China and the West Revisited

From an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post:

Despite China’s rapid ascendancy, we must remember that the Chinese people are deeply suspicious of the intentions of foreigners; at the same time, they desperately wish to be included in the global community. Calls for boycotts and other forms of delegitimization, rather than encouraging China to change, have deepened these public feelings of suspicion. Overall, they have made it less likely China will respond positively to the goading of Western democratic powers.

Even those Chinese who oppose the policies of the Communist Party of China have rallied around it when they felt their national identity under attack. Continued threats to delegitimize China will push the Chinese people further into this defensive posture. If we truly want to positively impact China, our engagement has to be constructive and carefully weighed. Gradual engagement, rather than rhetoric of shaming China, should be our modus operandi, if we wish to avoid alienating the Chinese people. After all, it is the will of the Chinese people, rather than any one particular policy of the communist party, that represents the best long-term hope of greater democratization and political freedom taking hold.

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