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Cultural cold war shouldn’t cause shutdown of national opening-up

(Global Times)    09:31, January 28, 2015
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The relations among China, the US and other Western countries have never been more subtle and complicated. That is because, on the one hand, the bilateral ties between China and the US are enjoying comprehensive development, which seems to be unshakable. Meanwhile, the Sino-European relationship looks inspiring in terms of communication between governments as well as economic exchanges.

However, on the other hand, the West has been active in attacking China at the ideological level. If you look into the coverage in the Western press, some comments about China from members of their parliaments or social elites are nothing short of provoking a cultural cold war, which is a kind of destructive power that makes the relationships between China, the US and Europe increasingly damaged.

Some Americans and Europeans are obsessed with the cold war mind-set. Yet times have changed and so have the interaction patterns between major powers. Holding a cold war mind-set against China is not realistic, while cooperating with China has become an unavoidable choice, which would bring win-win results for both sides.

However, some of Westerners' feelings of uneasiness of China's rise, combined with the traditional cold war mentality, have taken control of their perception of China.

This puts China in an awkward position. We are keeping a wary eye on factors that might trigger a cold war while we are well aware that China is not in a cold war with the Western countries.

Therefore, when opinion leaders or mainstream media from the West talk about China as a "cold war rival," we feel hesitant as how to react.

Yet China won't be indifferent when the Western countries start a cultural cold war through variety of channels, especially via the Internet, or even create negative effects on ideology and public opinion within China by highlighting China's problems and leading it in the wrong direction.

Since reform and opening-up, Chinese society has generally held an open mind toward the West. But the public opinion in the West has repeatedly taken an aggressive posture, which makes the Chinese public outraged, but we always remind ourselves to be more tolerant.

Many Chinese observers have noted that Western opinions are also harsh on their own internal affairs, thus, it is no surprise for them to say unkind words to us. But all in all, our reaction to their unpleasant comments is restraint.

To be honest, we hope the Western powers not to expand their cultural cold war against China, which will eventually lead to the antagonism between the two sides without any room for maneuver. In that case, the bedrock of our cooperation will be sabotaged and both parties will inevitably think of the worst-case scenario once only a small conflict emerges.

Since the West holds the dominant position in cultural relations with China, mainstream elites from the US and Europe should realize the importance of the issue and become more proactive to raise positive voices that would benefit the communication between China and the West. Strategic mutual trust is what is needed the most between the two sides, and the uncontrolled ideological conflict is poisonous for Sino-Western relations.

Neither China nor the US needs a cold war, and both China and the West should avoid a cultural cold war. Western elites should not be so self-indulgent as to demonize China just because they dominate the discourse power.

For our part, how to deal with the attacks from the Western countries against China's ideology, especially when they collude with Chinese "opposing factions on the Internet," is a long-term test.

China has to stay alert against these aggressions. But in the mean time, we cannot let precaution become our collective manner toward the West, which will interrupt our opening up to the world.

We must not be baffled by this problem and the key to solve the puzzle might appear when we become more and more confident in the further development of our nation.

The article is an editorial from the Chinese edition of the Global Times on Monday. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Wang Ao,Liang Jun)

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