China has realized its first centenary goal of eradicating absolute poverty and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects thanks to the able and strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this year.
As CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping said in the important July 1 speech to mark the historic anniversary, China is now in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building it into a great modern socialist country in all respects by 2050(2049 being the centenary of the founding of New China).
The world faces a stronger, confident and reliable China, which has assumed its rightful place in the global governance mechanism. But this development is accompanied by growing narratives that China has become assertive and aggressive, and is provoking and jeopardizing the Western economic, democratic and security order.
There are three main Western narratives targeted at China. The first and most important is values, the second the future international order, and the third China’s political system and idea of democracy and human rights, which are not in accordance with the Western concepts.
China acknowledges many Western values but does not accept all of them, for Chinese values are based on Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Marxism including Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. And the fact that one-fifth of the global population does not accept Western values as its own raises questions on the universality of Western values.
The CPC has not only helped China become the world’s second-largest economy and biggest trading country, but also restored the dignity of the Chinese people and ensured China assumes its rightful place in the global arena.
Also, for years China has been contributing more than 30 percent to global economic growth. It is also leading the global fight against climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, and helping other countries with essential supplies, including solar panels, green technology, and medicines and vaccines.
But unlike the United States, China is not interested in establishing its hegemony. Instead, it is using diplomacy, dialogue and trade to create a global network of equal partners, and striving to build a community with a shared future for mankind. China’s partnership diplomacy is based on the strategic partnerships it has signed with different economies, and is aimed at promoting global development and countering the US’ power politics.
China is fighting its way through these challenging times by increasing its say in global governance based on mutual understanding. Moral realism theorist Yan Xuetong, who is also the founder of the School of International Relations at Tsinghua University, has said globalization is not only about the battle for new markets and resources, but also about setting rules and norms.
Public diplomacy helps China better tell its story to the world, and the CPC plays a central role in China’s public diplomacy, stressing the importance of building partnerships through peaceful means as opposed to enforcing its policies on the rest of the world.
China’s foreign policy-making is a highly deliberative process involving stakeholders from different fields, including academics and think tanks. On May 31, Xi Jinping said that Party officials should present the image of a “credible, lovable and respectable China” to the world and that it is “necessary to constantly expand the circle of friends (when it comes to) international public opinion”.
Peace and economic development remain the core of China’s foreign policy. And in his July 1 speech, Xi reiterated the importance of realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the second centennial goal.
But China faces fierce opposition from the West. The West has intensified its China-containment strategy mirrored in its Indo-Pacific policies and NATO framework. When the G7 met in June this year, the focus turned to China again, proving that Sino-Western relations are not getting any better. The G7 leaders announced various initiatives to counter China, including “Build Back Better World”. And the NATO meeting on the June 14 warned that China poses a military threat to the West.
As Zeno Leoni, a teaching fellow at the Defense Studies Department of King’s College London, wrote recently, “Why there is much to celebrate as the Communist Party of China turns 100”, the G7 Summit in Cornwall showed US President Joe Biden will struggle to build a unified anti-China front. And European Union diplomats said the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy want a more nuanced China policy compared with Biden’s hard line, and the EU’s approach should be one of “cooperate”, “compete”, and “contest”.
Beijing rightly denounced the G7 statement, saying the days when “small groups of countries” controlled the fate of the world are over. Many developing countries, including the Balkan states, backed China on the issue. Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was one of the Balkan states to support China, is a member of the “16+1” (16 Central and Eastern European countries plus China) mechanism, which helped the member states realize that cooperation with China facilitated balanced development in Europe. China has promised that investments, trade, and infrastructure development would give a new impetus to regional economies’ growth, although, of late, there has been some discontent among the CEE countries due to the slow progress of some of the projects.
A detailed analysis is needed to ascertain whether the infrastructure projects endanger the fiscal stability of the countries where they are implemented (as claimed by the EU), because local authorities are using the EU’s accusation that China is investing huge amounts without following the rules of “democracy” and environmental protection to question the effectiveness of Chinese-led projects.
Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations with China in 2020 and is trying to strengthen cooperation with it. But it is often pressed by the EU and the US not to deepen ties with China, despite the latter offering infrastructure projects without any conditions attached. Bosnia and Herzegovina finds itself in a dilemma, not least because China provided it with necessary supplies to combat the epidemic.
Many institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina recently organized events, including lectures, to explain the importance of the CPC, and China’s reform and opening-up, which are important for understanding China and what it means for the world.
China can be better understood through its history, culture, and political and social principles, not through Western political theories and practices. And through its philosophy- and history-based approach to building friendships for mutual interest, the CPC has shown China’s model of development and cooperation is new and effective, as it is based on multi-polarity and international values.
The author is director of Confucius Institute, Banja Luka University, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The views don’t necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
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