People show more interest in nation's diplomacy

2021-03-17 12:08:12

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi answers questions from reporters via video link at a news conference for the fourth session of the 13th NPC in Beijing on March 7, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua] Chang Zhicai, a businessman who is visiting relatives in Hamburg, Germany, watched the Chinese foreign minister's news conference on March 7 via livestreaming on his phone. Among the 27 questions from media that were answered by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Chang said he was most concerned about questions related to China-United States relations and the Belt and Road Initiative. Chang is the head of a company that produces and sells green tea to Middle East and African countries, most of which are involved in the BRI. "I want to keep updated on China's latest foreign policies and also our relations with countries that I deal in business with," the 58-year-old said. Like Chang, many Chinese people have been paying greater attention to China's foreign policies in recent years. Kong Quan, former Chinese ambassador to France, said that over the past years, China has been increasingly integrated into the international community and established unprecedented interconnection with the world. "Everyone might know someone around them who travels, studies, works abroad or engages in business with other countries," said Kong, who served as the Foreign Ministry spokesman from 2001 to 2006. According to Kong, some 20 years ago, what Chinese people learned from the ministry was limited, nothing more than news such as that China had sent personnel to Mali for a United Nations peacekeeping mission. Today, the public is able to get much more information it needs or is interested in regarding China's position on world affairs, foreign relations, exchanges and cooperation from the ministry, Kong said. Kong added that when the public gets a better understanding of the ideas and principles that China follows in interacting with the world such as building a community with a shared future for mankind, people, in turn, will practice this philosophy in their interpersonal exchanges with people in other countries. Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said that the way China elucidates its foreign policies is also different from before. "In the past, we tended to keep a low profile. Now we stress that China should play a more proactive role in the world," Li said. As a result, China now communicates with the world in a more candid and direct way to express the country's willingness to contribute to the global community while it strives for its own development, he said. "After growing interaction with the world in recent years, China realizes that communication is more effective when it is carried out in a way that is understandable to others," Li said. According to Li, since China has made progress in bringing prosperity to its people, the international community, especially most members of the UN, are also expecting the country to contribute its good experience to global development by making its voice heard. Experts said that there is a high degree of consistency in the interests of the Chinese government and the Chinese people. Jia Qingguo, a professor at Peking University's School of International Studies, said that as China continues to improve its economic, technological and comprehensive national strength, China's policies on internal affairs and foreign relations are exerting an increasing impact on the world. "This incurred anxiety and prejudice among some Western countries over a fast-changing China has led them to resort to slander and smears against the nation," Jia said. He cited recent false accusations and rumors made by the US and certain Western countries over issues related to China's internal affairs. "Such acts affect not only China's development interests but also ordinary people, thus attracting even more attention from the public to the country's foreign policies," Jia said. Li, from China Foreign Affairs University, said the response of some Western countries shows that they are still not accustomed to "a more confident, energetic and forward-looking China". "They consider it a challenge to the international system dominated by themselves," Li said.