tv Tavis Smiley PBS August 20, 2011 12:00am-12:30am PDT
tavis: good evening. we wrap up our week long look at china. tonight, have a distinguished panel of chinese americans. tonight, we will explore many issues we discussed during a recent visit to china, including the good and the bad of china's economic boom, the environment, human rights, and the complexity of u.s.-china relations. our round table conversation on china is coming up right now. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it is the cornerstone we all know. it is not just a street, a boulevard, but a place where wal-mart stands together with your community. >> nationwide insurance
supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from the viewers like you. thank you. ♪ tavis: i am pleased to be joined by a terrific and distinguished panel.
first up is john chan, former chair of the c-100. cindy fan is the dean of social sciences dominic king is the ceo of east west bank here in california. and the ambassador who serve as liaison to china for director steven spielberg. let me start with you. we were talking a moment ago about my own feelings -- i talked about this earlier this week on a special, about a sense of hopefulness that one feels moving through china as contrasted by a sense of hopelessness that americans are feeling now given the economy, the recession, etc., etc. there was a poll we started
earlier this week. just over half of all americans believe that our best days as a nation are behind us. those are not the views of all americans, but that is more than half. what do you make of that distinction, that juxtaposition? >> i think there is some truth to that. every time i go to china, i feel energized. first of all, there are so many people there. there is always something happening. but there is the fact that they have been joined triple digit economic growth -- double-digit economic growth for several decades. having said that, i think that, in a globalized world, if americans are thinking in terms of how we position ourselves in a globalized world and have to work with china and other places that are emerging in terms of economic growth, do nothing that we necessarily have to fill that hole +. >> about the people, there is
stuff happening in turn all the time. in part, it is because there are so many people. 300 million americans, 1.3 billion plus chinese citizens -- it raises the question whether or not china is really rich country for his china really a poor country. the majority of those folks are poor. they are not rich or the super rich. is it a rich nation or a poor nation? >> i'm so glad you asked. that is one of the essay questions that i assigned to my students. [laughter] i got a broad range of answers. the most common answer i get is that china is not a rich country nor is it a poor country it is precisely what you said. what distinguishes china from other places is the huge gap between the rich and the poor. the rich are super rich and they have loaves of catch -- they have loads of cash. at the same time, you have people who are dirt-poor in the
countryside with only maybe -- >> dominick, you are the chairman of east west bank here in california. you know for certain of which she speaks. there are three or four cities adjacent to los angeles in l.a. county where property values are going to the roof in southern california because rich chinese are coming here with cash in hand you are not financing these people. they're coming with cash in hand to buy these homes. ec property values in certain areas driven up by all the money that pouring into our economy. what do you make of that? >> clearly, in china, every day there is more wealth created. there are more and more of these folks. we're looking at not only investing in their own country,
but there's always that hope and desire about getting better education for their children or maybe a better living environment for their family. so many of them choose the path to come to the united states to establish a second home. what we have seen is that, right here in l.a. or in san francisco, many of these neighborhoods that are more affluent neighborhoods are attracted to these folks in china and they want their kids to come here for high school and make sure that their spouses can stay here so that, in case -- you know, in a very volatile environment in china, if something happens, they always look at america as a safe place for them. tavis: should future of american homeowners be concerned? i have a number of people who work for me. i have a program where, if you work with me long enough and you qualify, i will help you become a homeowner. i think happy employees make
better employees. you're on the right track and needed to requirements, i have made that happen for a number of my employees. over the last couple of years, it has been difficult to help my employees get into homes because they are being outbid by these folks who are coming here with cash. they pick it up, flipped it, and then sell it for much more. you have people who are getting boxed out of a home. then you have rich chinese coming here. should americans be concerned about competing with chinese rich? >> forget about the united states as a whole country. just looking at places that are attractive to folks from china, like los angeles or san francisco or new york, we're talking only about a few neighborhoods that are desirable for them. the vast majority of those in l.a. have homes that are a
reasonable price. there are too many of those flippers who buy to sell. for those who buy this day, they're not moving fast enough and the financing is not available. that is what is happening in home ownership in america right now. tavis: there is the often heard mantra that the 21st century belongs to china. no society just keeps going and going. china has been around for a long time, but they're on a roll right now? how long can it go on unabated? >> i would like to go to an earlier question. if i had to write that essay -- [laughter]
i think it is debatable whether you like the answer not. [laughter] i think china is a poor country. it is not evenly distributed. the gdp is only $5 per person. that is one-fifth of japan or the uk. if you consider those wealthy countries, you should. i do think there is lopsided nest. people are driving ferrari and putting their kids through school. that in itself -- if this continues to expand, this miracle that you are talking about, will end. the whole chinese girls merkel is based on peace -- the whole chinese growth miracle is based on peace, on hope. for maybe next 20 years or 30 years, china will have
consumption and demand big enough to help continue, assuming the political environment is stable, not only into the country, but around it. i know you interviewed secretary kissinger on china. that is the number one fear. the number one fear is the stability, either inside or outside of china, will not be good. if the condition remains like it is today, not to mention there are a lot of flash points out there -- you heard the latest news about the china sea issues. there are a lot of issues going around. but assuming the leadership in china is able to manage all that and one would hope that they could and one would have high hopes that they would, this to growth will go on for two days to three decades. but the first statement you made in the show, i actually think
that, as americans, i am always a positive thinker, as you know -- i think we're just going through relativity. we are relatively speaking not seeing what we have seen in the last 20 years are 25 years. going forward, there needs to be structural changes, reinventing ourselves, but you still -- china came from nothing. no wonder everybody has that little of hope. and they should. they deserve it. but on an absolute basis, this is still the largest economy. i still hope we will be able to turn it around. i cannot see it turning around in 12 months. but we have to focus on our ability to innovate. >> is that your way of saying that we should not be scared of china? >> absolutely, we should not be scared of china at all. tavis: one of the things that
was probable to me was not just that sense of hopefulness around the couo a sense of restlessness. when you talk money flowing in beijing and shanghai. what do you say about that restlessness that, over time -- assuming that the political environment remains stable -- that is a big assumption. >> i probably have a different point of view. speaking, china has had a strong civilization for thousands of year. i believe they think this is a return to what is the norm for them. there was a time when there were relatively weak compared to the west. that was an abnormal time. i feel that the people are coming in general, even the ones who are less wealthy, are proud of the country and they are willing to go along with the program that the government has basically led them along.
i see an amazing peaceful coexistence. i have been living in china for the last couple of months. you walk down the street and people's lives have not changed for a hundred years. they cook outside and live in an apartment. yes, there is a restlessness, but i think they feel that the country is on a basic course to help lift up the people, that the level party has been raised quite a bit. the level of education has been raised quite a bit. a think they will go along in their lifetime. tavis: i will come back to dominate any moment. earlier this week, we spoke with a person regarded as they former host in china. you could not ask these kinds of questions in china before. you still cannot ask china about officials. barack obama would love that. [laughter]
how do the chinese feel about the promise in their country? he said, a solid eight. they feel good about the direction the country is moving in, the restlessness not withstanding. but dominick, you mentioned education earlier. many chinese citizens absolutely would love to get to america to go to our colleges and universities. they know that we lead the world in college and university levels. but below that, they are doing -- they are kicking thabutt. i went to the beijing 101 middle school. it is basically a high school. it is amazing what they're doing in mandarin and english. tell me about what we can learn about the discipline of the chinese people these of the education. >> you raise a very good point. this is the biggest concern for the u.s.
will do not need to worry about china becoming the super power. what we do need to worry about is that the deterioration of public education in united states -- you talk about hopeless and hopelessness. in china come in general, no matter how by and large, what i have seen -- i took many trips to china, frequently, scene of the poor and rich. what i have seen is that the kids, no matter how poor they are, they have this strong hope that someday they will do much better. they will study hard and listen to the teacher and then they will do the best they can. maybe one day the hope is that they will be good enough to go to school in america or australia or canada and so forth. let's take example of los angeles. police 60% of our students in high school graduate from l.a.
unified school district. that is a frightening thought. anyway, when we talk about the u.s., we want high-end jobs. no matter how many high-end jobs we create fear, if we do not have students who graduate from college with a strong computer science and engineering degree and a great degree in humanities and arts and so forth, we will not have a lot of kids who actually can take on these jobs. that to me is a big issue. tavis: i spoke with a lot of kids in shanghai and beijing. there were some migrant kids who were getting a chance to get an education. there were also some well-to-do kids. many of them wounded mitt it and some would not. if you got them into an honest and authentic conversation, they
would admit that they do feel the pressure. this single-child policy means that you are the only child, obviously. you have parents to take care when they get older and all of this responsibility rests on your shoulders because of the sheer numbers. there are only so many seats in the colleges and universities in southern china. if you get into one of those seats, there are only so many jobs, given the billions of people that live in china. i am raising that to ask what you think the long-term impact will be of this one-child policy. >> we have already seen some consequences. some of them are-point you already put your finger on the negate of them are- ive. you already put your finger on
some of them. china is only in its infancy in terms of developing a nationwide social security kind of system. many older people have not really had savings or pensions to rely on. but we also see other social effects, such as the gender imbalance. the fact that china is still a society that has a strong sun preference and given only one chance to have a child, especially in the city, there are tragediestrategies of people used to assure that that child as a boy. there is a term called missing girls are missing women. there are millions of men who are unable to find mates. that could result in social problems. tavis: let me switch gears.
we spent a lot of time talking about inflation. i spoke with the head of microsoft in china and at innovation works. i am curious as to your take on the innovation taking off in china and whether or not -- i do not want to ask if we should be threatened by that, but what do you make of the real focus they are putting a lot of energy behind innovation in china? >> you have to admire the fact that they are very motivated. there are ordinary citizens were turned to get a better life, more competitive. and they're motivated by the policy of the country to move away from just being blue-collar labor by adding more value so they can make more money in the global scene. i can only admire them. however, i would also like to point out that there are many reports that said that today, a
lot of the kids that graduated in china, they are not globally competitive. i operate a multinational company in china. i do not know whether the numbers are correct. the statistics show that only 10% of the graduates that are competitive globally. but they are very good. they're very, very hungry. it is all about -- our kids are not hungry enough because we have a lot of entitlement. if you fail, it is your teachers problems. you should not fail. how do you feel my kids? i will write a letter to the board or something. i think your mindset in this country is very different from theirs. >> i really noand not a soccer mom. [laughter] >> you have to take the chinese
innovative competitiveness seriously. but again, that said, it does not say anything about us not being able to do well. one other thing that needs to be tied into the innovations thing in the united states going forward is that our immigration policy is out of whack. that is a different topic. but we will have issues with getting the kids graduated and helping our industry. we do need to grab some other good kids. tavis: before time runs out, janet, not to my surprise, i was tickled by the craving that chinese youth have for our culture. they love our music. they love our movies. they love hip-hop. they love the fashion. you're in the business of entertainment. what are we to make out of how they crave our culture? >> one thing that has changed is the level of exposure.
there's all of this piracy, which has a terrible name here. but there is a slight silver lining to that club current beard tastes now are the same as the rest of the world. the move is open on the same date as they do in america. "avatar" had the second-largest box office in china next to the u.s.. so they are very hungry for the chinese market. going back and forth between the two for decades, the big hollywood studios are at china's door. >> antavis: a lot of consumers. >> they also help to influence media and there are several companies that are doing extremely well. they're learning the film techniques of the west. that is very exciting, beyond the material wealth and growth. it is a very creative place. tavis: i asked this question to henry kissinger. your quick take on what our
economic implosion, how that has been interpreted in china. >> it is really interesting because, when i visited the last couple of years, every time i talk with the banking regulators to the major bank germans, they always ask this question about how the heck did things get screwed up -- bank chairman's, they always ask this question about how the heck did things get screwup. in a country where government has a big part of controlling the economy, they want to make sure that there is no way on earth that their banking industry will explode the way that we did here. this is the kind of thing that i clearly see that the chinese government is watching very closely to make sure they would never get themselves into that situation. tavis: john, i will give you the
last word. your sense of the future of chinese-u.s. relations, now that jon huntsman is in the race, we will not know what will happen with a republic abomination. my sense is that china will be higher up, whatever that means on the political agenda, over the next couple of years as we move towards the race to the white house. >> things will be very choppy. there are a bunch of people in washington and beijing doing their utmost best to make sure it does not get out of control. we will have a lot of mistrust, statements, some politically motivated -- >tavis: anti-china rhetoric. >> we should take a look at that. they are feeling that they now have the right to say something. tavis: john chan, a one to thank you for coming on. janet, it was good to have you
one as well. i enjoyed my trip there as well. i have enjoyed this week of shows and our all-star panel tonight. that is our show tonight on china. see you next time on pbs. until then, good night, los angeles. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visits for donna fisher next time. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it is the cornerstone we all know. it is not just a street or boulevard, but a way for wal- mart to get together with your community. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley.
with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you. thank you. >> the