Improving Global Governance System by Catalyzing Cultural Exchanges and Mutual Learning
The current international balance of power on the global arena has undergone new changes, while the world is handicapped by increasing uncertainty and instability. A host of challenging issues have transcended traditional boundaries of national governance as well as the framework of the present international system. As the call of our times, to reform and strengthen the global governance system has become exceptionally urgent.
At a crossroads where the world seems on the brink of sinking into chaotic confusion of various development directions, Chinese President Xi Jinping, with profound historical vision and deep humanistic care, proposed China's concept of global governance featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, calling on countries to join hands in building a community with a shared future for mankind.
The fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which convened last October, summed up a range of significant advantages of China's state system and national governance system. China has stuck to its path of independent development while opening up to the outside world with active participation in global governance and continuous contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. All these are undoubtedly favorable factors for us to advance the reform of the global governance system.
To enhance the global governance system and steer the world towards a better future demands not only the power of politics, economy, science, and technology, but also the power of culture and civilization. Cultural exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations are a significant driving force to propel the progress of human civilizations and the peaceful development of the world. The concept of exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations advocated by China is an important integral part of China's proposal for promoting the reform of the global governance system, constituting the humanistic foundation for building a community with a shared future for mankind. Only by respecting the diversity and differences of human civilizations and adhering to the new concept about civilizations of equality, mutual learning, dialogue, and inclusiveness, can we achieve extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits in global governance.
Historical development and social prosperity, in combination with human progress, have always been catalyzed by ideological guidance. Improvement of the global governance system demands the common wisdom of all mankind. Over the course of history, Chinese and Western sages had been immersed in profound deliberations over national governance, which have molded a myriad of grand ideas about administering state affairs. Confucius, a Chinese thinker, advocated rule of virtue, whereas the Western thinker Aristotle advocated rule of law. Laozi, founder of philosophical Taoism, encouraged "governing by noninterference." Although a trove of thoughts on national governance have been left by Chinese and Western philosophers, there are no complete, all-encompassing thoughts and theories on global governance, which is one of the major dilemmas entrapping us.
At this point, one may think of the Chinese concept of "tianxia (天下)" in traditional Chinese governance theory. In the context of Chinese culture, the concept of "tianxia" is often equated with both "the state" and "the world." In a sense, it is a mixture of the concepts of the state and the world at large. It is this unique mix of concepts, however, that seems to form connections linking traditional Chinese national governance theory and global governance theory. The root cause that the Chinese people mix the state with the world, I deem, lies in their unique ideological conception that state governance is inextricably tied with global governance, rather than meaningless lexical confusion. The Chinese people think the state and the world are not necessarily antagonistic, but unified, and could be coordinated. Therefore, China has attached great importance to maintaining good-neighborly and friendly relations with neighboring countries in all dynasties, and is committed to the establishment of a harmonious governance system. Such a governance concept committed to harmonious development is still of referential significance for today's global governance. This may be one of the reasons why Chinese civilization has endured without interruption for thousands of years. In Western history, the theory of "balance of power" based on the Westphalian System has undoubtedly exerted a profound impact on modern international relations, but fails to address a multitude of challenges affecting mankind, including climate change, and many environmental and development issues. The world should gear up to conquer these new challenges. Drawing its essence from both ancient Chinese and Western ideologies to drive cultural exchanges between China and the West is still a task that demands serious study when pondering over the issue of global governance.
Today, we need to deepen research on governance theories to provide value guidance for improving the global governance system. The global governance concepts countries uphold are rooted in the cultural heritage of their own respective nations. For example, such Chinese concepts as "the people are the foundation of the state," "harmony without uniformity," " harmonious inter-state relations," and "benevolence and good-neighborliness," as the essence of Chinese traditional culture, provide strong support for China's global governance concept. Deepening theoretical research and mutual learning among civilizations, and promoting the creative transformation and innovative development of ideas with common human values in traditional cultures of different countries, can provide strong value guidance for improving the global governance system. The essence of global governance is co-governance, which requires extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, all on the basis of diversity and inclusiveness. Therefore, multilateralism is the core idea that global governance must adhere to. It's believed that multilateralism is an important ideological achievement of human society in the exploration of global governance, which needs to be carried forward, rather than being leveraged as a tool for pursuing hegemony, and thrown away after the purpose is served. We should be more confident in safeguarding the moral legitimacy and common values of multilateralism and strive to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
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