China model not for other countries

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/23 21:18:40

Yan Xuetong Photo: Li Hao/GT

The path of China's reform and development has been fraught with Western criticism, as if the only genuine reform, in the eyes of some Western people, is China adopting the Western development model. Some Westerners want China to emulate it through reform and feel very disappointed if China doesn't do it. But the fact is: China is different from the West. It cannot become like the West. 

China's reform, though influenced by Western achievements, has come about largely because of the path laid out by the country itself. The point is not what the West expects China to look like, but what we Chinese expect the country to be. What kind of country should China become? Are Chinese people's rights and interests well protected? Are there enough systematic and institutional guarantees to ensure the people run the country? We must be clear about China's distance from its goal. It makes no sense if we pay too much attention to the goal set by some Westerners for us. 

China on many occasions has reiterated its long-standing commitment to reform and opening-up. This is recommendable. The basis for the achievements China has made over the past four decades is the country's adherence to the principle of reform and opening-up. Without reform and opening-up, we wouldn't have become what we are today. It's right for China to continue to stick to the principle. Only by continuously deepening reform and expanding opening-up, can China enhance its strength and international status. The most urgent task now is to ensure that policies formulated at department or local levels can help reform and opening-up. 

Many people are talking about the China model, arguing that China is rapidly developing into a model that is different from the West. Many developing countries are also studying what they can learn from the China model to spur development. However, from China's perspective what the country should do is to display to the world that the China model is only applicable to China. The reason why China has succeeded in the past decades of development is because of taking the road with Chinese characteristics. It doesn't imitate the model of any other country, but develops based on its own conditions. Countries need to invent their own models of development. Simply imitating the China model or Western model will only lead to failures. China is different from other countries. We don't like to become like others, nor do we hope other countries should emulate us. Setting the China model as an example and hoping other countries to follow China can easily lead to an ideological confrontation. 

Imagine two countries, each believes its model is superior to others and should be imitated. There will be rivalry between models, systems and eventually ideologies. 

Since the Chinese government stated at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in May, all civilizations are rooted in their unique cultural environment and no civilization is superior over others, more attention should be paid to emphasize why the China model is unique and only applicable to China itself. If other countries want to learn from China's experience, we are willing to share, but China should be cautious about the intention to improve the China model worldwide or impose it on others.  

Our achievements over the past 70 years have proven that China has chosen and insisted on a path that suits its own conditions. We should work toward making the country better and stronger by continuing with reform and opening-up. There is no need to compare China with Western countries or to promote the superiority of the China model. This won't help improve China's international image. 

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Yu Jincui based on an interview with Yan Xuetong, distinguished professor and dean of the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University and secretary-general of the World Peace Forum.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

blog comments powered by Disqus