Kochi: The "aggressive expansion" of China in markets across the world is because of their strong aspiration to have power, wealth, and to catch up with the West in the race to dominate the world, according to renowned Chinese historian and visual artist Dr Tong Lam.
"The people of China always see themselves as a victim of Western imperialism. This particular feeling has evoked a psychological urge in the Chinese to have power and wealth to move ahead of the West," he said.
He was speaking while participating in a conversation on the topic `Complementing Relationship: China, Chinese and Western Colonialism` with eminent researcher on Indian socio-political and economic studies, Dr Uday Balakrishnan.
Asked if he thought China was now following an imperialistic policy by expanding its operations in Africa and South East Asian countries, Dr Lam said the current activities of China could not be related to the kind of imperialism practised by the European countries in the 17th century.
"China needs huge amounts of energy to fuel the country`s infrastructure development. So they are on the lookout for energy, mainly through mining in Africa," he added.
However, he pointed out that even the Chinese government follows policies which have been propelled by an urge to become a major force in the world.
Dr Uday Balakrishnan said China`s evolution as a country could not be related to evolution of India, though they are both neighbours.
"For centuries Chinese people have moved outside their country as traders and merchants. This in fact gave the Chinese community an edge when it came to establishing business empires outside mainland China," he said.
The Chinese community has emerged as successful business people in South East Asian nations like Taiwan, Philippines, and Malaysia. In fact, the current growth of China as a major business hub and their expansion to markets in India could be related to this innate nature of Chinese people, he added.
The conversation was organised by Kochi Biennale Foundation as part of its `Let`s Talk` series here yesterday. The series is a prelude to the mega Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014, scheduled to begin on December 12 this year.