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Cash-rich China spurns the capitalist-running-dog West

November 7, 2011 |  1:39 pm

Hu Jintao and Nicolas SarkozyNikita Khrushchev might have been right all along.  You know, when he said, "We will bury you."

Or actually, it's this later quote of the former Soviet leader that is more relevant:

I once said, "We will bury you," and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you.

Anyway, Khrushchev came to mind when I read The Times' story by David Pierson and Don Lee on Sunday, "China appears unlikely to come to Eurozone's rescue."

The prospects of an emerging China stepping up to the role of global leader by becoming a major supporter of a planned $1.4-trillion European bailout fund has unsettled many in the Asian country.

They don't think China should seal its status as a superpower by shifting its foreign trove of U.S. Treasury bonds and debts of other nations to fund the financial recovery of Greece and some of its troubled Eurozone neighbors, analysts say.

Such irony. The world's leading communist country is now drawing longing looks from those seeking to save the capitalist system in Europe.

And it's not as if the Europeans didn't try:

At last week's meeting of officials from the 20 major economies in Cannes, France, Chinese leaders also were unwilling to play savior in the shaky rescue attempt.

After two days of wining, dining and cajoling by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other European leaders, Chinese President Hu Jintao and top aides quietly walked away.

(Maybe the Europeans could've gone a bit further, though.  You know, something like "Sorry about that whole Boxer Rebellion/Opium war thing. Maybe it's let-bygones-be-bygones for Europe but not in Beijing?)  

No, the big problem appears to be that, well, the Europeans just aren't that good of an investment.

China can't use its $3.2 trillion in foreign reserves domestically because of currency controls, but many Chinese still expect the funds to be invested wisely overseas….

"People's lives in Europe are still a lot better than they are in China," said Yang Guoying, a commodities trader in Nanjing, a city in eastern Jiangsu province. "We need to be really careful with how we use our reserves, which we built up over 30 years of reform. We can't just put it anywhere without any conditions."

A capitalist-running-dog banker couldn't have put it better.

So, while China sits on its $3.2 trillion, the capitalist working class in the West mostly just sits these days. 

Which means that, if you're a member of the financial elite, and you happen to drive by an Occupy site and see those folks stockpiling shovels -- well, you just might wish you'd have paid more attention in that history class at college.

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--Paul Whitefield

Photo:  French President Nicolas Sarkozy greets Chinese President Hu Jintao at the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, last week.  Credit: Susan Walsh / Associated Press

 

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