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Ambassador Xie Feng: Getting the mindset right is the best therapy for misperception

Chinese Embassy in the US | Updated: 2024-04-22 02:54

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Xie Feng delivers a speech at the Harvard Kennedy School China Conference 2024 on April 20. [Photo/Chinese Embassy in the US]

On April 20, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Xie Feng attended the opening ceremony of the Harvard Kennedy School China Conference 2024 and delivered a speech.

Ambassador Xie said that in Chinese, we have an idiom: 疑邻盗斧 (literally, "suspecting one's neighbor of stealing the axe"). The story goes like this: A man could not find his axe one day. Suspecting his neighbor's son of stealing it, he felt the boy looked, sounded and walked all like a thief. But after he found the axe in his own backyard, he no longer saw anything wrong with the boy.

Ralph Emerson said, "Don't waste life in doubts and fears." Getting the mindset right is the best therapy for misperception. If one always assumes the worst of others and keeps scaring themselves, everything can appear dubious, and trivial problems can be blown out of proportion.

Ambassador Xie said that the US side can stay reassured that China's goal is to outdo itself, not outcompete others. When one sees others as its primary strategic competitor, the most consequential geopolitical challenge and a pacing threat, it would inevitably be overwhelmed by delusion, anxiety and paranoia. In the end, this would only lead to "self-fulfilling prophesies". No one would emerge as a winner from a zero-sum game. Political correctness cannot solve problems of the United States. And the "Anything But China" mentality is a sure recipe for confrontation.

China never bets against the United States, and never interferes in its internal affairs, including elections. We are willing to be partners and friends with the United States. We hope our two countries will respect each other, coexist in peace, and pursue win-win cooperation. Is the US side also willing to do the same?

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