China’s Transition into a Society of Social Harmony (Part II)
August 1, 2007
by Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
President, International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University
Other articles on China by same author are found at:
China in True Perspective
China’s Transition into a Society of Social Harmony
China represents one of the oldest civilizations in the entire history of our earthly society. Its dynasties managed to leave legacies that have enriched the culture of China in many unique ways. By nature, the Chinese are very kind people and they try to be helpful with those around and with those they come across. They also tend to live in peace and to let others live in peace as well. The only ambition the Chinese people seem to have is to see the members of their relatives and friends equipped with all the vital needs of life.
Comprehension of China
Today, China has emerged to become the most populated nation on earth with well over one billion people. Its people always managed to keep together partly because of the virtual common language they share, and partly because of the common rich culture they inherited. Although the Chinese language may give the impression of being difficult, its grammar and syntax are much easier than most languages. In fact, in many countries more and more people are now studying Chinese by using Roman letters instead of Chinese characters.
In China we have some 56 different ethnic groups each one with a culture and language of its own. Hence, China, for all practical purposes, could be viewed as a conglomeration of ethnic diversities where people everywhere tend to live as brothers and sisters in many ways. The Chinese government needs to be commended for its successful effort to make harmony a reality. The plan to have merely a defensive military is saving China billions of dollars.
Such saved money is being used to improve the transportation system, and to build better hospitals, schools and housing facilities. China has taken the lead to set up a good example in terms of national priorities. If we examine the lives of some of the best religious leaders from Buddha and Confucius, all the way to Jesus of Nazareth, Mahatma Gandhi, and Mother Teresa, we will discover they all tried to help others by setting out a good example first.
The Chinese people, on the whole, enjoy a better health care system and a better education than most of the leading nations in the world. People are encouraged to be creative and their constructive contributions are deeply appreciated. The civilian economy is developing much faster than ever anticipated. People everywhere are provided with all the necessities of life. As a result, one does not notice much tension in the faces of the Chinese people. As a whole, they tend to look serene and peaceful.
Exposition of Good Will
In the world at large, China is being viewed increasingly as an asset and as a benefactor. One of its greatest assets lies in its determination to view its strength not in military build-up but rather in the continuous growth of its civilian economy. This has managed to enhance greater respect and credibility from many nations from across every continent. In fact, the several nations of Asia are finding themselves more comfortable in dealing with China than with any other country. China’s goal is not to expand its territory globally but rather it focuses on strengthening itself economically, educationally and health-wise.
Today, the standard of living in China is considerably better than the standard of living in the vast majority of nations in the world. In recent times, China has taken the lead to help the developing nations as to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor by providing them with plenty of humanitarian assistance. China seems to believe that if people’s life is improved, a lasting world peace would become a reality where everyone would be a winner and where no one would be a loser.
This reminds us of Unesco’s preamble which says: “Since wars begin in the minds of men it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” China has noted recently that a number of developing countries have become characterized by insecurity, natural disasters and outbreak of major communicable diseases. China would love to see people in every country being equipped with good hospitals, schools, adequate housing facilities and proper nourishment. This will guarantee the development of social harmony and peace.
It has been predicted that China, joined by India, will become the strongest economic power in the world by the year 2045. Over the past two decades, China’s economy grew immensely. This was partly due to China’s consent to let capitalism infiltrate its communist system. Because of this, today we do find several Chinese people who make a lot of money and who may be termed rich for all practical purposes. Also, a lot of Taiwanese businessmen opened branches of their respective products on Mainland China.
Unlike with the case of North and South Korea, the Chinese people in both Mainland China and Taiwan seem to be free to communicate with each other. In this respect, Hong Kong serves as a linking bridge between the mainlanders and the islanders. The way to political and economic unification between Mainland China and Taiwan seems to be much closer at hand than the possible union between North and South Korea. The secret may lie in the Chinese ability to establish healthy and lasting dialogues, something that the Korean peninsula, as of this moment, seems to lack.
Increased Trust in China
Nowadays, China is being viewed less and less of a threat by the world at large. One of its greatest assets lies in its determination to view its strength not in military build-up but rather in the continuous growth of its civilian economy, as stated earlier. After all, this was the kind of strength that brought both Germany and Japan out of their total collapse following the end of World War II. Historically, military build-up always led to the eventual destruction of a nation’s economy. In fact, several nations that were either demilitarized or held a token military were always blessed with healthy and highly educated people.
After all, wars have always served as an instrument to kill people and to destroy the infrastructure of entire communities. Today, the standard of living in China is much better than that in the vast majority of nations in the world. In recent times, China took the lead to help the developing nations to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. China’s policies, as revealed by its role at the United Nations, prove that this huge nation of over one billion people is determined to do all it can to uphold world peace by all means conceivable.
Besides, China made it clear that the humanitarian assistance it gives to the poor nations of Africa and elsewhere does not have any strings attached. While we find leading politicians in the western world visiting African nations to offer them weapons and all kinds of military equipment, Chinese politicians visit the same African nations to offer them medical equipment, educational material, and better housing facilities. We may recall here the words of US President Dwight Eisenhower when, in his farewell speech to Congress, he said: Remember that all people of all nations want peace, only their government wants war.”
It is quite ironic to see governments waging wars, supposedly to save the lives of people, when they literally destroy the infrastructure of nations and kill tens of thousands of people amounting to millions on a global scale! We need to see the major nations of the world taking the lead to wage peace everywhere instead of war. As the Roman proverb goes: Satis est satis – enough is enough.
Nowadays, China seems to believe that if people’s life is improved, the chances for a lasting world peace would become a tangible reality where everyone would be a winner, as stated earlier. This explains why China made it a point to rely more and more on the development of healthy dialogues everywhere than on the promotion of wars. China knows well from experience how cruel it is to have tens of thousands of innocent citizens being massacred brutally and unnecessarily. This is a nation that has suffered the ravages of foreign invasions over the centuries to the detriment of the entire Chinese people. Such war episodes should never be repeated again by all means.
Philosophy of Hu Jintao
Since President Hu Jintao came into office, he assumed the responsibility not only to improve the life of the Chinese people, but also the lives of people living in underdeveloped countries, especially those in Africa. During the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (EPEC) CEO summit in Hanoi on November 17, 2006, China’s President Hu Jintao said:
“We will further deepen the reform of foreign-related economic sectors, accelerate the transformation pattern of trade growth and improve trade structure to ensure balanced growth of import and export.” Then he added saying: “We will actively introduce foreign investment, open the service sectors wider, enhance intellectual property rights protection and raise China’s overall level of openness.”
Besides, the Chinese President called for building a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity in the best interest of all people without exception. He described harmony as a “defining value of Chinese civilization.” In spite of this, the Chinese President recognized some of China’s problems and challenges that included “structural imbalances and inefficient modes of economic growth.” He also stated that issues of this nature could be resolved properly and effectively if in every approach taken the welfare of the people is given top priority by all means. China’s goal of the future is to aim at comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development.
What is encouraging lies here. Chinese government officials seem to be very serious and determined to bring about a permanent peace in the world, as far as it depends on them. They have a clear concept that all people in the world are inter-related same as the various members of our body. If a member of our body were to be injured, the entire body is bound to feel the terrible pain. And once that injured area is cured the entire body feels at ease.
The difference between the statesmen and the politicians usually is this. The statesmen tend to work for the universal welfare of all people without exception. They try to make sure that all people are provided with the vital necessities of life. On the other hand, the politicians tend to look after the welfare of some to the exclusion of others, which explains why quite a number of them tend to resort to war to get what they want by all means. Chinese government officials seem to be increasingly becoming more and more statesmen in the sense explained. This is certainly highly encouraging.
Setting a Good Example
In view of what has been stated, we may realize that regardless of its past behavior since the communists took over in 1949, the China of today has emerged to become very affluent. It has set example to the whole world relative to governmental priorities when it comes to the dire needs and welfare of the people. Most importantly, China is doing its best to curb all kinds of abuse of power with determination and eventual success. This is certainly making the people feel more secure and more at ease. More foreigners need to visit China who may learn more from what they see than from newspapers and books.
It would be highly encouraging if the leaders of the major nations in the world were to follow the lead of China to crack seriously on corruption especially as it emanates from government officials, if any. For example, many are aware of the fact that the manufacture and sales of weapons and the promotion of war has turned into a lucrative business. Government officials of any nation who are pushing for the manufacture and sales of weapons and for the promotion of wars to put more and more money into their pocket should be brought to justice and prosecuted for abuse of power.
For those who may be skeptic about China’s efforts to help the developing nations with no strings attached, they would need to explore as to whether or not China is also furnishing weapons and military material to such nations and, in case, to what extent. The concept of war to solve human conflicts has become very antiquated. The idea of a nation to bring under full control another nation through the waging of a devastating war has proven constantly to be fallacious and disastrous as we have seen in Vietnam, Iraq and quite a few other countries.
We should all be optimistic about China’s good intentions as long as its assistance to other nations is restricted to humanitarian needs that relate to medicine, food, housing facilities, and anything constructive. Besides, we should also look forward to seeing China assuming global leadership by all means in due time to help create a genuine global society of social harmony.
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