Italian academic hails Chinese models and initiatives
Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed building a human community with a shared future out of his deep concern for the destiny of humanity in 2013. In March 2023, he put forward the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI), which seeks to promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, further enriching and expanding the practical path towards building a human community with a shared future.
Under this guidance, China has offered distinctive solutions to a series of major problems concerning the world economy, international security, global governance, and human prosperity, positioning itself as constructor of world peace, contributor to global development, and defender of international order. In a recent interview with CSST, Fabio Massimo Parenti, a foreign associate professor of international economic policy at China Foreign Affairs University and concurrently an associate professor at the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in Italy, shed light on the philosophy of Chinese modernization, major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, and China-proposed initiatives such as the Global Development Initiative (GDI), Global Security Initiative (GSI), and GCI.
In Parenti’s view, the Chinese notion of modernization lies within the Tĭ-Yòng (“essence-function”) concept. According to this view, it is possible to promote technological progress while preserving the traditional values at the same time.
In the late 1970s, the reform and opening-up policy was inaugurated with the goal of initiating a modernization process in four areas: agriculture, industry, technology, and defence, Parenti noted. Having assimilated various economic practices from the West, this period represented a significant turning point in Chinese history.
Chinese modernization also reflects connections with traditional Confucian philosophy, emphasizing important concepts like Xiăokāng Shèhuì, the moderately prosperous society, a target that China hit in 2020, and Dàtóng, the Great Unity, an ideal condition in which all people and entities across the world live in peace, Parenti observed.
“I think the story of Chinese modernization could be a lesson not only for other developing countries but also for the West, where we are observing a progressive moral decline and a deep social decay,” Parenti said.
According to the Chinese model, morality and productivity are intertwined, as are welfare and competitiveness, and the state and the market, the visible and invisible hand. “Harmony is still the pole star of the CPC political paradigm, exactly as it has been for centuries in China,” Parenti added.
Parenti commented that major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics represents the natural evolution of Chinese foreign policy in the new era. Having assumed an increasingly relevant role in the international arena, China needs to adjust its global perspective in accordance with the trends of the times.
The five principles of peaceful coexistence continue to serve as the cornerstone of Chinese foreign policy doctrine, Parenti said. However, their implementation in the current emerging multi-polar world requires, among other enhancements, more assertiveness in the regional context (Asia-Pacific) and the global context (United Nations), facilitated by initiatives like the GDI, GSI, and GCI.
“The CPC’s vision of world politics just starts from this point: there is not a single universal model, but different models with different characteristics for different nations and civilizations,” he said. “This is the most important lesson we should learn and a key concept to understand the GDI and GSI.”
These initiates offer humanity valuable guidelines and tools to overcome difficulties, confront major global challenges, and build a human community with a shared future. They represent an early platform to reform the international system in a fairer, more sustainable, and democratic manner, Parenti emphasized.