China’s unprecedented effort to prepare global public opinion for its rise to pre-eminence

Nice article by Mr Shyam Saran (Former Foreign Secretary) on the topic.

History coming full circle in China’s case:

A recent visit to as an invitee to the Fourth proved to be a welcome opportunity to feel the pulse of an emerging great power. The forum is the brainchild of Professor Yan Xuetong, a scholar celebrated for recommending the abandonment of Deng Xiaoping’s famous dictum of “keeping a low profile and hiding brightness”, and instead adopting a more activist profile of “striving for achievement” which goes together with a strong political leadership. The World Peace Forum is only one of several high profile international gatherings that has been convening over recent years. There is now an annual Xiangshan Forum, bringing together well-known international political and academic personages from across the world; another recent addition is an annual closed door brainstorming conclave for exchange of views on the current global landscape and its likely trajectory in the coming years and decades. And there is, of course, the well-known Boao Forum, which is a kind of a Chinese equivalent of the World Economic Forum.

These are all platforms which allow Chinese scholars and thinkers as well as political leaders, to interact, often in an unusually informal and open environment, with their counterparts in many foreign countries. They create opportunities for China to keep track of emerging trends and perspectives both in the Asian region and the world. They are also useful in conveying China’s own perspectives to influential opinion-makers in key foreign countries.

This new found openness and willingness to engage is unusual in a one party-state, otherwise intolerant of dissent and with strict social and media controls. It is difficult to think of such range and density of out-reach in democratic India. China is going all out to mobilise international public opinion behind its aims and achieving some success. There is also a parallel effort to get the world used to the idea of China as a great power, assuming its rightful and historically pre-eminent place in the international order.

The ongoing efforts by China to reclaim its position in global polity is easily one of the most important developments of 21st century. Requires a deep understanding of history of why China lost its eminent position to west and what it can do to reclaim it back is quite a tale..

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