China’s transformation is a marvelous story. A country with 81 percent poverty is now the second largest economy of the world. The transformation led to enhanced global relevance and currently China is formidable economic power. China contributes40 percent in global manufacturing and is trade partner with 120 countries. The status has been further strengthened after the COVID-19 outbreak. It is only country which was able to absorb the shock with positive GDP growth among major economies. The march on the path of development is going on and it is expected that within one decade it would be the largest economy of the world.
The journey of rise is not without shocks and troubles. China faced many challenges and story is still going. The challenges are numerous but,criticism and flattering, stand out among all. China is either facing fierce bashing from opponents or flattering from friends. Both challenges present a unique set of problems, which have potential to complicate the future situation if not tackled at this point time.
First, the rivals started a malicious campaign and adopted the strategy of panning China at any cost. They are applying it to demoralize or antagonize Chinese people and government of China. A comprehensive strategy has been deployed to achieve the desired outcome. The first step was to propagate anti-China message by targeting Chinese government and companies. The crusade started with the undermining the Chinese government. The favorite tools were to target the openness of economy, human rights, environment and democracy etc. The system of governance was also targeted.
Communist Party of China (CPC) is the most recent recruit on the subject. The rivals are not leaving any stone unturn to criticize the CPC. We can analyze the news, articles or listen speeches, where adversariesare trying to undermine the CPC. They present CPC as oppressor. In reality, it is CPC which have turned around the fate of China, brought China out of poverty and turned it into a global power. The people of China are happy with the performance of CPC and admires the achievements. But the malevolent campaign is still going on. The opponents feel that by criticizing CPC, they can create a wedge between people and CPC and later on, they can exploit the wedge for their own objectives.This is not possible as CPC is prioritizing people and their welfare. It is evident from the plans and policies of state.The concrete example is work on poverty and eradication of extreme poverty from China in 2020.
Chinese leadership is cognizant of the fact and are applying the rational mind to tackle these challenges. They are showing resilience to provocation, which is irritating the opponents
The next step was to malign the Chinese companies and putting all sort of barriers to hinder the growth of these companies. Huawei is facing the brunt of this strategy for a long time. It has been advocated that the Huawei is spying on the behalf of China state, which has no evidence till to date. The opponents have built alliances to check the growth of Huawei. They are pursuing countries to not join Huawei, but countries do not have any options in 5-G technology except Huawei. TikTok is another prominent example of this strategy.
Second challenge is flattering, which is more serious and dangerous as compared to first one. Flattering is a silent enemy, which kill state from the inside. It does not show the impact until the damage is done. It leads to arrogance and make country immune to wise advice or reform. It is self-defeating instrument, as we can witness it from the decline of existing global power, which are not ready to listen anything. The arrogance gives them assurance that their ideas are superior, and world needs to act on their ideas.
Theflattering usuallycomes fromfriends; hence it becomes extremely difficult to know it or analyze it. The friendstell that you are doing extremely good job and there is no match of your wisdom or there is no precedent of wisdom.They try to convince that you cannot make a mistake or bad decision. The same is happening in case of China. Friends, in their own perspective are helping China, to avert the consequences of the propaganda. It is good that they are trying to stand with China, but they need to avoid excessive praise and also tell China when it makes mistake or take wrong step.
Both challenges have their own implications. First, if China fall prey to criticism, it will be antagonized, which is desired purpose of the opponents. As,they have perceived that it will compel China toengage in conflicts. The episode of Hong Kong, Taiwan and South China Sea is continuity of this strategy. The ultimate objective is to hinder or stop the China’s progress on the economic front by engaging in conflicts or senseless race for power. Second, flattering will present the challenge of arrogance, which would be ultimate disaster. The arrogance will compel China to lose the rational mind and make decision by considering themselves immune to mistake. We have seen the implications of arrogance in past which led to decline of superpowers.
It is good to note that the present Chinese leadership is cognizant of the fact and are applying the rational mind to tackle these challenges. They are showing resilience to provocation, which is irritating the opponents. The present Chinese leadership is also ready to admit its mistakes and correct the course of action. For example, for last few years, Chinese leadership is openly admitting the environmental problems and trying to fix them by applying the relevant policies. For that purpose, Chinese leadership has adopted the concept of Eco-civilization and better living instead of blind growth.
However, the real challenge for leadership and elder of society would be to infuse the same wisdom and spirit at the societal level and among future leaders. They will have to convince young population that humbleness is China’s strength. It is feared that in the absence of concrete efforts, the continuous blamegame and flattering can createserious challenges especially among youth. They can become victim of negativity or praise. Although, both challenges require serious attention, but tackling of flattering and arrogance would be more difficult, as everyone like to be praised. Owning to influence of flattering, Chinese people may startto talk about Chinese way of life or Chinese values like the Western countries. It will lead to arrogance which will be mother of all ills. It is good to note that President Xi has launched comprehensive campaign through education to infuse the spirit of humbleness, traditional wisdom and value-based society.
However, China would also be in need of help from friends to stand with her and tell her truth. Pakistan being iron brother, should take lead and work with China, to avoid such situation. First, Pakistan should stand with China to face the propaganda and refute the propaganda. Second, Pakistan, being iron brother, also enjoys the confidence and trust of China, which can be utilized to avert the praise trap and arrogance. It can be achieved by telling China that China is not immune to mistakes. It is normal to make mistake, but correction is wise step to avert negative implications. It should be done through proper channels not in public.
This article was originally published at: https://dailytimes.com.pk/712936/china-between-criticism-and-flattering/
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.