China: The new Policy of Harmony and Moral Appeal must prevail

Posted in China | 20-Dec-09 | Author: Hubertus Hoffmann

Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, Founder of the

The West is unsure of how to deal with China on the hot issues of Tibet, Taiwan, North Korea and human rights.

Should the U.S. and Europe stop talking about human rights issues, Tibet, or Taiwan because it might be inappropriate?

Not at all. But the West could take a very different approach.

China needs harmony both within and without. This is a key aim of the leadership. In summer 2009, President Hu Jintao gave a speech in which he outlined clearly four strengths that China needs to build to increase its power: economic competitiveness; political influence; image projection; and moral appeal. China wants and needs the world's admiration to become a true Great Power.

'Moral appeal' and 'harmony' are two important keywords of Chinese policy doctrine. But this remains to be implemented by hard-line, narrow minded mid-level bureaucrats, who tend to over-react and do more harm than good to those new principles of the Party.

Internal harmony also means harmony in Tibet, in other provinces with minorities like the Uighurs, and finally with Taiwan.

The West should state clearly that while these places are parts of the one China, as East Germany always remained part of the one Germany, different political systems can work side by side as shown very positively by Hong Kong.

Real harmony cannot be attained through force, but only through dialogue and smart policy from both local governments and Beijing. Only a just system that respects the needs, cultures and wishes of local minorities can create and maintain harmony.

Beijing's main enemies are local bureaucrats trapped in old ways of thinking. Harmony must be pursued vigorously as the political priority.

Beijing should produce a 'Harmony Report' for each of its provinces, including Taiwan and Tibet, and rapidly take effective first steps to reach this goal.

They should establish a new Ministry of Reconciliation in Beijing, instilling local politicians with fresh thinking and borrowing best practice from all over the world, like Northern Ireland and South Africa; for example, a release of political prisoners and more respect and oxygen for different nationalities.

In Beijing, officials are in secret talks with high ranking representatives from the Dalai Lama to test the 'wish list' of reconciliation with them on Tibet. (see Hubertus Hoffmann, Dalai Lama WSN Exclusive: Thoughts of Tibet's Spiritual Leader)

China should move forward on diplomatic relations with the Vatican too (see Hubertus Hoffmann, The Pope and Beijing), which have been under discussion for years with the logistical support of the Italian Embassy. The Pope is ready to downgrade existing diplomatic relations with Taiwan and build a modus vivendi with Beijing.

Christian elements are no threat to Beijing's political power, but could fill a moral vacuum in China which otherwise would be filled by sects like the Gaulung Fong and related ideologies.

China should not become too close to errant dictators in small countries and risk becoming patron of rogue states. They should instead promote a clean and clear image as benevolent promoter of a 'New World Order of Mutual Harmony'.