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LEIGH GAO: Fears about China baseless

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Beijing, China, in this Aug. 31, 2016 file photo.
 (Xinhua News Agency)
Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Beijing, China, in this Aug. 31, 2016 file photo. (Xinhua News Agency) - FILE

China’s far-reaching plan offers many economic opportunities for Canada in years to come

Little has been reported in Canada on China’s 19th National Congress of the governing party on the future development plan of China. However, the plan may have profound and far-reaching impact on future businesses in Canada.

On the conclusion of the Congress on Oct. 24, China has released its plan that it will, among other things, lift 70 million people out of poverty by the end of 2021; and develop China into a modern society by the middle of this century that is wealthy, democratic, and civilized with high living standards for its people.

Strictly speaking, this is not a new plan, rather, but a confirmation and continuation of the plan from recent years. For example, China had just in the last five years moved 95 million people out of poverty. What is different this time is that the 70 million people are the least fortunate and last remaining under the poverty line. China will be then on its way to pursue “collective prosperity with no one left behind,” as the plan puts it. With other indicators showing solid progress, China is surely on its way to realize its goal.

The world has benefited much from China’s development, with the latter being the largest contributor to the world’s economic growth for years. Particularly, Canada could take advantage of China’s rapid and concrete development in many areas. Besides China’s being an alternative destination for our various products, we could forge a close relationship through collaboration on a wide range of issues such as security, development and climate change.

For example, Canada initiated United Nations peace keeping; now China is following that direction and becoming a major and valued contributor to peacekeeping operations around the globe.

An opposite type of reaction from the West is concern out of fear that a powerful China would pose threat to world security or Western culture. However, this attitude is all baseless, or based on a Western way of thinking.

Western media has been elaborating on this negative side on China because many of our China reporters are unfamiliar with that country. They have little knowledge of China’s culture and history and the ignorance of the local language made it worse.

Nevertheless, it is important to inform our people of the realities and facts. Misleading, innocent reporting could result in serious consequences, such as lost opportunities economically, and even misunderstandings between our peoples.

One cannot understand China without mentioning Confucianism that has been the dominant school of thought for thousands of years in Chinese history. His well-known principle, "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself," has diffused into the blood of Chinese people of all walks and levels, directing their beliefs and activities everywhere.

The practice of Confucianism explains why China did not invade or colonize anyone when it had superior military and economic might to those of the West. Simply put, China never intends to harm others because it does not wish to be harmed. Therefore, what the West fears is based on the assumption that a powerful China will become another Western country and behave the same way as the West does.

Then, why does China want to become powerful? First and foremost, the Chinese people wish to enjoy a high standard of living, wrapped under the banner of the “Chinese dream.” Secondly, the Chinese realize that they must be able to defend themselves, after learning lessons from the “century of humiliation” in which China was invaded and colonized by Western powers.

With an understanding of the Chinese way of thinking, we could easily free ourselves from the burden of fear, and take full advantage of the opportunities China brings to the world. As the Chinese put it, they are open for business, and they are contributing to build the world community of human destiny.

- Leigh Gao of Charlottetown was born and raised in Asia, and has been working as a scientist in Canada for the last 25 years to provide technical expertise for companies to develop and expand markets in the world

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