By W. Vishnu Gupta –
The present leader of China Xi Jinpin became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in November 2012. Soon after that Xi announced what would become the hallmark of his administration. “The Chinese Dream,” he said, is “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
He elaborated further; everyone has his or her own ideals and pursuits, in addition to this shared dream, “realizing the nation’s great rejuvenation is the greatest dream of the nation” Rejuvenating China, the Chinese dream will benefit the world with experiences for other regions and countries to follow and help establish win-win relationships among world players.
Chinese Dream stirs hopes and sets expectations for the Chinese in China. Internationally, particularly in developed western countries it provokes questions and elicits concerns. Sometimes these concerns borders around the warning of the dangers of self-fulfilling prophecies.
However, developing nations such as Sri Lanka must understand that the Chinese Dream differs from the American Dream. Xi Jinpin’s vision (Dream) expresses China’s collective aspirations –
1) Strong China (economically, politically, diplomatically, scientifically, militarily)
2) Civilized China (equity and fairness, rich culture, high morals)
3) Harmonious China (amity among social classes)
4) Beautiful China (healthy environment, low pollution).
In March 2013, Xi also emphasized that the Chinese Dream is a dream for peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit for all. Therefore, it is connected to the beautiful dreams of the people in other countries. The Chinese Dream will not only benefit the Chinese people, but also people of all countries in the world.
Xi proposed taxonomy of five dimensions from which to analyze the concept of Chinese Dream – national, personal, historical, global and antithetical.
It is obvious under global prospect; the Chinese Dream will change the global landscape which was shaped by Western countries over the past two centuries with the help of industrialization. The new global landscape proposed by Xi is different; it will be established through international rules, dialogue, mutual respect and experiences of both developed and emerging countries. Simply put “Do as we do” principle in the West versus the Chinese principle of “Let’s do it together”. It is interesting to note that on the eve of Xi Jinpin’s historical visit to Sri Lanka on September 16th 2014, he referred to the island nation as “splendid pearl” in the Indian Ocean. I doubt that Machiavellian politician understood the real meaning, obviously Xi Jinpin did not mean the glorious past of “Swarna Bhumi Lanka.”
Chinese Dream and One Belt One Road Initiative
Soon after becoming the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012, Xi spearheaded a network of investments in grand scale to develop infrastructure to link China with rest of Asia and Europe. First to revive the old Silk Road that linked Asia with Europe. This initiative, popularly known as “One Belt, One Road” appears to be the initial instrument in achieving the Chinese Dream. Later in October 2013 Xi Jinpin proposed the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative during a speech to the Indonesian Parliament. Maritime Silk Road is the maritime section of historic Silk Road that connects China to Southeast Asia, Indonesian archipelago, Indian subcontinent, Arabian peninsula, Somalia and all the way to Egypt and finally Europe.
It is clear from the China’s proposed Silk Road map that “Splendid Pearl” has a key geostrategic position to assume. If impetus of MSR is properly understood by the relevant political and administrative authorities of Sri Lanka; this unitary, sovereign island nation has the most advantageous and envious role to play in developing the Maritime Silk Road. This golden opportunity should not be squandered by the corrupt economic and political operatives of the country under different guises. However judging by the performance of the present government of co-habitation, it seems the government leaders; both President and Prime Minister have been very slow to capitalize from the opportunity offered by the Chinese with their MSR initiative.
Furthermore Xi Jinpin is different from most of the other leaders in similar positions, he “walks the talk” or As far as his strategic vision is concerned he has differentiated from others with “actions that speak louder than words”. He proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2013 and established it in October 2014. AIIB is a multilateral development bank and its objective is to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region. Most countries affected by One Belt One Road and Maritime Silk Road including Sri Lanka have joined Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Ironically there has never been a single government leader who “walks the talk” in “Splendid Pearl”.
To be continued ..