As expectations of China's role at tomorrow's G20 summit grow, a top economist has suggested that Beijing make it clear that it should not be saddled with a burden it cannot bear.
China can contribute in helping the world deal with the financial crisis and rebuild the financial order, but it should also make it clear that it is not capable of bailing out other countries, Tang Min said.
"It is not as strong an economy as some people thing," Tang, senior economist with the China Development Research Foundation - a think-tank affiliated to the State Council, or the Cabinet - told China Daily.
"China is also a victim of the crisis. Of the 50 million people who have lost their jobs around the world, 20 million are in China, more than any other country, primarily in the export-oriented manufacturing sector," Tang said.
"Bailing out China is our most important contribution to bail out the world," he said.
Li Xiaoxi, professor in economics at Beijing Normal University, pointed out that no single country can tackle the crisis, and joint action is vital.
He urged the Group of 20 developed and emerging economies at the London summit to agree on a set of standards and practices to monitor global capital flows and prevent financial crises.
Stephen King, group chief economist of HSBC, said "one of the things in rebuilding the financial system is to make sure countries like China have a proper voice in it".
The voting system within the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is heavily skewed toward European countries and the US, and "that needs to be changed", King said, adding that he thinks the majority of countries in the IMF now recognize the importance of change.
On regulatory reform, Jean-Pierre Lehmann, professor of international political economy with the business school IMD, said the global financial disorder is a consequence of rapid innovations without a matching increase in regulatory mechanisms.
China should be an active player in building a new global financial system, Lehmann told China Daily.
He said that China's concern with its low level of representation in the IMF is justifiable.
But on a deeper level, it should not be only China's concern. "One of the things that need to be reflected upon," he said, is whether some of the institutions set up 60 years ago in the wake of World War II, in a very different environment from now, can still "take us into the next 60 years".
(China Daily April 1, 2009)