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There’s been a lot of talk about China’s growth and all of the ways that the country is “beating” the U.S.: in education, infrastructure, technology, and even capitalism, in a communist country no less. Certainly, China is doing very well, and doing better that the U.S. in many different ways, but the fact is that the U.S. has not been beaten by the Asian giant in every game. Here, we’ll discuss 10 ways in which the U.S. is still way ahead of China, and even a few ways the country has fought back to reclaim titles once held by the Chinese.

  1. Human rights

    In the United States, human rights are legally protected, with guaranteed rights and civil liberties for all citizens. Although far from perfect in the U.S., human rights in China are, by comparison, amazingly problematic, with human rights organizations noting several issues within the country, primarily due to the Chinese government. Troubling policies in China include a lack of legal rights, one-child policy, capital punishment, and a lack of freedom in the press and religion. Additionally, the political status of Tibet is an issue for many. China has made some progress, however, and has enacted major reform in the past decade. A 2008 human rights report by the U.S. State Department dropped China off the list of top 10 human rights violators in the world, however, the report still indicated that there are widespread problems remaining in China, and there remains much to do for China to have human rights on par with the U.S.

  2. Cyberdefense

    In case of cyber attack, the U.S. is better poised to defend itself than China. A study from security powerhouse McAfee indicated that the U.S. has good internal data-sharing practices, a move that better protects information than China’s practice of not sharing any information within government organizations. The study also indicated that the U.S. has the ability to repel attacks far in advance of China. China did, however, beat out Mexico, the country ranked least able to defend itself against cyber attacks.

  3. Rich Americans are richer than the Chinese

    America and China are both well represented on the Forbes Billionaires list, so much so that China warrants its own separate Forbes 400 list. But the collective wealth of rich Americans far outpaces that of the Chinese. The total wealth of the American Forbes 400 is $1.53 trillion, significantly higher than $459 billion for the 400 richest people in China. China’s richest man, Liang Wengen, has a fortune of $9.2 billion, nothing to be embarrassed by, until you compare it with American Bill Gates’ $59 billion.

  4. Per-capita GDP

    China has made incredible economic growth, and is widely believed to surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy within the next decade. But on a per-capita basis, China is over a century behind America. In 2011, China’s per-capita GDP was $5,200, a figure that’s on par with the U.S. way back in 1850. The U.S., on the other hand, has been hovering around $50,000 for the last few years, and is currently at $48,147.

  5. Auto sales

    For at least 14 years, China’s auto sales growth has reigned supreme, but in 2011, the U.S. overtook China. China’s auto sales have scaled back after the government ended stimulus measures and the country reached an economic expansion plateau. At the same time, U.S. light vehicle sales climbed by 10% in 2011. But we can’t expect for things to stay this way for long: passenger vehicle demand in China is expected to accelerate this year.

  6. Energy use

    Another measure that the U.S. has recently improved upon over China is in total energy consumption. Individual energy consumption in China is rising fast, and it does remain lower than that of the U.S., but overall, the country has surpassed the U.S. in total energy consumption. Since records for energy use began, the U.S. has been the world’s biggest energy user, but China’s energy use has more than doubled over the last decade, and has finally surpassed that of the U.S. Experts believe that this consumption is problematic, and that China is ill-equipped to fight pollution.

  7. Manufacturing production

    Yes, really. Although so many products seem to be stamped with “Made in China,” and American factories are closing, sending jobs overseas, the fact is that the U.S. is still way ahead of China when it comes to manufacturing. America is the No. 1 manufacturing country, and continues to outproduce China by more than 40%. So how does the U.S. continue to outpace China, even when sending so many jobs to Asia? U.S. manufacturers are simply more productive, making more goods with fewer workers.

  8. Internet infrastructure

    Although China’s Internet user base is 1.76 times that of the U.S., they haven’t done a great job in building online access for all citizens. In the U.S., over 77% of the population has access to the Internet, but just over 31% of Chinese citizens enjoy that same access. It’s clear that China has a lot of room to grow in this measure: if China had the same scale of access that the U.S. enjoys, the country would have more than a billion Internet users.

  9. Military force

    China is working hard to develop military technology that would put their force ahead of the U.S., but they simply can’t keep up. With new submarines, missiles, and jet fighters, the Chinese military has really stepped it up over the last decade. But the U.S. has answered China’s challenge, developing even better technology, including robotic aircraft, that wipes out the recent gains China has made in their military.

  10. Quality of life

    This one is difficult to measure, because happiness is subjective, but when it comes to hard numbers that typically indicate the quality of life in any given country, the U.S. is beating China handily. Income, adjusted for PPP, is $6,809 in China, compared to $45,755 in the U.S. This figure may have a lot to do with unemployment. Even at a high 14% in 2009, the U.S. still had a better unemployment rate than China’s 27%. And perhaps even more importantly, U.S. citizens are much more likely to be free from corruption than Chinese, with a 75% rating in the U.S. to China’s 36%.