Xi Jinping

Nations would do well to heed call by Chinese President Xi Jinping

Harmonious global family may be an idealistic vision, but it is possible if people, parties and governments set aside their differences and join hands

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 December, 2017, 3:44am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 December, 2017, 3:44am

President Xi Jinping did not refer to a particular system in a keynote speech at a gathering of more than 300 of the world’s political parties from 120 countries in Beijing last week. But his remarks could have been directed at the United States and Britain, where a lack of agreement is preventing decision-making on major issues. The general secretary of the Communist Party said by working together, nations could build a community with a shared interest for humanity that would drive global growth and prosperity. But for that to happen, there first had to be a new model in which parties found common ground through shelving differences and respecting and learning from one another.

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There may be a temptation by liberal Western democracies to ignore such advice from the leader of a one-party state. But Xi is no ordinary leader; at a time when US President Donald Trump is isolating his country in the name of an “America first” policy and Britain is leaving the European Union, Xi’s taking charge of the banner of globalisation is as necessary as it is welcome. Isolation and retreat will not alleviate poverty or gaps in income and will worsen the likelihood for conflict. For improved global prospects, nations have to work together and they can do that at the government level and through political parties cooperating.

Xi, speaking to about 600 delegates at a conference to foster dialogue between his party, the world’s biggest, and other political groups, was at pains to emphasise that his idea was about working for the global good, not imposing ideology on others. The Chinese Communist Party, with an open vision and broad thinking, was willing to carry out dialogue and exchanges and cooperate with people and parties from other countries. This has long been taking place with opposition groups in places such as Japan that have difficult relations with China, the aim being to ensure channels for discussion remain open. In the coming five years, the Communist Party wants to dramatically expand its programme of exchanges.

Xi Jinping is not making history – history is making him

The fruits of such cooperation are gradually being revealed through Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, which aims to build trade and infrastructure networks from China through Asia to Africa, the Middle East and Europe by land and sea. It is a platform of cooperation that connects the prospects and destiny of nations along the route, with joint benefits rather than the outdated model of winner takes all. Xi’s thinking was plainly laid out at the party’s recent 19th congress, grounded in turning “planet Earth into a harmonious family”. It is for now an idealistic vision, but possible if people, parties and governments set aside their differences and join hands to create a shared community that will benefit everyone.