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China's development an opportunity, not threat
Latest Updated by 2007-01-24 14:29:27
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Two articles of note have been published recently. One is the January 22 feature article in US-based Time magazine entitled "China's Century"; the other is the result of a survey conducted by Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun on January 14. Both reports reflect a shift in attitude in western nations as China develops rapidly: western societies have gradually moved away from simple ideological opposition and become more pragmatic and rational although doubts and uncertainties still exist.

The Time article made several basic points about China. Firstly, that developing the economy and maintaining social stability is China's top priority; secondly, in foreign relations, safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity is "the most important thing"; thirdly, that China's diplomatic tactics have changed considerably and it has a greater sense of international responsibility. "China is thinking in much more active terms about its strategy, not only regionally, but globally, than it has done in the past. We have seen a sea change in China's fundamental level of confidence"; fourthly, China's rise "doesn't have to lead to the sort of horror that accompanied the emerging power of Germany or Japan."

In a poll conducted by Japan Economic Foundation and Chicago Council on Global Affairs, only 28, 29 and 23 percent of people surveyed in Japan, America and India believed China' s ever increasing influence on the international community should be actively contained. More people, 72, 65 and 40 percent of those surveyed in Japan, America and India, voiced a hope of "accelerating the building of a friendly and cooperative relationship with China." The majority of people surveyed saw China's progress as an opportunity to develop their own countries.

Awareness of a "rising China" grew in Western societies in the early 1990s, when BBC shot a documentary on this subject topic and the number of lectures on the Chinese economy increased in universities. In the mid 1990s, before visiting China, Bill Clinton was also concerned about "how China would show its greatness", voicing a Western opinion on China's advances. In the following decade, the "China threat" theory went in and out of favor, but has now been disproved by China's international behaviors and diplomatic practices.

First of all, China has shown a responsible attitude towards global affairs. A classic example is the 1997 Asian financial crisis, during which China refused to devalue the RMB, thereby helping other countries in the region through the troubles. China has also discarded the traditional modes of "power diplomacy" and "interest diplomacy", advocating a new type of internal relations in which the goals are peaceful and harmonious coexistence, mutual benefits, common ground and dialogue on equal footing. The new international order China proposes is a powerful driving force in the building of a civilized community worldwide. With such diplomatic practices China has gained more understanding and approval, allowing the "China opportunity" theory to takeover from the "China threat" theory.

Time has proved, and will continue to prove, that China's development is beneficial for world peace and stability.

Editor: Yan

By: Huang Qing Source: People's Daily website
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