How Will China Influence the World?


I can easily feel the increasing attention the world now pays to China at recent international meetings I have attended. My foreign peers all show an interest in China’s blueprint for the comprehensively deepened reforms laid out at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, eager to know what will happen in China and what will it bring to the rest of the world. A question frequently asked is: “How will China influence the world?”

This question arises in the context of China’s rapid growth. China is now the world’s second largest economy, with its foreign trade volume almost on a par with that of the U.S. A reflection on China’s recent history shocks and perplexes some Western politicians. With little idea of the many difficulties China is confronted with as a populous developing country and habitually critical of China due to its ideological stance, they often barely understand China’s policies and the strenuous efforts it has made.

The outside world recognizes China as an emerging world power and is closely observing its next moves. Their primary concerns are how China will realize the maximization of its security and interests and how it will influence the world.

The interests of big powers are fluid, expanding in tandem with the rise of national strength and their growing demand in global distribution of productivity. History shows that the overarching test facing a world power in the making is whether it can conform to global trends, or in other words, whether it can make its interests compatible with those of most members of the international community. Failure to do so is the reason for many countries’ big power dream going bust.

President Xi Jinping stressed that China should strike a balance between upholding justice and pursuing its own interests. To uphold justice, one has to consider others’ interests while pursuing one’s own, and in some cases, give up some self-interests. This is different from the old practice by conventional big powers of overriding other countries’ interests by way of armed force. China has always adhered to the path of peaceful development, which is ascribed to China’s developmental philosophy and how this relates to domestic and international situations.

As a socialist country with an ancient civilization, China should embrace the successful concepts and rules of universal values in the world, meanwhile continuously ameliorating its vision of justice, and interests and principles about present-day foreign relationships.

It is in the fields where China excels that it can best serve the world. To give an example, its robust economy creates more opportunities for other countries, and its experience in combating poverty and managing pollution can be drawn on by other developing countries.

But a country aspiring to be a world power cannot avoid provocations and infringements of its interests. It is impossible to make peace by turning a blind eye to or stepping away from such violations. Instead, it should make its stance clear and take solid action within a justified scope, so as to ward off further disturbances. When necessary it should work to reconfirm or remake international rules.

As the world’s focus on China intensifies, this year Chinese people may expect more views and doubts on China’s relationship with the world. We must heed, and meanwhile, improve our ability to enhance international understanding. To do so China should do more to elucidate its intentions and reasons, hence ease the attrition it encounters in the course of integrating with the world.


FU YING is a member of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee and chairperson of its Foreign Affairs Committee.

The article was published in the People’s Daily on January 2, 2014.