Rising China Bucks the West

More prosperous Beijing isn't necessarily a friendlier one
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2010 4:37 AM CDT
Chinese President Hu Jintao, left, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrive for the closing of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Sunday, March 14, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(Newser) – Predictions that China would grow cuddlier as it grew more prosperous have turned out to be dead wrong; Beijing is tightening its authoritarian grip on the economy, and acting increasingly hostile to the West, the Washington Post reports. Hu Jintao has encouraged the forcible acquisition of private firms by state ones, and ordered Western companies to give up their secrets to Chinese ones, while clamping down on the media and the internet.

State security arrests, meanwhile, have skyrocketed. China’s also condemned the US more harshly for selling weapons to Taiwan or dealing with the Dalai Lama. “This is a fundamental shift, and I’ve been here a long time,” says an executive of one Western firm in China. “It’s a change in national attitude.” And it's not just from the top down. Says a leading nationalist writer: "The time when China worshipped the West is over. We have a rightful sense of superiority."

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