Editor's note: Zou Yue joined CCTV in 2003, and in 2010 became the anchor of China 24, a flagship news magazine show on CCTV NEWS, the predecessor of CGTN. Since 1997, Zou has covered major events across China, including Hong Kong and Macao's return to China, China's first manned space flight, the Six-Party talks in Beijing, the Wenchuan Earthquake, and Shenzhou and Chang'e space missions to name a few.
When there is a need, there is an answer. In Europe, there is a need to connect, and China answers. The European Union is a good concept, but now, the union is facing the danger of being divided.
Europe's north and west are wealthy, and the south and east are not. China has experienced the same problem and understands the need for connectivity.
Interestingly, the idea of EU-Asia connectivity is not new to the Europeans. Europe had been championing calls for connectivity long since, calling it "The EU-Asia Connectivity Platform," but it remained just an idea. In contrast, China followed through with actions. China has signed cooperation documents with 24 European countries on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Now Italy officially joins the BRI. The Italian government is a coalition of the political left and right; what unites them is a China offer that is good for both.
However, the offer worries some Europeans.
The European Commission issued a paper on EU-China relations, labeling China a systemic rival. A rival, really? Maybe in cabinet rooms, politicians are still grandstanding, but in board rooms, the businessmen have already voted with their money.
In 2018, China's trade with the EU totaled 4.5 trillion yuan, and in 2017, China's investment in the EU reached 10 billion U.S. dollars. The big picture is that China is the EU's most important partner.
Yes, we do business differently; that is because we are different. China's economic system is not perfect, and it needs to let the market and not the state pick the winners. That is what China is doing, on its own pace, for its own good. However, to paint China as an economic and security concern is not only off target, it is harmful.
Be it infrastructure or 5G technology, what China offers is meant to connect, not divide. When a company bids to build a road or a telecom provider offers to lay the 5G network, don't ask to which country it belongs, ask what benefits it will bring.
By the way, this is an open world; you can always choose if there is a better alternative. Those qualms about China dividing or undermining Europe are nothing but a fantasy. In Chinese, we say 草木皆兵. Don't take every bush for a bugbear.
China was stepping up for a new and better global order. It could and should connect all of us.
Whereas Brexit divides, BRI unites. I am not saying that the Brexit is wrong; I am saying that we need to unite in an age of division.
Script: Zou Yue
Video photographer: Zhao Ruixuan
Cover photo: Qu Bo, Jia Jieqiong
Video and design: Wu Chutian, Zhou Tingyu, Wang Naiqian
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