Index > Briefing
Wednesday, June 02, 2021
How China Can Better Interact with the World

Back in 2013, the Chinese central government noted the importance of increasing cultural exchanges with the outside world, citing the need to strengthen the construction of international communication capabilities and foreign discourse system. Transcending differences in culture, ideology, social system, to name a few, are crucial in building communication between China and other countries. In order to convey China's messages effectively, shared interest, discourse points, and emotional resonance are aspects in international exchanges that China needs to work on.

China should pay attention to two important things when interacting with the world, namely content and method. It needs to strategically set its goals, starting point, principle, and choice of outreach. Additionally, diplomacy also plays an integral part of such exchanges.

China's presence in the international spotlight has worsened in recent years. There has been increasing antagonism from the West, led by the United States against China, with intensifying confrontations. This could be attributed to several reasons, but it does show that China needs to work on the way it interacts with the world.

As an independent think tank, ANBOUND's senior researcher He Jun believes that China needs to reassess its strategic position, target, and content of its external exchanges based on the country's and the world's vision.

The strategic positioning of China's external exchanges should therefore, allow the world to understand and see it as an increasingly open and transparent country, which would reduce misconceptions about the country. The bigger goal is for the world to accept China, though this will not be easy. Human rights, democracy, and freedom, so frequently appearing in the discourse of the West, belongs to such level, and it is through these values that the West was acknowledged by the world.

The world may have approved of the West since the onset of Cold War leading up to the 21st century but that approval is waning. In fact, the West is increasingly detached with the United States. What more when certain politicians and experts have done a bad job in containing the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., which has led the West to further distance itself away from the country.

For China, realizing the goals of letting the world understand China more, and reduce any prejudices that the world has towards the country would be crucial. As China previously mentioned, it has no intention to force its values onto the world, nor does it want to be the world's leader. Therefore, in a world where geopolitical frictions are intensifying, it would be wiser for China to focus on simple yet attainable goals

In terms exchanging contents, China's central leadership has emphasized the common ground between China and outside world in the past, and such rational view should be continued adhered by the country. In such exchanges, as the outside world frequently perceives China to be unknowable, hence it should be open about its strategies, ideas, and principles, so as to reduce misperceptions and distortions. In this regard, presenting itself truthfully is indispensable in debunking fake information, and China will need to invest more resources in the information field. When it comes to common ground, it should be noted that universal values like democracy, freedom, and rule of law are not solely the values of the West, and these can be the shared values for China to engage with the world and gain recognition. In this regard, Chinese social medial influencers and celebrities can do an even better job at attracting the interest and attention of the general public in other countries than official news agencies.

As for the method and expression, such exchanges should be conducted peacefully and sensibly without glamorizing the offensive approach sometimes known as the "wolf warrior" mentality. This is not to deprive the Chinese from voicing out certain issues, but that tougher stance and offensive means are not always applicable in every occasion. In the exchanges, Chinese too, should adapt to what is understood internationally in their discourses, and be aware of the cultural differences. This of course, requires foresight and vision. An important element in the exchanges is humor. Humor is not merely a skill, but a considerable force that is not to be underestimated. Perhaps China can take a leaf from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is known for his humor. Russia is relatively poor in its economy, and boasts a lesser degree of influence in world economy, while its military foundation is inherited from the Soviet Union legacy. Yet, it remains a force to be reckoned with, not only because it is an adapt in strategic issues, but for its use of humor in diplomacy too.

Final analysis conclusion:

China is the second largest economy in the world, and it is inevitable for China to exchange with the rest of the world. The country may be under the impact of anti-globalization and international geopolitical frictions at the moment but it still needs get along with the world to obtain a stable and sustained normal development environment in the long run. Therefore, China needs to considered the complexity and significance of the works involving in it, and take note of their long-term impact

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