22 Jul 2008 10:41:00.000
The Beijing Olympics and the associated global controversy will mark the end of an era in which the Chinese people can ignore the opinions of the Western world, says an expert at The University of Nottingham.
Dr Zhengxu Wang, a senior research fellow in the University’s China Policy Institute, says that to claim a legitimate place in the global community, China needs to begin to realise that there is currently a huge perception gap lying between East and West.
But, he warns, international ‘China-bashing’ over the country’s handling of the Olympic protests and events in Tibet will only lead to confrontation and further division.
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Writing in a new online blog section on the China Policy Institute website, Dr Wang said: “Furthermore, for the rest of the world to bring about changes in China, it must realise that confrontations, blaming, or shaming China (whether its government or its people) will never work. This round of China-bashing has only produced anger among its people.
“The West needs to realise that China has a legitimate place in the world. It needs to work with China as members of a global community that gives China due respect.
“For China, the era in which it could afford to ignore the opinions of the rest of the world has come to an end. To claim its legitimate place in the global community, China now needs to come to the realisation that there is a huge perception gap lying between the two sides. It is time that China begins to understand the values and beliefs of others.”
Dr Wang says that the Chinese people see the Olympic Games, due to start in August, as a way of showcasing China’s achievements and establishing its status as a great nation, so were perplexed — and later angry — when protests began to gather momentum last year.
He believes that much of the Western world’s misgivings about China stem from a general unease about the country’s rise to global superpower. “In the eyes of many people, China imports too much, exports too much, produces too much, consumes too much and pollutes too much. With its large-scale real and potential impacts, China cannot but arouse great anxieties: How would we fare if this giant goes out of control?” he asks.
In the end, he argues, it is the confrontation of ideas between East and West that will lead to soul-searching among the Chinese people, allowing China to become truly open and achieve mutual understanding and acceptance with the rest of the world.
The China Policy Institute is a think-tank dedicated to building a more informed dialogue between China and the rest of the world which produces quality analysis in the fields of international relations, economics, business, politics, the environment and society. It is part of The School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at The University of Nottingham, the UK’s only academic institution centred on the study of modern China.
A full version of Dr Wang’s blog, along with others from academics centred on topical subjects such as media reporting following the Sichuan earthquake, the Chinese Government’s stance on Tibet and China and the credit crunch in the West, can be viewed on the web at