BEIJING — Charlie Barker earns more than $250,000 a year and holds stocks worth $300,000 in a Chinese company, a big sum even for his peers back home in the United States.
It is Barker’s 10th year in the city of Suzhou, east China’s Jiangsu Province. The 52-year-old former US soldier works as a senior researcher supervising medicine safety assessments in Wuxi AppTec Co. Ltd, a private integrated R&D service company.
Barker’s former army fellows once doubted why he chose to work in China.
China is full of hopes and opportunities and Chinese people are optimistic and kind, said Barker, adding that China was no threat to the West and the world.
Barker has persuaded his son, who is studying computer engineering in Nevada, to work in China after graduation.
Barker’s life experiences coincided with key events of China’s reform and opening up. He joined the army in 1984 when former US president Ronald Reagan visited China, retired from army in 1997 when the Asian financial crisis broke out and began his China endeavor in 2008 when the international financial crisis erupted.
China’s reform and opening-up that began in 1978 has not only changed China but also deeply affected the world and reshaped its relations with the world.
China was to a large extent isolated with the world until the late 1970s and early 1980s when it changed the war-inevitable mentality and established peace and development as the two major themes of the present times.
Barker still remembered the scenes when the Reagans visited the Great Wall in 1984.
“Everything seemed to be that peaceful and beautiful,” Barker said.
Since the reform and opening-up, China has been integrating with the world and is walking to the center of global stage.
China is already the world’s second biggest economy and the world’s largest trading nation. It is also the world’s biggest source of international students and the world’s largest group of outbound tourists.
Facing mounting protectionism and a stagnant world economy, China has proposed a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and following the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration in engaging in global governance.
A median of 70 percent of respondents across 25 countries say China plays a more important global role than it did a decade ago, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 25 nations that was released in October.
The second year after the 2008 global financial crisis broke out, Barker moved to Suzhou and realized the great contribution China had made.
The country has helped stabilize the global economy during the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis.
He said that without China’s contribution, the global economy would have struggled in the abyss for a longer time.
China has driven global growth over the past 40 years. Its GDP has averaged an annual growth of around 9.5 percent.
The country’s foreign trade has also registered an annual growth of 14.5 percent in U.S. dollar terms. It has become a major trading partner with over 130 countries.