Illustration: Craig Stephens
Liu Guangyuan
Liu Guangyuan

Chinese diplomacy advances the common good, but China will fight back if its interests are threatened

  • While national rejuvenation remains a top priority, China is committed to pursuing win-win cooperation, and will foster all-round and balanced relations with major countries
  • Beijing also has every right to take countermeasures against hegemonic acts by anti-China forces
As the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its first centenary, it is important that we review the remarkable journey the party has taken, draw inspiration and strength from history, and look to the future.

China’s diplomacy is conducted under the party’s leadership for the benefit of the Chinese people. China’s diplomacy has been fully involved in China’s tremendous transformation. The Chinese nation has not only stood up, but has also grown prosperous and is becoming strong. Under the party’s leadership, Chinese diplomacy has several salient features.

First, it is committed to keeping abreast of the times. The party led the people to achieve independence and liberation amid the flames of war, started a new chapter in China’s history, and contributed significantly to the defeat of fascism in World War II.

China established an independent foreign policy of peace after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, has actively integrated into the world economy since its reform and opening up, and contributed to human progress with its major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era. China’s diplomacy has followed global trends, and at the same time consistently broken new ground in both theory and practice, showing its vision and initiative.

A photo exhibition in Beijing held to mark the Communist Party’s centenary anniversary attracts onlookers on June 14. The Communist Party’s mission is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the nation. Photo: AP

Second, Chinese diplomacy puts people first. The Communist Party’s mission is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the nation. Accordingly, China’s diplomacy is all about serving the people wholeheartedly, and realising and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the greatest majority of the people.

In the face of Covid-19, a once-in-a-century pandemic, we have delivered health kits to Chinese overseas, launched the “Spring Sprout” vaccine programme, and prudently evacuated Chinese nationals, including Hong Kong compatriots, from hard-hit areas. Such efforts speak volumes about the people-centred principle of China’s diplomacy.

Third, Chinese diplomacy is committed to pursuing the common good for the world. The party is devoted not only to serving the well-being of the Chinese people but also to striving for human progress. Since the People’s Republic of China resumed its lawful seat in the United Nations 50 years ago, it has acted as a champion of fairness, justice and equality for countries large and small.

Over the past seven decades and more, China has provided aid to 166 countries and international organisations. It is also the second-largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and the largest troop-contributing country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.


SCMP Explains: China’s growing role in UN peacekeeping missions in Africa

SCMP Explains: China’s growing role in UN peacekeeping missions in Africa

The past century fully proves that the party’s leadership is the biggest political advantage of China’s diplomacy and the fundamental safeguard for continued success in China’s diplomatic endeavours. Amid profound changes unprecedented in a century, China has embarked on a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country.

Guided by the Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, China’s major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era will pursue the following goals.

First, it will focus on the country’s top priorities, and take into account both domestic needs and the international context. China will work all-out for national development and rejuvenation on the diplomatic front, and implement a dual-circulation economic strategy that will take it towards a new development paradigm.

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It will champion openness and cooperation, and firmly oppose protectionism of whatever form. It will advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, build an open world economy together with other countries, share more development opportunities with the rest of the world, and make greater contributions to global recovery and growth.

Second, Chinese diplomacy will also expand its global partnerships and continue to promote a new type of international relations. China remains committed to pursuing peace, development and win-win cooperation. It will foster all-round and balanced relations with major countries, deepen friendship with neighbouring nations, enhance solidarity and cooperation with developing countries, and actively advocate a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation.

Further, China will increase friendly exchanges with peoples around the globe, and boost mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world.


Inside a plant in China producing the WHO-approved Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine

Inside a plant in China producing the WHO-approved Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine

Third, Chinese diplomacy will work to protect Mother Earth, and forge a community with a shared future for humankind. The Covid-19 pandemic has again proven that isolation gets one nowhere, and only by pulling together can we build our common home.

We will strengthen international cooperation against Covid-19, work for a global community of health for all, and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity. We embrace true multilateralism, firmly uphold the UN-centred international system, and will continue to advance the reform of the global governance system.

The world today is not tranquil. Some anti-China forces have tried to attack and smear China, and have even imposed unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction” and flagrantly meddled with China’s internal affairs in breach of international law and basic norms governing international relations.
China has every right to take countermeasures against such hegemonic acts. The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Countering Foreign Sanctions, adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress last week, arose exactly out of the pressing need to fight back against hegemony and power politics, safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests, and coordinate domestic and foreign-related rule of law.

Here is China’s solemn message to the small handful of anti-China forces: the dignity and legitimate rights of the Chinese people are not to be undermined, the historical trend towards the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation under the Communist Party’s leadership is not to be stopped, and any attempt, open or underhanded, to interfere in China’s internal affairs and curb China’s development is doomed to fail.

With the implementation of the national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the improvement of Hong Kong’s electoral system, Hong Kong has gone through a major transformation from chaos to stability, and “one country, two systems” has entered another stage of enduring success.

At this new historical juncture, the Commissioner’s Office will draw wisdom and strength from Communist Party history over the past century, carry forward the party’s spirit and tradition, and stay true to its founding mission as we forge ahead. We will more vigorously oppose external interference, promote Hong Kong’s development and put people at the centre, and join hands with the Hong Kong community to take the diplomatic work relating to Hong Kong to new heights.

Liu Guangyuan is Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong SAR. This piece is based on a speech he gave on June 16 at a forum to mark the Communist Party’s centenary anniversary