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2010 / Issue 16 /
Overturning the Wall: Building China's Sof
Overturning the Wall: Building China’s Sof
passed through Paris and London. In the aftermath of these disappointing events
It will be remembered that in the prelude to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Olym
Fu Ying, published an article in which she lamented that “the wall that stands bet
that the two societies’ negative impressions of each other are growing at a worry
economic interaction since reform and opening, Western countries and China hav
value systems and political aspirations. A wall continues to separate the East from
Unfortunately for China, through the dominance of Western media and academia
Chinese policies has spread to other regions as well, particularly Africa. Fueled b wall in the middle of Sino-African relations. In order to reverse this process and
such as “China threat theory” and “new colonialism theory” have entered African
Africa, China should leverage its sources of soft power, such as its language, cul
will stand in stark contrast to Africa's past colonial experiences and will earn Chi The Appeal of China’s Model
China’s dramatic shift from a backwards to an advanced economy in only 30 yea
In addition. eight principles for foreign economic technological aid. The African people have come to recognize China as being After the establishment of the “Sino-African Cooperation Forum” in 2000. job t and community investment in schools and hospitals.. “Beijing Consensus” has begun to change the entire international development st Although the Chinese government has never formally endorsed the “Beijing Con debate over the path for developing countries. no political conditions have been placed on t nations that once colonized them. The first session of the Sino to ensure the establishment of a “comprehensive and cooperative” partnership bu benefit and cultural exchanges. According to the “Beijing Consensus”. Even as the international situation has changed. has always respected the sovereignty of aid-receiving co one-dimensional grant.. particularly from African countries looking to escape cycles of poverty. Sharing th half-century. In addition to replacing “the Washington Consensus’ and political aspects. effective governance and avoiding the leaps forward.chinasecurity. Some Western writers have even argued that China’s economic other developing countries. The appeal of China’s development model is amplified by the strong foundation established as a viable alternative to the traditional Western approach. When working with African countries C or sought personal gain. as the West tried to force democracy onto Africa b maintained that choosing a development path and political system are internal m argued that outside countries should not interfere with domestic affairs or impose development models on other countries. have been demanded. Ch development. China’s Africa poli never ignored African countries due to changing relations with other great power developing relations with African and Arabic countries put forth by Premier Zho development of Sino-African relations. reduced tariffs on African products. are still the important gu After the end of the Cold War. China countries in the form of debt reduction.php?option=com_cont.us/index. emphasizing social stability. Sino-African cooperation on security issues and C . but f selecting which lessons to emphasize. Achievin is challenging for developing countries. Whether other countries adopt Ch should be the main content of soft power construction at this stage.China Security http://www. and each country is exploring developme relevant to developing countries because it did not copy the Western model.
ruling parties and leaders hav In fact.chinasecurity. freedom and human rights are quite bril achieving them is even more difficult. John Mills). In recent years. This also comes with expectations of such dev in Africa. The Wes of “democracy” and “human rights”. China’s huge advantage is that its pa economic accomplishments it has achieved demonstrate the effective combinatio market economy. Instead. the persistence of negative views and misconceptions magnify the fact that China Differences in Ideas and Value Systems Although China’s achievements in economic development are recognized throug model for sustaining these achievements has met a variety of reactions..php?option=com_cont. if China takes up the banner of po Millennium Development Goals and the mutual enjoyment of the fruits of global directly to Africa’s real concerns. “free the moral high ground of public opinion with much self-congratulation.. social unrest and low efficiency. It will un past this barrier in the short term. although the flags of democracy. Since Africa’s democratization has come from “foreign plants” election conflicts. and Ghana’s new president. many African countries’ leaders and gov For a long time Western countries have held high the flags of “democracy”. tends to put China in the “one-party system nations.China Security http://www. Thus Westerners have suspicions of African nations’ growing affinity fo Through Africa’s 20 years of developing multi-party democracy. However. free focus on areas where it can achieve tangible progress: poverty reduction and eco Setting the Agenda In a globalized world with complex and rapidly changing geopolitics. China cann . trading partner demonstrate the extent of Beijing’s hard power (political and econ value systems) in Africa still trails far behind. following education and Europe and the elections of former opposition leaders in some countries (suc Western conceptualization of democracy and human rights.us/index. many of these c The Western rhetoric on democracy and human rights has already claimed the id terms “democracy” and “human rights” often appear in government documents a do not quite understand China’s democracy and human rights situation and even proud of the quick development of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and amount of attention to these issues in Africa. Rather than pit itself against the West in the context of democracy.
China’s NGOs a . is continually strengthen tanks and civil society still lags behind. As Brita Policy Research Institute research fellow Lu Yiyi said. an obvious shortcoming o NGOs at the international level and in Africa that could help reduce the negative China’s increased activity in Africa: “On the international stage. as China just exports televisions and not ideas. they could be called “the weak of the weak”. Western media to set the agenda. The ab opinion. it is often the case that whoever first puts forward a complete an of culture and the power of wisdom. they are still rather weak. This means publicizing what it supports—reducing poverty. Given t increasing plurality of actors within international relations. desc is only a wise proposal or motion—will then have the authority to speak out and “internationally.. Qiu Yuanping. especially regardin use of many channels to work to respond to the pluralism of actors within interna In Africa.. China should also promote the es Through the dissemination of research and information China can lead internatio Any strategy or diplomatic policy needs a main actor to put it into effect. As Qiu Yuanping correctly pointed out. simply relying on the insufficient response. South-Sout As the deputy director of the Central Foreign Affairs Office.China Security http://www. She once impolitely pointed out that China could never become a supe What is heartening is that in recent years China has put forth concepts such as “p “harmonious world”. Guiding Public Opinion foundation and global influence of these ideas.us/index. the quality and numb public opinion and government policy have all been on the rise. green quality of life. As for think tanks.chinasecurity. Thatcher. making a contribution to the conduct of international relatio cooperation between developing countries. In addition. “As for public dipl to bring different kinds of non-governmental actors into play.php?option=com_cont. directly. Rather than replying to the West’s constantly ch explain that it is neither neo-colonialist nor a threat. if just sp tanks that research Africa.” This recalls a comment made by former of international influence. and even government action on foreign affairs. China should take the initiat —while clearly emphasizing its differences with Western policy. stable economic development. When compared or with other domestic industries. the development of multi-party democracy since the end of the Cold W increasingly strong civil society with numerous non-governmental actors.
for the United States to reclaim its policies. the harm to the United State’s soft pow administration’s unilateral policies. adjust itself and renew itself. Certainly the change in US administration has once again demon In an era of globalization and pluralism. these problems are very closely related to opinion propaganda.China Security http://www. be too difficult. thereby avoiding a neg Chinese representatives meet with African representatives. in Joseph Nye. At the same time.. they would prove themselves and did not need to be emphasized by w The final point China should keep in mind is that the most important discussion a the West but with African countries themselves.php?option=com_cont. If the African media praise Chin itself. and compared with the long-term accumulation and burnishing of cu system’s ability to repair itself. China has invited delegations of Afr conduct some short-term training on news exchanges. they should affirm Ch .. were good. To rea communication and dialogue regarding these differences. As for public opinion on the Darfur issue. culture. The Roots of Soft Power “engineering projects for people’s livelihoods” and other cooperative projects. However.us/index. China. Even though China public opinion. due to factors such as the limited vehicles of propaganda and insu not been able to get its voice out to the Western masses. value system and policy. who first put forth the idea of soft power. recently wrote that from th sources. China’s national effect among the Western masses that has irrationally spread. the appearance of differences in politica with different histories of development and national conditions is normal. and having the African media denounce the West’s fallacies is more convin point there has already been some progress. China lose out on one of soft power’s key instruments and restricting China’s pu goes beyond NGOs and can also be seen in Chinese scholars’ low level of exposu Many of the challenges China has encountered in Africa are related to the influen for covering negative news. The underlying also become used to preaching propaganda with insufficient facts and examples.chinasecurity. faces a comparatively more difficult task. the Chin visits for leading reporters from Africa’s large newspapers to visit Chinese enterp matters. Therefore. view of Sino-African relations. In its communication wi generally felt it was best to “wait for time to explain everything”. which lacks value system.
. 3. O He Wenping is research fellow for the Institute of West-Asian and African Studie She is also the secretary general for the Chinese Asian and African Research Soc Notes  Fu Ying.” Xinhua. the Chinese Government strictly respe countries. article was translated and published in two parts in China’s Cankao Ziliao on Jun The Chinese Government always bases itself on the principle of equality other countries.  See Joshua Cooper Ramo. It never regards such aid as a kind of unilateral alms but a 2. there are no institutionalized mechanisms.chinasecurity. academic circle Compared with hard power.. “The Beijing Consensus”. b factors such as the degree of free thought. British Foreign Policy R  China’s eight principles for foreign economic technological aid are: 1. In comparison. the accumul arduous process. China provides economic aid in the form of interest-free or low-interest lo . of these roots of soft power it is impossible to speak of promoting it externally.. processes. however. China and the United States have more than 60 dial and nurture relations between the two countries.China Security http://www. including among business circles. an intellectually diverse academic atm of individuals within the society (not a “great power. Beyond official government talk abundant communication and mutual understanding China cannot expect its soft develop all levels of dialogue.php?option=com_cont. Currently. such as military and economic strength. For the time being. The development of soft power is not only a diplomatic affair.us/index. and never attaches any conditions or asks for any privileges. China’s communications with Africa should focus on sharing —particularly in areas of poverty reduction and development of manufacturing i governance and reform. W China break down the wall of misunderstanding separating it from the West and relations with Africa. little people” mentality). and explain that China’s “ bottom up” model of democratic constructi but will reach the same goal as Africa’s “from the top down” method. “Reflecting on the Torch’s Pass through London. China and Africa lack the diplomati Aside from the “Sino-African Cooperative Forum”. In providing aid to other countries.
In providing aid to other countries. Can Reclaim ‘Smart Power’. Peiking University’s International Strategic Research Center’s Guoji zhanlue yan  Joseph Nye. The experts dispatched by China to help in construction in the recipient co living as the experts of the recipient country. the purpose of the Chinese Governme development. while yielding quicker results. The Chinese experts are not or enjoy any special amenities.  Central Foreign Affairs Office Vice-Director Qiu Yuanping.php?option=com_cont.  Ibid. “Guanyu woguo 2008. repayment when necessary so as to lighten the burden of the recipient cou 4.S.” The Los Angeles Time | Copyright © 2008. so that the recipient governments may incr 6. 8.. China Security.. In providing any technical assistance. The Chinese Government tries its best to help the recipient countries build capital. If the equipment and material provided by the 7. the Chinese Government will see to country fully master such technique.us/index. “The U.China Security http://www. The Chinese Government provides the best-quality equipment and materi agreed specifications and quality. . dependent on China but to help them embark step by step on the road of s 5.chinasecurity. All Rights Reserved. the Chinese Government undertakes to international market prices.
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