Archive for ‘ideology’

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

China’s Hate for the Free Flow of Information: Fascism is the absolute Principle

More than fourty years ago, China started policies of reform and opening up. The latter part is often overlooked, but the Chinese authorities had to find new ways to deal with a greater flow of free information, or, as Deng Xiaoping put it, “when you open the window, you can’t stop the flies and mosquitos from coming in, too”.

Despite the ostentatious nonchalance, the party made great efforts to keep the flies out anyway. Really inquisitive international press was only available in international hotels or airports, and shortwave broadcasts from the outside world remained heavily jammed. And to this day, “Uncle Policeman” will take care of the rest of the flies.


Uncensored info, hence harmful

Shut up, we don’t care

What the CPC may not have hoped to achieve though was a fairly successful immunization program against flies. They achieved it anyway. This vaccine’s effect is that it makes most Chinese people ignorant – or nearly ignorant – of information deemed undesirable by the party. Around 2008, “Anti-CNN” propaganda rose – at least partly, it seems – from the Chinese grassroots. On the eve of the Beijing Olympic Games, Chinese people appeared to be simply fed up with bad news about Tibet or Xinjiang, no matter if true or not, and any lapse in any overseas picture editorial room was gladly taken as proof that news about uprisings in China’s Tibetan or Turkic colonies were fake news.

But the real sources for the willful ignorance lie deeper. For one, there’s a natural desire of people to be proud of their country, even if there is little reason for that, and that seems to be a particularly strong desire in some East Asian countries.

Then there was an actual source of pride: China’s rising economic and political power, and a series of economic crises in the West. In the minds of many, might made right if only it led to even more might for the motherland.

Not all Chinese nationalists deny that Tibetans or Turkics are going through hell. Rather, they believe that they deserve no better, and that “those guys” had been pampered by their Han rulers for too long.

Obviously, that kind of news isn’t fit to print or be broadcast by China’s “Global Times”, or CCTV. It is enough that people know that their party’s “toughness” on “terrorism” knows no limits, and that resistance is futile.
The latter bit is immportant, too, because Han people, too, have grievances. They must not even dream of getting a verdict in their favor, when the party says “no”. The brutal message from the top is targeting “national minorities” for now, but as Rebiya Kadeer said in 2018, “Uighurs’ today is the Han Chinese peoples’ tomorrow”.

For the more general public inside China – the news has to be more subtle.
While the faces of many of the cadres “interviewed” by CCTV about their “ethnic work” speak volumes, the message itself is that the loving care of the party for the masses earns itself enthusiastic reactions.
The essence of these domestic news: resistance is futile, but then, there’s no reason for resistance, anyway, is there? Our cultural massacres are a beautiful garden.

And for audiences outside China, plain denial is the only possible answer – if that turns out unsuccessful, you can still try to sell the camps in East Turkestan as “vocational schools”.

Shut up and join us – you are part of the United Front

What strikes me most is the wide-spread preparedness among overseas Chinese people to take part in Beijing’s disinformation work.
A desire to be proud of the motherland may be one motivation for that, just as it has been among Chinese at home and abroad since 2008.
Intimidation may be another. As Joanna Chiu noted in a recent article for the “Toronto Star”,

Beijing leaders truly feel anyone of Chinese descent is fair game and they have a right to curtail their freedom of speech years or even generations after they settled abroad.

What Joanna Chiu wouldn’t write either, but what has to be said, is that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” isn’t socialism. It’s full-blown fascism.
Let me apply some of Matthew Lyons definition (the link will take you to more paragraphs):

Fascism is a form of extreme right-wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. It emphasizes a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a “spiritual revolution” against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge “alien” forces and groups that threaten the organic community. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide. At the same time, fascists may embrace a form of internationalism based on either racial or ideological solidarity across national boundaries. Usually fascism espouses open male supremacy, though sometimes it may also promote female solidarity and new opportunities for women of the privileged nation or race.

When you encounter people on Twitter who dedicate many hours of their days to support Beijing’s disinformation work, they won’t necessarily be paid by Beijing. To think that to be the only explanation underestimates Beijing’s success in immunizing its underlings against unwelcome information. You aren’t necessarily dealing with troll factory products. You may be dealing with real-life fascists.

Shut up – you are doing it, too

To enter discussions beyond a few tweets with them may or may not be worth the trouble. In my view, it can be instructive to debate with them when you are aware that “your” side – the West, Japan, India or what have you – are no foreigners to disinformation either. But you won’t get much out of debates with fascists when you can’t stand justified criticism of racism, injustice or other deficits of the society you belong to (or feel you belong to).

On the other hand, you shouldn’t feel discouraged by such expedient “criticism”. When a reported million of Uyghurs is or was in internment camps, some individual stories that emerge internationally may indeed be fake news. China is “re-educating” its nationalities – Han included – on a massive scale, so obviously, some editor will pick the wrong photo or the wrong person.
What you should be aware of is Beijing’s nihilistic script. “You do it too, so even if we did commit atrocities (which we don’t, it’s all fake news), it would be nothing worth to be reported.”
It’s not the West that is running a massive brainwashing program against its own people, it is China that does so. It isn’t the West that is threatening war on its neighbors; it is China.

And while there are places in the West and elsewhere in the world that are rife with racism and bigotry, those aren’t usually run by the state as they are in China. Even most of the “pro-China” guys you meet on Twitter, whitewashing China’s crimes against human rights, would choose a life as a black person in the U.S., rather than an Uyghur’s life in East Turkestan, if they had to choose.

But they can’t admit that. After “a century of humiliation”, they feel that it is time for some fun. After all, they are consumers, too, and “me, me, me & now” is the absolute principle.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Ethnic Work, enthusiastic Reactions (3)

As reported by China Central Television’s (CCTV) main evening news on August 29, CPC secretary-general Xi Jinping’s speech on ethnic work at the Central Ethnic Work Conference in late August has met with an enthusiastic echo from the masses and cadres of all national ethnicities. The following are translations of some of that enthusiastic echo. Every quote is linked to the news program’s online video.

This is part 3 of my translation. Part two is there.

Link 1, 07′ 05”, Li Lin, deputy county secretary of nationwide-ethnic-unity-and-progress-model-collective Jiangyong County in Yongzhou City, Hunan Province:

History and practice have amply proven that the key for doing ethnic work well lies with the party. Our next steps will be to continue the promotion of the deployment and implementation of the “twelve musts”, pointed out by General Secretary Xi Jinping. into refined measures. Promoting the rejuvenation of Yaoxiang Village and accelerating the momentum in the realization of common prosperity, we will let the ordinary people live even happier and better lives.
全国民族团结进步模范集体 湖南永州市江永县委副书记李林
历史和实践充分证明做好民族工作关键在党。接下来我们将对习总书记指出的「十二个必须」一细化量化持续推动党中央决策部署落到实处。在推动瑶乡乡村振兴,加快实现共同富裕等方面持续发力,让老百姓过上更加幸福美好的生活。

Link 2, 07′ 29”, Zhang Jianming, Yidi poverty alleviation community village first secretary, Guizhou Province, Wangmo County:

Most people living in our neighborhood are ethnic minority masses [who are part of the] poverty alleviation and relocation [program]. Specifically, we have established volunteer teams for ethnic minorities service teams to develop industries of characteristic ethnic customs, so as to put the masses of relocated people into a position to develop in a stable manner and to continuously improve the masses’ sense of happiness and security.
贵州省望谟县易地扶贫搬迁小区住村第一书记 张建明
我们所在的这个社区居住的大多数是少数民族易地扶贫搬迁群众。我们专门成立少数民族群众志愿服务队,发展民俗特色产业,让广大搬迁群众稳得住能发展,不断提高群众的幸福感和安全感。

Link 3, 07′ 48”, Yun Guosheng, Inner Mongolia “autonomous region” ethnic affairs committee deputy director:

Inner Mongolia autonomous region is the first etnic autonomous region established under the party’s leadership, and it has a glorious tradition of ethnic unity. The next stop will continue to be an example of promoting ethnic unity, walk the new path of high-quality development with a priority for the ecology and green development as points of reference. We will promote the common prosperoous development of all ethnicities.
内蒙古自治区民族事务委员会副主任云国盛
内蒙古自治区是党领导下成立的第一个民族自治区,具有民族团结的光荣传统。下一步我们将继续在促进民族团结方面做好表率,走好以生态优先,绿色发展为导向的高质量发展新路子,努力促进各民族共同繁荣发展。

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Ethnic Work, enthusiastic Reactions (2)

As reported by China Central Television’s (CCTV) main evening news on August 29, CPC secretary-general Xi Jinping’s speech on ethnic work at the Central Ethnic Work Conference in late August has met with an enthusiastic echo from the masses and cadres of all national ethnicities. The following are translations of some of that enthusiastic echo. Every quote is linked to the news program’s online video.

This is part 2 of my translation. Part one is there.

Link 1, 05′ 14”, Zhao Wulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee:

Guangxi is the province or region with the most ethnic-minority inhabitants. During the 14th five-year plan we will establish and forge a model region of Chinese national sense of community, refine institutions under which all ethnic minorities live, work, learn and are happy together, promote the high-quality development of the new-era party’s ethnic work.
广西壮族自治区民族宗教事务委员会政策法规处处长赵武林
广西是全国少数民族人口最多的省区,「十四五」期间我们将创建铸牢中华民族共同体意识示范区,完善有利于各民族共居共学共事共乐的体制机制,推动新时代党的民族工作高质量发展。


Link 2, 05′ 32”, Li Xiangsheng, deputy director of Lincang City’s Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee, Yunnan province:

Here in Lincang, we have quite a number of ethnic minorities, such as the Yi, the Wa, the Dai and the Lahu Nationality. As a next step, we must build a platform for all ethnicities to associate, communicate and blend with each other, tell the story of the Chinese dream being built together by united ethnicities, and promote all ethnicities embracing each other like pomegranate seeds.
云南临沧市民族宗教事务委员会主任李祥生
我们临沧有彝族,佤族,傣族,拉祜族等十几个少数民族。下一步我们要搭建各民族交往,交流,交融的平台,讲好新时代各民族「同心共筑中国梦」的民族团结故事,促进各民族象石榴籽一样紧紧地拥抱在一起。


Link 3, 05′ 54”

Zhu Li, an aid-for-Tibet English teacher at Lhasa Naqu Middle School*):

Secretary-General Xi has emphasized that to forge a national Chinese sense of community means to guide all ethnicities people to solidly establish an idea of community where happiness, sorrow and public wealth as well as life, death, fate and destiny are shared by all. Our school is the main base to forge the Chinese national sense of community, and I am an aid-for-Tibet English teacher. While teaching cultural knowledge, I need to pay great attention to cultivating a correct national concept, historical concept and ethnic concept, internalize the forging of Chinese national sense of community in teaching people, so as to let the flowers of national unity bloom everywhere on the now plateau.
援藏教师拉萨那曲高级中学英语教师朱丽
习总书记强调铸牢中华民族共同体意识就是要引导各族人民牢固树立,休戚与共荣辱与共生死与共命运与共的共同体理念。我学校是铸牢中华民族共同体意识的主陈地,作为一名援藏教师。我在传授文化知识的同时更要注重培养学生正确的国家观,历史观,民族观,把铸牢中华民族共同体意识内化在教书育人里让民族团结之花开遍雪域高原。

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Part 3 is there.
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Note

*) Probably refers to a student age of 15 to 19

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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Ethnic Work, enthusiastic Reactions (1)

As reported by China Central Television’s (CCTV) main evening news on August 29, CPC secretary-general Xi Jinping’s speech on ethnic work at the Central Ethnic Work Conference in late August has met with an enthusiastic echo from the masses and cadres of all national ethnicities. The following are translations of some of that enthusiastic echo. Every quote is linked to the news program’s online video.


Link 1, 03′ 28”, Wang Yanzhong (王延中), head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology:

Secretary General’s important speech is a concentrated and innovative, summarized and purified expression of our ethnic work in the new era. Even more so, we continue to promote the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. It is especially the promotion of new strategic deployment in the building of ethnic affairs management systems and management abilities.
中国社科院民族学与人类学研究所所长王延中:
总书记的重要讲话是我们新时代民族工作在实践中创新,总结,提炼的一个集中表达,更是我们继续推进新时代中国特色社会主义现代化建设。尤其是在民族工作领域推进民族事务治理体系和治理能力建设的新的战略部署。



Link 2, 03′ 50”, Zhang Mou (张谋), head of the National Affairs Commission’s research department:

We will thoroughly study Xi Jinping’s thoughts concerning the strengthening and improvement of ethnic work, profoundly grasp the work rules shown in the “twelve musts”, firmly seize the distinct central theme of a sense of community among China’s ethnicities, and promote the new era party’s high-quality development of ethnic work.
我们将深入学习总书记关于加强和改进民族工作的重要思想,深刻领会「十二个必须」所揭示的工作规律,牢牢把握铸牢中华民族共同体意识这条鲜明主线,推动新时代党的民族工作高质量发展。



Link 3, 04′ 10”, Maulati Yibulayin [phonetic spelling], a vice director of Xinjiang Uighur “autonomous region’s” Ethnic Affairs Commission:

As ethnic workers, we must profoundly understand the spirit of the Secretary-General’s important speech, and, with the forging of a sense of community among China’s ethnicities as the central theme, guide the continuous improvement of the ethnicities’ recognition of the great motherland, the great Chinese nation, Chinese culture, the Communist Party of China and socialism with Chinese characteristics.
新疆维吾尔自治区民族事务委员会副主任地力毛拉提‧依布拉音
作为民族工作者,我们要深刻领会总书记的重要讲话精神,以铸牢中华民族共同体意识为主线引导各族群众不断增强,对伟大祖国,中华民族,中华文化,中国共产党,中国特色社会主义的认同。

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Part 2 is there.
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Monday, July 19, 2021

Center for China and Globalization develops “new narrative system”

The following is my translation of an excerpt from a book review by a Chinese think tank named Center for China and Globalization (全球化智库), (re)published by a number of Chinese online media. The book is probably CCG’s own work. The review and the content related there should not be too easily thought of as a possible new trend in Chinese public diplomacy unless it is echoed elsewhere in Chinese politics. An article published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute contains some information about the think tank’s work abroad and its background.

My translation may contain mistakes. Corrections are welcome.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

[…]

Based on CCG’s practice of track-II diplomacy, this book summarizes the ten experiences CCG went through while developing a new narrative system. Specifically, CCG, in new international narrative exchanges, CCG emphasizes the following aspects.

基于CCG二轨外交的实践,本书总结了CCG打造新叙事体系的十条经验:具体来说,CCG国际交流新叙事注重以下几个方面:

1. Look at China’s topics from a global perspective, talk more about common values and emphasize universality. Let China’s voice in globalization be heard.

第一,全球化视野思考中国问题,多说共同价值,多讲普遍性,向世界发出中国的全球化声音;

2. Less conceptional advocacy1), and more objective and reasonable ways of expression. Use facts and figures. Talk more about China’s contributions to globalization, and tell China’s story from a multilateralist point of view.

第二,少理念倡导,多客观理性表达,用事实与数据说话。多讲中国对全球化的贡献,从多边角度讲中国故事;

3. Be modest but self-confident, tolerant but not without a position of your own. Practice mutual respect and an interlocutory attitude, without an aim of defeating your counterpart, communicate your own ideas and communicate effectively.

第三,谦和而自信,包容而有立场,相互尊重,对话姿态,不以博倒对方为目的,传递自身理念,做有效沟通;

4. Innovate the popularized narrative discourse system, all-embracing, narrating your case multi-levelled and multi-angledly, from the perspectives of politics, diplomacy, trade, human affairs, and individual experience. Above all, analyze the logic of China’s development with inside information about concrete details of Chinese culture.

第四,创新民间化叙事话语体系,兼容并包,从政治、外交、商业、人文、个体经验多层次多角度讲述个案。尤其通过讲述中国文化底蕴分析中国现实发展逻辑;

5. Take interviews from international mainstream media and make yourself heard on international social media.

第五,接受国际主流媒体访问,通过国际社交媒体发声;第六,走出去主动参与国际主流轮坛平台,积极发言交流;

6. Go out and participate in international mainstream forum platforms, speak out actively and communicate socially.

第六,走出去主动参与国际主流轮坛平台,积极发言交流;

7. Actively set an agenda and expand the topic’s impact on international mainstream platforms.

第七,主动设置议题,在国际主流平台扩大议题影响力;

8. Be creative in building new types of international exchange platforms. Constructively initiate new types of multilateral international organizations.

第八,创造性搭建新型国际交流平台,建设性发起新型多边国际组织。

9. Take the courage to face different opinions, make contact with a multitude of interlocutors. Establish wide-ranged exchange and dialogue in Chinese and foreign political, business, academic and research circles. Promote track-II diplomacy.

第九,勇于直面不同意见,接触多元交流对象,在中外政商学研界建立广泛交流与对话,促进民间二轨外交。

10. Keep up with international and domestic points of strong [public] interest, be flexible in strengthening the think tank’s2) influence through a multitude of channels and methods.

第十,及时紧跟国际国内热点,灵活通过多渠道多方式传播增强智库影响力。

[…]

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Notes

 1  conceptual advocacy is just my guess for the Chinese term for 理念倡导 – to argue in favor of a topic, approach, or perspective. It may as well be translated as <em>idea advocacy</em>.
  2   the think tank in question here should be CCG.
Friday, June 18, 2021

Xu Yuanchong, 1921 – 2021

Documentaries made during a man’s lifetime often do a better job at describing him, than obituaries. Here’s a good film on Xu Yuanchong (许渊冲) – unfortunately only in Chinese.
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Monday, May 31, 2021

Zhang Kaiyuan, 1926 – 2021

Zhang Kaiyuan (章开沅) was born in Wuhu, Anhui Province, on July 8, 1926, with ancestry mainly in Zhejiang province. According to Xinhua, he studied at Nanjing Jinling University before leaving for the “Zhongyuan Liberated Area”.  Zhongyuan stands for the “Central Plains”, both a geographical and historical term, and particularly contested for its historical aspects. Zhang apparently didn’t complete his studies before leaving Nanjing. He is said to have been a pioneer of Xinhai Revolution research in the 1950s, and of the Nanjing Massacre (1937/38) in the late 1980s, after finding that an American teacher from his alma mater’s history department had saved Chinese citizens during the massacre. He started teaching at Central China Normal University in 1959, and became the university’s president in 1985.

One of his more famous quotes appears to be that

“scholarly research isn’t about charming the talk of our times, but to search real knowledge for later generations. It has become the past with a full stop to it, and a never-ending journey.”

『治学不为媚时语,独寻真知启后人。历史是已经画上句号的过去,史学是永无止境的远航。』

Zhang was a member of the Communist Party of China. He died on May 28, aged 94 (or, by the Chinese way of counting, 95).

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Huanqiu Shibao: G7 London Meeting, small-circled cliques and factions

As he said before, it’s you, not us

The following is a translation of an article by Huanqiu Shibao online, published on Tuesday (May 4). Huanqiu’s translations from English do not necessarily reflect what the persons quoted there actually said.

The Reuters article referred to by Huanqiu Shibao can be found here.

Main Link: Evoking the China-Russia threat once again? (又渲染中俄威胁)

Bian Zihao, Huanqiu Online reporter — Hyping another Chinese-Russian threat? The G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Britain’s capital London opened on May 3. According to Reuters, Britain will seek decisive action from the G7 member states to respond to global threats. Reuters says that these so-called “global threats” include China and Russia.

【环球网报道 记者 边子豪】又炒作中俄威胁?七国集团外长会3日在英国首都伦敦开幕,据路透社报道,英国4日将寻求与G7成员国采取果断行动以应对全球威胁。路透社称,上述所谓“全球威胁”包括中国和俄罗斯。

As it holds the G7’s rotating chairmanship this year, Britain also invited Australia’s, India ‘s , South Africa ‘s and South Korea ‘s foreign ministers this week. Reuters says that this is the first time in two years that G7 representatives talk face-to-face and that this is seen as an opportunity to “strengthening support for the international rules-based system.

作为今年七国集团轮值主席国,除了G7成员国外,英国本周还邀请了澳大利亚、印度、南非和韩国等国外长。路透社说,本次会谈是近两年来七国集团代表首次举行面对面会议,被英方视为“加强支持基于规则的国际体系的机会”。

Reuters also quoted Britain’s wording, an evocation of the so-called “China-Russia threat”, saying that China’s economic influence and Russia’s “evil activities” could break that system.

此外,路透社还引述英方说法,渲染所谓“中俄威胁”说,中国的经济影响力和俄罗斯的“恶意活动”可能会破坏上述体系。

The report also mentioned that on May 3 local time, U.S. secretary of state Blinken, after meeting British forign secretary Raab, called for the building of an international alliance. He claimed that although there was no intention to “contain China”, there was a need to make sure that China “acted in accordance with the rules”. In a program broadcast by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), Blinken explained his position similarly. He said there, “our goal isn’t to contain China, not to block China, not to inhibit China. (But) it is the protection of order-based rules to which China currently raises challenges …”

报道还提到,当地时间5月3日,在与英国外交大臣拉布会面后,美国国务卿布林肯呼吁组建一个全球联盟,他宣称尽管不想“遏制中国”,但要确保中国“按规则行事”。 而在5月2日哥伦比亚广播公司(CBS)播出的一档节目中,布林肯也曾有过相似表态。当时他说:“我们的目的不是遏制中国,不是阻止中国,不是压制中国。(而)是为了维护基于秩序的规则,(但)中国正在对(这些规则)提出挑战……”

The foreign ministers’ meeting is seen as a warm-up for the G7 summit in June. The G7 consists of Britain, America, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Russia joined as the eighth country in 1997. In 2014, after the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, Russia was excluded.

本次外长会被视为将于6月在英国举行的七国集团峰会的预热。七国集团由英国、美国、法国、德国、意大利、加拿大和日本组成,俄罗斯1997年加入后成为八国集团。2014年乌克兰危机爆发以后,俄罗斯被排除在外。

In reality, concerning talk about the so-called “China threat”, FMPRC spokesman Zao Lijian has previously emphasized that China adheres unswervingly to the road of peaceful development, we have never provoked a war on our own accord, and never violated an inch of another country’s territory, nor have we ever constituted a threat to any country. Facts have repeatedly proven that China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a protector of international order, and that China’s development is an opportunity for the world.

事实上,关于所谓“中国威胁论”,中国外交部发言人赵立坚此前曾强调,中国坚定不移走和平发展道路,我们从来没有主动挑起过一场战争,也从来没有侵犯过别国一寸领土,不对任何国家构成威胁。事实一再证明中国始终是世界和平的建设者、全球发展的贡献者、国际秩序的维护者,中国的发展是世界的机遇。

Zhao Lijian said that China’s development spells the growth of global peace, that it is the woeld’s opportunity and not a challenge. China has always firmly upheld the international system with the United Nations at the core, based on international law. But that isn’t an international order defined by individual countries to protect their own interests. In the age of globalization, the destruction of international order [happens] for real when lines are drawn along ideology and when countries form small-circled cliques and factions. In the end, this is what really doesn’t enjoy popular support and what doesn’t provide a way out.

赵立坚说,中国的发展是世界和平力量的增长,是世界的机遇而非挑战。中方始终坚定维护的是以联合国为核心的国际体系和以国际法为基础的国际秩序,而不是个别国家为维护自身霸权所定义的国际秩序。在全球化时代,以意识形态划线,拉帮结派,搞针对特定国家的小圈子才是对国际秩序的破坏。这终究是不得人心的,也是没有出路的。

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