Why Is Chinese Governance Better?

Recently, Martin Jacques observed that Chinese governance under the CPC is a better, more efficient and higher form of governance than we have seen thus far. To begin with, Jacques is correct. This is particularly obvious if we compare it with bourgeois (liberal) democracy, which is now obsolete and quite clumsy. The latter arose in a specific context, in eighteenth and nineteenth century Western Europe, and may have been appropriate in that part of the world in the wake of the bourgeois revolutions. It has also been transplanted to some former colonies in North America, Australia and New Zealand. But the system is rather crude, with nearly every feature of public life politicised, with antagonistic political engagement in which one policy is promulgated by a particular political party only to be undone by the next. Chaotic, clumsy and outdated.

As is usually the case with Martin Jacques, he tries to explain this reality by going back into China’s more distant past. Strangely, he skips past the central role of Marxism in shaping the current practice of governance in China. So let us see what such a focus indicates (this article is also useful).

Here I draw on a book I am writing on Engels, for it is precisely Engels (more than Marx) who provides the philosophical basis for socialist governance. The book has taken longer than expected, since I need to work carefully through material few consider. In the final chapter, I examine Engels’s ideas concerning what a socialist form of governance might be.

There are two main points.

First, the organs of governance ‘stand in the midst of society’. Engels draws this insight from his careful study in the 1870s and 1880s of what he calls ‘pre-state’ societies, but which may also be called ‘base communism’ and ‘base democracy’. Why ‘pre-state’? For Engels, the state is a ‘separated public power’, which arises from class conflict and stands over against society. By contrast, base communism does not have this separation. All the various organs of governance – and there are many – stand in the midst of society. They are woven within social structures, being part and parcel of society as a whole. In my book, I have developed the category of ‘enmeshment’ to understand how this might work: society, state and economy are not separated from one another, but rather enmeshed within one another.

One might respond: but Engels is dealing with ancient societies, in a historical and anthropological way, so these insights are not relevant for how socialism today functions. The answer: in a crucial but under-studied piece called ‘The Mark’, Engels points out that this type of base communism would be dialectically transformed under socialism, so as to become the type of society and governance that would be appropriate.

This point I have realised for some time, but the second is relatively new: ‘public functions will lose their political character and be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society’. This text is quoted from Engels’s 1873 piece, ‘On Authority’, in which he castigates the impractical proposals of the Anarchists, especially under Bakunin’s leadership. But the core idea of political character disappearing and being replaced by an efficient administration focused on the public good is crucial (it appears elsewhere in Engels’s work and is voiced by Marx).

Let us begin with political character. Under bourgeois democracies, a whole spate of areas are political footballs: education, health, environment, public transport, immigration and refugees, economic policy, and so on. They are the subject of election campaigns, of bewildering changes in policy with changes in the party in power, of implementation and winding back. But if they lose their political character, they cease to be tossed back and forth depending on the whims of political parties.

In place of this political character is efficient administration focused on the public good. Let me give three examples drawn from China. In education, the long-term plan is to improve the already impressive educational system in all respects. This entails careful research, significant funding, trials of new methods in some areas before extending them to the rest of the country, and so on. For this reason, people with whom I speak in China find it unbelievable that the Australian government – as one example – has been reducing funding for education for quite some time now.

Another example concerns public transport, which is reasonably well-known internationally. Simply put, the Chinese rail system is now the best in the world. Three levels of high-speed train operate across the country, while the slower ‘green skin’ trains ply local routes. In cities across China, world-leading metro systems are being implemented at a breath-taking pace. One that I know well is in Beijing, where they are working towards increasing the total kilometres covered from about 500 km to 1,000 km. Currently, it caters for 6 billion passenger trips per year, but this will increase. Again, this is seen as a public good, requiring long-term planning and efficient implementation.

Finally, environmental policy and action, which is called in China ‘ecological civilisation [shengtai wenming]’. The term refers to the modes of life and their relation to the environment: only when this is sorted out can we speak of wenming, which is not so much ‘citification’ (as the Latin origins of ‘civilisation’ suggest) but the just, peaceful, healthy and stable nature of culture. In China, the realities of climate change are not politicised; instead, they needs to be addressed directly. I have seen this with my own eyes, in what may be called the greening of China. The country leads the world in reafforestation, the water, plants and air of major cities have been improving year on year, and green technologies are leaping ahead. Again, this is efficient administration for the public good.

So yes, Chinese governance is clearly the highest form we have seen thus far, precisely because of the CPC and the socialist road. We should of course be careful: Engels’s formulations are not the final word on the matter. He had never experienced the actual process of constructing socialism, let alone a successful communist revolution. But it is rather striking how he and Marx provide the philosophical basis of socialist governance in terms of the disappearance of its political character and the development of efficient and careful administration for the public good. That the Chinese have developed these much further, in light of their conditions and the actual experience of constructing socialist governance, should be clear.

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Organisation of Islamic Cooperation supports China’s anti-terrorism actions in Xinjiang

The Xinjiang Autonomous Region has developed what is arguably the most effective anti-terrorism and de-radicalism program in the world. Since 2016, no further terrorist attacks have occurred, a notable achievement in light of the multitude of incidents incited by ‘East Turkistan’ forces since the 1990s. Recently, the UN’s under-secretary of counter-terrorism, Vladimir Koronkov (see here, here and here), visited Xinjiang and indicated strong support for the local and central government approaches to dealing with the problem of terrorism in Xinjiang.

Perhaps even more important are the resolutions of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has well over 50 members and represents the voice of the Islamic world.

Most recently, the foreign ministers of the OIC met on 1-2 March 2019 and adopted a series of resolutions, the most pertinent of which are the following:

Welcomes the outcomes of the visit conducted by the General Secretariat’s delegation upon invitation from the People’s Republic of China; commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing care to its Muslim citizens; and looks forward to further cooperation between the OIC and the People’s Republic of China.

This is resolution 20, which must be seen in light of the initial resolutions:

1. Reiterates its commitment to all ministerial resolutions on Muslim communities and minorities in non-OIC Member States and calls on Member States to provide assistance to them and to contribute to the settlement of their problems in full respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries to which they belong, and through cooperation with the governments of these States;

2. Emphasizes the need to respect the rights of Muslim communities and minorities in non-OIC Member States; alarmed by the problems they face, resulting from discrimination, repression or persecution; and stresses the importance of continued coordination between the Member States in order to find ways to assist them to solve their problems, protect their religious, cultural, civil, political and economic rights and preserve their Islamic identity;

3. Emphasizes that the protection of the rights and identity of Muslim communities and minorities in non-OIC Member States is primarily the responsibility of the Governments of those States, consistent with the principles of international law.

6. Emphasizes that the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief” constitutes a historic consensus by bringing together divergent views on eliminating religious discrimination and intolerance on the basis of proposals made on behalf of the OIC and other stakeholders and encourages the OIC member states to extend full support to the Istanbul Process in connection with the Resolution 16/18”.

7. Reaffirms that education is a natural right for all members of the community free from any discrimination as underlined by all the pertinent international accords and treaties and invites the Member States, including Islamic non-governmental as well as civil-society institutions, in coordination with the states concerned, to extend all forms of assistance such as to strengthen the educational system, particularly through sending teachers to contribute to the education of the children belonging to Muslim communities and through the extension of scholarships for studies in schools and universities.

As far as the OIC is concerned, China is doing a great job in Xinjiang. Other countries will soon adopt its approach.

 

Marxism is China’s Basic Guiding Ideology

This point should be ovbious by now: Marxism has been and remains the basic approach in China for 7 decades. But it is worth reminding ourselves, in this piece by Song Wei on the China Daily:

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China. In the seven decades since then, China has made remarkable achievements and moved closer to realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. To stay true to its mission of realizing the Chinese Dream, the Communist Party of China needs to apply Marxism according to China’s actual conditions.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core has been promoting the cause of the Party and nation by applying Marxism to China’s real conditions. In this regard, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is a great contribution to Marxism.

Marxism is a practical, scientific, ever-developing and open theory, which not only highlights the social laws of development but also prompts people to make efforts to build a better world. Since its establishment, the CPC has led the Chinese people to many victories, by applying Marxism to solve real problems and promote the localization of Marxism.

Led by the Party, the Chinese people emerged out of thousands of years of feudalism to build people’s democracy through the New Democratic Revolution; China changed its destiny by moving toward prosperity during the socialist revolution and construction period; and the nation stood up by becoming prosperous and strong during the reform and opening-up as well as socialist modernization period.

The reason the CPC could achieve these unprecedented and arduous tasks is that it followed the scientific theory of Marxism, and continuously enriched and developed Marxism both in theory and practice.

Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party has solved many long-term, outstanding problems under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, and China has made many achievements in the economic, political, cultural, social and ecological fields under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which is the latest addition to Marxist philosophy in China.

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era makes clear what kind of socialism we should adhere to and develop in the new era, and how we can adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.

It also advances a series of major creative and people-oriented arguments, which manifest the power of Marxism and the value of scientific socialism.

Xi’s thought writes a new chapter in Marxism, and serves as a guide to better apply the basic principles of Marxism to China’s actual conditions. In other words, it is a milestone in the process of Marxism’s localization in China.

President Xi Jinping has stressed that Marxism is the basic guiding ideology of our nation and Party. So we should always and under any circumstances adhere to Marxism.

The fundamental reason Marxism has been our guiding philosophy for the past seven decades is that the Party has organically combined the adherence to Marxism with the development of Marxism, and continuously promoted the localization of Marxism in China.

So in the new era, we should review Marxism’s development in China on a broader scale, continuously develop Marxism and further promote the localization of Marxism in China.

Colonial Policy by Other Means: Losurdo on Hong Kong’s Supposed ‘Self-Determination’

A small number of former colonial powers are fond of trotting out the mantra of ‘self-determination’ for parts of the world they would like to control. Hong Kong and Taiwan are good examples (even though the USA has the world’s strongest measures against self-determination of its own states). In the last few days, deliberate misinformation concerning Hong Kong has been peddled in a small number of places. If you want to get a fuller picture, see the reports here, here, here, here and here.

So it is worth recalling Losurdo’s observations on such a matter. The first comes from his essay, ‘Lenin and Herrenvolk Democracy’ (2007):

Colonial domination has left its mark: on the economic level, the inequality of development among different regions has been accentuated; while the hegemonic presence at every level of the great powers and the policy of ethnic engineering, often promoted by them, has accentuated cultural, linguistic, and religious fragmentation. Secessionist tendencies of every kind are once again lying in wait, regularly fed by the ex-colonial powers. When it wrested Hong Kong from China, Great Britain certainly did not conceive of self-determination, and it did not remember it even during the long years in which it exercised its dominion. But, suddenly, on the eve of Hong Kong’s return to China, to the motherland, the governor sent by London, Chris Patten, a conservative, had a species of illumination and improvised conversion: he appealed to the inhabitants of Hong Kong to claim their right to ‘self-determination’ against the motherland, thus remaining within the orbit of the British Empire.

Analogous considerations are true for Taiwan. When, at the beginning of 1947, the Kuomintang, which had fled from continental China and the victorious People’s Army, let loose a terrible repression that provoked about ten thousand deaths, the United States was careful not to invoke the right to self-determination for the inhabitants of the island; on the contrary, it sought to impose the thesis according to which Chiang Kai-shek’s government was the legitimate government not only of Taiwan but also of the whole of China. The great Asian country had to remain united but under the control of Chiang Kai-shek, reduced to a simple pro-consul of Washington’s sovereign imperialism. As the dream of reconquering the mainland slowly faded away, and the stronger became the aspiration of the whole Chinese people to achieve full territorial integration and independence, ending the tragic chapter of colonial history, so the presidents of the United States experienced an illumination and a conversion similar to that of Chris Patten. They too began to caress the idea of ‘self-determination’. Incoherence? Not at all: ‘self-determination’ is the continuation of imperial policy by other means. If it was not really possible to get their hands on China as a whole, it was, meanwhile, convenient to secure control of Hong Kong or Taiwan (249-50).

 

And as he writes in one his last books, Class Struggle (2016):

 

Perhaps it would be better to learn the lesson of old Hegel, who, with the Sanfedista and anti-Semitic agitation of his time in mind, observed that sometimes ‘courage consists not in attacking rulers, but in defending them’. The populist rebel who would be bound to consider Hegel insufficiently revolutionary could always heed Gramsci’s warning against the phraseology of ‘primitive, elementary “rebellionism,” “subversionism” and “anti-statism,” which are ultimately an expression of de facto “a-politicism”’ (337).

Chinese economic indicators stable, indicating further growth in 2019

As a number of reports (here and here) indicate, China’s economic situation is stable and set to grow at over 6 percent in the rest of 2019. One example: as this report from the always reliable Xinhua News (via the People’s Daily) indicates, the foreign trade figures are very good indeed. Obviously, the BRI and AIIB are major factors, as well as the inherent strength of the Chinese socialist market economy.

BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhua) — China’s foreign trade registered steady growth in the first five months this year despite growing external uncertainties.

The country’s foreign trade of goods rose 4.1 percent year on year in the first five months of this year to 12.1 trillion yuan (about 1.76 trillion U.S. dollars), data from the General Administration of Customs (GAC) showed Monday.

Exports increased 6.1 percent year on year to 6.5 trillion yuan during this period, while imports grew 1.8 percent to 5.6 trillion yuan, resulting in a trade surplus of 893.36 billion yuan.

In May alone, the country’s exports and imports totaled 2.59 trillion yuan, up 2.9 percent from one year earlier.

Li Kuiwen, director of the GAC’s statistics and analysis department, said although faced with the slowdown of global economic growth and international trade, the Chinese economy has continued an overall stable upward trend.

The fundamentals of China’s economy, in that it is resilient and full of potentials, have not changed either, he added.

Government policies aimed at stabilizing foreign trade and investment as well as the improving business environment have also laid a solid foundation for the steady growth of China’s foreign trade, he said.

Zhuang Rui, deputy head of Institute of International Economy with the University of International Business and Economics, called the trade reading a “hard-won” result amid sluggish trade growth around the globe.

Last week, the World Bank revised down its forecast for global trade growth in 2019 by a full percentage point to 2.6 percent, the weakest since the global financial crisis, citing growing trade tensions, among other factors.

Monday’s GAC data also showed China’s trade with the European Union surged 11.7 percent year on year in the first five months, while trade with the ASEAN was up 9.4 percent.

As cooperation between countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative keeps strengthening, China’s trade with Belt and Road countries increased 9 percent year on year during the period, with the pace of growth 4.9 percentage points higher than the overall pace.

Benefiting from the prosperous cooperation under the initiative, bilateral trade volume between China and Belt and Road countries accounted for 28.8 percent of China’s total trade volume, up 1.3 percentage points from the same period last year, the GAC data showed.

China’s private businesses reported faster trade growth in the first five months. Their trade volume increased 11.1 percent to 5.02 trillion yuan, accounting for 41.4 percent of the total trade volume in the period, up 2.6 percentage points year on year.

 

 

A thief always thinks everyone else is a thief

This Danish saying is quite appropriate in light of the following report from Xinhua News: a thief always thinks everyone else is a thief (see also here).

BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhua) — Most of the cyber attacks targeting Chinese networks in 2018 have originated from the United States, according to an annual report released by China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT) on Monday.

In terms of Trojan and botnet activities, CNCERT found that 3.34 million computers on the Chinese mainland were controlled by more than 14,000 Trojan or botnet command and control servers (C&C servers) in the United States in 2018, up 90.8 percent from the C&C server number in 2017.

It also reported that 3,325 IP addresses in the United States, up 43 percent from 2017, planted Trojans in 3,607 websites on the Chinese mainland.

In the above two categories, the United States topped the list of overseas sources of cyber attacks targeting computers and websites on the Chinese mainland, according to the organization.

Established in 2002, the CNCERT is a non-governmental organization of network security technical coordination.

 

China and Russia agree to work together more closely for global stability

Other parts of the world may not have paid so much attention to the extraordinary developments in China-Russia cooperation and integration, but perhaps they might begin to do so in this very well-timed visit by Xi Jinping to Russia, currently under way.

A couple of powrful images, followed by an article copied from Xinhua News. In an increasingly unstable world as the ‘West’ loses its way, China and Russia have become the bulwarks of global stability.

 

MOSCOW, June 5 (Xinhua) — China and Russia agreed on Wednesday to upgrade their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

The decision was made at a meeting between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

During the meeting, the two heads of state highly evaluated the development of bilateral ties over the past 70 years, agreed to uphold the notion of good neighborliness and win-win cooperation, develop a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era in a bid to take bilateral ties to a higher level and better benefit the peoples of the two countries and the world as well.

Xi noted that it is his first state visit to Russia following his re-election as Chinese president last year, and is the eighth time he travelled to the country since 2013, saying that the China-Russia relationship is seeing a continuous, steady and sound development at a high level, and is at its best in history.

Both sides, said Xi, have firmly supported each other in their efforts to defend respective core interests and nurtured strong political and strategic mutual trust, adding that they have actively pushed forward all-around cooperation as internal driving forces of bilateral ties are emerging, and the convergence of the two countries’ interests is deepening.

China and Russia have played active roles in international affairs and global governance, and made important contributions to maintaining world peace and stability as well as international fairness and justice, he said.

The Chinese leader noted that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the China-Russia diplomatic relationship, calling it a milestone and a new starting point.

Acknowledging the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, Xi said China and Russia shoulder an even greater expectation from the peoples of the two countries and the international community.

He added that the Chinese side is ready to join Russia in amplifying the positive effect of the two countries’ high level of political relationship, bringing more benefits of bilateral cooperation to the two peoples, and presenting more China-Russia options for global affairs.

Noting that the world today is becoming increasingly uncertain and unstable, Xi said enhancing the China-Russia relationship is the call of history, and a firm strategic choice by both sides.

He called on the two sides to strengthen strategic communication and coordination, and further their mutual support on issues regarding their respective core interests.

Xi also urged the two countries to further promote their economic and trade cooperation, push forward cooperation on major strategic projects as well as in emerging fields at the same time, and boost cooperation at local levels, and in economy and trade, investment, energy, technology, aerospace, inter-connectivity, agriculture and finance sectors.

The two sides, according to Xi, should actively push forward their cooperation to dock the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian Economic Union so as to promote regional economic integration.

To step up people-to-people exchanges, Xi said the plan for the China-Russia year of scientific and technological innovation from 2020 to 2021 should be well designed.

He said China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, are going to continue working with the international community to safeguard the international order that is based on the international law with the UN at the core, maintain multilateral trading system and make new contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Putin warmly welcomed Xi for his visit, saying that with joint efforts from both sides since the establishment of diplomatic ties 70 years ago, the Russia-China relationship has reached an unprecedented high level, and the two countries’ all-around exchanges and cooperation have been fruitful.

The Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has not only benefited the two peoples, but has also become an important force for safeguarding global security and strategic stability, he said.

Putin called on the two countries not to be complacent about what they have achieved, but be dedicated to bettering their bilateral relations.

Xi’s visit is of great significance in the complicated and volatile international situation, and it will inject strong impetus into the development of the Russia-China ties in the new era, Putin said.

Russia and China should continue to strengthen coordination on major international and regional issues, jointly deal with the challenges of unilateralism and protectionism, and maintain global peace and stability.

The Russian leader said his country is committed to deepening cooperation with China in the fields of economy and trade, agriculture, finance, science and technology, environment protection, telecommunications and infrastructure construction.

Russia is willing to boost interactions at local levels, and promote exchanges in education, culture and tourism, according to him.

Putin also said Russia is ready to provide China with sufficient oil and gas, and export more soybeans and other farm produce to China, and expects a faster alignment between the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI.

Also at the meeting, Xi and Putin were briefed by officials from both countries on bilateral cooperation in priority areas, and they exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula situation, the Iran nuclear issue and the Venezuela issue, among others.

The two heads of state agreed to step up communication and coordination in the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS, the APEC, and the G20 to jointly safeguard multilateralism and the norms of international relations.

Following the meeting, Xi and Putin signed the statements on elevating bilateral ties to the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, and on strengthening contemporary global strategic stability.

According to the joint statement on the strategic partnership, the China-Russian relationship has entered a new era, and is facing new opportunities for greater development.

It said that the goal of such a new kind of partnership is for both sides to give more support to each other as they seek to take their own development paths, preserve respective core interests, and protect sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Therefore, said the statement, the two sides will closely coordinate with each other in aligning their development strategies, expand mutually beneficial cooperation in economy and trade, as well as investment, and further tap into the potential of bilateral ties.

The statement also said the two sides will give full play to the guiding role of the two heads of state in developing bilateral ties, and will regard political, security, practical, people-to-people exchanges, as well as international coordination cooperation as priorities of the China-Russia partnership.

The two leaders, after their meeting, have also witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation documents, met the press, visited an exhibition of cars produced by Great Wall Motors’ plant in Russia’s Tula region, and attended the inauguration ceremony of the panda house in Moscow Zoo.

Before their meeting, Putin held a grand welcome ceremony for Xi at the Kremlin.

Chinese cooperation with Islamic countries around the world

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation began its 14th summit on 31 May, 2019, in the city of Mecca. Since China has a Muslim population of 23 million, spread across a number of minority nationalities (in order of size: Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Uzbek, Tajik, Tatar, Kirgiz, Salar, Dongxiang and Bonan), China too is focused on cooperation with Muslim-majority countries. In that light, Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the summit, with significant responses – as this Xinhua News article indicates:

Experts in the Islamic world spoke highly of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s message on enhancing cooperation between China and Islamic countries.

Xi sent a congratulatory message on Friday on the opening of the 14th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Saudi city of Mecca.

In his message, Xi said China attaches great importance to the friendly relations with Islamic countries and looks to the OIC as an important bridge for cooperation between China and the Islamic world.

Xi also said that China stands ready to work with the Islamic countries to enhance political mutual trust and promote practical cooperation and dialogue among civilizations, to jointly create a better future for the friendly ties between China and the Islamic world and to contribute to advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Abdullah Al-Salloum, a Kuwaiti economist, said Xi’s message is “classic in diplomacy.”

“Xi’s message speaks of values that we all should encourage,” he said.

Iraqi political analyst Nadhum al-Jubouri said “China is a country that respect its commitments and abide by its neutrality.”

He said the message shows the Chinese president’s “wisdom and successful leadership.”

Improving relations, mutual understanding, support and cooperation is “the best way to serve the interests of the Islamic peoples and Chinese people,” al-Jubouri said, stressing closer ties between Islamic countries and China are also important for the global development with the spirit of “tolerance, brotherhood and peace.”

He called upon Islamic countries to cooperate more with China, and expressed the wish that China will further support Islamic countries and help them overcome economic crises.

Al-Jubouri hailed the Belt and Road Initiative as “a brilliant idea,” saying it shows China’s determination to support other peoples within balanced relations of mutual trust in order to create “a harmonious and interactive world that believes in common destiny and better future.”

Adnan Abu Amer, head of Department of Political Science and Media at Ummah University in Gaza city, said China can help find out appropriate solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli issue.

“The most important thing is that China believes in the principle of partnership, understanding and friendly relations far more than control,” he said.

The large trade volume between China and Islamic countries determines that China would care much about what happens in the region, said Samy Kamhawy, an expert in Chinese affairs from Egypt’s largest daily newspaper Al-Ahram.

He said that the OIC needs to promote cooperation between the organization members and China through international deals and joint work.

He believes China will have a unique role to play among the Islamic countries, as it could work as a mediator to help settle problems that occur from time to time among Islamic countries.

“China … can play a big role via its diplomatic policies to help reduce the differences and ease the tensions in the region,” Kamhawy added.

Nasser Bouchiba, president of the Africa-China Cooperation Association for Development, said: “I would like to remind you that respect is a cultural characteristic in China, and this has always been observed since the beginning of exchanges with Arab and Muslim traders back in the eighth century.”

Bouchiba said President Xi’s message on the OIC summit is therefore “a continuation of China’s great esteem and respect for the Muslim world.”

Asian leaders back China

The world is certaily changing fast, with the 14 percent of the world’s population in the ‘West’ either stunningly ignorant of the rest or sleep-walking to oblivion. But if you look elsewhere, you will find that Asian leaders are beginning to state clear support for China in global terms.

The first example is Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who stated on Friday, 31 May:

“U.S. had good capabilities to do research and development in the past. They must accept that that capability can also be found in the East.” In other words, the US has ceased to innovate and one should not use an implicitly colonial mindset to ignore developments in the East.

Even more: “But if you want to have a situation in which you are always ahead, (and) if you are not ahead, I will ban you; I will send warships to your country; that is not competition; that is threatening people. That is not the approach we should use.” Nicely put.

Instead: “Today the East has learned all about research and development, so it is no longer a question of copying products from the West. Their research enabled them to produce even better products.”

The second example is a wise keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue by Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore. Apart from indicating strong support for and engagement with the Belt and Road Initiative, Lee also provided a bigger picture of a changing world. Let me quote the full article from Xinhua News:

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said here Friday that countries need to accustom themselves to a larger role for China, and it is neither possible nor wise to prevent the world’s second-largest economy from growing.

“Countries have to accept that China will continue to grow and strengthen, and that it is neither possible nor wise for them to prevent this from happening,” Lee said during his keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in this city-state.

China has totally changed since it started opening up 40 years ago, and its gross domestic product (GDP) has grown by more than 25 times in real terms, Lee said.

“On many counts, China’s growth is a tremendous boon, both for itself and the world,” Lee told the participants at the annual security dialogue.

“China has become a massive production and manufacturing base, lowering costs for the world’s producers … It is also a huge market, importing everything from commodities and electronic components to aircraft and fine wines,” he said.

New international rules need to be made in many areas, Lee said. “China will expect a say in this process, because it sees the present rules as having been created in the past without its participation. This is a reasonable expectation.”

Commenting on the China-U.S. relationship, Lee said it is the most important in the world today. “How the two work out their relations and frictions will define the international environment for decades to come.”

“The bottom line is that the U.S. and China need to work together, and with other countries too, to bring the global system up to date, and to not upend the system,” he added.

To succeed in this, he said each must understand the other’s point of view, and reconcile each other’s interests.

Lee said a prolonged period of tension and uncertainty between China and the United States will be “extremely damaging.”

“Many serious international problems like the Korean situation, nuclear non-proliferation, and climate change cannot be tackled without the full participation of the U.S. and China, together with other countries.”

What’s more, the tension between China and the United States can cause damage to the world economy especially in “globalized markets and production chains.”

Lee said that he hoped that the United States and China “find a constructive way forward, competing certainly, but at the same time cooperating on major issues of mutual interest.”

The Shangri-La Dialogue, officially known as the Asia Security Summit, kicked off Friday and will last till June 2 in Singapore with a focus on the security situation and relevant challenges in the Asia-Pacific.