In my recent post about China's economic rise, I compared China to Spider-Man. It turns out that China and Spider-Man share more in common than one might think. Stan Abrams of China Hearsay discerns remarkable similarities between the two. A top 10 list:
I gave myself ten minutes to list as many China/Spider-Man parallels as I could. I came up with 47, but in the interest of brevity, here are the top ten (not in order of importance):1
Local Government Debt
China: local governments are experiencing a very troubling debt crisis.
Spider-Man: Peter Parker is often late with his rent or in need of supplies to make web fluid; he therefore owes a lot of money to local creditors.
See what I mean? Startling.
PRC: embarrassingly inundated with cloned iPhones, iPads, Social Media platforms, etc.
Spidey: had his own infamous clone problem a number of years ago that fans are still trying to forget.
Even speaking as an IP lawyer, I'll take the counterfeit products over Spidey clones any day, and I haven't even brought up the "Ultimate Universe" version.
PRC: has a huge housing problem, with prices skyrocketing and good deals hard to come by.
Spidey: Peter Parker often has trouble affording a decent apartment in Manhattan on a photographer's salary. Moreover, when Aunt May's house blew up, he wasn't even able to crash in Queens as a last resort.
Perhaps China's housing policy could take the lead from current issues of the Spidey books: get a hot (albeit slightly unstable) roommate. You get to split costs, and due to hilarious misunderstandings after the Chameleon assumes your identity and sleeps with your roommate, you get to hook up every now and again. That's government policy I can support.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
PRC: To protect its citizens, China must monitor and take reasonable measures to restrict speech.
Spidey: To protect his loved ones, Spider-Man must take precautions never to reveal his secret identity. When the word gets out, bad things happen, like voluptuous young blondes being hurled from bridges, etc.
I defy anyone to come up with a better analogy for the Great Firewall. Simply can't be done.
With Friends Like These
PRC: has to constantly put up with the antics of its frenemies (North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Sudan, etc.).
Spidey: spends at least half his time dealing with folks like Harry Osborn/Green Goblin #2, Flint Marko/Sandman (strangely enough, no hyphen), Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard. Need I go on?
Let's face it, frenemies are a drag, particularly when those you kill keep being resurrected. Just ask Batman (also no hyphen).
Coming Out Parties (and regrets)
PRC: made a splashy debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Spidey: revealed his secret identity to the public early on in Marvel's Civil War crossover series. A lot of money was wasted on both events.
PRC: After product liability scandals, economic difficulties and civil unrest, some folks in China subsequently had second thoughts about that splashy debut in 2008.
Spidey: After Aunt May was shot, Peter Parker had second thoughts about his no longer secret identity, culminating in the craptastic Brand New Day offal currently being foisted on loyal readers.
Not that I'm bitter or anything.
Who Called for an Exterminator?
PRC: fond of public health campaigns against vermin such as flies, cockroaches and rats.
Spidey: fond of beating up on sewer-dwelling villain Vermin, who lets rats crawl all over him in an extremely unnerving manner.
Woe Is Me
PRC: despite incredible economic growth and growing international power, is fond of playing the role of global victim when it is criticized. Boo hoo.
Spidey: Peter Parker whines like a woman just because he's poor and stressed out, even though he's freakin' Spider-Man and is married to a hottie supermodel (though not at the moment). My heart bleeds for the guy.
The Grim Hunt
PRC: Net Nannies hunt down craven anonymous online agitators.
Spidey: One of Spider-Man's arch-nemeses is Kraven the Hunter.
That one was obvious.
Pain In the Ass Government Officials
PRC: constantly battling against poor decisions made by local government officials.
Spidey: In the current Spider-verse, J. Jonah Jameson is mayor of New York City.
Wow. I'm starting to think Marvel needs to take a sequel to Shanghai. Spidey. Jet Li. Maggie Q. Maglev train. 450 km/h. Think about it.
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Damien Ma is a fellow at the Paulson Institute, where he focuses on investment and policy programs, and on the Institute's research and think-tank activities. Previously, he was a lead China analyst at Eurasia Group, a political risk research and advisory firm.