Xi re­jects zero-sum the­ory

‘Fool­ish,’ ‘dis­as­trous’ to re­shape other civ­i­liza­tions

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Yang Sheng and Zhao Yusha

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping re­futed the clash of civ­i­liza­tions the­ory and warned that it was “fool­ish to be­lieve that one’s race and civ­i­liza­tion are su­pe­rior to oth­ers, and it is dis­as­trous to will­fully re­shape or even re­place other civ­i­liza­tions.” CONFERENCEON DIALOGUEOF ASIANCIVILIZATIONS

Xi de­liv­ered a keynote speech at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Con­fer­ence on Di­a­logue of Asian Civ­i­liza­tions in Beijing on Wednesday. His re­marks were re­warded with rounds of ap­plause.

Chi­nese ex­perts said that the at­ten­dees from dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tions to the con­fer­ence, es­pe­cially from non-western civ­i­liza­tions, shared the opin­ion of Xi and China, as there were too many ex­am­ples of Western coun­tries cre­at­ing con­flicts in the non-western world due to their ar­ro­gant thoughts and dis­as­trous ap­proaches to West­ern­ize oth­ers.

“Xi didn’t specif­i­cally name any coun­try that holds a fool­ish thought or uses a dis­as­trous ap­proach to re­shape or even re­place other civ­i­liza­tions, but the an­swer is very clear,” said Li Haidong, a pro­fes­sor at the China For­eign Af

fairs Univer­sity’s In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions in Beijing.

The US and its al­lies used “de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion for other civ­i­liza­tions” as an ex­cuse to ex­pand their in­flu­ence in many re­gions world­wide, in­clud­ing the Mid­dle East, North­ern Africa, Latin Amer­ica, East­ern Europe and so on, Li said. “This kind of ac­tion has made too many peo­ple suf­fer from con­flicts and in­sta­bil­ity.”

The thoughts of the West have a his­tor­i­cal rea­son, said Zhang Wei­wei, di­rec­tor of the China In­sti­tute at Fu­dan Univer­sity in Shanghai.

Af­ter the in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion that em­pow­ered Western coun­tries to sur­pass oth­ers in the 19th cen­tury, they launched colo­nial wars on non-western civ­i­liza­tions. Asian civ­i­liza­tions in­clud­ing China and In­dia were both vic­tims, Zhang said.

“The West also cre­ates a kind of narrative: The West is civ­i­lized and the non-western world is un­civ­i­lized and bar­baric,” noted Zhang.

On the con­trary, Chi­nese civ­i­liza­tion holds a very dif­fer­ent idea on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween civ­i­liza­tions, which is more about re­spect for dif­fer­ences and em­pha­sizes equal­ity, Chi­nese ex­perts noted.

Xi un­der­scored in his speech the im­por­tance of mu­tual re­spect and equal treat­ment among civ­i­liza­tions.

He also sum­ma­rized the essence of Chi­nese civ­i­liza­tion: “Seek­ing good­will with neigh­bors and har­mony with all na­tions is the Chi­nese way of en­gag­ing with the world. Ben­e­fit­ing the peo­ple and pro­vid­ing them with sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity are the dis­tinc­tive val­ues of Chi­nese civ­i­liza­tion,” and “Keep­ing re­form­ing and in­no­vat­ing, and ad­vanc­ing with the times are the un­changed spirit of Chi­nese civ­i­liza­tion. Fol­low­ing the rules of na­ture and unit­ing hu­man and uni­verse are the phi­los­o­phy of ex­is­tence for Chi­nese civ­i­liza­tion.”

Rem Ba­hadur BK, sec­re­tary of the Fed­er­a­tion of Nepali Jour­nal­ists who came to Beijing for the con­fer­ence, told the Global Times on Wednesday that “Western coun­tries’ cul­ture dom­i­nated the world for a while,” and now “we [non­west­ern coun­tries] want to achieve de­vel­op­ment.”

Un­der the de­vel­op­ment of oth­ers, Asian peo­ple have be­gun to re­al­ize the im­por­tance of re­viv­ing their cul­tures, he said.

The on­go­ing con­fer­ence has drawn more than 2,000 gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 47 Asian coun­tries and other coun­tries out­side the re­gion, the Xinhua News Agency re­ported.

Vis­i­tors to the me­dia cen­ter will see 48 pic­tures on the walls show­cas­ing the her­itage, cul­tural relics and ma­jor cities of the 48 Asian coun­tries par­tic­i­pat­ing in the con­fer­ence.

There will be dis­cus­sions on top­ics, in­clud­ing tourism, cul­ture, peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes and shar­ing of gov­er­nance ex­pe­ri­ence.

Other ac­tiv­i­ties such as an Asian cul­tural car­ni­val, Asian civ­i­liza­tion week and an Asian food fes­ti­val will also be held.

No clash of civ­i­liza­tions

Xi’s keynote speech was also a strong re­sponse to the clash of civ­i­liza­tions the­ory held by some US politi­cians who be­lieve in a zero-sum re­la­tion­ship be­tween dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tions, Chi­nese ob­servers noted.

Xi said “There is no con­flict among dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tions at the be­gin­ning…we should not only make our own civ­i­liza­tion full of vigor and vi­tal­ity but also cre­ate con­di­tions for the de­vel­op­ment of other civ­i­liza­tions so that all the world’s civ­i­liza­tions will flour­ish.”

On April 29, Kiron Skin­ner, di­rec­tor of pol­icy plan­ning at the US De­part­ment of State, ar­gued that China-us com­pe­ti­tion was a “clash of civ­i­liza­tions,” CNN re­ported.

Skin­ner de­scribed com­pe­ti­tion with China as “a fight with a re­ally dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tion and a dif­fer­ent ide­ol­ogy, and the United States hasn’t had that be­fore.”

Com­pared to the zero-sum idea held by some Western coun­tries, China’s men­tal­ity or cul­ture is much more suit­able for the mod­ern world when deal­ing with oth­ers, Li said.

“That’s why the China-pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive has won con­fi­dence and sup­port from both non-western and Western coun­tries, and its de­ter­mi­na­tion to up­hold mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism and re­form glob­al­iza­tion have im­proved its im­age greatly,” Li said.

Un­for­tu­nately, at the same time, the US is be­ing en­gaged in trade fric­tion with its trade part­ners and ir­re­spon­si­bly with­draw­ing from in­ter­na­tional deals and or­ga­ni­za­tions, which has caused great dam­age to its im­age and in­ter­ests, Li noted.

Egyp­tian jour­nal­ist Mo­hamed He­maida Mo­hamed Mazen told the Global Times that “all civ­i­liza­tions in the world can help build a shared fu­ture with each other, and no coun­try can solve its prob­lems alone in the mod­ern world. Coun­tries need to co­op­er­ate with each other to solve global prob­lems like global warm­ing and ter­ror­ism.”

“The old co­op­er­a­tion on the an­cient Silk Road is a good ex­am­ple – mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion with each other and shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences with each other,” Mazen said.

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