China is offering, not taking a ‘free ride’
There has of late been an argument in international public discourse that China is a “free rider,” implying that China only cares about reaping benefits from controversial issues without trying to play a constructive role, gaining profits from international trade without abiding by the established rules, and taking advantage of developments in international relations without shouldering its due responsibilities. Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
Such a “free rider” remark totally distorts the facts. Take Iraq for an example. China is not the culprit responsible for what is happening in Iraq, but it has never backed down from its duty to help find peaceful and political solutions to Iraqi issues.
When the Iraq War broke out in 2003, China offered 2.5 million yuan ($407,300) in humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees who fled to Jordan. Later, China reiterated its promise to provide $25 million worth of aid to Iraq.
During the country’s reconstruction process, Chinese enterprises helped Iraq rebuild its oil industry, as well as restore Iraq’s nationwide telecommunication service.
Aside from Iraq, China is sparing no effort to resolve the Afghanistan issue and ease conflict between Palestine and Israel. China’s contributions can also be found in hot spots such as Syria, Iran, North Korea, as well as Sudan and South Sudan.
By insisting on mediation and political dialogue, China has become an internationally recognized force, playing a peaceful, positive and constructive role in these issues.
What’s more, China is an active and responsible stakeholder in UN-led actions. Among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has deployed the most forces to undertake international peaceful missions.
In addition, China has continued to contribute to efforts to address nontraditional threats worldwide, such as combating pirates by dispatching navy to escort civilian ships in the Gulf of Aden and fighting the deadly Ebola virus by sending medical teams to western Africa.
If there is a free ride to take, China is the one willing to offer it, and it hopes more countries will benefit from China’s development.
China survived the shock and revived its economy quickly after the 2008 global financial crisis, and proceeded to act as a stabilizer for the world economy.
According to Goldman Sachs’ statistics, China contributed 22 percent to global growth between 2000 to 2010, five percentage points more than the US.
The IMF even stated that the ratio of China’s contribution to the world economy has reached 30 percent, and that for each percentage point the Chinese economy grows, the economy of Asia as a whole will expand by 0.3 percent.
China has remained a consistent supporter of less developed countries. The foreign aid that China provided amounted to 89.34 billion yuan from 2010 to 2012, and China has granted zero tariff-rate quotas to 95 percent of products from the least developed countries. This proportion will increase to 97 percent in 2015, exempting these imports from taxes of 500 million yuan.
China is also a generous facilitator in helping these least developed countries get access to WTO.
China’s overseas investment has grown sharply in recent years, with non-financial direct investment amounting to $90.17 billion in 2013, a year-on-year increase of 16.8 percent.
China is now one of the big five in terms of capital export, serving as a significant factor in helping some countries and regions reenergize their economies, increase employment and improve local people’s livelihoods.
That is why in the US-Africa Summit earlier this year, many African leaders rebutted some groundless accusations against China, which besmirched China’s generosity to Africa as selfishness designed to exploit African resources, saying instead that Chinese investments have brought real benefits to Africa.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his State visit to Mongolia in September, said China welcomes other countries to free ride on China’s development, signaling to the world that China values cooperation, and showing China’s confidence, open-mindedness and sense of responsibility.
Many programs such as the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road will trigger coordinated development among all countries involved.
China is also stepping up efforts to launch an Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, which will play an important part in boosting Asian economy and regional economic cooperation by providing funds for infrastructure and other productive sectors of these Asian countries.
China insists on taking the path of peaceful development, and it is dedicated to promoting the same vision around the globe.
By reinforcing dialogue and cooperation with other Asian countries, setting up a regional code of conduct in security issues, and building security partnerships, China will help create a region where mutual trust and equal cooperation is the norm.
China will use its wisdom to help peacefully resolve hot spot issues through political and diplomatic means.
By Zheng Xiwen
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