West needs new angle and logic to view China

By Zhu Weiqun Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/28 18:13:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

An article titled "The dark side of China's national renewal" recently published in the Financial Times launched a blatant attack on the "China Dream" of a "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" and the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative. The article revealed the stereotypes of some Westerners who tend to view China through a biased lens.

The article states, "Building a new Silk Road to Europe, rapid expansion of the People's Liberation Army and militarizing artificial islands in disputed waters in the South China Sea - all are part of the glorious task of rejuvenation." This makes an implicit accusation that China is attempting to realize rejuvenation through non-peaceful means.

However, the South China Sea islands have been a part of China since ancient times. Chinese construction work on islands improves the working and living conditions of staff stationed there, better safeguarding China's sovereignty and fulfilling its international responsibilities and obligations.

It is a domestic affair within China's own sovereign rights to do construction work on islands in the South China Sea, and foreigners have no right to interfere. Throughout history, China has never tried to seek maritime hegemony or establish a colonial system using maritime power.

Regarding the "Chinese nation" in the slogan of "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," the article purposely highlighted that "the concept technically includes all 56 official ethnicities, including Tibetans, Muslim Uyghurs and ethnic Koreans, but is almost universally understood to mean the majority Han ethnic group, who make up more than 90 percent of the population." Obviously, the author is trying to drive a wedge between the different ethnicities of China.

Varied ethnic groups in China have established a unified multi-ethnic country through joint efforts. A pattern of diversity has been formed in unity of the Chinese nation, in which all Chinese ethnicities are economically interdependent on each other, with bonds of emotional intimacy. They cannot be separated from each other. Since modern times, all Chinese ethnic groups have become more unified and cohesive in the defense of the country's reunification and resistance to foreign aggression. All this means today's great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation includes all 56 ethnic groups. No one will be left behind.

The Chinese central government has extended special assistance and support to ethnic minorities from the economic, societal, cultural and education perspectives, which has facilitated their rapid and comprehensive development. At the same time, ethnic minorities have also offered support to the construction of China's central and eastern regions and they in particular have played a great role in preventing foreign forces invading and penetrating China's border areas.

Another ridiculous point made by the article is a warning that countries in China's neighborhood and their territory will be conquered and controlled by China because "under past dynasties and emperors large swaths of their current territory were conquered and controlled by China" and "the logic of China's great rejuvenation is essentially revanchist." If these countries don't want to "be included in the great family of the Chinese race," they should refuse to allow China to assume a role as global leader, the article implies.

However, a blunt fact is that China has no interest in becoming a global leader in the way some people imagine. With China's rapid economic development and social stability, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the Belt and Road initiative have become more accepted. An increasing number of countries have expressed their desire to participate in the Belt and Road to share opportunities and realize win-win opportunities. This is an irresistible trend.

"Race-based ideas of national rejuvenation and manifest destiny have deep and uncomfortable echoes in 20th-century history and earlier European colonial expansion," read the article. Such remarks to reflect past Western colonial expansion and hegemonic acts are objective. But it's outdated thinking to assert China is bound to follow suit after its rise. The West needs a new angle, mentality and logic to view China's development.

The author is chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Committee under the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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