Seasoned politician Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed on Wednesday said China has become the centre of the world as the economic and political balance shifts from the West to the East while noting that Beijing’s vision of harmony and win-win cooperation was winning the day against the narrative that sought to sow seeds of conflict.
Quoting from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent statement, he observed that the world was undergoing ‘once-in-a-century’ changes as the three-hundred western hegemony was coming to an end.
He made the remarks at the second “International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values” held in Beijing ahead of the US' "Summit for Democracy”. The forum was attended by 300 guests from more than 100 countries and regions who engaged in extensive discussions on diverse forms of democracy, slamming hegemonic narratives on the subject.
“Today, we have seen two contrasting views on globalization on how to get humanity forward. One, represented by China, talks about cooperation and connectivity among different civilizations, and the other comes from the West, especially the US, and stresses conflicts, clash of civilizations and confrontation,” he said at the forum.
He believed that the Biden administration’s next week's Summit for Democracy was a “so-called democracy summit” as it was all about “weaponizing human rights against the emerging World War against China and Russia”.
Some countries are looking at the world with a zero-sum game mindset or cold-war mentality, an idea that will be rejected by countries from the Global South and most of the Global North, he added.
The senator went on to recall that in 2021, Pakistan had refused to participate in a two-day virtual US democracy summit as the administration in Washington tried to bring together a select group of countries to join the online gathering.
Three-D approach against China
The PML-N senator opined that the US deployed a “three-D” approach against China, namely: Demonising the country, spreading disinformation against it and thirdly, breeding grounds for its destabilisation.
He pointed out that the rampant onslaught of fake news consistently perpetuated by the western narrative was drowning out the facts about China, particularly the so-called “debt trap” diplomacy.
Citing a Harvard survey that showed that over 90% of Chinese people were satisfied with their government, he regretted that none of this would be reported by the mainstream media. “In the battle of narratives, we promote the truth. And reject the diktats of those who view the world from a zero-sum lens,” he asserted.
Praising the Chinese ‘whole-process democracy’, Syed stressed that it was essential for any democracy to deliver to the people who are the real owners of the system. He said that China was able to lift 800 million people out of poverty within the span of 40 years, adding that this was the benefit of the democratic process.
“During the ceremony marking the founding of the People's Republic on Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong people had said that the Chinese people have stood up and that they are the masters of their destiny… This encapsulates the essence of democracy. It cannot be dictated by a handful of people,” he added.
"We have seen how China has progressed. We see major examples that we can learn from China in democratic development and building a peaceful and prosperous future. First, this has to be the essence of democracy that people decide their own future. Second, democracy must deliver to the people," the senator further said.
Later, speaking to The Express Tribune on the sidelines of the forum, the senator said that the balance of economic and political power was shifting from the West to the East, noting that “the dawn of the Asian century” was a matter of pride for Pakistan.