China Connects the World: What Behind the Belt and Road Initiative

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Language: English
Format: 23.4 x 15.6 x 2.6 cm
Page: 262
Publication Date: 04/2017
ISBN: 9787508536262
本书深入浅出地阐述了“一带一路”时代的全球化、文明、战略、经济、政治、外交逻辑,揭示了“一带一路”倡议所展示的中国智慧与世界智慧,是继作者推出《“一带一路”:机遇与挑战》专著一年后从人类文明史与全球化反思角度研究“一带一路”的力作。 This book explains the logic concerning globalization, civilization, strategy, economy, politics and diplomacy in an in-depth yet understandable way, and reveals the Chinese wisdom and global wisdom displayed by the Belt and Road Initiative. Based on the history of human civilization and reflection on globalization, it is a monograph on the Belt and Road Initiative after the publication of the same author’s The Belt and Road Initiative: What Will China Offer the World in Its Rise one year ago.

Editor's Recommendation

世界是平的,这可能是我们时代zui大的错觉。其实,贫富差距、人心不通,乃各国所面临的紧迫挑战;全球化,成为我们时代的想当然。其实,所谓的全球化更多的是沿海地区与发达群体的“部分全球化”(partial globalization)。今天,现代化人口规模从起初欧洲的千万级、美国的上亿级,向新兴国家的几十亿级迈进,单靠欧洲所开辟的航线、美国所确立的规则,早已无法承载。
在这种时代背景下,中国提出“一带一路”伟大倡议,可谓古丝绸之路的中国化、时代化、大众化,堪称第二次地理大发现,体现中国崛起后的天下担当。同时也预示着,文明的复兴而非单向度的全球化才是世界大势所趋。以政策沟通、设施联通、贸易畅通、资金融通、民心相通等“五通”所代表的互联互通,才是塑造人类命运共同体的根本,推动实现真正的“包容性全球化”(inclusive globalization),让全球化普惠而均衡,并落地生根,不仅为中华民族伟大复兴规划路径,而且推动更多国家脱贫致富,开创21世纪地区与国际合作新模式。
The world is flat—this may be the greatest illusion of our times. In fact, the gap between rich and poor and serious misunderstanding among people are the pressing challenges facing all countries; we have taken globalization for granted. As a matter of fact, the so-called globalization is more of the partial globalization of coastal areas and developed groups. Today, the size of modern population has upgraded from the initial tens of millions in Europe and hundreds of millions in the United States, to billions in emerging countries. The sea routes opened up by Europe and rules set up by the U.S. alone can no longer support such a big size of population.
Against this backdrop, China put forward a great proposal “the Belt and Road Initiative,” which has injected more Chinese elements to the ancient Silk Road, and kept it in line with our times and the needs of the people. Demonstrating China’s willingness to shoulder its due responsibilities in its rise. This initiative can well be called the second great geographical discovery. It also indicates that the revival of civilization rather than a one-directional and one-dimensional globalization is the trend of the world. The five dimensions of connectivity, namely, policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond, are the roots to shape humanity’s community of common future, truly promote inclusive globalization, achieve universal and balanced globalization and make globalization strike roots around the world. This concept of connectivity will not only help plan paths for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but also help more countries shake off poverty, creating a new model of regional and global cooperation in the 21st century.
This book explains the logic concerning globalization, civilization, strategy, economy, politics and diplomacy in an in-depth yet understandable way, and reveals the Chinese wisdom and global wisdom displayed by the Belt and Road Initiative. Based on the history of human civilization and reflection on globalization, it is a monograph on the Belt and Road Initiative after the publication of the same author’s The Belt and Road Initiative: What Will China Offer the World in Its Rise one year ago.

About Author

WANG Yiwei is Professor of the School of International Studies; director of the Institute of International Affairs; research fellow and director of the Center for European/EU Studies; and senior research fellow of the National Academy of Development and Strategy and Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. Meanwhile, he serves as a special research fellow at the China Center for Contemporary World Studies of the International Department of Central Committee of the Communist Part of China (CPC), a senior research fellow at the Charhar Institute and Center for China and Globalization(CCG), and a guest professor of Xinjiang Normal University and Tarim University. He was an assistant engineer at the Tianjin United Chemical Co., Ltd, a professor with the Center for American Studies of Fudan University, a diplomat at the Chinese Mission to the European Union, and a distinguishied professor at Tongji University.
His 12 published books include The Belt and Road Initiative: What Will China Offer the World in Its Rise (including editions in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, Arabic, German, Polish, Turkish, Korean, Japanese and Hindi; it is one of the 11th batches of books recommended by the Theory Bureau of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of CPC, and the Cadre Education Bureau of the Organization Department of the Central Committee of CPC), and Haishang: Revelations of European Civilization (both in Chinese and English edition). He also co-authored Mandate of Heaven: Birth of A New Country of Leadership, translated three works including The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, and edited China-NATO Studies Series (10 volumes) and China-Europe Relations: A Global Perspective as chief editor. He has published more than 200 papers in fifteen national academic journals, such as Social Sciences in China and Annual Journal of Institute for American Politics and Social Sciences. He has also published over 700 articles commenting on current events in Chinese and foreign media, including Qiu Shi, People's Daily, and Europe's World, had interviews with, BBC and other media for over 1,000 times, and participated in more than 500 international forums such as Boao Forum for Asia, Shangri-La Dialogue and Munich Security Conference.

Table of Contents

Preface (Recommendation)

Preface by the Author

Away from the Modern Times and the Western System

The World Looks Eastward, China Westward

1. After a Millennium, World Economic Center Returns to the East
2. A Journey to the West 2.0
3. A Summary of the Belt and Road Initiative

Chapter 1 The World is Connected

1. To Start: Chinized Globalization
2. To Link: Connectivity
3. To Reach: Globalized Chinization

Chapter 2 Belt and Road Initiative: Logic of Globalization

1. Globalization 1.0: Mutual Learning
2. Globalization 2.0: A Western-centered World
3. Globalization 3.0: An Inclusive World

Chapter 3 Belt and Road Initiative: Logic of Civilization

1. Revival of Civilization
2. Transformation of Civilization
3. Innovation of Civilization

Chapter 4 Belt and Road Initiative: Strategic Logic

1. From Land-locked to Land-crossed
2. You Do Your Way, I Do My Way
3. “Longzhong Talk” in the 21st Century

Chapter 5 Belt and Road Initiative: Economic Logic

1. Domestic Integration
2. Double-loop System
3. Win-win Cooperation

Chapter 6 Belt and Road Initiative: Political Logic

1. Curve Overtaking
2. Lane-changing Overtaking
3. Common Revival

Chapter 7 Belt and Road Initiative: Diplomatic Logic

1. Built of All: Community of Common Interests
2. Built by All: Community of Common Responsibility
3. Built for All: Community of Common Future

Chapter 8 Belt and Road Initiative: Perceptive Logic

1. Perceptions and Misperceptions of the Belt and Road Initiative
2. Ten Risks about Misperceptions
3. Dialectics of the Belt and Road Initiative

Chapter 9 Chinese Wisdom Embodied in the Belt and Road Initiative

1. To Start: Strategic Synergy
2. To Combine: International Cooperation on Capacity and Equipment Manufacturing
3. To Split: Exploring the Third-party Market

Chapter 10 Global Wisdom Embodied in the Belt and Road Initiative

1. To Share: Win-winism
2. To Sustain: Balanced Development
3. To Internalize: Striking Roots



Appendix: Case Studies

Sample Pages Preview

The success of the Belt and Road Initiative lies in civilization, in whether our inheritance and innovation concerning the Silk Road civilization can spearhead a new civilization of humanity. The level of the Chinese civilization and the literacy and moral character of the Chinese people determine whether people-to-people bond can be built. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that “If your blood vessels are unimpeded, your pains will be gone. If you still feel painful, they are certainly blocked.” To make the Belt and Road construction unimpeded, the key seemingly lies in economic cooperation. But in essence the competition of development models and logic of civilization hold the key. Here is the Initiative’s three-step strategy for civilization—revival: promote common revival of human civilizations; transformation: bid farewell to modern times and the Western-centered world; innovation: create new human civilizations in the 21st century. 1. Revival of Civilization “Mighty is trend of the world; those who follow it will flourish, while those who act against it will perish.” A century ago, Mr. Sun Yat-sen saw the truth about the world trend and called for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The source of such “linear evolution” is Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays translated by Yan Fu, which combined Darwin’s “theory of evolution” and the Chinese philosophy of “Way of Heaven,” believing that the destiny of the Chinese nation is the integration into the mainstream international community. In fact, as the Heaven is not always a performer of consistency, the evolution of human societies does not equal to progress. The Chinese civilization is the world’s only non-alphabetic civilization that has not been interrupted and colonized by the West. How can its destiny be simply summed up as integration into the major trend of the world? Today, China has gone beyond the era when “Lagging behind leaves one vulnerable to attacks.” In the near future, it will achieve the goal of catching up with the global powers. The Chinese Dream is guided by the revival of civilization rather than the logic of modernization. The modernization started by the West in modern times is competitive. Countries compete with each other in their modernization drive, resulting in rational individuals and irrational collective. This has been too much a burden for the earth and human societies. The reason is that modernization has covered up the commonality of mankind—peace and development, the revival of civilization and the return of human nature. The peace under the logic of modernization is by no means lasting peace, nor is the development common development. The clash of civilizations covered by modernization is even more distressing. In the traditional international system in which nation states are the main unit and international relations dominate how people think, the rise of China has always been viewed as threat. And it’s time for a change. Under the logic of modernization, we focus on GDP but have ignored the environment; we pay attention to technology but have ignored culture; we closely follow the developed countries but have ignored our developing brothers; we repeatedly mention keeping in line with international standards but have ignored the possibility of changing the line; we stress late-mover advantage but have ignored first-mover advantage. The lesson of the Lucky Film indicates that if we only blindly try to catch up with Facebook and Twitter, sooner or later we will fall into disuse. Then why not create something different, like WeChat? For instance, China’s high-speed train is a new miracle of “inclusiveness and connectivity.” The Belt and Road connects the four great ancient civilizations, namely, the Egyptian civilization, Babylon civilization, Indian civilization, and the Chinese civilization. With the integrated multi-dimensional connectivity composed of railways, roads, airlines, maritime routes, oil and gas pipelines, transmission lines and communications networks, the Initiative will promote the revival of inland civilizations and river civilizations, propel the poverty elimination drive of developing countries, and contribute to the successful rise of emerging countries. To be brief, with the logic of civilization revival transcending that of competition in the era of modernization, the Initiative has set the tone for global politics in the 21st century, and justified the Chinese Dream. In the history of human civilization, the Belt and Road Initiative will revise Western-centrism which has made land civilization subject to ocean civilization, and the East to the West, reshape balanced, inclusive globalization, and bring the Eurasian continent back to the center of human civilization. It is a great mission for the Belt and Road Initiative to trigger the grand return of human civilization. First of all, it will bring Eurasia back to the center of human civilization. After the ancient Silk Road was cut off by the “Wall of Ottoman,” Europe turned seaward and ushered in an era of globalization via colonization. Since then, the Oriental civilization became closed and conservative. And the modern world entered an era of Western-centrism. And the rise of the U.S. shifted the center of the West to America. In the meantime, Europe relatively declined, despite all its efforts to unite European countries through establishing the European Community and later the European Union. Today, Europe is witnessing a historic opportunity to return to the center of the world, that is, the revival of the Eurasian continent. The integration of Eurasia, or the World Island, will trigger the strategic effect of making the U.S. an isolated island again, as mentioned in The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the geopolitical effect of bringing the Eurasian continent back to the center of human civilization, reshaping the world map of geopolitics and globalization. Moreover, it will change the logic for rimland countries to rise in modern times. Since modern times, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom rose from the ocean one after another, and established global hegemony through the great geographical discovery and colonization, until the rise of the U.S. after WWII. However, rather than ancient civilizations that were at the center of human civilization, these European countries were rimland or seaside countries at the margin of the Eurasian continent, the World Island. Therefore, none of their dominance lasted more than 130 years. Promoting the revival of river civilizations and ancient civilizations, the Belt and Road Initiative is changing the modern history in which rimland countries rose, and rectifying the situation where the ocean dominates the land, and the rim dominates the core. As the most important tool of communication and carrier of information, language is the basic element and distinctive logo of culture. It is “the right key to understanding a country.” The rejuvenation of civilization should start with the recovery of linguistic diversity. And the importance of language has become even more prominent with the proposal of the Initiative. The key to Belt and Road construction is the five major goals of connectivity, namely, policy communication, infrastructure connectivity, trade link, capital flow and understanding among people. And the realization of the five goals cannot be possible with language barriers on the way. Language connectivity is both the fundamental guarantee for people-to-people bond and an important underpinning for connectivity building. Roughly, the 65 countries along the lines speak more than 50 national languages and over 200 languages of different ethnic groups. And most of these languages are non-common languages. For China as a whole to go global, it needs to speak English. But for the Belt and Road construction to really go international, no language works better than local languages. Since the Opium War, the Chinese people were forced to open their eyes and see the world. After China’s reform and opening-up, the world walks into China while China goes global. The proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative indicates that if China wants to involve in global affairs in a more in-depth way, Chinese construction, Chinese service, Chinese model, and the Chinese people in particular, must be something familiar to every family along the routes. From globalization to localization—this is the fundamental cultural logic of the Initiative.


Preface by the Author

Telling a Good Story of the Belt and Road Initiative is the Greatest Fortune in the 21st Century

“The Europeans’ greatest misfortune is that they cannot be Chinese!” Words of Voltaire, the flag-bearer of the European Enlightenment, inspired an Italian scholar. A few months before his death he said, “There was a Chinoiserie in the 18th-century Europe, but unfortunately the Europeans lost their historic opportunity to build an equal partnership with China. And today such regret should never be allowed to happen.”
As in the past we defined China from the perspective of the West, now more and more countries begin to define themselves from the perspective of China, or use China as a reference to make judgments. The United States is no exception. The publication of That Used to be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back co-authored by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum is a vivid example.
It is gratifying that in this new worldwide wave of “telling China stories,” China no longer loses the say, the manner and the support like it used to. In the epilogue of my work Haishang: Revelations of European Civilization I described my experience as a diplomat in Brussels during 2008-2011 like this: “The self-righteous Westerners always criticize China for no reason. I would still defend China even if I was not Chinese.” Today, I am not defending China. I am not telling China stories specifically to the West, but to ourselves, to people all over the world.
During the sixth World Forum on China Studies in November 2015, Mr. Tan Chung, an expert on Chinese history, Sino-Indian relations and cultural exchange, said that China’s rise would be realized only when foreigners referenced works by Chinese in their China studies rather than those by Americans. In the closing ceremony, I called this “Question of Tan Chung” and offered my answer: “The Belt and Road Initiative is helping China get back our say. When foreign scholars study the Initiative, they are now referencing my writings.” Many foreign friends in the audience nodded.
What a relevant and significant thing it is! To do a good job in telling China stories starts with a great storytelling about the Belt and Road Initiative.
To be good at telling China stories calls for a state of mind. What then is the state of mind? It is the Way to tell China stories. The Way is something in our hearts, not just repeating “self-confidence” in our mouths. The most relevant responsibilities of China as a civilized state are to promote the renaissance of human civilization, transcend modernization, achieve inclusive globalization, and propel the formation of three kinds of world orders: civilization order, international order, and civil order. In this book as well as Mandate of Heaven: Birth of A New Country of Leadership which I co-authored with Prof. Cheng Yawen, I regard “standing at the new highland of human civilization” as the spiritual state of China story-telling, so as to realize in the 21st century the motto of Zhang Zai, a Confucianism in Song Dynasty (960-1279), or “Zhang Zai Proposition”: “To ordain conscience for Heaven and Earth; to secure life and fortune for the people; to carry forward lost teachings for past sages; and to establish peace for all future generations.” For example, those who view the Internet as technology, industry, platform or production-life-thinking model do so from the perspective of netizens, with few considerations about the feeling of non-netizens. But only when we regard the Internet as infrastructure and a common home of humanity, and make the achievements of the Internet benefit the 1.4 billion Chinese people and all people around the world, can we avoid the situation where the Internet “makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker; rich richer and the poor poorer; wise wiser and uneducated more ignorant.” In so doing, we can also involve more non-netizens into the Internet at an earlier date, so that they can not only take the fast vehicle of information revolution, but also achieve curve overtaking, build a cyber community of common future, and take the leadership in the new civilization of the 21st century. This is an important logic of the Belt and Road Initiative.
To be good at telling China stories is an art. The Chinese language is the world’s only non-alphabetic language, which often confuses the world yet arouses their curiosity. What we face today is not just the West, but a Westernized world—from institutions to ideals, we have to understand the Westernized logic, and expound the Way of China’s development through an approach between science and art. To this end, we need to illustrate the cultural and historical background of the policy proposals of the Chinese Government, as well as how connected and relevant it is to the rest of the world, so that we can make the China stories strike roots in the minds and hearts of people in other countries. For example, China’s foreign policy of non-interference in others’ internal affairs originates from the Chinese culture’s respect for differences and diversity, which can be reflected by the Taoist saying of “The Way follows nature,” Confucian teaching of “Do not do unto others what you don’t want others do unto you,” and the Buddhist doctrine of “Never commit a sin.” When the cultural background of China’s foreign policies is well explained, we will be able to take the initiative while gaining a bigger say. And no country will take “non-interference of others’ internal affairs” as “being irresponsible.” From its name “Belt” and “Road” to its essence which is connectivity, the Belt and Road Initiative has integrated the wisdom of China and the rest of the world.
To be good at telling China stories reflects one’s cultivation. Different from other major countries in history, what we are introducing is the China with “four special characteristics”: special long history, special big size, special secular society and special different kind of rise. These special characteristics are prone to get China criticized and besieged, which constitutes a great test of our wisdom and cultivation. A good storytelling about China needs no impatient shouting, but rather, good ways and means. As Confucius once said, “If your words and actions are not convincing for people living on a piece of faraway land, you should improve your culture and virtue to bring them here.” Today, what we should do is still to improve ourselves and make the rest of the world convinced. For example, Westerners often call the Belt and Road Initiative as “China’s Marshall Plan,” and even some Chinese scholars say so. I personally often remind Westerners that the “Silk Road” is a general name for the 2,000-year-old cultural and trading routes between the East and the West coined by a German called Ferdinand von Richthofen. It is just too narrow-minded to bring in the Marshall Plan as reference. A good storytelling about the Belt and Road should awaken the common memory of various civilizations including Europe, work for the prospects of common rejuvenation, and devote to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This will make all the storytelling sounds legitimate. Explanation of the Chinese Dream to the international community is the same. The Chinese Dream is not merely a dream of the Chinese people for better lives; it is the humankind’s dream that originated from China but belongs to the whole world. Let’s just work hand in hand to make the dream come true.
To be good at telling China stories demonstrates cultural consciousness. For me, it has long become a way of life. We cannot take it for granted that all the Chinese people know the stories of China. Telling China stories is a process of getting to know what has happened and what is going on in China and beyond. The ancient Chinese upheld the unity of knowledge and action. To be good at telling Chinese stories should become conscious actions. In this sense, every Chinese people is a good storyteller about China, who are unconsciously telling stories about China whenever it is or wherever they are, with their words, actions or faith. The Belt and Road Initiative is not “mine,” but “ours.” This book has told stories about globalization 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 created by the Belt and Road based on the history of human civilization. It is our hope that every country, along or not along the lines, as well as their people, will have the willingness to tell their own stories about the Belt and Road.
To be good at telling China stories, it is important first to be good at telling one’s own stories, which can more easily touch listeners’ hearts and cause wide resonance. At the closing ceremony of the tenth Confucius Institute Conference, I was invited to deliver a speech on the theme of “Belt and Road Initiative to Promote the Common Revival of Human Civilization.” I started with my own experience: “I was still a student of Fudan University 20 years ago. My girlfriend, who is my wife now (laughter and applause), for the first time, went to my hometown, a small city in Jiangxi Province. During the Spring Festival vacation, the trains were so crowded that we failed to enter the compartment through normal ways. So I just pushed her in from a window. But when she got in, she could only stand on one foot as that space was all she could get with all her luck. That was our experience during that trip. It was only after the high-speed train was built that she said yes to my proposal (laughter and applause). I know that some of China’s neighbors are facing similar transport problems. We’ve now got so many high-speed trains in China, and it is time for us to help our neighbors realize their dream of going back home soon through convenient and fast transport (applause).” The story won the thunderous applause of the over 2,000 directors of Confucius Institutes from 134 countries and heads of colleges and schools they are in. I was surrounded by them after explaining the Belt and Road Initiative. They were eager to discuss with me about how we can join hands to realize the centenary dream of Eurasian connectivity. As President Xi Jinping puts it, “If the “Belt and Road” are likened to the two wings of a soaring Asia, then connectivity is like their arteries and veins.”To be good at telling China stories is also aimed at telling great stories about the world. What to tell? China’s story of reform should come first, which represents the trend. The inspirations of China stories for the world demonstrate China’s global responsibility, and the trend of times reflected by stories about China should first be well elaborated. China’s reform is the biggest innovation of humanity ever. A good storytelling about China is targeted at making the world realize the opportunities these stories on China have brought to them, and how they can promote lasting world peace and common prosperity. The great Chinese anthropologist Fei Xiaotong once wrote, “Every form of beauty has its uniqueness; precious is to appreciate other forms of beauty with openness. If beauty represents itself with diversity and integrity, the world will be blessed with harmony and unity.” This state of mind should be pursued by all the storytellers and listeners alike. The Belt and Road Initiative is precisely a media connecting the Chinese Dream to the dreams of countries along the routes.
Cases like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Belt and Road Initiative are just part of the worldwide popularity of China. The Chinese people should first be great storytellers about our country. And we scholars should stand on the very front. We should tell fascinating stories in fascinating ways, touching stories in touching ways, and stories about human nature in ways that are most relevant to people’s hearts. To be a successful storyteller will be a great fortune in one’s life in the 21st century.

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