The Economist: Is China A Threat Or A Friend?

The Economist Logo

Leading business magazine The Economist is questioning the rise of China as part of its award-winning, ‘Where do you stand?‘ advertising campaign.

China is a Threat to the West

China is a Friend to the West

Apologies for the low-res images, here is what the posters say:


Poster 1: China Is A Threat To The West

  • China spends about $100 billion on defence, almost three times as much as a decade ago, and nearly twice as much as Britain.
  • China cracked down on minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang and persecuted campaigners like the Nobel laureate, Liu Xiaobo.
  • China’s hunger for raw materials is exhausting the earth and bolstering corrupt regimes in the developing world.


Poster 2: China Is A Friend To The West

  • China makes a fifth of all the world’s goods. It kits out the West’s consumers and finances the West’s borrowers.
  • China goes out of its way to emphasise that it wants a “peaceful rise”. No other great power in history has done that.
  • China is the world’s biggest investor in green technology.


The two posters (above) will be placed next to each other, displaying both sides of the argument around China, at various media sites in the UK towards the end of June. The ads aim to attract new readers, challenging people’s misconceptions about the magazine being only for high-powered business people.

These posters also offer potential readers a free copy of the weekly magazine through a text code. Previously these advertisements have worked most effectively on the walls of London Underground’s tube stations as below:

London Underground

So what do you think, is China a threat or a friend to the West?

Agency credit: AMV BBDO

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  • sugi

    In everthing there is a hierarchy, same goes to the world power and politics. USA is indisputably the lone superpower and the self acclaimed policeman and leader of the world. OK, we accept it. However, as in any democratic system, we have the right of choice, based on how well the leader had performed.

    Look at the current chaotic situation. The finacial crisis, the religious wars, the climatic change issues, the middle east issues, the iraq, the african, the Korean… Looks like we have a bad and lousy leader. Lets vote USA out and appoint the next suitable leader to be the policeman of the world. Who? China?

  • al anon

    deleted, eh? Guess I won’t waste any more time slumming here…

  • al anon

    What I think is this: re-arrange the words & ask: Is the West a threat or friend to China? UK media is pulling a propaganda stunt here — Chinese media should reciprocate. But of course, Chinese media is incompetent, compared to Western media…

    • dead

      And immoral,I say the government media like People’s Daily and people who paid for writing “angled comments“ like you.

      • Bob

        And then a person like you makes an equally unhelpful comment.
        whom then could be accused of being part of an anti-chinese movement.

        basically both reactions are what the magazines wants. Means you both fell for the magazines’ tactic. :(

        • dead

          Funny,that could be their purpose,who cares?
          So you are a monk or sth.?

          It’s really the 2ed time I post a mark here,what’s wrong with that?

          the thing is ,i’m here in the matrix,know what you don’t know,feel what you don’t feel.

          • Alan

            I don’t think it’s an angled comment. If you’re stick to your “narrow minded, China-is-a-threat theory”, all Chinese will put aside the differences & defend their country, even if they’re pro-KMT. All Chinese want is their country to be #1, just like how Ferrari want to be #1 in constructors standing. It’s understandable, if a neighbouring state grows powerful, her neighbour would certainly fear for their security & spend needlessly for defence, rather than farming. And who benefit? Boeing, Airbus(EADS) & so many defence company that made humongous profits that rivaled the big pharma.

  • USA Citizen

    All I can say is I HOPE China is not a threat to anyone. We work well together, why should we destroy eachother when we should be helping each other build even greater nations?

  • Age of Asia is Coming

    Sorry guys, this is a completely wrong approach, let me rephrase the question for your sake.

    Is the West a friend or a threat to China?

    Point 1: The west is a friend to China
    -The west remains China’s largest export market. Nobody else wants to consume and not produce.
    -The west provides Burberry and LV to China
    -Living standard in the west inspires China

    Point 2: The west is a threat to China
    -Ongoing campaign and contain and smear China
    -Mains a world order favorable to western standard
    -Supports free market policy so that the poor gets left behind
    -Deflating own currency to escape debt

    • European Chinese

      All Good and Genuine Points!

  • Larry Blum

    I live in China and have been coming here for 14 years.
    Not seeing that China IS a threat, not only to the West, but even to its neighbours is being as blind as Europe wanted to be in the 1930s.

    Read history of the XXth century circa 1932 till September 1939…
    Just change the names, it will be easy.
    But that kind of point of view is not politically or commercially correct.

    Once again the world will wake up when it is too late…

    • Justin

      Ha, ha, HA……….This is the funniest bullshit I have read in a while. Comparing China to Nazi Germany?????!???? What world have you been living in? For one, aside from minor disputes with neighbors, including border dust-ups with Vietnam, India, and Nepal, China hasn’t been in any wars since the Korean War, whereas the United States has habitually invaded, occupied, or otherwise intervened militarily in a different country about every 3 years. Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, Grenada, Panama, covert support for the Contras in Nicaragua, trained leaders of death squads in El Salvador, the overthrow of the democratically elected Allende government in Chile and its subsequent replacement with the murderous Augusto Pinochet, the CIA overthrow of the Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala, weapons for Islamist radicals in the 1979 war against the Russians in Afghanistan, the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, the Bay of Pigs, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Spanish-American War, the war with Mexico.

      Put the track record of the two countries side by side and it’s patently obvious which is more militaristic.

      Also, just because you have been coming here for 14 years doesn’t mean you are some kind of expert on China. If you were, you’d realize that the Chinese are concerned with their own development more than anything and they are incredibly risk averse. Your dire predictions of a World War III started by China have no basis in reality because China would have nothing to gain and everything to lose, whereas Nazi Germany had everything to gain and nothing to lose.

  • Nuo

    To reply to Justin and Larry Blum :
    China doesn’t fight against other countries but in the inside to be sure Tibet, Xinjiang stay Han (the main chinese ethnic), stay Chinese… in the future might be Taiwan too.
    Chinese people are quite into a slow strategy (they take their time) but day after day, the country gain more and more power and change.
    Before Hitler became Hitler, they didn’t exactly see him coming. We know at the US can do but we don’t know yet what China can really do.

  • mylee

    For this article to be written by economist is definitely biased. Just look at all the other articles from economist. they are all subtly biased against china

  • Gnome

    “China spends about $100 billion on defence, almost three times as much as a decade ago, and nearly twice as much as Britain.”
    Why does Britain need to spend over half of the amount as China does on defence ?

  • Has anyone aver heard about some little details like.. the Bilderberg Group? Chemtrails? The New World Order? … All of you are thinking about money, just like chinese people only care about their own developement (of course.. my chinese girlfriend says when she was a child, they had walnuts for candy,and people rode bycicles. ) .. Chinese people DON’T KNOW about the resources of the world… not even about theirs, all rivers have been overfished, all fauna has been killed in the name of the traiditional chinese medicine (useful and effective but terribly slow and unreliable) … and now they are going for the world’s resources… well, they don’t care, As long as they can have their iPhone 4, their cars and buy Louis Vutton (LV in pinyin means Donkey) purses for 4000元 and be able to get married before 30 years old (and they won’t even check on the unstoppable divorce raise). If The rest of the world is feeding china in exhange for electronics, it is not very different as what happen in south america when the Europeans got there, giving small mirrors to natives in exchange for big pieces of gold. Chinese people DON’T KNOW, and they are not educated to know either, and they always depend on somebody. And their gvrnmnt is up to something, with their friends Bilderberg Group, Obama, Henry Kissinger , etc. .. so what? Life is less worth than shit in china (literally). Western world? We are with our heads So my conclusion about all this is.. Governments are a threat to the world, not people. Western world? we have our heads so deep in our own liberal-individualistic asses that we think we are so ready o change things any day, but we won’t… because the latest episode of “glee” is on TV today. And because they lie to us saying everything’s fine…

  • the point that China spends twice as much as the UK on defence should be seen as a point in favour of China. They only spend twice as much as the UK, which has 20 times less people and even less territory.

  • solomon victory

    china cannot be viewed as a threat or a friend, china is still building her economy to feed her bid population and doesn’t have time to compete or threaten the economy of other contenders who feel threatened.

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