Thursday, August 23, 2018


SOFT POWER WITH COMMUNITY OF COMMON DESTINY, SOFT POWER WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS. Just read an inspiring article on "Rise and Fall of Soft Power" by Eric X. Li, my favorite author, the venture capitalist from Shanghai. In his article he details the rise of U.S. soft power after the second World War, driven by U.S. military victory and economic rise. This was followed by the global spread of U.S. universal value of democracy and liberalism. At the height of U.S. arrogance, President Bush Jr, launched the Iraq war to promote U.S. ideology. This led to devastating sufferings for Iraq and eventual decline of U.S. soft power at great cost to human life and economic well being both in U.S. and Iraq. In my humble way, I would like to high light Dr. Li's salient points to sound off my full support of his thoughts that need to be shared. The term soft power was first mentioned by Joseph Nye, adviser to Clinton, three decades ago. Originally he focused on U.S., China was never mentioned. In so doing he ignored the Confucian philosophy global influence prior to the rise of the West as if that long history of Chinese soft power never existed. This artful omission, subsequently led to the western false believe among U.S. think tanks that China never had soft power because of her lack of ideology. In the mean time China's soft power is reviving quietly as her military, economic, cultural, scientific and civic power is growing rapidly at the beginning of 21st Century. There is no doubt that Chinese influence is spreading widely under President Xi's Belt and Road initiative through the old Silk Road. On the other hand as China rises U.S. is showing relative decline because of inability to compete with China's rapid growth. Through the Belt and Road Initiative of infrastructure and communication building with the Belt and Road countries President Xi is promoting Chinese ancient value of Community of Common Destiny. Win Win mutual development is promoted for the developing world with out the force feeding of Chinese universal value. Countries along the belt and road that benefited from Chinese built infrastructure, communication net work and industries are encouraged to retain its political and civilization cultures. Political reform must grow from home turf not forced from outside as U.S. often ignore in forcing its ideology to the developing world. Granted the U.S. universal values such as freedom and democracy has intrinsic values in proper perspective and relavent application. In global diversity there are multitude of universal values. How about China's value of harmony, tolerance, right to develop, respect for the common good, meritocracy in governance and poverty alleviation and so no and so on. Traditionally China was fully aware of democracy by her ancient philosophers. One must not overlook the importance of the right emphasis on selected values during a country's different staged of development. When some countries today are still desperately poor, between democracy and the need to improve livelihood the choice is obvious. Not too long ago, when the U.S. social internet such as Facebook and Tweeter was fanning the Arab protest of dissatisfaction, the U.S. think tanks were in bliss and praising the power of the social net work as the greatest tool for freedom of speech. Hillary Clinton took to her self to preach women rights and internet freedom to condemn China in the hope of promoting Jasmine revolution in China. Little did Clinton mention China's phenomenal successful internet provider such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu and also China is leading the world in the number of self made young women billionaires. Today U.S. is feeling the threat of rising China and Russia, the U.S. government is screaming in unison for the social media to block so called 'fake news' by stepping up self censorship. What happened to U.S. pride of internet freedom and freedom of speech? The rise of China soft power without ideology is for all to see. China's rise to the largest trading power of the world form the poorest nation in a short 40 years is amazing. The same rise in the west took centuries. In response to false accusation of China threat, President Xi proclaimed that China's peaceful rise as "We do not export ideology, we do not export war, only poverty alleviation and community of common destiny for mutual win win development." No wonder the newly elected prime ministers of Pakistan and Malaysia in their acceptance speech both announced plans to increase cooperation with China and specifically mentioned learning from China on development and poverty alleviation. Soon the whole world will benefit from China's soft power in the form of Belt and Road initiative. This is what Dr. Epic X Li aptly described as the rise of world soft power with Chinese characteristics! By Francis C W Fung, Ph.D. Director General World Harmony Organization SAN FRANCISCO, CA

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