True major power needs mature mentality

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-1 0:13:01

Major power mentality used to be long embedded in China's traditional culture. In ancient Chinese history, China had long seen itself as the center of the world and referred to surrounding countries as "less civilized" or as barbarians. The ancient tributary system around China in East Asia, with substantial quantities of pilgrims coming to our capital, proved to be a significant symbol of a prosperous time in our history.

Today, Chinese society needs to rediscover our major power mentality from being burdened by our tragic history. But it doesn't mean we will go back to the arrogance of imperial China, but instead that we need to build a mind-set that matches our status of being a rising power. To do so, the biggest obstacle is to overcome the victim mentality that arose from our past suffering, and the confusion of the huge contrast between ancient glory and modern humiliation.

China's current rise has been rapid. It is not easy to adjust our mentality to catch up with it. For example, China used to be the world's largest recipient of foreign aid. Today, our national strength is enhanced, but disparities in development exist and we cannot ignore the poverty in some provinces and regions. Thus, the government must keep a low profile when it comes to  foreign aid, which is supposed to be trumpeted, since the public opinion always grumbles about it.

Meanwhile, our people are quite sensitive to the frictions with other nations, and always hope the government will win without any loss. It has greatly restricted the flexibility of the country's diplomacy. On many occasions, Chinese society is unnecessarily provoked by smaller countries.

As a country that is now at the core of the international arena, we must also become stronger spiritually.

As of Tuesday, 44 economies had submitted applications for founding member status in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It has largely surpassed the initial scale of the Asian Development Bank, which is led by the US and Japan. This success has pushed China toward becoming a "real major power." However, the more countries and regions join, the harder it will be for us to achieve a consensus in the future.

But we don't need to dwell on it too much. The establishment of the AIIB is already a big achievement for China.

Yet the greater the good deed is, the more trouble it will attract. The more a country does, the more it will be criticized.

China will inevitably shoulder increasing responsibilities in international affairs. It doesn't mean it will be at our expense. China should not focus on trivial matters in the years to come, such as foreign aid, but should concentrate more on the big picture of win-win cooperation with the rest of the world.

No external forces today can defeat major powers like the US and China. We are our own rivals. Therefore, pursuing a mainstream mind-set as well as an outlook that matches our responsibilities as a major power is an uphill battle that we must win.

Posted in: Editorial

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