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British scholar: Belt and Road Initiative is practical and powerful

By Du Mingming and Andreia Carvalho (People's Daily Online)    18:04, May 18, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation showed exactly how practical the Chinese are about the initiative, according to Martin Jacques, a British scholar, in a recent interview with the People’s Daily Online.

Jacques emphasized the importance of how President Xi drew people together to overcome cultural and racial differences.

“Organizing such a big conference shows the growing confidence in the initiative,” Jacques explained. “It’s not hairy-fairy stuff; it’s very much literally on the ground. It’s what’s going to make it successful. A combination of big vision and one step at a time, it’s very powerful.”

Jacques, the author of the book "When China Rules the World," is a senior researcher at Cambridge University and a visiting professor at Tsinghua University.

He stated that the Belt and Road Initiative reflects China’s approach to sharing the development experience with other developing countries. This should be done based on circumstances, cooperation and mutual respect, according to the initiative. Jacques also commented that it’s absolutely inconceivable that this idea could have come from the West.

Raising the question of how this initiative can become a success, the professor echoed Xi’s view that it must involve consultation and discussion among participating countries.

“The way the 'Belt and Road' is going to interact and engage with other countries’ complementary projects is very important,” he said, noting that “there has been a very big shift” when it comes to China’s role in global development and governance.

“From being a relatively passive follower, China has become a leader, maker and shaper of these processes,” the scholar opined.

In his point of view, the West will not provide leadership in globalization in the upcoming era. Instead, he believes China’s Belt and Road Initiative is essential. Jacques pointed out that the Western tradition of globalization was actually more like westernization, while China’s approach is quite different and much more powerful, without adding value systems to the equation.

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