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Op-Ed: Yep, the world has a new role model for political and economic development

By Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)    12:24, November 02, 2017

Is America still the world’s role model? More people are making the argument that America is no longer the world’s role model. But others such as Martin Dempsey, a retired US general who served as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, still hold onto the belief that the US, and only the US, can light the world: “Heard China claims to be ‘role model’ for the world. Nope. The world has a role model. Unless we talk ourselves out of it,” he recently wrote on Twitter.

Judging by the responses, many are skeptical about this claim. “Psst: We’re not currently the world role-model,” one user commented. “We are a laughing stock,” a different user wrote. “To this observer America looks like a role model for a deeply corrupt democracy descending into civil war,” Margo Kingston, a retired political journalist, commented. “Pretty sure the rest of the world is striving NOT to be anything like US,” another user wrote.

The largely negative responses are not necessarily an accurate reflection of overall public opinion, but they do point to a larger truth, one that is becoming increasingly clear in this new era of world politics. That is, whether or not the US actually remains a good role model for the world, people increasingly believe that the US is, at the very least, no longer the world’s only role model. This is in part because of the decline of the US and, in part, because of the rise of China.

While the US still has an important role to play in this new era, some people are not exactly echoing Dempsey’s position. Fareed Zakaria, who writes a foreign affairs column for The Washington Post, said that the Chinese model has become an “alternative” model. And John Kelly, the current White House Chief of Staff for US President Donald Trump, recently acknowledged in an interview that China is “another world power.” From online comments to the highest levels of the US government, a coherent message is forming: the world does not just revolve around the West anymore.

And it is not hard to see why. China’s ruling party has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and created a thriving middle class, transforming the world’s most populous country into one of the world’s most powerful in record time. At the same time, China is helping other countries rise with game-changing initiatives such as the Belt and Road. The reality is that China is moving forward and closer to center stage. Meanwhile, the US appears to be turning toward isolationism and protectionism.

All of which, of course, means that China can light the world too. At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping said that the path, the theory, the system, and the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have kept developing, blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind.

Also as stated in the 19th CPC National Congress report, China remains firmly committed to building a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation.

China does not need to claim to be a role model for the world, because the advantages of the Chinese model are being increasingly recognized around the world – and at a time when the disadvantages of the American model are being highlighted. So whether one wants to admit it or not, a new role model is in town.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Bianji)

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