Arab countries can draw valuable insights from China's experience in modernization
Published: Aug 05, 2023 10:49 AM
Officials from Syria visit an exhibition center of the G60 Science & Technology Innovation Valley in Shanghai during a seminar held by the China-Arab Research Center on Reform and Development in June. Photo: Courtesy of Iyad Zoukar

Officials from Syria visit an exhibition center of the G60 Science & Technology Innovation Valley in Shanghai during a seminar held by the China-Arab Research Center on Reform and Development in June. Photo: Courtesy of Iyad Zoukar

China-Arab Research Center on Reform and Development organized the thirteenth seminar for officials from Arab countries, known as the "Syrian Seminar." I was particularly interested in attending this seminar because it provided a valuable opportunity to exchange knowledge and expertise with Chinese experts and academics on important topics such as China's development updates, joint development models, economic cooperation and investment.

The session included visits to successful companies in Shanghai, Yangzhou [of Jiangsu Province], where we were introduced to advanced Chinese technology and innovations in fields like renewable energy and electric technology. This exposure to cutting-edge technologies and practices offered insights into potential areas of collaboration and economic exchange between China and Syria. Additionally, the cultural and social aspects of the seminar intrigued me and I was also fascinated by the chance to witness the modern cityscape of Shanghai and explore its local culture, which deepened my understanding of China's social fabric.

During my time in China, I witnessed various aspects of the Chinese modernization. China's experience in the path of reform and sustainable development was also highlighted during the seminar. The Chinese modernization is characterized by several key elements. 

First, the Chinese modernization emphasizes holistic development across various sectors, including economic, social, technological and cultural aspects.

Second, China places great importance on economic cooperation and investment, both domestically and internationally. This was evident through the discussions on joint development models and economic cooperation during the seminar.

Third, the Chinese modernization involves learning from China's own experiences and best practices. By studying China's development updates and policies, participants gained insights into how China has addressed common challenges and harnessed opportunities for progress.

Fourth, China's commitment to technological development is evident in its pursuit of sustainable economic growth and its role as a global leader in areas like 5G and artificial intelligence.

Fifth, the Chinese modernization is not limited to domestic efforts but also encompasses international cooperation. China's modernization strategy extends beyond its borders. The country actively engages in international cooperation and seeks to contribute to global development. 

Overall, the Chinese modernization is a comprehensive approach that combines economic development, technological innovation and cultural revitalization. It involves learning from successful Chinese experiences, exchanging knowledge and expertise, as well as fostering cooperation between China and other countries. 

Arab countries can draw valuable lessons and insights from China's experience in several aspects of developing their economy and achieving modernization. 

China's development updates can provide insights into strategic planning, policy implementation and adapting to changing global trends. China's Belt and Road Initiative, for example, can offer valuable insights into creating mutually beneficial economic relationships.

China's expertise in areas like renewable energy and electric technology can be beneficial for Arab countries looking to diversify their economies and attract foreign investment. By studying China's experiences, Arab countries can identify potential sectors for development and explore ways to foster economic cooperation with China.

China's involvement in large-scale infrastructure projects can serve as a reference for Arab countries seeking to enhance their own infrastructure systems. This knowledge can assist Arab countries in formulating comprehensive infrastructure plans and attracting foreign investment.

China's commitment to sustainable development and its emphasis on innovation were particularly striking. Witnessing the advanced technology, renewable energy initiatives and modern infrastructure reinforced China's reputation as a global leader in these areas. By incorporating Chinese technology and innovation practices, Arab countries can foster technological advancements and promote sustainable economic development.

What's also particularly impressive is China's approach to cultural preservation, tourism development and social coexistence. By promoting cultural exchange and tourism, Arab countries can enhance their soft power and attract international visitors.

China's experience in poverty alleviation and rural development can provide valuable insights for Arab countries facing similar challenges. By studying China's strategies in poverty reduction, rural infrastructure development and social welfare programs, Arab countries can explore effective approaches to uplift marginalized communities and promote inclusive growth.

In addition, the warm hospitality and genuine interest shown by the Chinese people were also quite exceptional. Interacting with Chinese professors, experts, entrepreneurs, and locals provided valuable insights into their perspectives, aspirations and shared values. These personal connections and exchanges fostered a deep sense of mutual respect and understanding.

I firmly believe that engaging in cultural exchanges, building bridges of cooperation and fostering mutual understanding between nations is crucial for global harmony and progress. My visit to China affirmed the importance of such endeavors, and I am optimistic about the potential for further collaboration and cooperation between Syria and China.

China and Arab countries can make further efforts to promote exchanges in various aspects, as called for by President Xi at the first China-Arab States Summit in December 2022. By focusing on these efforts, China and Arab countries can deepen their exchanges, strengthen cooperation and build a solid foundation for a shared future based on mutual understanding, respect and collaboration.

The author is professor and deputy director of the Syrian Diplomatic Institute at Syria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn