China is not trying to export its political system, but to offer alternative or complementary solutions to various problems the world is facing
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the July 1 celebration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, he mentioned the concept of a “Chinese solution” for the first time. In an address packed with many well-worn terms, the new phrase stood out to observers at home and abroad, with many curious about what it could signify.
In fact, the world has already been introduced to
“Chinese solutions” in a vari
ety of fields. In the economic
and trade sector, there is the
Silk Road Economic Belt and
the 21st Century Maritime
Silk Road, now more com
monly known collectively as
the One Belt, One Road initiative, which aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe with improved infrastructure and increased trade. In the area of global financial governance, there is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Proposed by China in 2013, the AIIB currently has 57 founding members, and the number of its member states is expected to reach 90 next year. China has also proposed its own solutions in other fields, such as nuclear security and climate change.
Foreign observers have often met the various solutions offered by China with suspicion and concerns. To a large extent, this is because these solutions are often perceived as a challenge to the existing inter- national order. For example, the US and some of its allies have persistently pushed back against the AIIB. But the AIIB has proven itself to be a positive asset to the international financial order, providing much- needed capital to the construction of infrastructure in the developing world.
Contrary to common international perspectives, China is actually one of the biggest beneficiaries of the post-World War II order that many outsiders believe it is trying to challenge. China does not seek to overthrow this order, but to play a role appropriate for its position as the world’s second-largest economy. The collapse of this international order is the last thing China wants. In past years, China has strengthened its support of UN peacekeeping efforts. Two UN peacekeepers from China were killed in a recent attack in South Sudan. In regard to the economy and trade, challenged by rising protectionism and isolationism, China has increasingly become a major defender of a liberal global trade order.
By advocating “Chinese solutions,” China is not trying to export its political system, but to offer alternative or complementary solutions to various problems the world is facing from multiple fronts, including globalization, economic uncertainty, climate change and the spread of terrorism.
Of course, by offering Chinese solutions, China is also seeking greater influence on the global stage, which some countries may find difficult to accept. Leaders from China and other countries need to look beyond ideological differences to seek practical solutions to the various crises that currently challenge all of humankind.