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Beijing's worldview vital to the future of humanity

By CHEN YINGQUN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-04-08 10:29

Tourists look at Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, the mascots of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, at Beijing Olympic Park on April 6. [Photo by Zou Hong/chinadaily.com.cn]

Building a community with a shared future for mankind demonstrates a worldview that is open to all and not defined by boundaries or discrimination, and that kind of thinking is fundamental to the future of humanity, a forum has told.

Martin Jacques, a British scholar and expert on China, said there is a striking difference between the United States and China in their attitudes.

Jacques was speaking at the seminar Jointly Promoting Global Development and Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind held via video link in Beijing and London on Wednesday.

The US is wedded to singularity and the exclusion of those countries it perceives to be different and therefore unacceptable, he said. China, in comparison, is pluralist in its mentality.

"It does not require other countries to be like it. On the contrary, indeed, China believes that other countries cannot be like it because its own history and culture are so different and distinctive," he said.

Embracing diversity

The roots of China's sense of difference lie in its own history, just as the origins of the US' insistence on singularity and homogeneity can be traced back to its near extermination of Native Americans. In contrast, China has found a way, over a very long period of history, of enabling and embracing diversity, Jacques said.

"By historical and geographical circumstances, China learned the principle of coexistence. Pluralism became second nature to it. It was part of China's DNA," he said.

He added that ever since the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648, the West's view has been defined by the nation-state and the division of the world into nation-states.

"In contrast, China's starting point is tianxia, (or) all under heaven, a world that is open to all and not defined by boundaries or discrimination," he said, adding that building a community with a shared future for mankind draws on the concept of tianxia.

"Two of the most important questions of our time-the pandemic and climate change-demonstrate how in a globalized world this kind of thinking is fundamental to the future of humanity. Indeed, our very futures depend on it."

He added that ultimately, the challenge facing the world is not "either, or" but coexistence, and the relationship between the US and China must be at the heart of coexistence.

Tony McEnery, an English professor at Lancaster University, said cooperation is a two-way street, with traffic passing along it through both space and time.

The need for mutual respect in the building of shared understanding is not about the need for one culture to accede to the norms of another. It is rather, a call for mutual respect and understanding, he added.

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