Sharing improves Asian governance

By Su Hao Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/14 18:38:42

The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations will be held in Beijing from May 15 to 22. One theme of the parallel sessions is "sharing experience on Asian governance."

Asian countries have diverse political systems, but most Asian countries have realized development in different degrees. 

An Asian Development Bank report in 2017 said "Growth is picking up in two-thirds of economies in developing Asia, supported by higher external demand, rebounding global commodity prices, and domestic reforms, making the region the largest single contributor to global growth at 60 percent." What has contributed to such achievements?

Generally speaking, the oriental civilization plays a significant role in the development and rise of Asian countries. The governance of Asian countries, like Singapore, Japan and China, is based on their similar civilizations. The way of governance, which focuses on the role of government, is related to the Confucian culture.

For example, influenced by the Confucian culture, Japan emphasizes collectivism. Japanese people value employees' loyalty to the companies and the firms' protection to employees.

Singapore underlines the effect of the government's role in societal management and economic activities. Singapore government's strong power and management contribute to its efficient administration.

Since ancient years, Chinese culture has stressed the significant role of the government and its governance over the society. The effective management pattern of the Chinese government in fields like politics and economics has made great contributions to its rapid development, social stability and economic prosperity since the reform and opening-up.

The Confucian culture stresses cultivating oneself, putting family in order, governing the state and pacifying the world. It means ambitious people, such as intellectuals and politicians, need to take responsibility, not only for themselves and their family, but also for their country. Such mentality over family and country can hardly be felt in the West.

The Confucian culture stresses the role and efficiency of governments' management and the importance of morality in the administration of the government. It means governing is not only about following the rule of law, but also about the pursuit of high moral standards.

The Western administration system is based on individualism. Social management consists of two ways: One is bottom-up, another is top-down. The two characters need to work together to reach an effective governance. The West's absolute bottom-up approach often brings about problems, such as populism and selfishness. Take the anti-globalization sentiment in the US. It only focuses on the interests of the US, while causing harms to other countries' interests. 

Although the West's governance has its advantages, people need to be aware of its drawbacks. 

Many Asian countries have developed at a considerable speed. The top-down management system stemming from the Confucian culture is efficient. The West's criticism of the East is prejudice of civilization.

The efficient top-down management pattern based on the Eastern civilization is worth learning by other Asian countries. However, different countries have diverse civilizations, and other Asian countries should give full play to their characteristics and advantages to better develop.

Today, Asian countries are confronting severe challenges. The rise of these countries is piling pressure on the West. Some in the US used the idea of the clash of civilizations to cope with the challenges it faces. This is dangerous. Many problems between China and the US are closely related to the US selfishness and prejudice on civilization.

Asian countries, including China, have rich, solid and valuable civilizations. We should be confident in our cultures and share the experience with other Asian nations on how to govern the country, cooperate with each other and contribute to a more prosperous Asia. This way, we can earn the respect of the West. East and West should respect and learn from each other so as to realize common development. 

The author is founding director of the Center for Strategic and Peace Studies at China Foreign Affairs University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: ASIAN REVIEW

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