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What It Feels Like In China When Europe Comes Asking For Help

• by Chana Joffe-Walt
 

Jiang Shixue is describing to me one of the most exciting moments of his life: The moment earlier this month when one of the most important people in Europe — German Chancellor Angela Merkel — came to visit his workplace.

"She said that the EU would be happy to see if China can offer a kind of helping hand," says Jiang, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Merkel never actually said the word "money," or "help." She said "cooperation" a lot. But Jiang says everyone in that auditorium heard one clear message: Europe needs help from China to get through its debt crisis.

"I can't believe that China is now the country that the EU is trying to seek help from," Jiang says. "Twenty-two years ago China was a basket case — a very poor developing country. So I really feel quite proud."

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