations during the upcoming national college entrance examinations. 
  
How do you think American President Donald Trump will deal with the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
I don’t think Trump knows how to handle the relationship with China. He relies on think tanks for suggestions. When he fails to find the right solution to something, he tends to resort to showy moves that aren’t significant to the issue. For example, his daughter [Ivanka Trump] went to a reception at the Chinese Embassy [in Washington, DC] for Spring Festival with [her] child who can even speak Chinese. Occasionally, he makes friendly overtures, but there are also times when he talks very tough. 

Guo Chen,  
31, State-owned real estate company, Beijing
What’s the first thing you think of about the US?  
Coca-Cola, the Statue of Liberty, New York, and Harvard. 
 
How do you feel about the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
They’re like neighbors living in the same hutong (an alley in Beijing). They share the same resources, but they sometimes pick a fight with the other for their own interests. But they’re not ready to get physical. 
 
How do you think American President Donald Trump will deal with the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
I don’t expect any big moves from Trump in the near future. A US president’s power is highly restricted. If Trump tries to play with fire, he’ll find his hands are tied. 

Yu Shougang,  
37, English teacher at Harbin Engineering University, Heilongjiang Province
What’s the first thing you think of about the US?  
Guns. The US has been hit by a spate of shootings recently, and many people were killed and injured.  
 
Do you think China and the US know each other’s culture and ways of thinking?  
I think Chinese people know much more about the US than the other way round. American people know relatively little about Chinese culture and thinking patterns. In comparison, Chinese people are well aware of US history, economy and society. For example, a great number of Chinese people at different ages flocked to the US to study. Nowadays, every Chinese family attaches great importance to English education and the Chinese are increasingly curious about US civilization and thinking. In contrast, there are a very small number of US people studying in China and some US people still turn a cold shoulder to the Chinese economy and culture. 
 
What do you think of the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
In my opinion, the Sino-US relationship is dynamic and complicated. China and the US are at different development stages and each has its own national interests. China is keen on rapid development and the US will strive to keep its dominant position. As a result, the two countries have both competition and cooperation in many areas. If there’s something that could damage the interests of both countries, China and the US are likely to cooperate, for example in international anti-terrorism action. When the interests of one country are damaged, particularly if there’s been an infringement by the one on the other, there will be conflicts. Just think about the US government’s arms sales to Taiwan. 
 
How do you think President Donald Trump will deal with the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
Trump’s “America First” policy will not be positive for Sino-US relations. To bolster domestic employment, the Trump administration withdrew from a series of international protocols, and they are handling domestic and global issues from a business perspective. This shortsightedness will bring some benefits to the US temporarily, but in the long run, it will isolate the US more from the international community. If Trump continues to handle Sino-US relations in this way, things are looking bleak.  
 
What do you think is the ideal Sino-US relationship? What is the key to such a relationship? 
Equality, cooperation, win-win situations and mutual responsibility. China and the US should respect each other’s politics and development mode and address differences on the basis of cooperation and mutual benefit. The two countries should take joint responsibility to make the world and humanity better. 

Dai Chunchen,  
28, Consultant at an Internet company, Jiangsu Province
What’s the first thing you think of about the US?  
A superpower pursuing international hegemony. 
 
Do you think China and the US know each other’s culture and ways of thinking?  
Lack of mutual understanding. Younger generations have many chances to access the other’s culture and thinking, but the older generations know much more about the Korean War than the Iraq War, more about Nixon than Trump and his Twitter posts. 
 
What is the first thing you think of about the Sino-US relationship? Why?  
Complexity. As the most important bilateral relationship in the world, Sino-US relations are complicated and the actions of either country will have an impact on other countries. 

Xie Huiliang,  
71, Retired engineer, Zhejiang Province
What’s the first thing you think of about the US?  
The US is a giant of technology and creativity, and the American people are generally open, which is a big difference from the reserved Chinese people.  
 
What is the first thing you think of about the Sino-US relationship? Why?  
It’s a big opportunity for China that Trump was elected American president, since he’s a businessman who lacks political and diplomatic experience. I think China should leverage this weakness to help its development.  
 
What do you think of the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
Compared to the Obama era, after Trump took office, China is really starting to take the upper hand, especially when Trump gave up [US] leadership on some issues by revoking the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) and withdrawing from international treaties like the Paris Climate Agreement. China should really grasp these opportunities.  
 
How do you think President Donald Trump will deal with the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
Trump’s a born businessman, so he cares more about immediate interests and is short-sighted when it comes to politics.  
 
What do you think is the ideal Sino-US relationship? What is the key to such a relationship? 
In an ideal world, international affairs should be balanced in all aspects. China should seize every opportunity to make itself stronger, such as strengthening the international status of the yuan and increasing its voice in international affairs and in multilateral organizations.  

Yan Shengbo,  
31, Securities Analyst, Jilin Province
What’s the first thing you think of about the US?  
Freedom and democracy. 
 
How do you feel about the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
Full of ups and downs. There are frequent high-level visits between the two countries but there are constant economic and trade frictions.  
 
How do you think President Donald Trump will deal with the Sino-US relationship? Why? 
Trump will try to maximize the benefits of the US, particularly as a businessman-turned president. Making a loss will be the last thing he wants. 
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