“The development and expansion of the uniquely Chinese path of modernization shows the viability and advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics, proving that modernization does not necessarily mean “Westernization”, which is of great importance to both China and the world.” – said Song Lilei, professor at Tongji University, in her presentation at the Eurasia Center on November 24, 2022. Professor Song also added that „China firmly pursues friendship and cooperation with all countries based on the principles of peaceful coexistence.”
In her presentation „Chinese Path to Modernization and the Foreign Policy of Peaceful Coexistence” professor Song described the main factors and determinations that formed the foundation not only for China’s view on the world and itself, but for the present-day characteristics of China’s diplomatic and strategic thinking in the past centuries.
In addition to historical contexts and China-West interactions, the presentation highlighted the importance of the concepts of shi, the identity and strategy in the Chinese way of thinking. According to the professor it is impossible to carry out meaningful and authentic research on China without knowing China’s history and peculiarities. Due to this very absence or lack of knowledge makes the higher cooperation between China and other states, or even between the Chinese people and foreigners not always easy.
Yet China supports the peaceful development and peaceful interstate relations. Based on this approach, Beijing strives to create a new kind of system in international relations based on respect and equality, by promoting true multilateralism. Therefore, China clearly and firmly rejects power politics and the pursuit of hegemony, acting as a responsible state in international relations. Therefore, Beijing is actively involved in the reform of global governance systems, while its philosophy of people-centered development and the continuation of the policy of opening up also contributes to the improvement of the level of international trade and investment. The Belt and Road initiative – which serves to achieve sustainable development goals, and not geopolitical ambitions – adequately exemplifies this approach.
During the discussion after the presentation, Professor Song explained that China’s zero-Covid policy, unlike certain Western interpretations, is actually not static, it rather varies according to the certain situations and locations. Concluding the workshop professor Song stated that it would definitely be necessary to improve and develop communication between people to in order to achieve mutual acceptance and understanding.