Recently, English-language Chinese state media sources have been airing some quite outspoken views on China's place in the world and Liu Xiaobo's Nobel peace prizee. The latest addition to this trend comes in the form of a comment piece written by People's Daily Online writer Li Hong. The central purpose of Li's argument is a refutation of the view that sees China as an irresponsible superpower, still too “trigger-happy”. These latter ideas formed part of a recent column in the New York Times by Professor Paul Krugman (a Nobel prize winner himself), in which he was critical of China's decision to block exports of rare earth deposits to Japan during the Diaoyu Islands controversy.
The tone of Li Hong's writing shows that both he (and by logical extension aspects of the Chinese government) have taken grave exception to Krugman's reading of China's attitudes to world diplomacy, saying that they went “too far”. Of course, both have the right to air their views. However, one cannot help but think that such intense criticism of China at a crucial point in international relations will not help (from the tenets of Krugman's point of view) bring the People's Republic into the fold of responsible players on the world stage.