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The "Summit for Democracy" will only weaken global fight against COVID-19

The so-called "Summit for Democracy" proposed by the U.S. government -- which is nothing short of a lousy "talk show" of a "democracy lecturer" -- will take the stage soon.

At the 2021 Imperial Springs International Forum, Zheng Yongnian, Presidential Chair Professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen, shared his views on democracy.

(Photo: Steven Yuen)

The degeneration of the West comes from within

The forum focuses on “Multilateralism 2.0: Global Cooperation in the Post-Pandemic Era”. Recently, Omicron has triggered a new wave of COVID-19 infection. European and American countries have cut off flights to several countries with serious infection in Africa. As of December 2, more than 30 countries and regions had cut off flights with southern African countries.

Zheng comments: “It will not solve the problem. Second, it will deceive themselves and others, right?” He further explains now in the context of globalization, various countries are really combined with each other, in a community of shared future for mankind. “If one looks at it from the economic level, the entire supply chain and industrial chain are global.”

In fact, Western countries are actually disadvantageous in their own COVID-19 control, and it is difficult for them to take strong measures. However, this time, the suspension of flights for Southern African countries is very firm.

Zheng recalled: “I will never forget US former President Donald Trump’s suggestion that disinfectant could be used to treat COVID-19. He surely knew that disinfectant couldn't cure the coronavirus. He just said that for the needs of populism.”

He criticized, “the degeneration of the West is due to the fall of the political elite. The elite and the ruling class are both essential in the political system of a country. When they decline, the country loses its hope.”

However, in spite of the doubts over its governing system, the US decided to organize its first “so-called” Summit for Democracy and carefully selected the attendees at the Summit.

“It is clear that the Western democratic crisis comes from within, but Western countries attribute their problems to China and Russia, even though their democratic deterioration has nothing to do with us. This will only worsen the problems.” Zheng stressed.

The United States is now practicing re-industrialization as the first means of decoupling from China, intending to encourage manufacturing to leave China and return to U.S. production. And secondly transfer the production in China to Southeast Asian countries. He pointed out: “But these two approaches both fail. What the ruling elites or administrations in the West do completely neglects the laws of economics.”

(Photo: Steven Yuen)

Rules must cater for the international community before going global

On December 4, China's State Council Information Office released a white paper titled "China: Democracy That Works." It said, democracy is a common value of humanity and an ideal that has always been cherished by the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese people.

Fully understanding the situation of different countries is the prerequisite for rule making. China's international rules differ from those of the West. “However, the United States and other Western countries force other countries to accept their rules,” Zheng pointed out.

“There is no single road to democracy. The true barrier to democracy lies not in different models of democracy, but in arrogance, prejudice and hostility towards other countries' attempts to explore their own paths to democracy, and in assumed superiority and the determination to impose one's own model of democracy on others.” The white paper said.

The professor named two examples: The Greater Middle East Initiative is actually a way for the United States to impose its own political rules on these countries; and the Afghanistan issue represents a failure of American political rules.

“The United States and its allies practice closed multilateralism, where their rules are thrust on other countries. China will not do this.”

He said, adding “why is there the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation? The West slanders African leaders for appearing to present tribute? No, that's a slander. We discuss with African leaders and reach consensus with each other.” For China, Belt and Road Initiative encourages all members to make rules together, instead of letting China make rules for other members.

(Photo: Steven Yuen)

China's multilateralism targets issues rather than a certain country

In terms of multilateralism 2.0., in Zheng’s mind, China has showed a great dispute and difference with the West over multilateralism in recent years. The US-led multilateralism is directed at the third party, while China's multilateralism targets issues rather than a certain country.

“China's multilateralism is open and inclusive. The Belt and Road Initiative welcomes the participation of the US and any other countries, so we are practicing multilateralism 2.0, which is different from the US-led multilateralism 1.0. China has chosen the right direction, considering the world where ‘international public problems’ such as COVID-19, climate change, and terrorism are increasing.”

Author | Steven Yuen, Hannah Zhou, Huang Yanting (intern)

Editor | Keane Wong, Jerry

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