Wednesday, May 23, 2012

China & America - It's Time for a New Partnership


How long does it take for a nation like the United States who is now 236 years old, to recognize the incredible history, knowledge, science, health and many other aspects of a culture like China who is now over 5,500 years old?

China not only is an ancient civilization but it has a mysterious, metaphysical and mystical legacy that captivates and becomes the source of fable, folklore and fantasy.

This ancient society has contributed much more than myth and legend, however, with health and wellness through Traditional Chinese Medicine, (TCM) being among the most significant.  The following description is from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Shi-hua Wu & wife

"Traditional Chinese medicine, which encompasses many different practices, is rooted in the ancient philosophy of Taoism and dates back more than 5,000 years. Today, TCM is practiced side by side with Western medicine in many of China’s hospitals and clinics.

TCM is widely used in the United States. Although the exact number of people who use TCM in the United States is unknown, it was estimated in 1997 that some 10,000 practitioners served more than 1 million patients each year.

According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included questions on the use of various CAM therapies, an estimated 3.1 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the previous year.

In addition, according to this same survey, approximately 17 percent of adults use natural products, including herbs, making it the most commonly used therapy. In another survey, more than one-third of the patients at six large acupuncture clinics said they also received Chinese herbal treatments at the clinics.

Underlying the practice of TCM is a unique view of the world and the human body that is different from Western medicine concepts. This view is based on the ancient Chinese perception of humans as microcosms of the larger, surrounding universe—interconnected with nature and subject to its forces. The human body is regarded as an organic entity in which the various organs, tissues, and other parts have distinct functions but are all interdependent. In this view, health and disease relate to balance of the functions.

The theoretical framework of TCM has a number of key components:

Yin-yang theory—the concept of two opposing, yet complementary, forces that shape the world and all life—is central to TCM.

In the TCM view, a vital energy or life force called qiIn traditional Chinese medicine, the vital energy or life force proposed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. circulates in the body through a system of pathways called meridians. Health is an ongoing process of maintaining balance and harmony in the circulation of qi.

The TCM approach uses eight principles to analyze symptoms and categorize conditions: cold/heat, interior/exterior, excess/deficiency, and yin/yang (the chief principles). TCM also uses the theory of five elements—fire, earth, metal, water, and wood—to explain how the body works; these elements correspond to particular organs and tissues in the body.

These concepts are documented in the Huang Di Nei Jing (Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor), the classic Chinese medicine text."

When it comes to America's view of China today it is largely a holdover of the Cold War view of the Soviet Union and Red China.  They were opponents, competitors, adversaries and anything else that might inspire fear.

We often forget that the Soviet Union, the first Communist nation, was in power for nearly 75 years while China has been Communist just 63 years.  China was our ally back in World War II as first Japan and then the Soviet Union overran China.

World War II left China with over 22 million military and civilian deaths , second in deaths only to the Soviets who suffered 45 million deaths.  This compares to the United States, active in both the Atlantic and Pacific campaigns, who suffered a total of 296,000 deaths, military and civilian.

China is no longer the suppressive state that once rigidly enforced birth control or suppressed human rights.  Just this week Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese dissident in the middle of an international crisis when he fled to the US Embassy in China, was released by the Chinese along with his family to move to the United States so he could attend New York University law school.

Not only is China the largest purchaser of US Treasury Bonds, but China is investing substantial funds in US businesses like this weeks $6 billion purchase of AMC Theaters.

This fall China will elect a new president and it is expected to be Xi Jinping, now vice president of China and the apparent successor to President Hu Jintao.

Mr. Xi is expected to formally take the reins of the world’s second-largest economy and fastest-modernizing military power late in 2012.

Recently Xi Jinping made a whirlwind tour of the US from Congress and the White House to Iowa cornfields and then to California and he gave hints of a new opportunity for Chinese American partnerships if we can just get past the misconceptions of the past.

His views of the West remain difficult to divine. He once told the American ambassador to China over dinner that he enjoyed Hollywood films about World War II because of the American sense of good and evil, according to diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

On a visit to Mexico in 2009, when he was defending China’s record in the global financial crisis before an audience of overseas Chinese, he suggested that he was impatient with foreigners wary of China’s new power in the world.

“Some foreigners with full bellies and nothing better to do engage in finger-pointing at us,” he said. “First, China does not export revolution; second, it does not export famine and poverty; and third, it does not mess around with you. So what else is there to say?”

Who is he?

Currently China's vice-president and vice chair of the Central Military Commission (which controls the army).  He is the s on of Xi Zhongxun, one of the Communist Party's founding fathers.  Xi joined the ruling party in 1974.  His wife, singer Peng Liyuan, describes him as frugal, hardworking and down-to-earth.

Most important, he will be the new leader of China and it is time we gave the Chinese what they have earned and deserve, a partnership agreement with the US.  Remember, China still maintains direct access to North Korea, Iran and Syria.

The construction activity in China dominates the world economic market and directly impacts on commodity prices, crude oil supplies, even wood for housing.

It is time we treat them as the second most powerful force on Earth.

No comments: