(LI MIN / CHINA DAILY)
In traditional Chinese culture, an ideal world is one in which the "Great Way" prevails and works for the common good, and the world is for everyone. The Great Way refers to the values of humanity such as fairness and justice. And the "Universal Harmony" proposed by Confucius means harmonious coexistence, common development, and respecting the diversity among civilizations. It is mirrored in the vision of building a community with a shared future.
The Communist Party of China firmly believes in Marxism and also holds dear the fine traditions of Chinese culture. Since the day of its founding, it has been committed to realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and contributing to global development.
Contributing more to global development
Even when China was a poor and weak country in the 1950s, Chairman Mao Zedong had high expectations that China should and would make greater contributions to the world, saying that with an area of 9.6 million square kilometers and a population of 600 million, China could make great contributions to the world. In the 1980s Deng Xiaoping also talked about China contributing more to global development.
Today, after Beijing has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects and is pursuing the second centenary goal of developing China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, harmonious, culturally advanced and beautiful, it is more willing and capable of making greater contributions to the world.
The CPC's mission is to seek happiness for the people, realize national rejuvenation and make greater contributions to the world. Just as Xi Jinping, CPC Central Committee general secretary, said in the report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC that "the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people have provided humanity with more Chinese insight, better Chinese input, and greater Chinese strength to help solve its common challenges and have made new and greater contributions to the noble cause of human peace and development."
Amid increasing uncertainties, Xi proposed building a community with a shared future for mankind. Why did he make such a proposal? What is a community with a shared future? What good will it do to the world and how can it be built?
The world has become a global village, but the people have not yet formed a "big family". The global economy has been sluggish for some time now and various global challenges keep popping up from time to time. Financial crises, climate change, pandemics and other hotspot issues have put people's interests and well-being in jeopardy.
The Ebola pandemic in 2014 and the COVID-19 pandemic which is still raging in many parts of the world are stark reminders that humankind is a community with a shared future where no country can be safe until all countries are safe, and to safeguard global public health requires global cooperation. All countries rise together or fall together.
Some countries still play zero-sum games
Yet some countries are still playing zero-sum games and have resorted to protectionism and unilateralism, even trying to weaken economic globalization. Indeed, the world faces a severe deficit of peace, development, governance and trust.
What has happened to the world and how should we respond?
China has responded by proposing to build a global community with a shared future. This means accommodating the common concerns of the countries and urging people across the world to work together to overcome the challenges facing global development and governance.
Given all these challenges, what kind of world should we aim to build and how to build it?
We need to build a community with a shared future for mankind, which means building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of eternal peace, universal security and common prosperity. It also means building partnerships, developing shared security mechanisms; seeking common development; upholding inclusiveness; learning from each other; and pursuing green, low-carbon, sustainable development. The aim should be to promote mutual respect, equality and justice, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development among all countries.
But no country alone can build a global community with a shared future. The efforts to build such a community should be like those of the members of an orchestra. All countries have to play their respective parts to make this endeavor a success. China made this proposal to help the international community to reach a consensus on maintaining peace, promoting common development and working together to build a better world.
BRI a symbol of promoting shared future
The Belt and Road Initiative is an important step toward building a global community with a shared future, as it aims to improve infrastructure connectivity through joint efforts. For example, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya, built under the Belt and Road framework, began operations in 2017 and has significantly reduced travel time between Kenya's biggest port city of Mombasa and capital Nairobi. In the long run, the railway will further improve connectivity in Eastern Africa, facilitating travel and transportation from Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan and other landlocked countries to the Indian Ocean.
The Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway started operations in 2018, greatly reducing travel time between the port of Djibouti and the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. And the China-Laos Railway opened in 2021, bringing Laos and its neighboring countries closer. These examples show how the Belt and Road Initiative has helped turn "landlocked countries" into "land-linked countries".
The initiative also aims to boost industrial capacity cooperation. In 2011, China's Huajian Group invested in a women's shoe-making factory in Ethiopia. With an annual production capacity of 5 million pairs of shoes, the factory generates more than $30 million in output value and makes shoes for consumers across the world, including in the United States and Europe.
Thanks to such Chinese investments, we are seeing more and more "made-in-Africa" products in different countries across the world. By 2020, Chinese enterprises had built 113 overseas industrial parks and industrial zones in 46 countries — Long Jiang Industrial Park in Vietnam, Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Park, Great Stone China-Belarus Industrial Park, China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, and Eastern Industrial Zone in Ethiopia, to name a few. And with more Chinese enterprises "going global", the host countries' industrial capacities have got a boost and their industries have been upgraded.
I have visited Ethiopia many times and have been delighted to see China-Africa cooperation bearing fruits. The Chinese stamp is everywhere in Ethiopia, from its first expressway, first light rail, first electrified railway, first wind farm, first modern industrial park and first modern professional school. Chinese enterprises have either invested in them or helped build them.
Thanks to its cooperation with China, Ethiopia enjoyed an average economic growth rate of more than 10 percent for 10 consecutive years. Some Western politicians and media outlets have accused China of practicing neo-colonialism in Africa. Ethiopia, a country with limited resources, is strong proof that such accusations are false, as China has helped the country to find a path toward win-win cooperation and common development.
But what is the ultimate goal of the Belt and Road Initiative?
The answer is quite simple. While promoting its own development, China hopes to share its development dividends with the rest of the world and integrate further into the global community to enjoy the benefits of deeper cooperation and create more development opportunities for other countries.
The Belt and Road Initiative is not a tool to win geopolitical games, nor form exclusive interest groups. On the contrary, its aim is to build a new platform for win-win cooperation and a new type of international partnership for development. Its salient features are mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
Chinese wisdom helps improve global governance
To make greater contributions to the world, China has also been actively engaging in global governance. In the age of economic globalization, while peace, development and cooperation remain the theme of the times, traditional and non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, climate change and pandemics are posing serious challenges to humankind.
Against such a background, China proposed reforming the global governance system based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and called on all countries, developing countries in particular, to overcome the challenges together.
On the climate front, for instance, China has been making arduous efforts to meet the Paris Agreement goals. It has played a constructive role at the United Nations Climate Change Conferences, facilitating discussions and negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. To fulfill its climate commitments, it has pledged to peak its carbon emissions before 2030 and realize carbon neutrality before 2060. It has also been trying to meet its other climate goals in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities".
On global public health, China proposed building a global community of health for all and urged the international community to work together to overcome global health challenges. When the Ebola pandemic broke out in West Africa in 2014, the Chinese government was one of the first to offer emergency assistance to African countries to contain the pandemic.
China proposed building a global community of health for all, and has been helping develop countries to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and revive their economies after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020. In the meantime, China has largely contained the virus at home.
Also, China has fully implemented the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, joined COVAX(COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access), which is a worldwide initiative aimed at providing equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. It has also proposed to make vaccines a global public good, and worked with other countries to make vaccines more affordable and more easily accessible to people around the world.
A better world makes a better China and vice-versa. While pursuing its own development, China has remained committed to making greater contributions to the world. It has made great contributions to global development and poverty alleviation, provided international development assistance to other countries, and taken part in global security governance. And it will always honor its commitment to promote global development, contribute to global governance and safeguard the international order, because its goal is to build a better world.
The author is a professor in international studies at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.