Feature

Business columns: It’s time to call China’s bluff

Google has “forced the Chinese to face the possibility that their economy may not be as indispensable as they had come to assume,” said Steve Pearlstein in The Washington Post.

Steve Pearlstein
The Washington Post

I admit it, said Steve Pearlstein. I get a kick from watching “the control freaks in the Forbidden City respond to Google’s decision to suspend service in China rather than kowtow to the country’s censorship regime.” The search-engine company has “forced the Chinese to face the possibility that their economy may not be as indispensable as they had come to assume.”

I just hope the Obama administration follows Google’s lead and confronts China about its currency, the renminbi. By keeping the renminbi artificially low against the dollar, China is in effect subsidizing its exports and slapping a tariff on its U.S. imports, at a cost of 1 million lost U.S. jobs. It bristles at criticism of its currency policy, calling it “interference in its internal affairs.”

Now it’s up to the administration to “break the symbiotic relationship between a U.S. economy that consumes so much more than it produces and a Chinese economy that produces so much more than it consumes.” The Chinese won’t like it if we tell them to “find somewhere else to sell all those television sets and running shoes.” But they just might listen.

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