The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Expert's View
Special> G20 London Summit> Expert's View
UPDATED: February 13, 2009 NO. 7 FEB. 19, 2009
CRISIS FOCUS: Crisis vs. Crisistunity

When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Europe recently, he mentioned a word that means one thing to the Chinese, and another to English-speaking people, with significant differences in nuance and implication. The word he referred to is "crisis" in English, whose Chinese equivalent "weiji" actually means "crisis and opportunity." Therefore, what the English-speaking people see as a crisis, the Chinese see as a crisis and opportunity.

The difference is highly meaningful in today's world, to such an extent that I would recommend that we introduce "crisistunity" as a new word in English, to replace "crisis" whenever the circumstances permit or dictate. In a philosophical sense, to see a crisis as a crisistunity is a better way to deal with the crisis and is a better attitude to adopt in dealing with the deteriorating global financial and economic crisis. There is no doubt that the financial and economic crisis, which originated in the United States, is creating havoc in the world, hitting almost all countries without exception.

Up to now, in China alone, at least 20 million migrant workers have lost their jobs. The crisis is real, deep, dire and devastating. The pain and suffering are acute and may be protracted. Without a doubt, it is a killer crisis of unprecedented proportions. What is even more alarming is that protectionism, often clothed in various rousing camouflages, is raising its ugly head in some circles.

In dealing with the global crisis, shall we just deal with it as a crisis, and as such shall we just discard and trample the fundamental principles of free trade? Well, in a triage, anything goes, some may argue. But this approach will tempt countries to erect walls of protectionism in the belief that the walls will protect them and save them at the expense of their neighbors. Those who have such a misconception just need to look at the Great Depression to realize that the walls of protectionism normally bury those who build the walls to start with.

Or shall we deal with the global crisis as a crisistunity, whereby we shall not only see the crisis but also the opportunity? With such perception, we shall exercise great care, prudence, restraint and mutual assistance in dealing with the crisis, without violating our fundamental principles of free trade. We shall resist the temptation to throw the baby out with the dirty bath water. We shall see the silver lining in every dark cloud. We shall see that by upholding the banner of free trade, there will be a better tomorrow no matter how hard and bitter today is.

With the right perception, each crisis is both a crisis and an opportunity, ergo crisistunity. This is true in our personal lives, in our corporate affairs, in the evolution of a society, in the development of a civilization, in the growth of a nation, and, increasingly, in the progress of our tiny global village.

Let's see a crisis as a crisistunity. Let's call a crisis a crisistunity. Let's deal with a crisis as a crisistunity. In this way, free trade and the market economy will have a better chance of triumphing over protectionism, and the world we live in will be a better global village for us all.

The author is director of the China National Association of International Studies

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved