Editor's note: During China's 2021 Two Sessions, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi answered 27 questions from global journalists. CGTN Anchor Wang Guan says Wang Yi directly addresses Western concerns over human rights, Xinjiang, Chinese "aggression" & great power competition with the U.S., and did so in an articulate and logical manner.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi met the press, in a wide-ranging Q&A session with reporters from around the world.
In it, a number of hot button issues were addressed head-on.
Issue#1: What Kind Of Relations Does Beijing Want With The Biden Administration?
Wang Yi made it clear that China hopes to reset U.S. relations with the U.S., and the two sides can easily start from COVID, global economic recovery and climate change.
This was actually reciprocated by Biden. In his Interim National Security Guidance, Biden for the first time specified the areas he hoped to work with China, from climate change and global health security to nonproliferation and arms control.
The question is how and when will the two sides make it happen.
Another interesting point.
Beijing loves to talk about enhancing cooperation and managing differences with Washington, and not so much about China-U.S. competition. Beijing has been careful not to be dragged into Washington's narrative that it seeks to "compete with" or "challenge" U.S. power.
But in a rare instance, China's foreign minister did talk about what kind of great power competition he hopes to see with the U.S. Listen.
Wang Yi said:"China and the United States are the world's two largest economies. As our interests converge, the two countries may also see a competitive element in our relations. This is normal. What matters is that the two sides should advocate healthy competition on a fair and just basis for the purpose of self-improvement and mutual enhancement, rather than finger-pointing or zero-sum competition."
Another issue was Xinjiang and the treatment of Uygurs. Many in the West have been asking this question.
Issue#2: When Will Beijing Acknowledge The "Genocide" In Xinjiang?
And here's Wang Yi's answer.
Wang Yi said:"The claim that there is genocide in Xinjiang couldn't be more preposterous. It is just a rumor fabricated with ulterior motives, and a lie through and through. Over the past four decades and more, the Uygur population in Xinjiang has more than doubled from 5.55 million to over 12 million. In 60-plus years, Xinjiang's economy has grown by more than 200 times, and the average life expectancy has increased from 30 to 72 years. Many foreign friends who have been to Xinjiang have spoken up, stressing that the Xinjiang in their own eyes is totally different from what certain Western media have depicted."
China has been accused by some Western politicians of using vaccines to advance its geopolitical interests. So...
Issue #3: Is Beijing Conducting "Vaccine Diplomacy"?
Beijing basically says that everyone's entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.
Wang Yi said:"We have joined COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), under which China has undertaken to provide an initial 10 million doses for emergency use in developing countries. So far, China has donated or is donating COVID vaccines to 69 developing countries in urgent need, and is exporting vaccines to 43 countries. A number of vaccines are now available around the world. It is up to each country to decide which one to choose. Whether it is a Chinese vaccine or not, it is a good vaccine so long as it is safe and effective."
And there's always fear about China's rise and its potential "dominance" in the world because it would be the first "non-Western liberal democracy" to do so in modern history. So...
Issue#4 Will China's "Authoritarian" Model Challenge Western Democracies?
Wang Yi said:"Choice of system should be made in a tailor-made way, rather than through trimming the feet to fit in the shoes. Whether a path works for a country depends on how it fits the country's conditions. To smear or attack others for their different system or even claim superiority is in essence "hegemony of system". In Chinese culture, seeking harmony without uniformity is a philosophy of the virtuous. Western culture values respect as a quality of a gentleman. 'All living things should grow in harmony without hurting one another; and all the ways should run forward without interfering with one another'."
Wang Yi may have a point there.
We all remember how ideological differences, the NSC 68, the Iron Curtain Speech, the "perceived threat" contributed to the Cold War. Now, amid a global pandemic, an economic downturn, and loss of life and employment worldwide, a Cold War 2.0 between China and the U.S. is perhaps the last thing the world deserves right now.