Wake up and look at the outside world

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-3-29 0:38:01

President Xi Jinping has been better received during his European visit than many international observers had imagined possible.

In his speech in France, Xi described China as a "peaceful, amicable and civilized" lion that has woken up. He was referring to French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's description of China as a sleeping lion, which would "shake the world" after it woke up.

Leaving alone debates about whether Napoleon said a lion or a giant, China has been showing a different side of itself compared to past centuries.

In the early 20th century, when China was looking at the world from the perspective of German philosopher Karl Marx, the European countries were still formidable world powers. Now China has become a giant in their eyes.

The Chinese people may not be ready to face the change. The public has been occupied with sensational domestic news. Although the country has become more open than before, public interest in other countries are dwindling.

Chinese people's awareness of the outside world is not necessarily objective. Many people tend to label other countries with a certain prejudice, unconsciously stereotyping a country from some of its features. This discourages Chinese people from looking deeper into the country, resulting in blindly admiring or looking down on other countries.

People also go to different extremes in their assessment of the world's view of China. Some believe the West is always hostile, others believe the Global Village goes beyond national interests.

The international political environment has many unpredictable elements that could affect China's development more than any of the domestic risks. The Chinese people may not be aware of this.

There are numerous problems in China, all tangled up with each other. The country has an equal number of measures to solve these problems. But in the face of outside challenges, China may not have effective ways to bypass these pressures.

It is inevitable that China will further open up to the outside world. But Chinese people are paying more attention to an arson case involving a land dispute in Pingdu, Shandong Province, than China's loss in a case lodged with the WTO over the export of rare earths.

China has won precious time for its peaceful rise over the past few decades. Some people have the delusion that everything comes naturally.

But Chinese people cannot just bury their heads in the domestic sand. They need to look at the outside world. Even dealing with domestic affairs needs an international perspective.

Posted in: Editorial

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