Misguided academics promote China-EU confrontation

By Yu Ning Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/5 23:13:39

An adverse current is emerging in EU intellectual circles with the potential to divert China-EU relations toward a devastating confrontation. If unbridled, such a current will severely undermine the established trust between China and Europe.

Released by the Mercator Institute for China Studies and the Berliner Global Public Policy Institute on Monday, the report "Authoritarian Advance: Responding to China's Growing Political Influence in Europe" accuses China of expanding its political influence in Europe and attributes China's alleged "political influence-seeking" to demands for securing "regime stability at home" and an intention to "popularize its political and economic development model abroad." The report also hit at China's lack of openness, criticizing China for tightly restricting access to international ideas, actors and capital.

China, according to the logic of the report, is a rival of the EU that seeks to overturn its political system, but is that the case?

Every country must secure the stability of its regime. This is indisputable and gives no cause for criticism. Over the past 40 years since reform and opening-up, China has created a political and economic model with Chinese characteristics and achieved great success. China has no desire to change the EU's political system nor does it believe it is capable of doing so.

Given the huge success of the Chinese model, arguments that China's political and economic development model might be superior to the Western model are arising within Europe. Endorsing the Chinese political model doesn't mean supporting the idea that European countries should adopt the Chinese model.

Regardless of China's continuous endeavor to expand its opening-up, some hold that the Chinese economy is still not open enough. China attaches great importance to the opinions of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China and will make more arrangements this year that are conducive to EU investment in China. This is not driven by politics, but arrangements in accordance with China's domestic economic development and social stability. China will stick to opening-up, but will gradually expand its openness based on its own schedule.  

EU think tanks are increasingly studying China's influence on the global stage, but they should proceed fairly and without prejudice. The development of friendly cooperation is the mainstay of China-European relations. Unfortunately, the newly released report advocates confrontation between Chinese and EU political models. In fact, the two models can cooperate and coexist.

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