China embraces the world more closely with confidence
Winter Olympics, busy diplomacy to set off new wave of ‘China mania’
Published: Feb 06, 2022 09:20 PM
Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

In what is described as a "spectacular and grand" diplomatic feast at the beginning of 2022, observers noted that China has sent a welcoming signal that it wants to embrace the world more closely, and in response, the arrival of over 30 dignitaries from other countries and international organizations, with a standing ovation at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics and fruitful meetings with Chinese leaders shows that the world also embraces China, said the analysts.

Moreover, the joyful gathering in Beijing has defied the US-led campaign to bad-mouth China and the Beijing Winter Olympics. Experts noted that the successful hosting of the games will not only drive a new wave of "China mania" all over the world, but will also show the world that China is determined to open as always. It is some Western countries, especially the US, that have changed, viewing China with a twisted, zero-sum mentality. 

After hosting a banquet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Saturday for state leaders and officials from international organizations, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with several foreign dignitaries on Sunday, including Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Singaporean President Halimah Yacob and President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez.

Deepened bilateral cooperation, friendship, contributing to regional and international stability and peace… those words topped Xi's remarks when meeting with those dignitaries. 

Xi told Khan that China is willing to work with Pakistan to accelerate the building of a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era, bring benefits to the people of the two countries, provide impetus for regional cooperation and contribute to world peace. 

When meeting with Duda, Xi called on both sides to tap the potential in fields such as trade and investment, transportation and logistics, as well as high and new technologies to lift bilateral practical cooperation to a new height.

He urged both sides to deepen the synergy of development strategies and promote the sound and steady development of bilateral relations in the post-pandemic era when meeting with Singapore's Halimah.  

The spirit of solidarity the Olympic Games want to convey is the most basic common value of humanity. China's diplomacy at this time is also a demonstration of our support for the Olympic spirit and solidarity of the major powers, said experts. 

"After more than 40 years of reform and opening-up, we are now most confident in knowing what it stands for and what kind of reform and opening-up will best benefit our development," Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday. "We have entered an era of independent innovation in an open environment. The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics proves our openness."

Lü said that China's expansion of its "friends circle" relies on common progress and development, so now a lot of developing countries are working together with and inviting China to participate in the construction of their infrastructure. 

The signal from such a splendid diplomatic feast at the beginning of 2022 is clear -  that is China's development relies on the world, and the world is ushering in more prosperity and hope when it more closely embraces China, said Li Haidong, professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University. 

New wave of China mania

In their meeting with Xi, foreign guests extended gratitude to China for help amid the COVID-19 pandemic, expressed their expectation of more and deeper cooperation with China and hailed China's hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

Li said that just like the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics will also stir up a new wave of "China craze," which is not only driven by the spectacular opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, dazzling decoration and careful preparation of the event, but also by China's confident diplomacy, current culture and politics. 

The Olympics has shone a light on the current state of China, which will attract more and more to take a close look at the East Asian country, Li said.

Singaporean President Halimah Yacob said she was honored to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The performance at the opening ceremony has fully demonstrated China's outstanding capability and high level in this regard. She believes that the Winter Olympics will be held in a green, safe way and will promote international unity and cooperation. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also hailed China's effort to eradicate absolute poverty during his meeting with Xi, noting that China's experience in governance is worth learning by every country. 

President Xi Jinping gives a toast at a banquet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 5, 2022 to welcome foreign dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games the previous day. Photo: Xinhua

President Xi Jinping gives a toast at a banquet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 5, 2022 to welcome foreign dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games the previous day. Photo: Xinhua

An anxious Washington

The West, however, is looking at China's festivities with a "sour grapes" mentality. Some US media and politicians continued to orchestrate efforts to throw mud at the Winter Olympics and China's diplomatic feast.

The Voice of America published an article saying that grand opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics shows a China that is drifting further away from the West and The New York Times harped on a meeting between Chinese and Russian leaders, saying it shows a China that is growing impatient, and disdainful, of Western censure.

Seeing China is cementing relationships with other countries, the US is anxious to win over Asian allies with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken next week participating in talks with Indo-Pacific allies, including a meeting of foreign ministers of the four-nation QUAD. 

Western media has been jumping on 2008 Olympics "nostalgia" to suggest that China has changed from a country that was "forward-looking" to one that is "tougher against the West and more isolated." 

China has not changed. Rather, it is the way Western countries see China that has changed, Li said. He noted that China has been more and more open and it has undertaken the responsibility of upholding multilateralism and globalization when they were in danger.

As some Western countries are growing wary of China's growth, they look at China with a narrowing mind, with more antagonism and with a twisted zero-sum mentality, which doubles down every time China makes achievements, or makes more friends, according to Li. 

Lü noted that the day for the West, especially the US to get rid of jealousy may yet come, yet they have to get rid of fear and learn to develop together. Judging by the reign of Trump and Biden for now, "if they just continue to smear China and make no changes, their results will get worse and worse," Lü said.

In his speech addressing the Saturday banquet, Xi extended gratitude to the guests for overcoming difficulties and inconvenience during the pandemic to come to Beijing, and cheer for China and the Winter Olympics. 

The Winter Olympics has mirrored international society's perspective of China. A few try to smear it, but there are also some others that stand together with you defying all the difficulties, said Li, noting that event not only shows the world Chinese people's ability to host the sports feast, but also China's big strides in diplomacy as well as the trends of international society.