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Sharing perspectives with China

Sharing perspectives with China

Lilia Sinaga

A timeless maxim crossed the mind before writing this article: In politics, there are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies but permanent interest.

Not so long ago, ASEAN people still perceived China as a nice business partner. China is the largest trading partner for ten ASEAN nations with a total trade value of $345.8 billion in 2015 accounting for 15.2% of ASEAN’s total trade while ASEAN is also China’s largest trading partner.

China can figuratively say he has become a real dragon among his neighbouring countries with fast economic growth naturally followed by the increase of military strength. Well, according to Western sources, China now has the largest armed forces in the world with about 2.19 millions active soldiers, the largest navy with 355 ships. The Chinese air force has also grown into the largest in the Asia-Pacific region and the third-largest in the world with more than 2,500 aircrafts and roughly 2,000 combat aircrafts including a fleet of stealth fighter jets. China also has the biggest hypersonic weapons in the world.

With such immense economic power and military prowess China should have known that they have the same status and level as the other so-called big and advanced countries. In other words, China must have its own visions, policy, wisdom and integrity without mimicking or jumping on the bandwagon initiated by the West (in this case particularly USA).

China should have been constantly aware that his progress is due to his collaborations with his surrounding neighbors like ASEAN, Central Asia, Japan, Korea, etc. One other thing that must be upheld is the cultural sensitivity with its nuances that could have impacted economical and political decisions. Let us analyse the counterproductive and counterintuitive move of China which has become international scrutiny recently: Uighurs.

China should have realized that economic competition and rivalry, in this current case with the West can be transformed into political and military friction. And China should never underestimate Western countries’ skills with their cunning public relations to persuade smaller and weaker countries into their side. What can China do now to win the sympathy of its neighbouring countries? Well for a start, China must rectify what it did to Uighurs; let Taiwan at ease for a while, or don’t make India getting grumpier for instance.

The current government of China sometimes needs to reminisce about when China was a favourite country with the Silk Road and highly skilled people who have elegant savoir-faire. Muslim people particularly will always have sweet memories about China when they were actively present in the Tang, Sing, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. The blunder of China in handling Uighur people in the frenzy of Islamophobia initiated by Western hidden agenda made China look wimpy. It’s better now to stop the “Vocational Education and Training Centers” and labour camps for the Uighurs so as to diminish the tarnishing campaigns directed to China.

China must win back Muslim support immediately because history proved that Muslims were never a threat to China. The Muslims shall fight back when attacked by any country but never as the aggressor country. On a side note; it’s amusing to remember that Mongol armies converted to Islam after they conquered the Muslim armies.

For a fact, countries which are now immensely occupied in analysing, spying, agitating China are Western countries, not Muslim countries. The Westerns are paying closer attention to the modernisation of China’s armed forces and his pursuit of ever more sophisticated weaponry. Indeed, China, as the world’s most populous country with a population more than 1.4 billion and an area of approximately 9.6 million square kilometres will never lose the ability to influence global opinions. China is playing a growing role in the world economy today as it has been since hundreds of years ago.

As one of the world’s fastest-growing countries and the tenth-largest exporter, China’s emergence as a major player in the world economy will cause competition and rivalry. China will win if they stick to economic competition and not be tempted into armed confrontations. Involvement of China in the global economy creates huge opportunities for trade, investment and international cooperation to promote world prosperity and stability. Continuity on a rapid growth consequently will enhance the policy challenges and opportunities for China as well as other trading partner countries.

China’s full participation in the world economy as a matter of fact is undeniable and unstoppable. If some countries are envious, it’s only the natural way of the world. Glad to hear that as the tenth-largest exporter China had 85 female billionaires as of January 2021, two-thirds of the global total numbers. On the other hand, complexity of global competition and change in key areas of economics, politics and military force is a constant reality. It means that the agility, sensitivity and awareness like those practiced by kung-fu masters must always be maintained; not even a second of carelessness or absent-mindedness can be tolerated.

Upon gaining its renewed supremacy, indeed China must tread carefully so as not to be a menace to the weaker countries. Surely we don’t need a new “Non-Aligned Movement” against China. Advanced military prowess is not a guarantee for long-lasting supremacy but smart diplomacy might be. Civil-military competition on a global scale can not be won by being solitary even though supported by billions of population. Voices of small countries still matter in global policy and decision making as well as image creation.

In view of economic sustainability, China must consider ensuring access to strategic raw materials and future markets by being civil to the weaker nations because today the internet has created a new kind of loyalty and connections. The rapid flow of information has made everybody and every nation become giddy and highly strung. Interdependence among nations can not be ignored and will always be a delicate matter that must be tackled carefully and tactfully.

Every household has their own skeleton and every nation has their faults and mistakes. And it’s so easy for other nations with malicious intentions to discredit China; they can bring forth nasty issues like an infringement on human rights, organ harvesting, copyright violations, etc. Despite all the black campaigns directed to China, global communities are actually aware that instability and massive economic and political problems in China will affect global prosperity and the status quo of supply and demand.

Lilia Sinaga, is a 54 years old woman from Indonesia, works as a writer and contributor.