Holding High the Banner of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, Joining Hands to Build a Better World
Qin GangThis year marks the 10th anniversary of the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind put forward by President Xi Jinping. Ten years ago, amid profound changes in the world, of our times and of historic significance, President Xi Jinping, with both China’s situation in mind and a global outlook, and with extraordinary political wisdom, exceptional courage to make theoretical advances, and a strong sense of mission as a Marxist statesman, thinker and strategist, pondered over the crucial question of “what kind of world should be built and how to build it” and proposed, like no one did before, the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, charting the course for the development of the world at a critical historical juncture. The past decade has seen this vision translated into actions and realities. The vision has inspired broad global consensus on unity and cooperation, helped forge a strong synergy to meet challenges, and opened bright prospects for an even better world. It is a banner leading trends of the times and human progress.
The report of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) made it clear that building a community with a shared future for mankind is one of the essential requirements of Chinese modernization and “the way forward for all the world’s peoples”. We need to fully grasp and implement the guiding principles of the Party’s 20th National Congress, thoroughly study and understand Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, especially Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and comprehensively appreciate the vision’s rich theoretical and practical achievements, its major value to our times and its far-reaching historic significance.
First, the past decade has witnessed extraordinary achievements in building a community with a shared future for mankind.
The past ten years is a journey of persistent efforts and productive outcomes. In the past decade since the vision was proposed, the understanding about the vision has deepened, constant theoretical progress has been made. In the past decade, parties involved have worked together in putting the vision into practice. In the past decade, fruitful results have been achieved and the vision has been welcome and embraced by more and more people.
In line with the principle of upholding fundamental principles and breaking new grounds, a theoretical framework with profound and far-reaching impacts has taken shape on building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Over the past decade, President Xi Jinping has made a series of important statements on the vision. He first proposed the vision when speaking at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and fleshed it out while attending the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly. He offered China’s proposals for coping with global challenges at the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, and went on to systematically elaborate on the vision in the speech at the Palace of Nations in Geneva. With the substance of the vision being steadily enriched, a sound theoretical framework has been put in place.
With building an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity as the overarching goal, the vision is committed to dialogue and consultation, joint contribution for shared benefits, win-win cooperation, exchanges and mutual learning, and green and low-carbon development.
With building a new type of international relations as the fundamental approach, the vision upholds mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation, and seeks to deepen and broaden a global partnership based on equality, openness and cooperation.
With the common values of humanity as the values to pursue, the vision advocates peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and harmony between different civilizations and social systems.
With Belt and Road cooperation as the platform for practice, the vision follows the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and contributes China’s ideas to the reform of the global governance system.
With the Global Development Initiative (GDI), the Global Security Initiative (GSI) and the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) as the important avenues, the vision aims to foster the greatest common ground possible for the common development and universal security of the international community, and to make the garden of world civilizations more flourishing.
With the views and outlooks on global governance, the international order, security, inter-civilization exchange, ecological conservation, and human rights as its contents, the vision provides guidance and lends impetus to the endeavors in building such a community across different fields.
Through vigorous efforts, trail-blazing achievements have been made on all fronts in building a community with a shared future for mankind.
The past decade has seen big strides and fruitful outcomes at both bilateral and multilateral levels, and in regional and global cooperation, in building a community with a shared future for mankind.
At the bilateral level, China and ten-plus countries including Laos, Pakistan, Cambodia and Thailand, issued action plans, joint statements or reached broad common understandings on building a community with a shared future, 2 setting fine examples for growing state-to-state relations in a new era.
At the regional level, ASEAN and Central Asian countries are among the first in China’s neighborhood to build a community with a shared future with China, and related efforts have delivered tangible results. Efforts to build a community with a shared future between China and Africa, Arab countries, Latin America, and Pacific Island Countries are making rapid yet steady progress, which reflects the shared progress of developing countries through unity and cooperation. China has worked to promote an even closer community with a shared future among members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), contributing to lasting peace and shared prosperity of the region and beyond.
At the global level, high-quality Belt and Road cooperation has received active support from over three-fourths of countries in the world and dozens of international organizations, and advances on “hard connectivity” of infrastructure, “institutional connectivity” of rules and standards, and “people-to-people connectivity” are well underway. The GDI, GSI and GCI are warmly received by the international community. Solid progress is being made in building a global community of development and a global community of security. New initiatives of building a community of health for all and a community of life for man and Nature have been put forward. We carried out the largest emergency humanitarian assistance operation since the founding of the People’s Republic and made major contribution to the success of the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference, helping make new, important progress in global governance possible.
Playing a guiding role, the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind has exerted a far-reaching global impact in charting the course and building consensus. Over the past decade, the vision, in keeping with the trend of global progress, has responded to the urgent needs of today’s world, broken the traditional confines of Western theories on international relations, and pointed a right way forward for improving global governance. It has been warmly received worldwide and acclaimed by various parties.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that the goal of practicing multilateralism is to build a community with a shared future. President of Pakistan Arif Alvi noted that the vision of a community with a shared future encapsulates the essence of cooperation, peace and development, and reflects the shared desires of people around the world. President of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi stressed the need for humanity to build an even closer community with a shared future in the face of global crises. President of France’s Solidarity and Progress Party Jacques Cheminade said that the vision of a community with a shared future brings benefits to all, breaks away from the rule of zero-sum game, and leads the world onto a path of harmonious development.
In the past decade, this vision and its important elements, including the common values of humanity, true multilateralism, the outlook on global governance featuring consultation and contribution for shared benefits, have been written into the resolutions or declarations of multilateral mechanisms, including the UN, the SCO and BRICS. They are part of China’s contribution to global public goods. More countries agree that the future of the world should be shaped by all, international rules be written by all, global affairs be governed by all, and development outcomes be shared by all. A community with a shared future for mankind represents the future of the world.
Second, amid transformation unseen in a century, the value of building a community with a shared future for mankind to our times has been fully demonstrated.
Great eras produce great ideas which, in turn, help advance the progress of the times. In the past decade, as once-in-a-century changes unfolded rapidly, the world entered a new period of turbulence and transformation, with multiple risks and challenges arising one after another. People in all countries are keener than ever in their pursuit of peace, development and cooperation. The important vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind has, since its inception, demonstrated its scientific truth, and is advanced and action-oriented in nature. It stands as a beacon guiding the course forward, and shows an intellectual appeal that transcends time and space.
The vision has shown the distinctive strength of truth on grasping the trend of history. “Mankind, by living in the same global village within the same time and space where history and reality meet, have increasingly emerged as a community of common destiny in which everyone has in himself a little bit of others.” This statement by President Xi Jinping reveals the simple truth that countries are interdependent and the future of humanity is interlinked. It is a historical inevitability independent of people’s will.
Both experience and lessons gained in the past decade have testified to the truthfulness and historical foresight of the vision. Despite the uni-polar hegemony, the world is still moving faster toward multi-polarity. Despite profound changes in the international economic landscape, globalization keeps advancing. Rising security challenges have thrown the fact into sharper relief that all human beings are in it together. The resurgence of bloc confrontation is unable to stop the momentum of cultural exchanges and mutual learning. Despite the various international and regional disagreements and disputes, people around the world are more determined to work together for a better future.
The trend of the world, vast and mighty, prospers those who follow it and perishes those who go against it. Any attempt, in disregard of the law of history, to channel the waters in the ocean back into isolated lakes and creeks is doomed to fail. Any attempt to reverse the course of history by provoking division and antagonism in this interdependent world is doomed to fail. Only by embracing the trend of history, acting on the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, aligning one’s own interests closely with the common interests of the wider world, and making one’s own development and the common development of humanity mutually-reinforcing, can we achieve shared progress and prosperity for all.
The vision has led the way in answering the questions of the times. “Countries around the world are like passengers aboard the same ship who share the same destiny. For the ship to navigate the storm and sail toward a bright future, all passengers must pull together. The thought of throwing anyone overboard is simply not acceptable.” Today, global issues and challenges keep emerging. The heavy blow from the COVID-19 pandemic, spillover of the Ukraine crisis, and the sore deficit in peace, development, security and governance have all made people come to realize more than ever that we have a common stake and a shared future, and that it is most important and pressing to build a community with a shared future for mankind. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, “No country can address alone the many challenges facing mankind; no country can afford to retreat into self-isolation.” “There must be global action, global response and global cooperation.” Acts of pursuing self-supremacy, zero-sum game, the beggar-thy-neighbor approach, the strong bullying the weak, frequent policy flip-flops, going back on promises, and stoking bloc confrontation hurt not only one’s own country and people, but also people of other countries. The only right way forward is to hold high the banner of a community with a shared future for mankind, work together in harmony and unity, rise above conflict and confrontation through peaceful development, pursue common security instead of absolute security, choose mutual benefit over zero-sum game, prevent the clash of civilizations through exchanges and mutual learning, and protect planet Earth through green development.
The vision has received high acclaim for advancing the enlightened notion of mutual learning among civilizations. “Diversity spurs interaction among civilizations, which in turn promotes mutual learning and their further development.” The vision of a community with a shared future for mankind is not only deeply rooted in China’s fine traditional culture, such as the pursuit of “peace among all nations”, “the common good of humanity” and “world harmony”, but also in line with the thinking of “diversity and coexistence” in Islam, the ancient Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world being one family), the Olympic spirit of ancient Greece, and the African wisdom of harmony between man and Nature. While civilizations vary from each other, there is no superiority of one civilization over another. All countries, no matter in which part of the world, should uphold equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness among civilizations, respect each other’s history, national conditions and development paths, so as to prosper together in harmonious coexistence. However, to preserve one’s dominance, certain country has been stoking tensions and antagonism between different civilizations, races, religions and social systems and fanning ideological confrontation. This will only bring turbulence and disasters to the world and eventually backfire on oneself. In face of major choices between war and peace, disorder and governance, division and cooperation, crisis and security, countries should bear in mind the common stake of humanity, reject such rhetoric as the superiority of one civilization over another or the clash of civilizations, and build bridges transcending the estrangement between civilizations. Only in this way can we pass on the torch of peace from generation to generation, secure an endless driving force for development, and enable civilizations to shine more brightly.
The vision has demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility for the greater good of the world. “The Communist Party of China is dedicated to pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. It is also dedicated to human progress and world harmony.” This is the CPC’s founding mission solemnly declared in the report to the 20th CPC National Congress, and the vision to build a community with a shared future for mankind is the manifestation in the diplomatic field. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China, as a firm defender of world peace, has actively participated in UN peacekeeping operations, and escort missions in the Gulf of Aden, and facilitated the conclusion of a joint statement on preventing nuclear war among the five nuclear-weapon states. We have given a strong boost to the common development of the world, established an assistance fund for South-South cooperation, launched eight major initiatives and nine programs in cooperation with Africa, and built six cooperation platforms for the Pacific island countries. We have vigorously contributed to the building of an open world economy, advanced high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, reached the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which created the world’s largest free trade area, and took the pioneering move to hold the China International Import Expo (CIIE). We have extended help to countries in need to the best of our ability, worked at the forefront in the global fight against COVID-19 in providing COVID vaccines, and rushed to the aid of countries hit by volcano, flood and earthquake disasters. With the support and personal engagement of President Xi Jinping, China successfully hosted the dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Beijing recently, which facilitated the normalization of their relations. Going forward, no matter how the international situation may change, the CPC’s commitment to the common good of the world will not waiver. The vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind has been enshrined in the Constitution of the CPC and the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, declaring China’s firm commitment to the world and to history.
Third, embarking on the new journey in a new era, we will work to write new chapters in the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
A just cause finds great support, and when we walk together, we can walk far. As stated in the report to the 20th CPC National Congress, “China has always been committed to its foreign policy goals of upholding world peace and promoting common development, and it is dedicated to promoting a human community with a shared future.” Today’s world is riddled with unprecedented challenges, including a struggling economic recovery, widening development gap, intensifying geopolitical confrontation, a sticky Cold War mentality and deteriorating ecological environment. Human society is once again at a crossroads. China wishes to work with all countries to get through the difficulties together, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind to make our world a better place.
Committing to dialogue and consultation, we will work to build a world of lasting peace. “Differences and problems among countries, hardly avoidable, need to be handled through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect.” We should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, respect the development paths and social systems independently chosen by the people of different countries, firmly oppose all forms of hegemony and power politics, and reject exclusive blocs or small circles targeting specific countries. China hopes to develop friendship and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and pursue coordination and sound interactions among major countries. China will never seek hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence. At the same time, we will firmly safeguard our sovereignty, security and development interests, and uphold international equity and justice.
Committing to joint contribution and shared benefits, we will work to build a world of universal security. “We humanity are living in an indivisible security community.” It is therefore imperative to uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, take seriously the legitimate security concerns of all countries, follow the principle of indivisible security, resolve differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, uphold traditional security and non-traditional security in a coordinated manner, jointly shoulder the responsibility for maintaining peace, and follow the path of peaceful development. Standing firmly on the side of peace, China has taken an active part in the formulation of global security rules, strengthened international security cooperation, followed a Chinese approach to resolving hotspot issues, and worked with other parties to implement the Global Security Initiative (GSI) to jointly safeguard world peace and tranquility.
Committing to win-win cooperation, we will work to build a world of common prosperity. “‘Cooperation generates strength while isolation only leads to weakness.’ Win-win cooperation should be the basic policy goal of all countries in handling international affairs.” We need to keep to the right direction of economic globalization, build an open world economy, oppose protectionism, decoupling, severing chains and unilateral sanctions, and reject the politicization and weaponization of economic, scientific and technological issues by overstretching the concept of national security. China stays committed to its fundamental national policy and the win-win strategy of opening-up. We have promoted high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, actively implemented the Global Development Initiative (GDI), firmly supported and helped fellow developing countries to accelerate development, and continued to provide new opportunities for the world with China’s new development.
Committing to exchanges and mutual learning, we will work to build an open and inclusive world. “With openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning, human civilization will continue to develop and prosper.” It is important to carry forward the common values of humanity, promote mutual understanding and affinity among people of different countries, respect the diversity of world civilizations, and overcome cultural misunderstanding, clash and supremacy through exchanges, mutual learning and coexistence, and at the same time, not to impose one’s own values and models on others or engage in ideological confrontation. China is open to drawing on the fine achievements of all civilizations, and is working to make Chinese culture better understood and appreciated by the world. We hope to work with all parties to implement the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) proposed by President Xi Jinping, and strengthen international people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation, to jointly advance the development and progress of human civilization.
Committing to green and low-carbon development, we will work to build a clean and beautiful world. “If we humanity do not fail Nature, Nature will not fail us. Ecological civilization represents the development trend of human civilization.” We need to respect Nature, follow Nature’s laws and protect Nature, adhere to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, actively meet the climate challenge, speed up efforts to foster a green way of development and a green way of life, and promote the building of a community of life for man and Nature. China will keep to the path of green, low-carbon and sustainable development, play an active part in the global cooperation for ecological advancement, promote global ecological and environmental governance, and work with all parties to build a homeland of harmonious coexistence between man and Nature, of coordinated advancement of economy and the environment, and of common development of all countries.
“Building a community with a shared future for mankind is an exciting goal, and it requires efforts from generation after generation.” Embarking on the new journey, we will rally more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, especially Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, forge ahead with enterprise and fortitude, hold high the banner of building a community with a shared future for mankind, strive to break new grounds in major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, and make greater contributions to achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and promoting the cause of human development and progress.
Qin Gang is State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs.