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China: The Giant Awakens : Thought From Neighbors

June 15, 1993

Leticia Shahani, Philippine senator and sister of President Fidel Ramos

"Of course I am surprised at the very rapid economic growth (in China). Already we in the Philippines are beginning to feel its strength in terms of the handicraft industry, baskets, furniture and so forth. . . . China is now a serious competitor. On the other hand, I think relations have improved since China has opened up. . . . Our cultural links are quite strong in terms of food, inter-marriage, people-to-people contacts. And for us, the question is how did China do it? Their example is more relevant to us now than America."

Yoshiaki Takagi, graphic designer, Japan

"With 1.2 billion people they have tremendous potential power. But if they grow too fast, chasing after the 'American Dream,' they may stumble. Not everybody can afford big houses like those in Hollywood. They need a different set of values. They should go slow, it's unhealthy to change society too rapidly. Japanese share a similar cultural background with China that is different from Christian culture. Japan will end up turning to China when she finds out she can no longer depend on the United States."

Lee Kuan Yew, former Singapore prime minister

"I think (China) will be the biggest single economy in East Asia in another 20-30 years and it's growing at a phenomenal rate because it's got so much lag to make up. The south has been taken up, filled up by Hong Kong in Guandong province and Taiwan in Fujian province. Proximity gives them a fairly unbeatable advantage."

Kim Kong, retired businessman, South Korea

"It's a little scary that China has become so powerful. Times have changed, and they can't force other countries to respect them. But the sheer size of their economy, especially the flow of cheap Chinese agricultural products into Korea, can make our farmers miserable. "

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