At one time, not that long ago, writing about or advocating global governance in China was a sensitive matter. Much has changed.
Just as China’s international policy has moved from an almost exclusive emphasis on bilateralism to growing regional and global governance, global governance and China’s role in multilateral contexts has become an acceptable subject for China’s inernational relations experts.
It’s why the focus of Wang Zaibang’s 2007 article is so interesting. Entitled, ‘China and Global Governance,’ this article displays a great deal about how Chinese experts view China and global governance.
First Wang Zaibang. Wang Zaibang is a Research Professor and Vice president of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR). CICIR is an important think tank in Beijing. CICIR was establish in 1960 with the encouragement of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. It was tasked with providing government with policy studies. Like much in China it was silenced during the Cultural Revolution only to reappear in 1980 with a focus on strategic, international and economic issues.
So our colleague Wang Zaibang has provided an interesting analysis in CICIR’s monthly journal - Contemporary International Relations (CIR)(CIR Vol.17, No.2) - a journal well worth reviewing as our friends at CICIR have an online capacity - in English.
In any case, what can one take from Wang Zaibang’s analysis. Well first there is a solid understanding of the crucial value of ‘opening and reform’ movement - ‘bred in the bone’ as we’d say. Wang Zaibang anchors global governance for China in his understanding that,”the self isolation of a nation would inevitably result in backwardness and, consequently, external threats.
For Wang Zaibang, China has come a great distance and engaged significantly in the international system. The result, however, is that China should engage even more dramatically. As Wang Zaibang argues: “With the increasing extension of its national interests in, and deepening interdependence with the outside world, China needs to be involved further in the architecture of global governance, in order that its voice can be heard in the policy-making process and some positive influence can be exerted on the agenda of global governance.”
Additionally, Wang Zaibang grasps that interdependence that has drawn China further into the global economy. He recognizes that while China must continue to pursue domestic economic and social development that it will require China to remain focused on external affairs. As he points out, “the process of constructing a harmonious society would not be guaranteed without the necessary involvement of global governance.”
Finally China’s Great power (my words) involvement must be real and responsible. As he declares, ” …it is reasonable for China to resist the temptation to be a free rider, make more contributions to global governance and take more responsibilities in international affairs, with its strength gradually enhanced.”
Useful insights from this international relations expert.