by Francesco Maringiò
In sharp contrast to the rise of Western powers that waged wars of aggression or plundered resources from others, peace is the highlight of China’s progress. Through peaceful development, it has managed to improve people’s well-being becoming the world’s largest economy by Purchase Power Parity GDP and having been lifted from poverty 800 million people and, in the same time, pushing 400 million people on the east cost at a standard living on a par with the average in the European Union: it is an unprecedented achievement in the history of mankind.
China, with its peaceful rise, has broken the “centre-periphery” system of dependence that made many developing countries influenced by advanced capitalist economies. In doing so, China has established a system in which there is no other “centre” but a partner, in fact it became a trade, investment and technology partner for emerging countries, but also a reliable ally for more developed areas, being at the same time the largest trading partner of the EU and the largest creditor country for the US. Faced with the spread of Covid-19 and its peril, the distribution of the Chinese vaccine to developing countries is a concrete case of breaking the “centre-periphery” dependency system and contributing to a healthier and more balanced world.
This new development paradigm is built on “win-win” principle, that represents the core of China’s foreign policy approach and it aims to oppose the “zero-sum game” and supremacy mentality and seeks to establish the principle that all nations, no matter how powerful, have the same right to be involved in regional and international affairs.
China has proposed a new model of global interaction that is the Belt and Road Initiative, which not only develops Eurasian and global interconnection but also builds the ground for a new paradigm in international politics, uphold the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, focus on responsiveness and managing the differences.
Some scholars have called this new policy launched with the BRI strategy a “globalisation with Chinese characteristics” or a Globalisation 2.0. In fact, it is not only an economic project but also a cultural blueprint of concrete universalism in the acknowledgment of diversity and in the proposal to build a community with a shared future for mankind. This is a strategy of transformation of the world as a whole that considers the entire planet in its multiple aspects, including cultural and spiritual ones.
This policy represents a strategic vision of the future of the world as a whole, which requires an increasingly interconnected globe, and which calls for a new kind of globalisation, completely different from the one that has been in place since 1991, led by the United States and Western countries.
The benefits associated with China’s development, not only in terms of improving the living and working conditions of the Chinese people and their interaction with developing countries, are also visible through a process of progressive democratisation of international relations. The new course inaugurated with the economic choices of the new Five-Year Plan, for example, will transform China into a global leader in technological innovation. And this will inevitably bring about the breaking up of the technological monopoly in several areas and the political use that countries and private corporations holding technological supremacy have made in recent years, to the detriment of the vast majority of the world’s population. The crucial transformative aspect of this process is that Chinese growth and world growth are mutually reinforcing.
Finally, I would like to point out that the American presidential elections have not definitively changed what is at stake: humanity is faced with two opposing conceptions of the future. On the one hand, there is a supremacist approach that aims to strengthen the hierarchy and the dependence of countries and peoples on a command centre, and on the other, there is a new paradigm of win-win cooperation that closes the era that began in 1991 and outlines a future of progress and hope for the whole world.