China vs. US

 

China, America’s greatest trading partner is becoming its greatest adversary. But it is really a paradox? Ironically, these rivals, vying for world economic dominance, happen to supply what the other craves: cheaper goods and financing for its deficit spending on one hand, and huge, wide open markets for those goods, on the other.

Military rivals with competing aims in Asia; the U.S. extends a protective military umbrella over major allies in the Pacific: Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea. But is it overextended—and outmatched—in terms of distance and ultimate sphere of influence? Time will tell, but probably favors a revanchist China which has regained Hong Kong, increasingly pressures Taiwan to accept mainland control and is aggressively pursuing its former hegemony in the South China Sea region.

What drives the Chinese to overtake the West? One reason could be resentment over historic anti-Chinese discrimination and racism, as documented in New York’s Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) and highlighted in Faces Tell All. The current reality of race relations is complex but seems more encouraging, with intermarriage rates of other ethnicities with Asian-Americans (of who Chinese are the largest single group) ranging from 30-40%; and if college and career achievement is a measure of assimilation, Asian (Chinese predominating) students generally test better and gain acceptance to highly selective U.S. colleges in much greater numbers than their percentage of the population might indicate. (These findings are complicated by the fact that Chinese nationals may have been lumped into the statistics—constituting an astounding 35%, or 350,000 of the total 1,000,000 foreign students in the U.S.) Yet, regardless of possible racial sensitivities, grievances, or underlying motivations, American education apparently remains a valuable objective within the wider Chinese community.

Imitation (and piracy) being the best form of flattery, Chinese government and businesses contract extensively with their U.S. counterparts, often engaging in copying, outright industrial espionage or driving hard bargains by demanding U.S. or other foreign technology in return for opening plants or markets in China. A few years ago, the FBI estimated over 3,000 Chinese-sponsored businesses were suspected of being fronts for espionage in the U.S. What’s to be done?

Faces Tell All imagines a competition but also a possible cooperation between the super-powers with the development of faces technology; in actuality, U.S. and Chinese scientists are working together on surveillance systems and have shared technology seen in digitally-generated cinematography. What’s more, Royal Philips has recently opened their AI medical diagnostics platform and invited Chinese developers to build applications on top of it. This could presage the development of a face-scanning app predicted in Faces Tell All that evaluates the physical, mental and emotional fitness of individuals or “the mood of the masses.”