Davos 2021: Xi Jinping asks the world to abandon 'ideological prejudice'
In a 20-minute video speech, the Chinese president uses both peaceful and threatening tones towards the US, warning of "a new cold war". Differences are a boost to "cooperation". No to "imposing a hierarchy on human civilization or to force one's own history, culture and social system upon others". No mention of the problems of Xinjiang, Hong Kong, or the pandemic that emerged in Wuhan. The G20 is a place of governance.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged all world leaders to put aside "ideological prejudice" in order not to slide towards "a new cold war", instead promoting a "peaceful coexistence”, so as not to give way to “division and even conflict”.
Xi's speech lasted 20 minutes and was held virtually yesterday. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Yoshihide Suga, President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are also due to speak at the Davos meeting, which lasts until January 29, as well as a thousand business leaders from 70 countries and regions. On the US side there will be John Kerry, Joe Biden's special envoy for the climate and Anthony Fauci, the famous infectious disease specialist.
Xi's speech, pacifying and captivating, seemed to be directed twoards the United States, which pushed relations with China to hardened positions under the Trump presidency with a trade war, allegations of religious repression and forced labour, denunciations of violation of trade rules even though they are accepted by China itself.
Xi said the world should hold steady " consultation and cooperation instead of conflict and confrontation ". He added "differences in history, culture and social system should not be an excuse for antagonism or confrontation, but rather an incentive for cooperation ".
“Difference in itself is no cause for alarm,” he continued. “What does ring the alarm is arrogance, prejudice and hatred; it is the attempt to impose hierarchy on human civilization or to force one's own history, culture and social system upon others.”
Without citing the charges laid against China made this year about the repression against the Uyghurs, or about the democratic movement in Hong Kong, or about the ideological cleansing of religions in Chinese schools, Xi explained in an irenic style that " “Each country is unique with its own history, culture and social system, and none is superior to the other. The best criteria [in deciding the merits of a political system] is whether a country’s history, culture and social system fits its particular situation, enjoys people’s support, serves to deliver political stability, social progress and better lives, and contributes to human progress.”
Similarly, without any explanation or gasp about how the Covid-19 pandemic has spread, Xi spoke of the economic hardships the world finds itself in, in the "worst recession since the end of World War II." He also promised that as far as his power lies, he "will give his help" to developing countries in the fight against Covid and poverty.
Finally, Xi urged - starting with the G20 - to ensure that the planet comes out of the crisis "as soon as possible". For Xi, the G20 should be the place to govern the world economically and globally, keeping the industrial and supply chain stable and open. He wished that "the flame of multilateralism illuminates the path of humanity".