Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, one of the highest-ranking figures of Chinese foreign policy, posted a signed article on Britain’s Sunday Telegraph before leaving for France and UK to attend the strategic Dialogue. The following is the full text:
The Chinese government recently released a White Paper titled China’s Peaceful Development, in which it declared to the world that peaceful development is a strategic choice China has made.
It will lead China to modernisation and prosperity, and because of this China will make a greater contribution to world civilisation and progress.
China will work together with other countries to build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity. People may ask: should the world have confidence in China’s sincerity to follow the path of peaceful development? How should the international community respond?
I want to use this opportunity to clear a few doubts.
The Chinese people suffered greatly from foreign aggression and colonialism in modern times, and it was through hard struggle that they finally regained independence and liberation. There is no way the Chinese people would want to inflict the same suffering on to the people of other countries. China’s 5,000-year civilisation has embedded the concept of valuing harmony and peace in the mind of the Chinese people.
We have found this path of peaceful development in the course of the great experiment of reform and opening up. This is not something conjured up by a few individuals. It has become a living reality in China. By adhering to peaceful development, China has made notable progress and brought enormous benefits to the world. This path serves both China’s national interest and the common interests of mankind.
There is no reason for China to abandon this path.
This is not simply an act of expediency. The Chinese people account for one fifth of the world’s population. To ensure that they lead prosperous lives is a long and arduous task. It requires an international environment of long-term peace, as well as enduring friendship with other countries. Even when China becomes stronger in the future, peace will remain the essential precondition and guarantee of China’s development. Should China deviate from the path of peaceful development, it will step into an abyss of unredeemable depth.
This is no perfunctory gesture to soothe foreigners. We live in an increasingly multi-polar world in which economic globalisation and the development of information technology are gaining momentum. Countries are more interdependent and their interests are more closely connected. This has turned the world into a community of common destiny. The international community must work together to address the increasing global issues and common challenges that we face. No other choice is available or workable. China will not act against the trend of the times. It will not seek hegemony or follow the traditional pattern where a rising power was bound to become hegemonic. That is a dead end. It will harm China’s interests and the interests of others.
Is China’s declaration of peaceful development just empty talk? The answer is no. Peaceful development is the strong commitment of the Communist Party of China, the State and the Chinese people. It is manifest in China’s domestic and foreign policies as well as strategies for national development; it is translated into real actions. Peaceful development means that, domestically, China seeks harmony and development; externally, it pursues peace and cooperation.
But to follow the path of peaceful development, China needs the understanding and support of the international community; indeed, China owes much of its achievement to the long-term, friendly co-operation of other countries. And China will continue to count on the sympathy, understanding and support of the international community for its future development. For the world, China’s development is an opportunity, not a threat. We sincerely hope that the international community will have confidence in the sincerity and resolve of the Chinese people in following this path. We hope that the world will welcome China’s peaceful development rather than doing anything to obstruct it.