China Remains Resilient and Dynamic in Competition with U.S.

The Metro in Chinese cities are much more advanced and New York could not catch up with China in public transportation.

Washington is playing the image game to maintain its superpower status on the world stage. I visited the United States for about two weeks in June and discovered that my native country is no longer as wealthy, exceptional and wonderful as it was – even compared to a few years earlier when visiting in December 2019.

The United States has gone into imminent decline and a reversal of fortune seems improbable. The once great mighty nation is similar to a superstar athlete getting old. The ageing player no longer dominates the game and still thinks he deserves top billing and special treatment from his team and all others.

New York City rose to glory as the finance capital to the world, but after I stayed at a hotel nearby Wall Street, home to the major banks and investment firms, it stood evident that the homeless and transient people also had a major presence there.

Additionally, taking the New York City Metro can become a life-threatening ordeal. A local resident warned, “never take the subway at night.” The NYC Metro serves as a startling reminder that China’s public transportation have become much more modernized, cleaner and safer than anything New York has to offer.

Walking into a New York City subway station is like walking into the public infrastructure of an underdeveloped country. One wonders if local officials had made any major renovations to the Metro since the 1950s. The graffiti covers most walls, the litter doesn’t clean up, while everything looks outdated, along with the creepiness of dim lighting.

The Metro in Chinese cities are much more advanced and New York could not catch up with China in public transportation.

Passengers are seen at Huaqiao Station of Line 11 of the Suzhou metro in Kunshan City, east China’s Jiangsu Province, Jun. 24, 2023. (Photo/Xinhua)

China keeps streets safe; Americans have ‘no go’ zones

The most disturbing aspect of life in the U.S. is the Americans’ antipathy towards criminality. The cities I visited – New York, Washington D.C. and San Antonio – were notoriously crime-ridden, while the police officers on patrol stood reluctant to maintain public order. You would often see people suffering from mental health issues screaming at pedestrians and witnessing street gangs hustling and drug dealing as common activities.

And it’s at night when the craziness gets worse. In the dangerous parts of town, young people take control of the streets acting unrestrained with loud shouting, insulting strangers and prowling the sidewalks as if they were hunters looking for prey.

During a visit to D.C., I asked a friend to take me to China Town in the capital city one afternoon. While there was still sunlight, it looked safe but we had a long discussion while enjoying a delicious meal. We lost track of time and walked out at night.

The streets were in chaos and we had to walk briskly down a few blocks before entering a highly secured building, which had an underground parking garage where my friend had parked her car.

The lesson learned was that when Americans say, “don’t go outside or to certain areas at night,” this is a deadly earnest warning and should never be dismissed.

Well, this stands in stark contrast to China and in the country’s largest and most populated metropolitan areas. People can feel safe in public at all times, including at night, including at 2 am. Chinese police officers remain vigilant to patrol the streets and local residents stay calm and orderly. It’s a fitting reminder that strong social stability can boost the economy as well.

This photo taken on Feb. 12, 2023 shows a night fair in Jinghong City of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Yunnan Province. (Photo/Xinhua)

U.S. economy hitting a downturn

The Western mainstream media and many American politicians and thought leaders continue to proclaim that the U.S. economy remains robust and resilient and argue that China’s economy is confronting tougher times. But, when I visited the U.S., it was clear that the opposite is true.

The most notable challenge for Americans is the soaring inflation rates and its impact on ordinary people’s lives. All people need to eat to survive and when food gets much more expensive, they have to cut consumption elsewhere. The energy costs are soaring too.

Inevitably, the high inflation will lead to a surge in household debts and major slowdown on domestic consumption. The U.S. Federal Reserve has to keep raising interest rates to tamper inflation.

For the time-being, the U.S. economy has not suffered steep declines but that’s not sustainable. Americans will soon face a brutal wake-up call and they are not prepared for tougher times ahead.

Most Americans are terrible at saving money. When they earn higher incomes, they spend more, but many of them fail to take precautions in cases of emergencies, such as losing a job, dealing with a medical emergency or family crisis. Hence, the hardships get compounded as they drown in deeper debt.

On the other hand, many Chinese households are conscientious at saving money and that makes them better prepared to handle unexpected challenges. Consequently, they can ride out the hard moments in life while minimizing debts.

Meanwhile, China’s inflation rate is relatively low, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. From the first half of this year, China’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) had risen 0.7 percent, while food prices had increased 2.1 percent. Accordingly, most ordinary Chinese can withstand some economic turbulence in the months ahead.

A homeless person walks in the rain along the 6th Street in downtown Los Angeles, California, the United States, Jan. 10, 2023. (Photo/Xinhua)

Pessimism prevails over American spirit

The United States of America has turned into a far different nation than when I was growing up there in the 1980s and 90s. Back then, Americans were amazing story-tellers, loved laughing and telling jokes while they were very optimistic by nature. If they had to endure tough times, they thought “tomorrow will be a better day,” just like the song lyrics from the popular Broadway play, Annie.

They had a ‘can do’ attitude and as a young student we were taught to never say, “can’t” since that makes you a quitter or coward. I have lived and worked in China since October 2010 and only visited my homeland twice for short trips before coming to the country last month. The U.S. has changed and not for the better.

I saw few people laughing and telling jokes, including my friends and family members. People were bleaker and it was like they all had felt a sense of impending doom, but could not figure out why that was so. Nobody believed the U.S. economy was robust, although the Western media would often report to the contrary.

There’s the impression that when arriving into America you enter a stage of lies and U.S. citizens have lost faith in their government. They play-act as imposters but know that eventually people from outside the country will uncover the truth.

The U.S. is losing and China is winning. The game is not over for Americans but time is fast running out. They believe that endorsing ‘anti-China’ publicity campaigns could turn the tide in their favor, but they have succumbed to delusions on that matter. The blame China games will only isolate the country much further.

A philosophical truism is that people love a winner and will support the victor. The U.S. society is disintegrating before our very own eyes, and it’s a tragedy in real-time.


The article reflects the author’s opinions, and not necessarily the views of China Focus.