Paul Cheng, the well-known Hong Kong politician and businessman, believes China has become a convenient punching bag for the West in recent years.
The 75-year-old, who exudes a certain old-world charm, says the problem often lies in China's intentions being misunderstood or, worse, misrepresented.
"China has certainly become the punching bag during the US elections. What I feel is that these ideas about China being a threat are based on misconceptions and generalizations," he says.
Cheng, who was speaking in his suite at the China World Hotel in Beijing, has, in fact, just written a book, On Equal Terms: Redefining China's Relationship with America and the West, under his Chinese name, Zheng Mingxun, which explores some of these issues.
He argues that if the United States or China were ever to engage in military conflict, for example, in the Pacific, over various territorial rights, both would be major losers.
He also insists it would be an unfair contest since the US defense budget of close to $700 billion is seven times that of the world's second-largest economy.
On Equal Terms stands out in that it is one of the few books of this genre written by someone of Chinese origin.
Cheng, who speaks English with a slight American accent, believes that sometimes Western authors miss some of the finer points of the Chinese perspective.
"I wouldn't say they get it wrong. They may not appreciate some of the subtleties, such as things like guanxi, which means trusting each other, and mianzi, Chinese face. That is not just about being humiliated but giving face to the other person, making the other person look good," he says.
Cheng, who is currently chairman of a private equity group and holds a number of directorships, was a prominent politician in Hong Kong, up to and including the return of the former British colony to China.
He was a member of the Legislative Council in the 1980s and 1990s, and a member of the preparatory committee for the return itself.
Cheng says Hong Kong's newly elected chief executive, C.Y. Leung, may find many problems in his in-tray, not least the growing inequality between rich and poor.
"We have a wealth-gap problem. How you stop that is another very difficult issue. The problem is that if you start doing things to disincentivize the wealthy sector, they are not going to invest. They will go somewhere else. That might have a more adverse impact on the poor than if you did nothing."
Cheng says, however, he has empathy with the poorer sections of the community.
"These things are a real dilemma because you also stand on the side of the people having trouble finding housing because the poverty standards are so high. That is why there has to be a balance somewhere."
Cheng was born in Gulangyu island, Xiamen, Fujian province, but at the age of two, when the Japanese invaded, his grandfather arranged for the family to move to Hong Kong.
Unusually for the time, he was brought up by his mother alone after his parents divorced. His father went off to become an academic in the United States.
"My grandfather was a tough guy. He just told my father that if you do this to my favorite daughter-in-law, your son will never see you again. He lived up to that, too. I did eventually reconnect with him. He had three kids in Hawaii."
Cheng attended La Salle College in Hong Kong and then went to Lake Forest University, Illinois, at the time when American consumer society was taking off in the mid-1950s.
He began his career in consumer products and marketing as a brand manager with Richardson-Merrell in New York, returning to Southeast Asia with roles in Malaysia and Thailand.
This led to an impressive business career, which eventually led him to become chairman of Inchcape Pacific, one of the oldest British international trading companies.
He believes the recent furor in the United States and in the West in general about the Chinese taking away jobs is unrealistic.
"Why is Apple being assembled here? It is because Steve Jobs used to make changes at the last minute. If you do that in America, you have to wait for a few weeks," he says.