Experts: No single civilization can dominate in this multipolar world any longer
By Li Wenhan  ·  2023-03-17  ·   Source: Web Exclusive

Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese President, attends the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting via video link and delivers a keynote address, in Beijing on March 15 (XINHUA)  

A global initiative calling for respect for the diversity of civilizations, named the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI), was unveiled on March 15 in Beijing. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese President, proposed the initiative while addressing the opening of the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting.    

The meeting, held via video link, brought together over 500 leaders of political parties and political organizations from more than 150 countries, under the theme of "Path towards Modernization: The Responsibility of Political Parties." 

In his speech, Xi stressed that, at a time when all countries are inextricably connected, tolerance, co-existence and mutual learning are indispensable in pushing human society forward in modernizing and making world civilization flourish.  

"We must help others to succeed while seeking our own success and ensure all can enjoy the outcomes of modernization. Humanity lives in a community with a shared future where we rise and fall together," he said. 

Countries that are more advanced should sincerely help other countries in their development, Xi said, adding that blowing out others' lamps doesn't make yours shine brighter, and blocking others' paths won't help you go further. 

He laid out four points when suggesting the GCI: respect for the diversity of world civilizations, the common values of humankind, attaching importance to the inheritance and innovation of civilization, and strengthening international cultural exchanges and cooperation. 

The GCI, together with the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI), both previously proposed by Xi, aims to promote world peace, security, development and harmony.   

The GDI, announced in 2021 at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, aims to steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth. The GSI, put forward in 2022 at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, stresses the importance of upholding a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. 

Xi's GCI must be read along with his vision of building a community with a shared future, his speech at the 2019 Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, and more recently his GSI, GDI and his vision of Chinese modernization that talks of connecting humans to nature, better regulation and distribution of wealth and seeking prosperity for all, Swaran Singh, professor of international relations at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India and currently visiting professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, explained to Beijing Review. 

John Pang, a former Malaysian government official and also the founding CEO of the CIMB ASEAN Research Institute, said he believes this kind of people-centered philosophy is fundamental to classical Chinese statecraft. 

"The peace and flourishing of the people is not only the first priority of government, it is its entire purpose," he told Beijing Review. "The final good is the shared good of all humanity. In the Chinese view this is a vision of cosmic order, of reality itself, and beyond politics and ideology." 

"The GCI is Xi's vision of global modernization that flows from his China Dream of national rejuvenation—spiritual, ethical and cultural—which remains grounded in China's civilizational heritage and stands at clear variance from the American Dream of free-market-driven unleashing of individual energies for individual material prosperity," Singh said. 

"So the GCI now presents a vision of global modernization as a garden where a hundred flowers bloom together, co-existing and collaborating, a vision that inspires nations to choose their own unique path of advancement. This is because there can be no one model of modernization to copy and paste for all. In order to thrive, the vision must come from the citizens of each country, who best know what kind of modernization suits them," he added. 

Ong Tee Keat, Chairman of the Center for New Inclusive Asia, Malaysia, also emphasized no single civilization can dominate in this multipolar world any longer. He told Beijing Review that promoting coexistence and engaging in exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations are the trends of the times, which drives the process of modernization forward. It demonstrates the Chinese philosophical idea of creating a harmonized community. 

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson  

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