By Zhong Sheng
How China and the U.S. should avoid misapprehension and improve mutual understanding, and in particular, how some Americans should avoid irreparable and destructive results because of the lack of understanding of and prejudices against China, are important tasks that must be addressed properly, as the two countries face certain difficulties and challenges at a critical moment of bilateral relations.
Peter Walker, a Senior Partner Emeritus at McKinsey & Company recently published a book titled Powerful, Different, Equal: Overcoming the Misconceptions and Differences Between China and the U.S. The book dialectically analyzes the stereotyped and prejudiced reports on China by western media and reveals the U.S. misunderstandings of China.
It advocates for rational understanding of China’s development and the prevention of strategic miscalculations, so that responsible choices for both parties and the world can be made. The opinions of the book are a warning to some U.S. politicians.
In this book, Walker gives a deep insight into China’s harmoniousism, pragmatism and collectivism, saying that the basis for these principles is China’s long-lasting traditional culture and social reality. Such point of view is also shared by many Americans who have visited China and truly understand China.
The unique features of a local environment always give special characteristics to its inhabitants. The historical tradition of China to seek the common good and harmony without uniformity determines that the country has a different and unique perspective for its own development and international exchanges.
Running uninterrupted till now, the Chinese civilization has never been exclusive but kept evolving with inclusiveness. China is committed to implementing ideal governance and benefiting the world, and always welcomes the visits of people around the globe. It is willing to increase mutual understanding and carrying out mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries for the joint building of a community with a shared future for humanity.
Chairman Neil Bush of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations, who has visited China over 100 times, firmly believes that not every country can be governed by the same system, as every country has its own reality and is at its own development phase. Countries should establish proper governance systems in accordance with their actual conditions, according to the chairman.
U.S. commentators once noted that for China-U.S. relations, filling the recognition gap between the two cultures is as important as narrowing their trade deficit.
Over 26 million Chinese people have visited the U.S., but less than 1 million U.S. people have visited China. These two figures given by Walker explain Americans’ lack of understanding of China, and even some elite Americans know nothing about China and its governance.
The U.S. society is troubled with party conflicts and vote-related private profits, and that’s why some U.S. politicians are not able to comprehend the constant stand of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to prioritize national and people’s interests and its hope that other countries can well solve their own problems.
The U.S. has never been invaded in history, which is why some U.S. politicians can’t understand the firm determination of the Chinese people, who had suffered invasion and colonization since the modern time, to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
These U.S. politicians who put individualism first, can hardly stand in the shoes of the Chinese governors in China, a country in pursuit of collectivism, whose aim is always to make the life of the Chinese people better. China’s commitment to peaceful development and a national defense policy that is defensive in nature is incomprehensible for these U.S. politicians busy seeking imaginary enemies and absolute military advantages.
Although disputes and contradictions are inevitable between China and the U.S., for the two countries have huge differences in political system, development phase and history and culture, it is important for the two countries to recognize each other in an objective and rational manner.
The lack of rationality and conscientiousness is responsible for the current difficulties in China-U.S. relations, and such situation is initiated by the U.S. politicians who are hostile to China’s development. The elite Americans who have insufficient understanding of China are also to blame.
During the past 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese people, with determination and through self-reliance and hard work, have made development achievements that are the marvel of the world and a great miracle in the history of human development.
The socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental reason for China’s continuous progress and stability, and receives sincere support from Chinese people.
There’s no doubt that any attempt to contain China’s development and even alter the country’s development path is destined to fail. Anyone who can make decisions based on rationality knows the importance of complying with the trend of common development and win-win cooperation.
It is noteworthy that to promote the development of China-U.S. relations in a rational manner is a natural outcome decided by the two countries’ common interests. It is beneficial for the two countries and the world as well.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)
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