To build a community with a shared future for humanity is the strategic thought China has proposed
in the 21st century, concerning the trend of international relations and the development direction for the human society in the future. This thought is proposed on the basis of a calm evaluation of the opportunities and challenges currently facing the international community, a deep grasp of the major features of the contemporary age, and an objective summary of the development experiences and lessons from human history. The thought on building a community with shared future for humanity is an important component of Xi Jinping’s thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for the new era, providing guidance not only for China’s domestic political, economic and social development, but also for the formulation and implementation of China’s international strategy.
I.The Historical Background for Proposing the Thought on Building a Community with a Shared Future
for Humanity and Its Major Connotation
To understand the thought on building a community with a shared future for humanity, we must make clear the historical background that gives birth to this thought.
First, global interdependency has made the future of humanity inextricably linked. A high degree of interdependence is one of the chief features of the current age, which manifests itself in three aspects: A. Interdependence in development. Presently, the development opportunities and prospects of allcountries in the world are correlated, and no country can achieve development without getting involved with other countries in the world. B. Coexistence of risks and challenges. The transnational and linkage nature of risks and challenges has determined that no country in the contemporary world can cope with the challenges facing mankind alone, and all countries of the world need to jointly face the challenges as well as safeguard and promote the world peace and development in a responsible spirit. C. Mutual blending of topics for discussion. In the world today, the boundary is blurring in topics for discussion in political, economic, security, cultural and S&T fields, while their mutual blending and interchangeability have been enhanced, easily giving rise to “resonance effect”.
Second, the global governance system calls for transformation and development. The current global governance system is based on a series of international mechanisms, norms, rules and models established under the dominance of the Western countries in the wake of the Second World War. However, with the change of times, the existing international mechanisms have exposed major defects, as international power allocation has changed and global challenges are getting severe, which are seen mainly in two respects: on the one hand, the existing global governance system is unable to reflect the reality of international political and economic development. Only to take the global economic governance mechanism for example, the contribution rate of the emerging market economies and the developing countries to global economic growth has currently reached 80 percent, while their representation and voice in the framework of global governance system can hardly match the contribution they have made to the world economic growth. On the other hand, the existing global governance system cannot effectively cope with the common challenges facing mankind, with the incidents of global governance failures frequently occurring. On this account, the international community is urgently calling for new global governance concepts, the establishment of a fairer and more reasonable new international order, and opening up a brighter future for human development.
Third, China has the will and ability to “make relatively great contribution to mankind”. The proposition of the thought on building a community with a shared future for humanity is closely associated with China’s responsibility as a major power, which rests at least on two bases: A. The mission responsibility of the Chinese communists. It is just because the Chinese communists havealways upheld the concept of “making greater contributions to mankind”, that China has focused on the world development and the future of the human society, while making self-development, and proposed the thought on building a community with a shared future for humanity B. The elevation of China’s comprehensive strength. If the mission responsibility of the Chinese communists is said to provide the aspiration for the proposition of the thought on building a community with a shared future for humanity, the elevation of China’s comprehensive strength has laid the realistic foundation and offered the material preparation. Presently, China has become the second largest economy, the largest industrialized nation, the largest trading country in goods, and the country with the largest foreign exchange reserve of the world. From 2013 to 2017, the average contribution rate of the Chinese economy to the growth of the world economy exceeded 30 percent, making China the major driver of the world economic growth.
Against such backdrop, China has taken the lead in proposing the thought on building a community with a shared future for humanity, whose major connotation may be understood and explained in five aspects, namely a political view of lasting peace, a security view of universal security, an economic view of common prosperity, an open and inclusive view of civilization, and a view of clean and beautiful ecology.
II.China’s Practice in Building a Community with a Shared Future for Humanity
China is not only the initiator of the thought on building a community with a shared future for humanity, but also an active practitioner of this grand endeavor, showing the responsibility as a major power with concrete actions. On the level of international strategy, China has made persistent efforts in the following areas:
First, insisting on the path of peaceful development. From 2003 on, the Chinese central leadership then, such as Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, elaborated on the concepts of “peaceful rising” and “peaceful development” on many occasions. The new Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has further enriched and developed the strategic thought of the “peaceful development path” in accordance with the features of the era and the change of situation, based on inheritance and continuation, which is manifested inthree aspects: A. Making it clear that the peaceful development path is China’s strategic choice. B. Stressing that the peaceful development path has an equivalence nature, namely China follows a path of peaceful development, while expecting other countries to do the same. C. Elaborating on the dialectical unity relationship between peaceful development and safeguarding China’s national interests, namely China sticks to the path of peaceful development, but will never give up its legitimate rights, nor would it compromise its core national interests.
Second, building a global partnership network. China has taken the lead among the major powers to make establishing partnership the guiding principle for interstate communication, insisting on “dialog rather than confrontation and partnership rather than alliance”. Over the years, China has established partnerships of various kinds with more than 80 countries and regional organizations, with a global partnership network initially set up. Partnership has set no imaginary enemies, nor is it directed at any third party, featuring the nature of peace, equality and inclusiveness.
Third, promoting a new pattern of economic cooperation featuring openness, win-win, and inclusive development. China has actively advocated the development concepts internationally with equality, openness, comprehensiveness and innovation at the core, and made important contributions to promoting strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth of the world by pushing other countries to strengthen their development capacities, improve the environment for their national development, optimize cooperation partnership, and perfect coordinating mechanism for development.
Fourth, actively promoting international cooperation under the “Belt and Road” initiative. Since the “Belt and Road” initiative was proposed in 2013, more than 100 countries and international organizations have actively joined in this grand endeavor, with a large number of influential and symbolic projects smoothly implemented. The proposition and steady advancement of the “Belt and Road” initiative have highlighted the global vision and forging ahead of China’s diplomacy today. Meanwhile, the “Belt and Road”, together with the perfecting cooperation mechanisms associated with it, are the major public goods China has contributed to the world in the new era.
Fifth, standing for a view of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. Theories of international relations believe, security is the primary objective all the nation-states are seeking for. The views and conceptson security taken by various nations are important factors influencing the security relations among them or even the overall international relations. Faced with the regional hot-spots emerging one after another in the world and the complicated global challenges of various kinds, China has stood for a view of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, following a security path of joint construction, co-sharing and win-win with all other countries of the world.
III.China’s Blue Print for Building a Community with a Shared Future for Humanity
There is no previous experience to learn in building a community with a shared future for humanity. As a result, it calls for the role played by the international community, especially the enthusiasm and initiative as well as strengthened mutual trust, cooperation and coordination among the major powers.
First, to build a community with a shared future for humanity calls for a change of the old thinking and establishing new ideas. The international community should transcend the outmoded zero-sum mentality in international relations as well as the dangerous cold war and hot war mindset. China seeks peace rather than war, development rather than poverty, and cooperation rather than confrontation, making great efforts to promote the construction of a harmonious world featuring sustainable peace and common prosperity.
Second, to build a community with a shared future for humanity calls for the perfection of the global governance system. There is an urgent need to improve the representativeness, universality and effectiveness of the existing global governance system, for which a global governance concept highlighting mutual consultation, joint construction and co-sharing should be established first. Moreover, the representativeness and voice of the developing countries in international affairs should be gradually raised in practice. Only by doing so, could a new global governance framework be established to reflect the reality of the international political and economic changes, and cope with the emerging new crises and challenges.
Third, to build a community with a shared future for humanity calls for establishing a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation. To forge a new typeof international relations, we should first of all strengthen and improve the existing international order and system with the UN Charter at the core. Secondly, efforts should be made to continuously promote the democratization of the international relations. China has insisted that all countries in the world, big or small, strong or weak and rich or poor, are equal; the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected; and the national security of every country should be respected and ensured.Lastly, the major powers of the world are expected to really undertake the historic responsibilities. Countries differ in capabilities and levels of development, which means that individual countries should shoulder common but differentiated responsibilities for the same objective. Therein, the major powers are expected to play their unique roles, and make more and greater contributions to world peace, stability, development and prosperity.
Fourth, to build a community with a shared future for humanity calls for promoting exchange among different civilizations featuring harmony but not the sameness, and all-embracing. To build a community with a shared future for humanity, we should respect the diversity of the civilizations in the world, and promote exchange and mingling among different civilizations, so as to realize common prosperity of different civilizations. To respect the diversity of civilizations, the most important thing is to respect the choice made by various countries of their social systems and development paths. There is no universal, changeless and one-size-for-all development model in the world, but ones that best fit the national conditions of individual countries.
Fifth, to build a community with a shared future for humanity calls for establishing a global ecosystem that emphasizes the reverence of nature and green development to realize the harmonious coexistence of Human and nature. Human and nature compose a life community. We must respect nature, conform to nature, protect nature, and achieve harmonious coexistence between Human and nature, as they are the fundamental guarantee for the sustainable development of the world and integrated development of mankind.
(The author is Associate Professor from Institute for International Strategic Studies of the Central Party School of the CPC. This article was received on June 25, 2018.)