Social Security Card finally came!

So the card finally came. Now we can get her credit built up in the ways I mentioned in the last post. The next major step is getting a job, and citizenship, which is 3 years away. However, there will be more costs, maybe even one tomorrow for our 3rd anniversary!
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Green, Social Security, and Credit Cards

Two days after we received the permanent residence approval letter, we received my wife's green card!

So today we went and applied for her social security card. That required her green card and passport and lots of waiting. After an hour or so we got a receipt saying we will get her card in 2 weeks. So, like with everything else, now we wait!

Once we get her card we will get her a Bank of America Fully Secured VISA credit card to start building up her credit.

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Welcome to the United States of America!

"Welcome to the United States of America!" is how the paper started. My wife interviewed on Friday, June 24, 2011 and her Permanent Residency was approved on Monday, June 27, 2011 and we received it on Thursday, June 30, 2011. the letter states that she should receive her new permanent resident (green) card in 3 weeks. Of course the law requires that she carry it at all times.

Per request, I will post the questions our lawyer told us to practice later this week.

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Interview Day!

So today was the interview day. We got dressed in our "Sunday Best" and headed for the USCIS office in Irving, Texas. Our attorney had an emergency and had to send the other attorney from the Law Offices of Sherin Thawer, P.C., Ms. Mariola Michalska. Interestingly enough she is of a mixes Russian & Polish background like me. Unfortunately that meant she was late. There was some miscommunication on whether we should wait outside or if we could wait inside but just not go upstairs. The tardiness, it appears, is not an issue, as long as your lawyer is with you.

Our lawyer gave the adjudicator an odd look when he came out, and I thought this was bad news. But as we walked in, she whispered to me that he was very nice. Once in the room, our son, Daniel, went to our lawyer, who held him. We all held up our right hands and swore to tell the whole truth and nothing but. The adjudicator had a few questions just confirming the paperwork we had sent in. There was already a I-130 on file from when we filed for herto come over, so the adjudicator said this would be confirming she wasnot a criminal, that we were truly living together, etc.

He asked why it took 2 years from the marriage to apply for the Adjustment of Status and I explained the reasons. He understood and actually said it made it simpler and easier for both us and him, especially with us having a child together. The only document he collected and made a copy of was the original of our son's birth certificate. They asked about my wife ever getting government assistance, and that was the only question not on our list. Otherwise he asked address, how many times my wife had been to America, if she had ever been arrested, her birthday, my prior marriage and divorce, when we got married, if she had ever been deported, used false documents, etc..

The Adjustment of status interview passed, he said the document should be approved tonight, and in about 2 weeks we should get her true green card, showing her new status as a permanent status of the United States of America, but if it does not arrive in 1 month to have our lawyer come in for a status update. He also told us we should not get my wife her Social Security card on her Employment Authorization Card, as it will cause more work for us, having to update with them when we get the green card showing her permanent residency status.

After the appointment, we went to Super-H Mart where my son danced to K-Pop while sitting in the shopping cart, just like he always does there when we are near the karaoke machine. A good day!

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Preparing for the interview...

Our lawyer has had us practice with questions she has sent us and also had us come to the office and practice the questions. My wife and I may be questioned together, or apart. We were instructed to bring our son, and not to enter until our lawyer is there, as she will be able to come in to thge interview with us. She also will have all the documents, so we do not need to bring anything. In 2 weeks we have our interview, and if everything goes well, withing about 2 business days we should get the decision on my wife's permanent residency and 10-year green card. That morning, before the interview, we will go get her social security card. Those that pray, I would ask your prayers for us.

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Interview Time!

Yesterday, we got notice that my wife will interview in less than 1 month! So in June, she should become a permanent resident of the United States of America. 3 years after that, she can apply for Citizenship. We ask your thoughts and prayers as weprepare for this big step ahead, as both of us will be interviewed and we have to take all kinds of documentation. I will add a blog post with the specifics of what we need to take and even later, what questions we are asked.

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China's 56 Official Ethinicities

China is home to 56 minority groups, each with its own unique languages, traditions and cultures. The Han Ethnic Group make up 91.5% of the Chinese population and the remaining 8.5% make up the rest. Many of these groups live in their own communities and many towns and village make up of a single minority group. Visiting China’s ethnic minority groups is a dream of many people around the world. Their colorful clothing, ancient traditions, and incredible festivities are truly unforgettable.

Found largely in Yunnan Province, the Achang ethnic minority group is famous for its iron forging abilities. They specialize in producing weapons and farming implements. This group is also known for their rice growing abilities.

Known for being very artistic, the Bai ethnic minority group can be found mainly in Yunnan, Guizhou, and Hunan Provinces. They consider the color white to be very important and wear a lot of white on their clothing.

The Bulang ethnic minority group lives in agricultural societies and are good at planting trees. Their culture places high regard on musical abilities and music is a very important part of their festivals.

Located in southwest Gansu Province, the Baoan ethnic minority group is Islam. The majority of the Baoan people make handicrafts and can play traditional woodwind and stringed instruments.

The Buyei ethnic minority group can be found in Guizhou Province. Their brocade and embroidery are exceptional and are quite famous for this ability. They are an agricultural people.

Known for being Buddhists, the Dai People can be found mainly in Yunnan Province. They are known for their musical abilities and beautiful traditional clothing.

A very small minority group, the Dawoer ethnic minority group stress etiquette in their culture. They have a large number of cultural taboos which are unique to their culture.

Skilled craftsmen, the Deang ethnic minority group have a very unique tea culture. They are primarily Buddhist and most children at the age of 10 are sent to monasteries for a time.

Located on the boarders between Hunan, Hubei, and Guizhou Provinces, the Dong ethnic minority group are famous for their polyphonic choir singing. They are also known throughout China for their Sweet rice and carpentry skills and architectural style.

Known for their love of drinking tea, the Dongxiang ethnic minority group members primarily believe in Islam. They are an agricultural people.

A very small minority group, the Dulong ethnic minority group create their own distinctive form of carpets which are extremely beautiful. The group eats two meals a day and believe that there are spirits that control everything.

Living in Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang Province, the Elunchun minority group are good at making wares from iron, wood and bone. Their primary food is meat and they are good at hunting.

Living mostly in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Ewenke ethnic minority group are good at singing and dancing. They have wonderful festivals which entail horse racing and wrestling matches.

Gaoshan means “High Mountain” in Chinese. The Gaoshan Ethnic minority group are known as being highland dwellers. They live on Taiwan Island and have a fondness for ballads and story telling. In the past, they were head hunters. They have many ceremonies for daily activities.

Located in Guizhou, Guangxi, Yunnan, and Sichuan Provinces, the Gelao ethnic minority group are primarily Taoist. They believe in ancestor worship and are famous for their forging and blacksmithing.

Making their living by fishing and farming, the Gin ethnic minority group live primarily in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Rice and seafood are their primary food staples.

Found in virtually every part of China, the Han Chinese have a huge population and are the largest ethnic group in the world.

Living primarily in China’s Yunnan Province, the Hani ethnic minority group are polytheists and adore and pray to their ancestors.

The smallest minority group in China, the Hezhen ethnic minority group live in Heilongjiang Province. They believe in Shamanism and their most powerful totems are the bear and the tiger. Fish is their staple food.

Distinguished by their practice of Islam, the Hui ethnic minority group are located primarily in Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, and Xinjiang Provinces.

Located in Yunnan Province, the Jingpo ethnic minority group is known for its carving, painting, embroidering, and weaving. They believe that everything possesses a soul which will never die and give respect to nature and each other.

Believing in animism, the Jinuo ethnic minority group are famous for their Iron Forging Festival. Their staple foods are rice and corn.

Lovers of music and dance, the Kazakh ethnic minority group has a variety of unique musical instruments. They believe in Islam and can be found in China’s Xinjiang, Gansu, and Qinghai Provinces.

Located within China are millions of descendants of Korean immigrants. They are Chinese, but still follow traditional Korean culture. Most speak both Mandarin Chinese and Korean.

Living in Xinjiang Province, the Keerkezi ethnic minority group are known for their abilities in literature, sports, music, and handicrafts. They are very adept at animal husbandry

Regarding black as the most beautiful color, the Lahu ethnic minority group are Buddhist. They are located in China’s Yunnan Province are have a very small population.

Living primarily in Hainan Island, the Li ethnic minority group is an agricultural society living on corn, rice, and sweet potatoes. They are known for their animal husbandry and handicrafts.

Consisting of more than 58 unique clans, the Lisu ethnic minority group traditionally live high in the mountains of Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces. They have their own unique dances and musical instruments. They have different songs and dances for different occasions.

Making their living by agriculture and hunting, the Luoba ethnic minority group reside in China’s Tibet Province. Yong boys are trained to hunt at an early age.

Famous for their horse riding, hunting, and archery, the Man ethnic minority group can be found all over China. They culture can be found around the world, including the Qipao (Cheongsam) and Magua (Mandarin Dress).

Living in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, more than 80% of the Maonan ethnic minority group have the same surname: Tan. Their towns were organized by clan and traditionally marriages were arranged by parents while still children.

The Miao ethnic minority group has a fairly large population. They are skilled in handicrafts such as weaving and embroidery, and paper cutting. They can be found in Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Hainan, Guangdong, and Hubei Provinces.

Distributed throughout Tibet, the Monba ethnic minority group have a very long history. Their staple foods are corn, rice, and buckwheat. They are known for weaving with bamboo strips and vines.

Known as the minority group that lives on horseback, the Mongols live in Inner Mongolia. Their festivals are particularly lively with horse racing and wrestling. Their staple foods are milk and meat.

The Miao ethnic minority group has a fairly large population. They are skilled in handicrafts such as weaving and embroidery, and paper cutting. They can be found in Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Hainan, Guangdong, and Hubei Provinces.

A small minority group living in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the Mulao ethnic minority group believe in the spirits of nature. They are known for their blacksmithing and pottery abilities.

Believing in the Dongba Religion, the Naxi people are famous for their music, handicraft, and written language, which is the only hieroglyphic language still in use in the world. They live in Yunnan, Sichuan, and Tibet Provinces.

The Nu ethnic minority group are located in the southwest of Yunnan Province. They are known for their love of music and their skill at playing musical instruments.

Believing that their lives are influenced by the gods, the Pumi ethnic minority group are agricultural societies and are quite accomplished at animal husbandry. They live in Sichuan Province.

Living off beef, mutton, chicken, fish, corn, and potatoes, the Qiang ethnic minority group live in Sichuan Province’s Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Their ancestors originated in Russia and immigrated to China during the 18th century. The Russian ethnic group mostly live in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and celebrate Eastern Orthodox Christian holidays such as the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) and the Lord's Pascha/Resurrection (Easter).

Making a living from horticulture and agriculture, the Sala ethnic minority group live in Qinghao, Gansu, and Xinjiang Provinces. Their clothing is very similar to other Muslim groups in China; the Sala people love music and are famous for their ability at the Kouxuan, a metal stringed instrument played only by women.

The largest minority group in China’s Fujian Province, the She ethnic minority group’s staple foods are beans, rice, corn, and potatoes. They believe in ancestor worship and totems.

Located in Guizhou Province, the Shui minority group are skilled jewelry and batik cloth making.

Believing in Islam, the Tajike people place great importance on etiquette. They live in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Mainly living in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Tataer group have their own language, and follow Islam. They are dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry.

Practicing Animism and Taoism, the Tu people make a living from agriculture, and animal husbandry. They live in China’s Qinghai and Gansu Provinces.

Believing in Islam, the Tajike people place great importance on etiquette. They live in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

With a population of over 8 million people, the Tujia ethnic minority group is the 6th largest group in China. They live on the borders of Hunan, Hubei, and Guizhou Provinces. They are known for their singing and song composing.

Believing in Islam and living in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Uygur ethnic minority group make their livelihood from agriculture and fishing. They are known for their foods, which can be found throughout China.

A Turkic people living in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Uzbek ethnic minority believe in Islam. They live off of animal husbandry and the creating of handicrafts.

Living in Yunnan Province, the Wa ethnic minority group live off of agriculture. Some members of the Wa group believe in Buddhism and Christianity.

Living off of animal husbandry and agriculture, the Xibo ethnic minority group are located in Jilin, Liaoning, and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Their staple foods are corn, rice, and potatoes.

A mountainous people, the Yao group live in the south of China. They are known for their loving of tea and homemade wines.

Believing in Islam, the Tajike people place great importance on etiquette. They live in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Living mainly in Gansu Province, the Yugur ethnic minority group live off of stock breeding and believe in Lamaism. They are known for their folk tales and ballads.

The largest minority group in China, the Zhuang Ethnic minority group live in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. They love salty and sour dishes. They are known for making sticky rice Zhongzi (dumplings). They love to drink rice wine and oil tea.

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One more step closer!

Yesterday my wife's combo card came, less than 4 months after we applied for it. A combo card is a green card (Employment Authorization Card) and a Advance Parole Card (this allows her to return to America when we go to China or any other country.) This card is only good for one year, but after her adjustment of status is completed, she should get a 10 year card and can start to apply for citizenship 3 years after the adjustment of status is attained. A very happy day for our family!

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Differences in Cultural Beauty Standards

Besides the muscular leg vs straight leg argument, my wife and I have different cultural standards of beauty. Still, I do not look for all the stereotypical American beauty stands. But we often disagree about beauty. For instance the C-Pop group, TWINS. They are made up of Gillian and Charlene. To me, Charlene is much cuter and more beautiful than Gil. But to my wife, and she insists that almost all Chinese people agree, Gil is the standard of beauty. Tell me if you agree or disagree:

FYI, Gil is on the left, and Charlene is on the right/

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Receipts, Receipts, and Biometrics

So after we received the last 1-797C receipts, our lawyer sent in the sealed medical exam. After they received that, they sent us a new I-191C, which is an ACS Appointment Notice for her biometrics (fingerprints). We are now one step loser next month when she gets this part done!

Girls' Generation Mini Album Vol. 3 - Hoot


Good News Update

Good news!Today we received our I-797C, Notice of Action for my wife's I-765: Application for Employment Authorization, I-131: Application for Employment Authorization, and the I-485: Application to register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. We sent it the last Friday of February, 2011, they received it March 1, 2011 and dated the receipts march 23, 2011. Pretty fast turn around for the government!

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  1. Your wife will need a new exam beyond the one she had to get her K3 Visa in GuangZhou, China. You can also find a list of USCIS civil surgeons in your area at https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=offices.type&OfficeLocator.office_type=CIV.
  2. You need both I-797 and I-797c for the I-130 receipt notice
  3. Emails and letter that you exchanged with your wife  should prove that you are married to each other . The letters should have content showing love, care and trust that you guys have in each other . Do you have any life insurance, car insurance, bank statements wherein both you and wife are joint holders? Such documents could suffice as well. In absence of either, you will have to get notarized statements by family and friends who were witness to the wedding . They will need to FedEx it to you in case they can’t send it to you via email.
  4. You need your bank statements for last 12 months and Pay stubs for at least the last 60 days.

Girls' Generation Mini Album Vol. 3 - Hoot


...and a few more things...

...and then after you gather all those documents, you will need to gather

  1. I-130 receipt notice
  2. Latest Bank Statements
  3. Proof of wedding apart from photos and marriage cert: like emails, letters exchanged or notarized affidavits from relatives, friends present at wedding ceremony or by both the parties
  4. Latest pay stubs for the last 6 month to one year and employment verification letter
  5. Original and sealed medical exam
  6. 6 color photos as per US Visa requirements found at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1287.html
  7. Cashier’s cheque for $1070.00 made out to the ‘US DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY’

Girls' Generation Mini Album Vol. 3 - Hoot


Finally, Starting the Adjustment of Status!

Moving to a temporary home, finding a "permanent" home, losing a job, etc. all delayed adjusting the status on my wife's K3 visa (the process to get her permanent resident status, green card, travel voucher, social security card, etc.). Now, we have finally started the process. On presidents Day, I was off work, so we made our appointment with our new attorney and she gave us forms to fill out for the G-325As and 485. This lawyer is local, so she will even go to our interviews with us. A much more full-service lawyer than my last attorney (and we are paying for it!)

What you need, is basically everything you ever got before. All the G-325A info, but updated from when you first fill these out years ago when you started the process. For us, that is almost 3 years ago! Then you will need the last 3 years' tax forms including W-2s, any divorce decrees either of you ever had, your marriage certificate, birth certificate for you, her, and any kids you have together, your passports, drivers licences, and any other government identifications you have, hers and your addresses, schools, and places of employment for the last 10 years, proof of ongoing relationship such as pictures, leases and titles with both of your names on it, etc. (and if any of these things are in Chinese, they need to be translated and notarized!).

Then your lawyer has one of her paralegals copy every page of the above and notarize everything copied for you. You probably have over 100 pages! With this, the attorney can get the papers filled out and ready and will call you for signatures.

This is step one of many, and make sure you have the $1070 government fees ready, too!

(to be continued!)


Regular Updates Coming Soon...

Sorry this blog has not had many posts lately. We have begun the adjustment of status process, however my attorney is having last trimester complications that is making her stop all work, so we are in the process of getting a new attorney and I will start posting all about it soon. The excitement resumes!


Stop US Immigration from splitting up families

Families like Annie and Alex Conrad are separated by arbitrary and unfair actions on the part of US Immigration.

Annie moved to the US from China last spring, and had her green card application in process. Everything was going along fine, when an emergency necessitated her return to China to bring her daughter Ella from a previous marriage to the US earlier than planned. Since Annie's green card was in process, she filed paperwork as required to depart and return to the US.

Annie made arrangements to enroll Ella in school, on Orcas Island, for the start of the new year. Her future classmates and the Orcas community were eager to welcome a new 7th grader to the community. Annie then flew to China to bring her daughter home. They travelled to Guangzhou, China, where the US consulate was to issue travel documents and the visa for Ella based on Annie's status in the US.

That was six months ago. Ella did indeed have a US visa waiting for her at the US Consulate.

Annie, on the other hand, had nothing. No travel documents, no explanation and no way to return to her home and her husband in the US. Despite multiple assurances from US immigration officers that her travel documentation would be processed, nothing happened. Immigration officers communicated dates by which this could be processed....one deadline passed, many deadlines passed and then with only three weeks until the expiration of Ella's visa on February 13, Annie received a letter of denial. The letter includes an order to depart the US within 30 days. That would be quite a feat, given that the US would not let her back into the country.

Successful US born entrepreneurs like Alex, the CEO of a start-up company and mentor to many at Seattle University have been repeatedly misled by misguided bureaucrats and spousal re-entry to the US denied.

Ask President Obama to reunite Alex and Annie Conrad and their family at http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-us-immigration-from-splitting-up-families

Here is the letter that will be sent:


Annie Conrad's Return to US has been denied ~ PLEASE HELP!

A family has been separated by the US Immigration authorities. Honest, hard working people who love each other and their family. You can help them and others like them by asking President Obama and Congressman Larsen to review the details of the case and make a fair decision in this and other cases like it.

You've got to know Alex, letter of the law guy. Therefore, before Annie left, all documentation was filed for her return. So what happened? All I know is that Alex was sent on an incredible roller-coaster bureaucratic journey starting in September (when Annie was not able to return to the US as scheduled). This theatre of the absurd took many turns, including requiring Alex to again prove his ‘legal status in the US’ as recently as 27 December.

Worried about Ella’s 13 February visa expiration date, he contacted Congressman Larsen for help, only to receive a letter from USCIS Director Robert Cowan yesterday. Re-entry for Annie denied. Find out more about Robert Cowan of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services and what others say about his history of prejudice and discrimination here: http://julian1st.wordpress.com/2008/06/10/immigrationpending-lawsuits-for-discrimination-rights-violations-negligence-wrong-doing-fbi-complaints-to-be-filed/

I read the letter from Robert Cowan and both the justification & reasoning for the denial are a confused recitation of form numbers and regulations, which fly in the face of logic. The refusal directly contradicts multiple affirmations of Mr. Cowan’s own staff of senior immigration officers over the last six months! The real kicker is: No appeal allowed. And had it not been for congressman Larson the letter might have taken another 30 days to reach Alex.

This kind of bureaucratic red tape is costly--to the taxpayer and to the families it keeps apart--and should be stopped.

Take a moment to ask our officials to intervene.

Thank you.


HUMOUR: "Why Chinese Girlfriends Are Superior" Written by a Chinese Tiger Girlfriend

A lot of foreign girlfriends I meet wonder how Chinese girlfriends have such doting boyfriends. They wonder about the dynamics of these relationships that produce boyfriends who are attentive, adoring, and even willing to do all household chores. Often, these foreign girlfriends wonder whether they will be able to have such boyfriends too. Well, I can tell you that anyone can be a Chinese girlfriend, if you are able to enforce some basic rules. Here are some of the things my boyfriend is required to do:
  • carry my purse in public
  • not complain about carrying my purse in public
  • text me his coordinates every hour outside of school/work hours
  • spend the weekend with me (except in special circumstances)
  • befriend only married female classmates/colleagues
  • cook exquisite meals
  • buy me a thoughtful present every month
  • coax me into forgiving him when he makes a mistake

Foreign girlfriends care too much about respecting their boyfriends’ individuality. By contrast, Chinese girlfriends believe that the best way to nurture a relationship is by stripping their boyfriends of individuality, so that existence as a couple – complete with its many rules and expectations — is the only existence these men will know, and be able to survive in.

Click here to read the rest of Christine Tan's truthful parody of Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.


China's Rise Doesn't Mean War… …and China Isn't Beating the U.S.

Thucydides famously attributed the Peloponnesian War to the rise in power of Athens and the fear it created in Sparta. A century ago, Germany's rise and the fear it created in Britain helped cause World War I. Now, it's become a new conventional wisdom in some circles that China's rise and the fear it is creating in the United States -- where recent polls show 60 percent believe the country is in decline -- could doom the 21st century to a similar fate. As scholar John Mearsheimer has put it, China's rise cannot be peaceful.

One should be skeptical about such dire projections. Americans go through cycles of declinism every decade or so, but that tells us more about America's psychology than its power resources. Not only is the United States likely to remain the most powerful country in the first half of this century, but China still has a long way to go to catch up in military, economic, and soft power.

In contrast, Germany had already surpassed Britain in industrial power by 1900, and the kaiser was pursuing an adventurous, globally oriented foreign and military policy that was bound to bring about a clash. But China today has focused its policies primarily on its region and its own economic development. China's "market-Leninist" economic model is attractive in authoritarian countries, but this so-called Beijing Consensus has the opposite effect in most democracies.

And even if China's GDP passes U.S. GDP around 2027 (as Goldman Sachs now projects), the two economies would be equivalent in size, not equal in composition. China would still face massive rural poverty and enormous inequality, and it will begin to encounter demographic problems from the delayed effects of its one-child policy. Moreover, as countries develop, there is a natural tendency for growth rates to slow. By my calculations, if China's annual growth goes down to 6 percent and the U.S. economy grows at 2 percent per year after 2030, China will not equal the United States in per capita income until decades later. So China is a long way from posing the kind of challenge to America that the kaiser's Germany posed to Britain in 1900.

None of this means the dangers of conflict can be completely ruled out in Asia, as China's recent disputes over various contested island chains remind us. But given shared global challenges like financial stability, cybercrime, nuclear proliferation, and climate change, China and the United States also have much to gain from working together. Unfortunately, faulty projections that create hubris among some Chinese and unnecessary fear of decline among some Americans could make it difficult to ensure this future.

Not every power's rise leads to war -- witness America's peaceful overtaking of Britain at the end of the 19th century. So remembering Thucydides's advice, it is important to prevent exaggerated fears from leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or, to paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt, we can make ourselves safer by being wary of fear itself.

Joseph S. Nye Jr. is University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University and author of The Future of Power.

China is a great power in every sense of the word. It is the most populous country in the world. The Middle Kingdom has weathered the Great Recession better than the West. It is developing a blue-water navy to rival the United States in the Pacific. In 2010, China surpassed Japan as the world's second-largest economy. For many Americans, however, this is not enough. Politicians, commentators, and the public believe China has already supplanted the United States to achieve primacy in world politics. This is not only wrong -- it is dangerously wrong.

According to a November 2009 Pew Research Center survey, 44 percent of Americans believe that China is "the world's leading economic power," compared with 27 percent who name the United States. Elites have fed this mass perception. After a midterm election cycle that featured anti-China ad after anti-China ad, President Barack Obama warned, "Other countries like China aren't standing still, so we can't stand still either." With public perception and political rhetoric like this, it is little wonder that Forbes magazine recently named Chinese President Hu Jintao the world's most powerful individual.

It's time to make a few things clear. If one measures power strictly according to GDP at market exchange rates, then the United States is roughly 250 percent more powerful than China. If one uses a combination of metrics -- as does, for example, the U.S. National Intelligence Council's 2025 project -- then China possesses a little less than half of America's relative power. Even on the financial side, the U.S. still reigns, and, hype notwithstanding, the dollar is not going anywhere as the world's reserve currency. The renminbi could be an alternative in the far future -- but after the 2008 financial crisis, China is loath to open up its capital markets. Even by the less tangible metrics of soft power, the United States still outperforms China handily in new public opinion surveys from the Pacific Rim by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Right now, the United States is vastly more powerful than the People's Republic of China. Anyone telling you otherwise is selling you something.

Why the massive misperception? In part, people are looking at the wrong measures. China has the world's largest currency reserves, leading many to conclude that Beijing now has the ability to dictate terms to the United States and everyone else. But that just ain't so. The "balance of financial terror" constrains China as well as the United States because China needs American consumers at least as much as the United States needs China to buy its debt.

No doubt, China amassed more power while American might ebbed over the last decade, and Beijing is now throwing its weight around. But the United States still has a huge lead. As for China's recent bout of belligerence, it has yielded Beijing little beyond Japan releasing a fishing-boat captain -- while pushing South Asia and the Pacific Rim closer to the United States.

Exaggerating Chinese power has consequences. Inside the Beltway, attitudes about American hegemony have shifted from complacency to panic. Fearful politicians representing scared voters have an incentive to scapegoat or lash out against a rising power -- to the detriment of all. Hysteria about Chinese power also provokes confusion and anger in China as Beijing is being asked to accept a burden it is not yet prepared to shoulder. China, after all, ranks 89th in the 2010 U.N. Human Development Index, just behind Turkmenistan and the Dominican Republic (the United States is fourth). Treating Beijing as more powerful than it is feeds Chinese bravado and insecurity at the same time. That is almost as dangerous a political cocktail as fear and panic.

Daniel W. Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, blogs at ForeignPolicy.com.