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November 18, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright November 18, 2009. Used by permission.


1. Many of us around here have been spending time over the last couple of years thinking about the growing number of China-India connections (as well as their historical antecedents), so we’re always pleased to find another blog from an Indian journalist or writer covering China. But “China India Citizens’ Initiative” takes the genre a step further, encouraging people-to-people dialogue between Chinese and Indians. Recent post topics include the role of the Dalai Lama, coverage of the Berlin Wall anniversary, and issues in Chinese-Indian trade.

2. Alec Ash of Six (who also contributes bi-weekly photos to China Beat), drew our attention to a recent guest post at his blog by one of the subjects of Six, “Tony.” Titled “Beida Students: Should China Be a Responsible Stakeholder?,” Tony’s post relays a student discussion over China’s international role, a discussion that seems even more relevant in light of media discussions surrounding Obama’s visit:

If Beida students are not so familiar with Robert Zoellick or the English term “stakeholder”, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a general expectation for China’s future. During the seminar, a large number of students expressed that China needs to step out and take more global responsibilities. Western countries want China to not only accept and benefit the contemporary world system but also to sustain and nurture it. “Of course such an idea was made according to their own interests, but the identity as a responsible stakeholder is also good for our national development,” commented by a junior student from the School of International Studies. It seems undeniable that the past thirty years has helped China become a contributor to, rather than a spoiler of, the international system built mainly by Western countries. And the reasons which led to that change were decided by many students as simply being “our rational choice based on national interests”. Such interests include alleviating counterbalances against China’s rise and creating a proper regional and international environment for domestic development. This is almost the same as what Mr. Zoellick said in his article in 2005.

Some students further pointed out that China can hardly become a stakeholder if it keeps on pursuing narrow interests in a self-centered way. When students heard that some Party officials defined China’s major foreign policy concerns as “Three NOs” (no arms sale to Taiwan, no meetings with the Dalai Lama and no meetings with Rebia Kadeer), they claimed that the country’s mindset is still not broad enough and it fails to pay enough attention to issues such as global climate change, energy security and anti-terrorism. Some of them also brought up China’s sensitivity towards sovereignty and Chinese citizens’ general distrust of the international system.