China and the World – The New Era




The significance of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) reaches beyond China to the global theater. China’s development is impacting the world due to both the size and the success of the nation. Emblematic of China’s development, beyond becoming a moderately prosperous society towards full rejuvenation, is its proposed notion of “building a community of shared future for mankind.” This concept can represent the worthy goal of engaging the interest of the nations of the world that share China’s implied definition for a shared future – strengthening society through economic stability, improving the lives of our children, ensuring that women and ethnic minorities enjoy greater access to leadership positions, taking steps towards repairing the damaged environment, and many others.


Leading this endeavor to build a community of shared future for mankind will require strength, fortitude, and courage. These are characteristics that have been portrayed by China’s leadership over the past five years. Under the helm of the newly re-elected General Secretary of the CPC, President Xi Jinping, China is entering a new era where it will focus on building its strength. This refers not only to military strength but to the strength of its people and society. Efforts will address a reinvigoration of Chinese culture, thereby strengthening China’s identity and that of its people.


Like the Jewish people, the Chinese have survived over 4,000 years of history, mainly due to their strong cultural identity. This is reflected even in the formation of the People’s Republic of China where Marxism and Communism were infused with Chinese characteristics. From this firm sense of cultural history and tradition evolved a sense of purpose, such as building multi-lateral bridges between scores of nations through the Belt and Road Initiative. This mega-geo-economic initiative lays the foundation for building a community of shared future for mankind. Globalization, the internet, even cyber currencies are all contributing to the blurring of borders and the growth of interdependence among countries. Economic development has become synonymous with international trade.


The Belt and Road Initiative recognizes the need to increase cross-border economic development – literally building the roads, bridges, trains, tunnels, and ports that cross borders and are essential to facilitating trade. However, because the initiative is a multi-lateral economic concept with Chinese characteristics, it goes beyond just infrastructure. It stresses the importance of people-to-people communication, learning about each other’s cultures and developing mutual understanding.


Whereas the Western approach to economics focuses on the bottom line, the deal, the contract, the Chinese approach is more holistic, looking at the larger picture. This has the potential to improve trade as well as cultural understanding and acceptance. Reaching such mutual understanding among peoples will not be without challenges. China itself faces obstacles that limit its ability to really understand the cultures that are so vastly different from its own – such as the deeply religious societies of the Muslim world and the very individualistic beliefs and traditions of the West. These vast cultural gaps will present formidable hurdles as China steps forward to take the lead in building a shared future for mankind.


The initiative is fashioned to lower those hurdles while motivating peoples of different backgrounds to work together for their mutual benefit. In fact, with his initiation of the program, President Xi took a bold step towards advancing an ancient Jewish concept – Tikkun Olam. This is the biblical vision for “repairing the world.” Through the Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi succeeded in taking meaningful steps towards contributing to the improved lives of scores of nations across the world. The project by definition supports building a shared future. It gives the world a brilliant opportunity to bridge cultures and conflicts in the name of building a better life for the children of the world and a better world for the future of all.


At the same time, the success of the initiative and of building a shared future requires a true win-win for all the nations and peoples of the world. As a leader in this process, it will be incumbent upon China to work for the success not only of the Chinese but for all the countries participating in the project and beyond. This may require China to open more of its markets to foreign direct investment, as well as facilitate non-Chinese business growth at home and abroad. Building a shared future may also entail China taking on the traditionally Western role of engaging its military to actively support peace and stability in far flung regions. With the recent military reorganization carried out by President Xi, and the promise of a stronger Chinese military, managed by wise leadership, it is conceivable that China could become a great stabilizer within the international community. As a force for peace and harmony, China would have an important say in the success of building a shared future for mankind.


Thanks to the great success of the Chinese people and to decades of careful leadership, China has achieved miraculous success. The success of current achievements and those to come are becoming inextricably intertwined with the future of the world.


CARICE WITTE is the founder and executive director of the Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership.