Has China really become "arrogant"?

15:59, March 19, 2010      

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Of late, an absurdity of China's "arrogance" has begun to spread and become a "fashionable" phrase. This apparently seems to be a complaint but behind it evolve much suspicions and anxiety in relation to the direction for China's development, as if China today is no longer China of yesterday, which pursued peaceful development entirely. So its "lethal" effect on China's global image is by no means less than that of the "China Threat Theory", and so people should really have a high degree of vigilance.

In one of the most frequently-cited cases the West has kept accusing China of being "arrogant", the country "neglected" U.S. President Barack Obama at the Copenhagen climate Change summit held in late November 2009. In response to this charge, Premier Wen Jiabao made very careful, candid and detailed explanations. This attitude of China's in treating people with sincerity in itself shows that China has not turned arrogant at all. On the contrary, some Western media, however, took up the issue to lambaste or smear China in the absence of clear facts about the case, and let people indeed feel a kind of traditional, condescending arrogance of Westerners.

By terming China "arrogant", to put it simply, it implies that the Chinese people should not speak in such a voice. In the past, China also spoke of the interest demands, but not so many people listened to or paid serious attention to them then. Now with China's growing strength, the country's national status on the world arena is not the same, so China can not but speak, and others would listen to what it says.

Although China currently talk about the same sort of interest demands, especially those in connection to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of some cored interests, and there was absolutely no difference in what China said in the past and is saying at present, and sometimes not so straightforward and tough as in the past, but China was nevertheless said to be "arrogant", as it is solely because some personalities have not got accustomed to listen to Chinese speaking.

By citing China "arrogant", it also indicates that some people in the West neither take China for a power on an equal footing, nor come to see its development out of their way. Faced with a rapidly developing Orient nation, which differs with the West in varied ways, some Westerners simply bog down or are caught with their very complex psychological contradictions.

A case in point lies with the fact that some Americans, who could not rid themselves of a Western historical framework in recent years. But they have been bent on shaping China based on their U.S. mode and insisted that it cooperate with the United States, in a bid to retain the U.S.-led global system. But they have never realized that doing so is a sort of arrogance itself.

Moreover, by blaming China "arrogant", it shows that some people in the West no longer confide much in themselves as they used to. When some Westerners viewed the world and China's mindset in the past, they often had a strong sense of superiority, or an air of pride simply with an overweening arrogance.

Hit by a telling blow meted out during the global financial meltdown, Westerners reduced or lowered their sense of superiority far less as in the past. Particularly at a time when they saw China respond actively in the process of financial crisis with a vital role to play and display strength to some extent, they found themselves increasingly more hard to accept this reality psychologically.

Furthermore, to get to know if China is really arrogant or not, it is simple as a matter of course: As long as you think carefully of how and in what areas its people are arrogant? In these fields, you should recall how the Chinese said and did in the past and, if there are no differences at all, and "who" are entitled to put on their heads the "hat of arrogance" then?

By People's Daily senior desk editor Ding Gang and translated by PD Online
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