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Commentary: China is rising. Get used to it

(Xinhua)    14:10, March 07, 2018

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) - China's development is closely connected with that of all other countries and its commitment to peaceful development will not change, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Monday.

However, some Western countries have jumped at every opportunity to hype up a fabricated "China threat," from labeling China as a strategic competitor and proposing bans on government purchases of equipment from Chinese tech companies, to subjecting Chinese investments to greater scrutiny due to national security concerns.

Why is it so difficult for them to abandon antagonistic thinking, view China with less suspicion, and accept the country's rise on the world stage as the new normal?

First and foremost, it is because some in the West have failed to adjust their mentality in the face of China's rapid development.

For much of history since the Industrial Revolution, an extreme concentration of economic power and military might allowed the West to dominate the world scene and define the rules of international order. It has grown accustomed to wielding the remarkable capacity to set the global agenda.

As China developed to become the world's second-largest economy, the West felt an imminent threat to its hegemony. Fearing a world no longer under its rule, the West painted China as its biggest strategic rival. Consequently, suspicions of China ran wild.

Secondly, the West is ill-prepared to adapt to the changes brought about by China's modernization drive.

With its development, China is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy and has become more integrated with the outside world through trade and people-to-people exchange. As a result, China has defined its interests more broadly and engaged more actively in diplomatic and security issues. It also calls for reforming the global governance system to better serve the interests of all nations.

This is an entirely natural development following China's rise and should not be feared. Nor should it be construed as evidence of Beijing's growing aggressiveness or an ambition to overthrow the existing international order.

Thirdly, many in the West put too much emphasis on the ideological incompatibility of China with the Western value system, portraying China as being "dangerously different from us."

As China modernizes, it has maintained much of its own way of governance and mode of development, and has not, as many in the West had anticipated, embraced Western-style democracy.

What can the West do to ease its anxiety over China's rise?

It is advisable that the West discard its outdated mindset of zero-sum games and come to realize China's development will bring more opportunities to other countries, not threats.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, for instance, offers opportunities for cooperation and development for all countries amid a sluggish world economy.

China's approach has been well received by many countries, as demonstrated by a growing inclination in the international community to seek Beijing's participation in tackling the many challenges that confront the world.

In addition, the West should respect the diversity of civilizations and treat other countries as equals, regardless of their cultural and ideological differences.

Rather than fret over China's political system, the West should view it as one of humanity's great social experiments aimed at finding the ideal form of governance, and see how it works with an open mind.

China pursues a win-win strategy in its relations with all nations, and has a vision of global governance featuring consultation, joint contributions and shared benefits. History tells us that China has always followed a path of peaceful development and has never sought hegemony or engaged in expansion.

If it learned to accept China's rise as an irreversible trend, the West could come up with more desirable attitudes and smarter policies toward China, which will benefit both sides and the world at large.

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

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