A rising China has encountered a difficult time as provocations from outside escalate. Meanwhile, internal conflicts are on the rise. China, as a whole, has to meet the challenges from both within and outside.
China's current strength is enough for it to avoid harm from outside. For the authorities, solving domestic conflicts is the more urgent task.
But challenges from outside are the stumbling stone for China's further development.
If they are not dealt with promptly, China's room for development will be limited and small confrontations may snowball.
Failing to deal with external provocations may cause discontent from within. Some international strategies may not be understood by the public. Some domestic forces will try to create misunderstanding between the public and the government. The freer a society is, the more such disturbances are likely to happen.
The reason China is raising its defense spending is to ensure that China will not meet strategic suppression. It is why China is developing high-end arms and a strategic deterrent system.
But these efforts have met with controversy domestically. It may be that China has been walking toward democracy, while it remains to be seen if these disputes will make China stronger or weaker.
China should remain united, which would help it show a strong stance when encountering external provocations and not compromise with outside forces because of internal conflicts.
The dispute over the Diaoyu Islands crisis is clear. China has no choice but to respond to Japan's outrageous provocation. This is a vital step for China to consolidate its claims of sovereignty in the East and South China Seas.
Regrettably, a few so-called elites have shown a cynical attitude toward the government's stance. There are constant voices criticizing the government for being too soft over the Diaoyu issue.
There's often a disparity between public anger and the country's policies. China is not a well-rounded country. It has never experienced such rapid development as it has in recent years and lacks confidence in its rise. How society should distribute power remains unknown.
Making decisions is difficult. If its 1.3 billion population doesn't have a clear sense of the importance of unity, disputes will always linger in society.
Unity is the source of power. This is a concept that has never become outdated in today's society.
China used to be like a pile of sand. It also had an abnormal state of unity. Real unity should belong to today.
The article is an editorial published in the Chinese edition of the Global Times Wednesday.