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Rural schoolgirl can teach West lesson about China’s rise

BY AI JUN
For decades, the West has not understood the rise of China, which led to their vigilance toward Beijing. Perhaps a book can provide them with a new perspective.
A piece of review of The Diary of Ma Yan has been widely circulated for years – “I was trying to order a book by Mo Yan [Chinese Nobel laureate] and selected Ma Yan by mistake. Turns out it was a lucky mistake.” The Diary of Ma Yan is a book that has unexpectedly opened the minds of many Westerners who harbor outdated views of China. It chronicles the life of Chinese teenager Ma Yan, her fight against poverty and pursuit of knowledge in drought-scarred Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Northwest China. She sticks to her goal and fights for a better fate. Hers is not an individual story, but epitomizes China’s development.
China’s diligence is a key factor that the West has ignored in comprehending China’s rise. Such a phenomenon is common not only in the West, but also around the world.
China has been rising by working hard and desperately perfecting the skills of every single individual. As US railroad workers refuse to work in bad weather and strike from time to time, Chinese workers complete an upgrade to a railway station in a few hours. When Beijing first joined the World Trade Organization, Western nations prepared to amuse themselves by watching China’s economic performance. Yet China is developing faster than they can ever have expected playing by their rules.
Developed countries believe they helped China’s development, but now in response China is challenging them. They regret having allowed China to join the World Trade Organization, and even feel that the World Bank should not aid China. In fact, they should reflect upon themselves.
There are many kids like Ma in China. The government has offered and will continue to offer assistance to them, but their own efforts are key to their future. China has no intention of competing with the West for hegemony or influence. The country needs invest more efforts into future prosperity, for which China is willing to join hands with other countries to realize.
Competition coexists with cooperation. Through the world, joint efforts are essential for a bright future. In fact, China’s Belt and Road initiative is also sharing developmental dividends with the international community.
(Global Times)

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