By Lu Jingxian
China’s growing influence has met with rising concern, if not panic in some Western countries. As more governments and agencies accuse China of infiltration, the Chinese public is starting to question whether an anti-China sentiment is emerging in Western society.
Some China observers in the West are emphasizing what they say is a “CPC influence operation,” not “Chinese influence” and warned it is a dangerous conflation to mix the two conceptions.
With China’s rise and expanding business presence abroad, its influence naturally extends to foreign countries. The problem is if this influence is viewed through an ideological lens, it will lead to a twisted conclusion.
It’s baffling to Chinese that Western society, known for advocating open-mindedness and facilitating broad exchanges of ideas, can be so resistant to influence from China.
As China hosts more international students, it never occurs to Chinese that students from the West could be carriers of a hostile ideology that poses a challenge to China’s national security. Meanwhile, Chinese continue to hold an open-minded attitude toward normal exchange with the Western countries, be it in business or academic spheres.
A deeper issue is what role the CPC has played in the rise of China and, as the sole ruling party, can it be detached from the historical rejuvenation of the country.
With its 89 million-strong members, consisting mainly of the elite of different sectors, the CPC is a team representing the backbone of Chinese society. The CPC’s organizing ability, inclusive policies and acceptance of differing ideas, has proven essential to helping the country weather various storms since the CPC’s founding in 1921.
As the CPC continues to lead China’s ascent, the influence of China and the CPC is deeply integrated and one cannot be separated from the other. China’s initiatives that have a global vision, such as the Belt and Road initiative and a community of shared future for mankind, also represent aspirations of the CPC.
Yet the West cannot rid itself of a deep bias toward CPC and all things connected to it are viewed in an unreasonable negative light. While Chinese authority and society are open to ideas introduced by the West, the latter has stubbornly refused to recognize advantages of China’s political system.
As someone born in the mid-1970s, many of my childhood readings were stories about how Chinese people had to be alert to and thwarted plots of infiltrating spies from the imperialistic US. In hindsight, that was a ridiculous period of time in the modern history of China-West engagement. It is hoped such an absurd time will not be repeated in the West today.
CPC’s role cannot be detached from Chinese influence
By Lu Jingxian