Epilogue of A China
A World Dream
Dr. Patrick Ho
Deputy Chairman and
China Energy Fund
For thousands of years, Chinese
had a dream.
In 2012, Chinese new leader Xi
Jinping laid out his vision of the “the China Dream" with
these words: “Realizing the great renewal of China is the
greatest dream for the Chinese people in modern history".
And to achieve it, China must
adhere to the path of socialism with Chinese
characteristics. This path is hard-earned, with impressive
progress over the past 30 years of reform and opening-up,
through the continuous exploration over 60 years since the
establishment of New China, in the often painful 170 years
of the development process of the Chinese nation in modern
times, and against a backdrop of 5000 years legacy of an
path to the China Dream is anchored in China’s deep cultural
and ancient historical roots.
The China Dream
Every dynasty, leaders and heroes
had had their respective China dreams. Throughout China’s
history, the golden eras in the Han, Tang, Ming and Qing
Dynasties all brought progress and prosperity taking Chinese
civilization to new heights as we chased that brilliant but
elusive Chinese dragon.
And beginning with the pain of the
Opium Wars, moving onto the Self-Strengthening Movement 0f
1860, the Hundred Days' Reform of 1898, the 1911Revolution
of Sun Yat-sen, the May Fourth Movement in 1919, the
establishment of the Communist Party of China in 1921, to
the founding of New China in 1949, a series of modernization
movements in the 50s and 60s, the "two bombs and one
satellite" goal, to the reform and opening up, and the space
dream, the World Trade Organization dream, the Olympic
dream, the World Expo dream.
Mao Zedong's "Serving the People",
Deng Xiaoping's "Xiaokang Society", President Jiang Zemin’s
“Three Represents", President Hu Jintao’s "scientific
development concept”, President Xi Jinping's "Five Pillars
of Development" and the “Four Comprehensives”, have been all
about the dreams of modernization after this ancient
civilization had been repeatedly challenged by the
achievements and mightiness of the West.
Yes, we Chinese never ceased
dreaming! And we have realized many of our dreams through
the ages! But this is a self-renewal process for Chinese
Culture over five millennia, with the Chinese people always
wishing to better our lot through hard work and commitment
to our traditional values. To heal old wounds, stand up from
where we fell, rejuvenate and renew our outlook of our
collective destiny, are the innate qualities of our culture
and the built-in quality
of this civilization.
The China Dream is a national
dream, and also a very personal one to every Chinese.
However, no personal dream is fulfilled by oneself alone.
Every dream must ultimately involve the country and society
in some way. Thus, your dream affects mine, and vice versa.
But “the China Dream” represents the Chinese people’s
collective desire, and encompasses the essence of many
individuals’ visions and expectations.
The grandest dreams, at the
level of the nation and State, are peace, security and
prosperity. Dreams of much smaller scale, reflecting those
of the man in the street, are food, housing, education, a
decent standard of living, old age security, personal
respect and dignity. Such dreams of China’s 1.3 billion
people have interwoven to form the grand dream -
dream of China.
That Dream is for China’s
prosperity and strength, national rejuvenation, economic
development, political integrity, cultural vibrancy,
happiness for all, a harmonious society and ecological
wellbeing. It is a national calling to a common purpose and
for a collective
approach in our pursuit.
A World Dream
Indeed, the China Dream is
an inseparable part of the World Dream. China is an
important member of the international community. China
cannot develop itself in isolation from the rest of the
world. And vice versa, the rest the world cannot enjoy
prosperity and stability without China.
To promote connectivity of
Asian, European and African continents, President Xi put
forward the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road
Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road in
2013, and won broad support from neighboring countries as
they believed that the initiative can help promote regional
economic cooperation, strengthening exchanges and mutual
learning among different civilizations, and promoting world
peace and development.
However, closer ties among
neighbors of unequal sizes often spark suspicions of
intentions in geopolitics. It is not surprising that the
“Belt and Road” initiative has been labelled by some, as a
Chinese version of the Marshall Plan which seeks to
establish its spheres of influence
in the Eurasian
Such misunderstandings and
prejudice are normally rooted in the rigid and old-fashioned
patterns of zero sum thinking. As Chinese Foreign Minister
Wang Yi said earlier this year,
and Road initiative is both much older and much younger than
the Marshall Plan. Comparing one to the other is like
comparing apples to oranges.
The initiative is older because
they embody the spirit of the ancient Silk Road, which had a
history of more than 2,000 years. The initiative is younger
because it is born in the age of globalization.
It is the product of inclusive
cooperation, not a tool of geopolitics, and must not be
viewed with the outdated cold war mentality."
At the opening of the Boao
Forum a month ago, President Xi has reaffirmed that China
would follow the principle of wide consultation, joint
contribution and shared benefits in promoting the
initiative. The programs of development will be open and
inclusive, not exclusive. They will be a real chorus
comprising all countries along the routes, not a solo
performance by China itself. Only through win-win
cooperation can we make significant sustainable achievements
that are beneficial to all. And China welcomes all countries
including the United States and Japan to take part in the
new initiative as well as the Asian Infrastructure
In fact, the former US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Asian countries
to work together to "create a new Silk Road" of
transnational networks of economic
and transit connections in 2011.
Simply put, the “Belt and
Road” initiative is neither about seeking for spheres of
influence nor striving for hegemony. It is about connecting
countries and peoples, accommodating differences, embracing
diversities, realizing potentials, sharing capacities, and
enabling various goals
It is a positive endeavor
to seek new models of international cooperation and global
governance, and will inject new positive energy into world
peace and development. It paves the way for building a
community of common destiny for all mankind!
The Three “Knocks” –
The World Trying to Understand China
understanding is the most difficult task in international
cooperation. In fact, it might take hundreds of years for
the West to understand what constitutes “China” and
“Chinese-ness”. In recent past, starting in the 15th
century, the West has “knocked” on the ancient door of China
for at least three times.
In recent history, the
first-ever attempt by the West to understand and open up
China began in the Yuan dynasty with Marco Polo and then in
late Ming dynasties, during which Jesuit priests Matteo
Ricci and Joachim Bouvet visited China.
[Slide 22] The
second “knock” came in 1840, when Britain invaded China and
launched the First Opium War. China’s doors were pried ajar
against her will.
The third “knock” on the
door of China came in the midst of the cold war in 1972,
when Richard Nixon from the US visited China, offering an
olive branch to China to integrate into the global economic
system of the era.
For more than 100
years, after being brought to its knees at gun point by the
West, China has awakened, realizing that it had to catch up
with the Western world. When Deng Xiaoping came into power,
with rapid economic advancement, China moved towards a
moderately well-off society.
The Third Knock by
– A New Silk Road to the World Dream
Looking back in recent
history, Chinese has also knocked on the door of the West at
least twice: In the Han Dynasty 2,000 years ago, the first
Silk Road on land by Zhang Qian offering trades and peace;
and in the 15th Century, the second Silk Road at sea
championed by Zheng He bringing trades and peace.
The 21st Century
will see us embarking on the third Silk Road. The grand
vision of the “Belt and Road”, is the third “Knock” on the
door of the West. Indeed it is a bang on our neighbors’’
The two previous
Silk Roads traded tea, silk, spices, exotic fruits, jewelry
and gold. This 21st Century Silk Road trades for, apart from
creative ideas, views and perspectives, traditions and
legacies; it trades values. It exchanges kindness. It offers
This modern Silk
Road travels neither by sea nor on land, nor goes from one
place to another, but travels through the inner workings of
the human minds driven by a desire to captivate the
advantages of peaceful competition in this globalized world.
This Silk Road teaches us
to learn with mutual respect that despite our different
backgrounds and upbringings, there are some fundamental
values we all hold dear, some basic principles we all
respect and certain core understanding we all embrace.
This Silk Road sees
citizens of different cities and countries sharing common
aspirations and inviting one another into their dreams that
life is celebrated through cultural pursuits, and our people
are enchanted by the arts, enlightened by cultural
enriched by social diversity.
Finally, the "Belt and
Road" initiative is all about building dreams, sharing
dreams and realizing them. This dream, is not only the dream
of 1.3 billion Chinese over 5,000 years, it is also a world
dream. It is a dream of peace under heaven, and the world as
This dream belongs to all
of us. It belongs to you, and me.
And we shall all
live happily ever after….