Wang Wen: Try to learn to understand a new and modern China


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Wang Wen: Try to learn to understand a new and modern China


Editor's Note: A distinguished panel of experts attending an e-symposium organized by TRENDS Research & Advisory on Wednesday (September 9, 2020) urged the media and think-tanks worldwide to engage more for the cause of public good during times of crisis. Following are the panel of open discussion about Dr. Wang Wen , Mr.Jonathan H. Ferziger and Mr. John Bruni.

Jonathan H. Ferziger: This question is for Professor Wang. China is not easily compared to any Western country in terms of the diversity of used in its media or social media regarding COVID-19. Does this make policy making more focused in Beijing?

Wang Wen:let me turn on. Thank you, Jonathan. Very good question. To my honestly, I think that the China's voice in the international society are so weak, very very weak. Few people in the world can listen what Chinese think, what China government did in the past many years, especially since Deng Xiaoping’s period in the past 40 years.But I think that was a very very important reason. I don't believe it or not. China has a very long civilization. But China, it's very young and modern state, modern country. So it's very young.China, it's a very conservative country which is not very good at communicate with the international society. So I think that as a think tank scholar,what I did, every everyday, even every day, I often engage with my official friends, even right now, a few minutes ago, one of very important officials, he sent a wechat to me.

And I asked him, I persuade him to learn from you. I said this seminar, this symposium is very important. We, Chinese government should organize such a symposium, such a seminar like we did now. So I think that, but on the other hand, I believe that China will learning by doing, maybe ten years later or even later, they will do much better than now.

But for my foreign friends, one of useful and pragmatic suggestions is that, i think,try your best to research what the views of China government, like I said right now. For the new Cold War, all the Chinese people, all the Chinese officials don't need Cold War. For the conflict between China and the United States, President Trump everyday twitters and talks about China, but President Xi Jinping of China never mentioned about United States.

China keeps the patience with the United States. So I think that just try to learn to understand a new and modern China. Of course, on the other hand, help China to engage with the world. So this is my answer,  Jonathan.

Jonathan H. Ferziger: Thank you, Professor Wang. Dr. Bruni, could you tell what it looks like to you in this shootout between the US and China for Covid in Australia?

John Bruni: Was actually quite struck by what Professor Wang just said, but also his earlier comment about trying to put down our cudgels and focus on our efforts with regard to COVID-19, I think that he and I would be of an agreement with regard to, I think that would be a lovely idea. However, right now under current conditions, I can't see that happen.

Because what are the things that's been missing in this whole debate, I think is one word “Diplomacy”. Diplomacy seems to have also been one of the casualties of this information war we've been conducting not only with the Chinese but also among ourselves. We like the basic instinct. We're always looking for that kind of bit of entertainment in our factoid. So we feel good about ourselves or we can mock someone or do that kind of thing. That is not a good look for us.

And quite frankly, the lack of diplomacy is a net detriment to us. And by diplomacy, I mean, it doesn't mean that we have to actually unify. Professor Wang, and I will probably have many disagreements with regard to you name it South China sea, whatever.

I'm an Australian. I love my country. You're in China. You love your country. And that's great. And I respect that. But diplomacy doesn't require us to see each other from the same perspective. What it does require us to do is respect each other.

You have different view, I have a different view. I push, you push, eventually will come to the middle. And the other thing about diplomacy to which you raised, sir, if you don't mind me saying is that World War II, you bring you brought up World War II. Yes. World War II was very important because the western allies cooperated with Stalin. I don't think there was anything that Churchill or Roosevelt or even Truman wanted from the Soviet Union in terms of importing soviet culture or whatever. It was just that they had the the greater threat of Hitler. And they cooperated in spite of the differences. And we are not getting there. And this is a problem.

It's a problem here in Australia because I hear all the shrill cries about this and the other. I know that from my great CNN watching these days leading up to the presidential election, I mean there's a lot of this sort of political shenanigans going on and you do get caught up. I don't think that people can't see that this tide is washing all over us and it's breaking down civility. Anyway, that's what I'm saying.

Jonathan H. Ferziger: Professor Wang, go ahead.

Wang Wen:John, actually I partly agree with you that we should respect each other, like we did now. About China diplomacy, I think that I agree partly with you that China should be much better than before, should keep sustainable open policy and keep engaging dialogue with every countries, for those points, I agree totally. But on the other hand, one of my suggestions is that I think that for the West, especially for United States,Trump administration, they should respect China too.

Nowadays, a lot of think tanks and media in the West, they identify or imagine to report China as a second Soviet Union. I think this is unfair. This is not correct. China is not a second Soviet Union. And also you look at the past 40 years, China is a unique big power without a war, without lunching war, without involving war.

Of course, we have a few tension with neighbors. But you know, China has 22 neighbor countries. We have so many contradictions with neighbor countries. But even that, you look at the history in the past 40 years, no any war with neighbor countries,right? Not like the Soviet Union did, not like the United States did. How many wars did US launch in the past 40 years?

So I think that just keep calm and respect each other, like you said, John, and dialogue each other. Nowadays, we are in a very dangerous period between China and the US. I thought many months ago, in February or in March, we should sit together and discuss how to deal with the virus. But in the past four or five months, we didn't. But for China side, we sell a lot of masks to the United States. You guess how many? 10 billion, no no no, 20 billion masks, China sell to United States to help the United States people, American people. And also, if you listen,our foreign minister Mr. Wang Yi always talking about the dialogue with the United States. But no any response from the White House, from Mr. Pompeo. No any dialogue. No any cooperation. So I agree with you, respect each other and listen each other. Thank you.

Wang Wen is professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.