On Building a Human Community with a Shared Future
CCTP – Central Compilation & Translation Press, Beijing, 2019
[The Institute of Party History and Literature of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China]
Since ancient times, the Chinese nation has upheld the belief that “ail under Heaven are of one family” and has advocated the ideas of peace among all nations and harmony under Heaven. The Communist Party of China (CPC) regards making new and greater contributions to humanity as its abiding mission. Since the CPC’s 18th National Congress in November 2012, Xi Jinping has called for the building of a human community with a shared future. As General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of the People’s Republic of China, and the highest military leader of China, Xi Jinping has put forward this concept from the perspective of humankind’s development throughout history. It is based on the profound changes in the international situation, on the trend of our times toward peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and on an in- depth reflection of the major questions concerning the future of humanity, namely what kind of world should we build and how should we build it.
The concept reflects the shared values of humankind — peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom; and it embodies the aspirations for peace, development, and prosperity, which represent the common interests of the people of all countries. In February 2017, the concept of building a community of shared future for mankind was written into a United Nations resolution for the first time. Later, it was also included in UN Security Council Resolution 2344 (2017) and the resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council’s 34th and 37th sessions.
This book is a collection of translations of 85 articles and speeches written by Xi Jinping since 2012. The purpose of the book is to help readers gain a clearer understanding of President Xi’s thinking on building a human community with a shared future.
[The Institute of Party History and Literature of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China]
WORKING TOGETHER TO BUILD A HUMAN COMMUNITY WITH A SHARED FUTURE
by Xi Jinping
Your Excellency Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly,
Your Excellency Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General,
Your Excellency Mr. Michael Moller, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva,
Ladies and Gendemen,
As a new year begins, everything takes on a new look. And as we start 2017, it gives me great pleasure to be able to visit the United Nations Office in Geneva to discuss with you an issue for our time — the building of a human community with a shared future.
I just attended the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. In Davos, many speakers pointed out that today’s world is full of uncertainties and that people long for a bright future but are unsure about what lies in store. What is happening to the world? And how should we respond? These are questions that everyone is reflecting on and that are also very much on my mind.
I believe that to answer this question, we need to first clarify some basic questions: Where did we come from? Where are we now? And where are we going?
Over the past century or more, mankind has endured both bloody hot wars and a chilling Cold War; but it has also achieved remarkable development and tremendous progress. In the first half of the last century, humanity suffered the scourge of two world wars. What the people of that era yearned for most was the end of war and the advent of peace. In the 1950s and 1960s, people across the colonies were awakened, and with a powerful voice, proclaimed that they would shake off their shackles and struggle for independence. Since the end of the Cold War, the most ardent aspiration of people everywhere has been to foster greater cooperation and pursue common development.
Peace and development: throughout the past century this has been the prevailing aspiration of humanity. However, this is a mission far from fulfilled. It is now up to us to respond to the people’s call, take up the baton of history, and continue on the marathon toward peace and development.
Mankind is currently in an era of great development, profound transformation, and dramatic change. The trend toward multipolarity and economic globalization is deepening. IT application in social development and cultural diversity continues to progress. A new round of scientific and industrial revolution is in the making. Interconnection and interdependence between countries have become crucial for human survival. And the forces for peace far outweigh the factors causing war. In a word, the trend of our times toward peace, development, cooperation, and mutually beneficial outcomes grows only stronger.
At the same time, however, mankind is also in an era of myriad challenges and proliferating risks. Global economic growth is sluggish, the impact of the financial crisis lingers, and the development gap continues to widen. Armed conflicts are a frequent occurrence, the mentality of the Cold War and power politics persist, and non- conventional security’ threats, particularly terrorism, refugee crises, major communicable diseases, and climate change, are spreading.
Our universe has only one earth and we humans have only one homeland. Stephen Hawking has raised the proposition of a “parallel universe,” in the hope of finding another place where mankind may setde. When, or if, this wish can be realized is anyone’s guess. Whatever the case, at present, earth remains the only home mankind has, thus caring for and cherishing this earth is the only option we have. In the dome of the Federal Palace of Switzerland is inscribed the Latin motto, “Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno” (One for all, and all for one). We must not only think about our own generation, but also fulfill our responsibility to the generations of the future.
Ladies and Gendemen,
To let the torch of peace pass from generation to generation; to let the forces of development flow eternally; and to let the light of civilization shine through the ages — this is what the peoples of all nations long for; thus this is the responsibility all statesmen of our generation must shoulder. To see this fulfilled, China’s solution is this: to build a human community with a shared future and to realize mutually beneficial development.
Vision guides action and direction determines the future. As modern history shows, to establish a just and equitable international order is the goal mankind has always striven for. From the principles of equality’ and sovereignty established in the Peace of Westphalia over 360 years ago to international humanitarianism affirmed in the Geneva Convention 150-plus years ago; from the four purposes and seven principles enshrined in the UN Charter more than 70 years ago to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence championed by the Bandung Conference over 60 years ago, many principles have emerged in the evolution of international relations and become widely accepted. These principles should guide us in building a human community with a shared future.
Sovereign equality has been the most important norm governing state-to-state relations over the past several centuries and the cardinal principle observed by the United Nations and all other international organizations. The essence of sovereign equality is that the sovereignty and dignity of all countries, whether big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, must be respected, their internal affairs are not subject to interference, and they have the right to independently choose their social system and development path. In organizations such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, World Meteorological Organization, International Telecommunication Union, Universal Postal Union, International Organization for Migration, and International Labor Organization, all countries have been afforded an equal voice in decision-making, thus they constitute an important force for the improvement of global governance. Under new circumstances, we should uphold sovereign equality and work for equality in rights, opportunities, and rules for all countries.
Geneva witnessed the adoption of the Final Declaration on the Problem of Restoring Peace in Indo-China, the first summit meeting for reconciliation between the two blocs during the Cold War, and dialogue and negotiations on hotspot issues like the Iranian nuclear issue and the Syrian issue. What we can learn from both past and present is that dialogue and consultation are an effective way to bridge differences and political negotiation is the fundamental solution to end conflict. When we have sincere desire, goodwill, and political wisdom, no ice is too thick to break, no conflict too big to settle.
An ancient Chinese philosopher said, “Law is the very foundation of governance.” Here in Geneva, countries, on the basis of the UN Charter, have concluded many international conventions and legal documents on political security, trade, development, social issues, human rights, science and technology, health, labor, intellectual property, culture, and sports. The essence of the law lies in enforcement. It is thus incumbent on all countries to uphold the authority of the international rule of law, to exercise their rights in accordance with law, and to fulfill their obligations in good faith. The essence of law also lies in fairness and justice. All countries and international judicial institutions should ensure equal and uniform application of international law. They cannot apply double standards or apply international laws in a selective way; they should ensure that they are “without bias or favor, just as was espoused in the great way of governance of old.”
“The ocean is vast because it admits all rivers.” Openness and inclusiveness have made Geneva a center of multilateral diplomacy. We should advance democracy in international relations and reject dominance by just one or several countries. All countries should involved in shaping the future of the world, writing international rules, and managing global affairs, and should share in the outcomes development.
In 1862, in his book A Memory of Solferino, Henry Dunant pondered the question of whether it was possible to set up humanitarian organizations and formulate humanitarian conventions. The answer came one year later with the founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Over more than 150 years, the Red Cross has become a symbol and a banner. In the face of frequent humanitarian crises, we should champion the spirit of humanitarianism, compassion, and dedication and give love and hope to ordinary innocent people caught in dire situations. We should uphold the basic principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence, refrain from politicizing humanitarian issues, and remain committed to the non-militarization of humanitarian assistance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Great visions are simple and pure; all they require is action. Action is thus the key to building a human community with a shared future. It is my belief that the international community should work on promoting partnership, security, growth, intercultural exchanges, and ecological conservation.
We should build a world of enduring peace through dialogue and consultation. When countries enjoy peace, so too will the world; when countries clash, the world suffers. From the Peloponnesian War in the fifth century BC to the two world wars and the Cold W’ar that lasted more than four decades, we have drawn painful and profound lessons. “History, if not forgotten, can serve as a guide for the future.” By establishing the United Nations, those before us won more than 70 years of relative peace for the world. W’hat we must do is to improve our mechanisms and methods to more effectively resolve disputes, reduce tensions, and put an end to conflict and war.
The Swiss writer and Nobel laureate Hermann Hesse stressed the importance of serving “not war and destruction, but peace and reconciliation.” Countries should foster partnerships based on dialogue, non-confrontation, and non-alliance. Major countries should respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, keep their differences under control, and build a new model of relations based on non-conflict, nonconfrontation, mutual respect, and mutually beneficial cooperation. As long as we maintain communication and treat each other with sincerity, the “Thucydides trap” can be avoided. Big countries should treat smaller ones as equals and avoid acting as hegemons imposing their will on others. No country should open Pandora’s box by willfully waging war or undermining the international rule of law. Nuclear weapons are the Sword of Damocles that hangs over mankind. They should be completely prohibited and, ultimately, completely destroyed to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. Guided by the principles of peace, sovereignty, inclusiveness, and shared governance, we should make the deep sea, the polar regions, outer space, and the Internet new frontiers for cooperation rather than arenas of competition.
We should all build and share together a world of common security. There exists in this world no haven of complete freedom from danger. A country cannot build its security on the turmoil of others, as the threats that beset other countries have every possibility’ of one day coming to haunt itself also. When neighbors are in trouble, instead of tightening our own fences, we should extend a helping hand. As the saving goes, “United we stand, divided we fall.” All countries should pursue a common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable approach to security.
Terrorist attacks that have shaken Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East in recent years have shown time and again that terrorism is the common enemy of mankind. Fighting terrorism is the shared responsibility of all countries. In fighting terror, we should not be content to just treat the symptoms, but must get to its root causes. We should enhance coordination and build a global united front against terrorism so as to create an umbrella of security for people around the world. The number of refugees has hit a record high since the end of the Second World War. Addressing this crisis is imperative, but we should also take time to ponder its roots. Why would anyone choose be displaced if they have a home to return to? The UNHCR and International Organization for Migration should act as the coordinators of an effort to mobilize the whole world in an effective response the refugee crisis. China has decided to provide an additional RMB 200 million of humanitarian assistance for refugees and displaced people in Syria. Terrorism and refugee crises alike are both closely tied to geopolitical conflict, thus the fundamental solution to these probblems lies in the resolution of conflicts. Parties directly involved in conflict should return to the negotiating table, other parties should work to facilitate talks for peace, and we should all respect the role of the UN as the main channel for mediation. The alarm has been sounded for international health security by pandemic diseases such as bird flu, Ebola virus, and Zika virus. It is important that the WHO plays a leading role in strengthening epidemic monitoring and the sharing of information, practices, and technologies. The international community should step up support and assistance for public health in African countries and other developing countries.
We should build a world of common prosperity through mutually beneficial cooperation. The idea that development is the top priority is applicable to all countries. Instead of beggaring thy neighbor, countries should stick together like travellers in the same boat. All countries, the main economies in particular, should strengthen macro policy coordination, pursue both current and long-term interests, and focus on resolving deep-seated problems. We should seize the historic opportunity presented by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, transform our growth models, drive growth through innovation, and unlock greater social productivity and social creativity. We should uphold WTO rules, support an open, transparent, inclusive, and nondiscriminatory multilateral trading regime, and build an open world economy. Trade protectionism and self-isolation will benefit no one.
Economic globalization is an inevitable historical trend that has greatly facilitated trade, investment, the flow of people, and technological advancement. Since the turn of the century, and under the guidance of the UN, the international community has capitalized on the wave of economic globalization to set the Millennium Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These initiatives have helped lift 1.1 billion people out of poverty, provide access to safe drinking water for 1.9 billion people, ensure access to the Internet for 3.5 billion people, and we now are on course to eradicate extreme poverty’ by 2030. All this demonstrates that economic globalization is moving in the right direction. Of course, challenges such as the development disparity, governance dilemma, digital divide, and equity deficit are also objective realities. But they are growing pains. We should squarely face these problems and come up with solutions, instead of succumbing to inaction. As we Chinese like to say, one should not stop eating for fear of choking.
We should draw on the lessons of history. Historians told us long ago that rapid economic development makes social reform inevitable; but people tend to support the former while resisting the latter. Instead of watching on with hesitation, we should have the mettle to forge ahead. Answers can also be found in reality. The 2008 international financial crisis has taught us that we need to strengthen coordination and improve governance so as to ensure economic globalization unfolds in a way that is open, inclusive, balanced, and beneficial to all. We need to make the cake bigger, but, more than that, we need to see it is shared fairly and that justice and equity are ensured.
Last September, the G20 Summit in Hangzhou focused on global economic governance and other major issues. It adopted the Blueprint on Innovative Growth, placed development within the global macro policy framework for the first time, and formulated action plans for a number of important areas.
We should strive to build an open and inclusive world through exchanges and mutual learning. Delicious soup is made by combining different ingredients . The diversity of human civilization not only defines our world, but drives the progress of mankind. Our world has over 200 countries and regions, over 2,500 ethnic groups, and many different religions. Different histories, national conditions, ethnic groups, and customs have given birth to different civilizations, and for that, our world is a richer and far more colorful place. There is no such thing as superior or inferior when it comes to civilizations, only differences in traits and location. Civilizational diversity should not be a source of global conflict, but an engine powering the advance of human civilizafi- as a whole.
Every civilization, with its own appeal and essence, is a human treasure. Diverse civilizations should draw on each other’s strengths to achieve common progress. We should see that exchange among civilizations serves as a source of inspiration for advancing human society and a bond that keeps the world in peace.
We should strive to build a clean and beautiful world by pursuing green and low-carbon development. Man coexists with nature, which means that any harm it does to nature will eventually come back to haunt it. We hardly nonce natural resources such as air, water, soil, and blue skies when we have them. But once they are gone, they are gone forever. Industrialization has created material wealth hitherto unseen, but it has also inflicted irreparable damage on the environment. We must not exhaust all the resources left to us by previous generations and leave nothing to our children — we cannot pursue development that destructs and destroys. As is often said, clear waters and lush mountains are as precious as mountains of silver and gold. We must respect the unity of human and nature by pursuing a path of sustainable development.
We should advocate a green, low-carbon, circular, and sustainable approach to life and production, advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a balanced manner, and continue to explore a model of sound development that ensures growth, prosperity, and a good environment. The Paris Agreement is a milestone in the history of climate governance. We must ensure this endeavor is not derailed. All parties should work together to implement the Paris Agreement. For its part, China will continue to take steps to tackle climate change and fully honor its obligations.
The Swiss Army Knife is the embodiment of Swiss craftsmanship. I remember when I got my first Swiss Army Knife, I marveled at how its makers had been able to endow it with so many functions. I could not help but thinking how wonderful it would be if we could make an omnipotent Swiss Army Knife for our world. Whenever there was a problem, we would be able to use one of the tools on the knife to fix it. It is my belief that, with the unremitting efforts of the international community, we may one day create just such a knife.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Chinese people have always believed that China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa. Looking to the future, many people are interested to see what direction China will move in its policies, and there has been much discussion among the international community’ about this. Here, I wish to give you an explicit answer.
First, China remains unchanged in its commitment to uphold world peace. Amity with neighbors, harmony in diversity, and peace are the cherished values of Chinese culture. The Art of War, a Chinese classic, begins with this observation, “The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road to either survival or ruin. Hence it demands careful study.” What this means is that every effort should be made to avoid war and great caution must be exercised when it comes to fighting war. For several millennia, peace has coursed the veins of the Chinese people and been imprinted in our very DNA.
Several centuries ago, China was strong, such that its GDP accounted for 30 percent of the world total. Even then, China never engaged in aggression or expansion. In the century and more after the 1840 Opium War, China suffered at the hands of aggression and brutality and endured the curse of war and chaos. Confucius said, “Do not to others what you would not have others do to you.” We Chinese firmly believe that peace and stability- is the only way to prosperity and development.
China has grown from a poor and weak country to the world’s second largest economy. What it relied on was not military expansion or colonial plunder, but the hard work of its people and our efforts to uphold peace. China will never waver in its pursuit of peaceful development. No matter how strong its economy grows, China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or a sphere of influence. History has borne this out and will continue to do so.
Second, China remains unchanged in its commitment to pursue common development. An old Chinese saying tells us that when enjoying the fruit, you should remember the tree; when drinking the water, you should remember its source. China’s development has been possible, because of the world, and China has also contributed to the world’s development. We will continue to pursue a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, in order to share our development opportunities with other countries and welcome them aboard the express train of China’s development.
Between 1950 and 2016, China provided foreign countries with over RMB 400 billion of aid, and we will continue to increase assistance to others as our ability permits. Since the outbreak of the internati financial crisis, China has contributed over 30 percent of global growth each year on average. In the coming five years, China will import US$8 trillion of goods, attract US$600 billion of foreign investment, make US$750 billion of outbound investment, and Chinese tourists will make 700 million outbound visits. All this will bring more development opportunities to the countries of the world.
China pursues a path of development in keeping with its national conditions. We always put the rights and interests of the people above everything else and have worked hard to advance and uphold human rights. China has seen the basic living needs of its 1.3 billion-plus people met and helped lift over 700 million people out of poverty. These stand as significant contributions to the global cause of human rights.
The Belt and Road Initiative I have put forward aims to achieve development with mutually beneficial outcomes to be shared by all. Over 100 countries and international organizations have so far supported the Initiative, and a large number of “early harvest” projects have been launched. In order to provide more public goods to the international community, China is providing support to ensure the successful operation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other new multilateral financial institutions.
Third, China remains unchanged in its commitment to foster partnerships. China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, and is ready to enhance friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China is the first country to make partnership-building a principle guiding state-to- state relations. It has formed partnerships of various forms with over 90 countries and regional organizations. It seeks to foster a circle of friends that links every corner of the globe.
China will endeavor to put in place a framework for major-country relations based on general stability and balanced development. We will strive to build a new model of major-country relations with the United States, a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia, a partnership with the EU based on peace, growth, reform, and civilization, and a partnership of unity and cooperation with BRICS countries. China will continue to uphold the right approach to justice and the pursuit of interests, and it will boost practical cooperation with other developing countries to achieve common development. We will further enhance mutually beneficial cooperation with our neighbors under the principles of amity, sincerity’, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness. We will pursue common development with African countries on the basis of sincerity, real results, affinity’, and good faith. Further, we will elevate our comprehensive cooperative partnership with Latin America to higher levels.
Fourth, China remains unchanged in its commitment to multilateralism. Multilateralism is an effective way to preserve peace and promote development. For decades, the United Nations and other international institutions have made a universally recognized contribution to maintaining global peace and sustaining development.
China is a founding member of the United Nations and the first state to sign the UN Charter. We will firmly uphold the international system of which the UN is the core, the basic norms governing international relations of which the purposes and principles of the UN Charter are the cornerstone, and the authority and position of the UN and its core role in international affairs.
The China-UN Peace and Development Fund has been officially inaugurated. Through this, China will give priority to making funds available to peace and development initiatives proposed by the UN and its agencies in Geneva. China’s support for multilateralism will only increase as it continues to develop.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Geneva invokes a special memory for us. In 1954, Premier Zhou Enlai led a Chinese delegation to the Geneva Conference, and worked with the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to find a political solution to the Korean issue and negotiate a ceasefire in Indo-China. This demonstrated China’s desire for peace and saw it contributing its wisdom to world peace. Since 1971 when China regained its lawful seat at the UN and began to return to international agencies in Geneva, China has gradually involved itself in disarmament, trade, development, human rights, and social issues, putting forward Chinese proposals for the resolution of major issues and the making of important rules. In recent years, China has taken an active part in dialogues and negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue, the Syrian issue, and other hotspot issues, providing its input in order to achieve political settlements. China has successfully applied to the International Olympic Committee to host both the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Furthermore, we have gained endorsement from the International Union for Conservation of Nature for over a dozen applications for world natural heritage sites as well as world cultural and natural heritage sites, thus allowing China to present its splendor to the world.
Ladies and Gendemen,
The ancient Chinese believed that “one should be good at finding the laws of things and solving problems.”9 Building a community with a shared future is an exciting goal, one that will require the unceasing efforts of generation after generation. China is ready to work with all other UN member states as well as international organizations and agencies to advance the great cause of building a human community with a shared future.
On 28 January, we Chinese will celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster. The rooster symbolizes bright prospects and auspiciousness. As a Chinese saying goes, the crow of the golden rooster heralds a great day for all. With this, I wish all of you the very best and a very happy Chinese New Year!