Lead­ers walk in shoes of refugees

China Daily (Canada) - - XI’S VISIT -

Stand­ing in a dark room, I was taken aback by the sound of guns as shout­ing sol­diers burst in, hurtling us this way and that. In the noisy, hu­mid air rank with smoke, I could make no sense ofmy sur­round­ings.

In that mo­ment, I al­most for­got that I was at the­World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos, in the Swiss Alps, where global elites gather ev­ery year.

In­deed, I was, but I also was in a 75-minute sim­u­la­tion cre­ated by the Cross­roads Foun­da­tion to help fo­rum par­tic­i­pants un­der­stand refugees’ plight.

We were given a new iden­tity and put into cramped, noisy camps to rou­tinely be in­spected, in­ter­ro­gated, in­sulted and threat­ened. Al­though staged, the in­tense ex­pe­ri­ence made me em­pathize with refugees.

Par­tic­i­pants seemed to un­der­stand that global devel­op­ment is not just about growth and po­lit­i­cal prom­ises, but im­prov­ing the lives of every­one in so­ci­ety, es­pe­cially those who feel marginal­ized.

In­clu­sive growth was a key part of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s pow­er­ful open­ing speech at the fo­rum this year, and I felt deeply moved when I heard him ex­press com­pas­sion for the re­cent waves of refugees from theMid­dle East andNorth Africa.

“Sev­eral mil­lion peo­ple have been dis­placed, and some small chil­dren lost their lives while cross­ing the rough sea. This is in­deed heart­break­ing,” I heard him say.

Xi said the so­lu­tion lies in mak­ing peace, pro­mot­ing rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and restor­ing sta­bil­ity— so­lu­tions China has cham­pi­oned.

China promised to join the newPeace­keep­ing Ca­pa­bil­ity Readi­ness Sys­tem and com­mit­ted a standby mil­i­tary force of 8,000. China also will train 2,000 in­ter­na­tional peace­keep­ers, pro­vide $100 mil­lion in mil­i­tary aid to the African Union, and send its first he­li­copter squad to peace­keep­ing oper­a­tions in Africa. Those com­mit­ments are now in the process of be­ing im­ple­mented.

I will not for­get the plight of the refugees from theMid­dle East andNorth Africa, and I felt proud that our pres­i­dent cares so much about their sit­u­a­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.