Leaders Debate China’s Role in Economic Recovery

Attention turned to China during a World Economic Forum debate Thursday morning on the role of Chinese money in helping to alleviate the financial problems hitting many of the world’s economies. While many leaders have increasingly looked to Chinese investments for help, suspicion of China’s growing power persists. John Zao, CEO of Hony Capital explained, “The vast majority of Chinese companies are trying to follow the rules as they understand it, but many Chinese companies are still trying to learn the rules.” While WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy pointed out that “public perception problems” will only get worse as China’s investments continue to grow, other panelists noted that the Western world is not without its own history of corporate problems (think Enron). And at the end of the day, as Yale President Richard C. Levin pointed out, struggling economies should be thankful for China’s help. China has increasing social problems of its own and, Levin said, “some fraction of these trillions could be used domestically.”