By Wen Dao
In his New Year’s address, Chinese President Xi Jinping talked of China’s resolve to develop peacefully and determination to protect sovereign integrity, warning saboteurs that the “Chinese people will never allow anyone to get away with making a great fuss about it.”
Western media have taken this particular sentence out of context, playing up China’s so-called expansionist and aggressive ambitions, and speculating that China may resort to more active moves in the South China Sea disputes and the Taiwan question.
The Western media’s hyperbole about China’s threat to the international community has long become a pathological rhetoric, which is full of ill-founded accusations and ideologically-driven prejudices. China’s claim to the South China Sea mainly based on historical lineage is often distorted from a geopolitical dimension as a leviathan throwing its weight about in front of other much smaller claimants, with little mention of the legitimacy and rationality of China’s claim.
It is necessary to straighten out the garbled information. Besides the message about territory, China’s top official also mentioned his and the entire nation’s commitment to contributing to global development. The Chinese people hope for a better life for people in other countries as well as for themselves, Xi noted.
China has been promoting the philosophy behind its peaceful rise to the world for years, and it sticks to its promises. China has no intention to annex other countries’ territory, but no one should blame it for striving for territorial integrity. Territorial disputes are easily turned into zero-sum games, and China is trying to avoid an unnecessary showdown, such as insisting on a peaceful resolution even at the brink of physical conflict. Unfortunately, these efforts have been ignored by the Western media and governments.
China’s peaceful rise creates jobs, investment projects and economic opportunities. China is not a colonist in underdeveloped regions nor a looter of global resources. By externalizing its capability, China wants to start an economy-oriented current that can benefit the world, hoping the new trajectory can mitigate geopolitical conflicts, religious disputes and terror threats.
This is a mission China has taken on. In 2017, China will put more efforts in this direction, advancing economic and technological cooperation deeper and wider and making more contributions to global peace and stability. With the growth of some significant regional mechanisms such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, China’s neighbors will be the first beneficiaries from its full-fledged externalization. By then, it is hoped that the closeness in economic cooperation will generate a smoother way to deal with the perpetual territorial disputes.