Why Washington Can’t Speak Chinese – Lanxin Xiang

Commentary from Washington Post (link):

As China’s economic strength grows, no one, not even the Chinese ourselves, can prevent China’s influence from spreading into politics, values and ideology. It is in those arenas that conflicts with the United States can arise, and unfortunately, it is precisely in those areas that misunderstandings between the two nations run rampant.

Washington’s policy elites hardly deserve all the blame for the lack of mutual understanding. For a long time, Chinese leaders have been incapable of explaining China to the outside world. When the Chinese invent a foreign policy theme, they often deploy coded language that leads to more confusion than clarity on the international front.

A good example is Beijing’s recent drive for a non-ideological foreign policy under the motto of “China’s Peaceful Rise.”

Lanxin Xiang is director of the China Center at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

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