China is facing the most immoral and unprecedented attacks from myriad quarters because of its ability to remove the obstacles to its economic growth at a time when almost all other countries are encountering economic downturn, which began with the global financial crisis.
Victorious over the fiercest enemy of humankind, “poverty”, and having largely contained the spread of the novel coronavirus, China is progressing on the development path following the “people-first” principle, which is considered ideal for governance and global leadership, because it builds mutual trust among countries and promotes beneficial interactions between them instead of sowing the seeds of division and using threat and coercion.
This is how the Chinese leadership devised the country’s realistic and ethical policy and made it strategically credible. Equally important, its leadership’s quality does not come from manipulation of rules and principles; it has developed through appropriately handling bilateral, multilateral and international affairs. No wonder the Chinese leadership has been fulfilling its promises and commitments toward not only friendly partner countries but also those with which it doesn’t have very good relations.
This is the way to prompt countries to work together and shoulder their respective responsibility in cooperative endeavours, and move forward together on the path of development, peace and prosperity.
The Chinese concept of cooperation is based on mutual trust and mutual understanding, which is different from the Western concept of “implicit threat of force”.
China’s focus on leadership quality highlights the importance of choice and the ability to use opportunities in a way that it leads to peace and prosperity, rather than frictions and war. The Chinese leadership also aims to improve the country’s position on the global stage through political means and reforms, and bolster national strength as part of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
That’s why Chinese leaders have been seeking to expand the circle of China’s partners who support its development concept.
China supports its partner countries, and backs decisions that safeguard and promote the rights of the people while rejecting and denouncing the US-led West’s decisions and moves, including imposing sanctions on other countries and using long-arm jurisdiction, aimed at reinforcing the hegemony of the major powers.
China has helped establish regional and international institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which do not necessarily fully comply with the international rules and criteria set by the US-led West. In this way, the Chinese leadership maintains its moral character without trying to overhaul the existing international order.
China’s leadership has always (and continues to) put people’s interests first and deal with other countries based on the principle of mutual benefit, which is in contrast to what the Western, especially US, leaders do. In fact, drunk on the spirit of “dominance and expansion”, many US and other Western leaders rarely, if ever, take people’s interests into account.
China’s concept of nation building stems from its adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law.
As President Xi Jinping has said, the achievement of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects has put higher demands on governance in accordance with the law. Hence, the need to push forward scientific legislation, better implement the rule of law, ensure fair justice and deliver good governance.
The Chinese leadership realised early that when a political system is based on the principle of hegemony and expansion and does not put people’s interests first, the failure of policies and people’s anger and indignation against the leaders would be the final harvest. And when it puts the interests of the people at the forefront and deals with other countries with respect and on an equal footing, people’s support and diplomatic success will surely follow.
The author Wael Khalil Yassine is chairman of the Middle East Studies and Development Center, an independent think tank in Lebanon.
First published in the China Daily Sept 19 2022