A Global Community of Shared Future:
China’s Proposals and Actions
The State Council Information Office of
the People’s Republic of China
I. Humanity at a Crossroads
II. An Answer to the Call of the Times and a Blueprint for the Future
III. Deep Roots in History and Cultural Traditions
IV. Direction and Path
V. China’s Action and Contribution
In the universe there is only one Earth, the shared home of humanity. Unfortunately, this planet on which we rely for our subsistence is facing immense and unprecedented crises, both known and unknown, both foreseeable and unforeseeable. Whether human civilization can survive these has become an existential issue that must be squarely faced. More and more people have come to the realization that rather than amassing material wealth, the most pressing task is to find a guiding beacon for the sustainable development of human civilization, because we all care about our future.
Ten years ago President Xi Jinping propounded the idea of building a global community of shared future, answering a question raised by the world, by history, and by the times: “Where is humanity headed?” His proposal lights the path forward as the world fumbles for solutions, and represents China’s contribution to global efforts to protect our shared home and create a better future of prosperity for all.
To build a global community of shared future, all peoples, all countries, and all individuals – our destinies being interconnected – must stand together in adversity and through thick and thin, navigating towards greater harmony on this planet that we call home. We should endeavor to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity, turning people’s longing for a better life into reality.
The vision of a global community of shared future bears in mind the wellbeing of all humanity. It is based on both observation of the present and visionary planning for the future. It lays out goals, charts the path, and offers action plans to achieve them. It concerns the future of humanity and the destiny of every human being.
President Xi Jinping first raised the vision of a global community of shared future when addressing the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 2013. Over the past decade it has been steadily enriched. He fleshed it out with a five-point proposal [The five points are: We should build partnerships in which countries treat each other as equals, engage in extensive consultation, and enhance mutual understanding. We should create a security environment featuring fairness, justice, joint efforts, and shared interests. We should promote open, innovative and inclusive development that benefits all. We should increase inter-civilization exchanges to promote harmony, inclusiveness, and respect for differences. We should build an ecosystem that puts Mother Nature and green development first.] in his speech at the General Debate of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2015. He further proposed five goals for the world [The five goals are: We should build a world of lasting peace through dialogue and consultation. We should build a world of common security for all through joint efforts. We should build a world of common prosperity through win-win cooperation. We should build an open and inclusive world through exchanges and mutual learning. We should make our world clean and beautiful by pursuing green and low-carbon development.] in his speech at the United Nations Office in Geneva in 2017. This represents the steady increase in the depth and scope of the vision.
The past decade has seen steady progress in implementing the vision. From bilateral to multilateral and from regional to global dimensions, ground-breaking results have been achieved on every front. The Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative have taken root and borne fruits, bringing prosperity and stability to the world and creating substantive benefits for the people.
Over the past decade, the vision of a global community of shared future has gained broader support. More countries and people have come to the understanding that this vision serves the common interests of humanity, represents popular calls for peace, justice and progress, and can create the greatest synergy among all nations for building a better world. It is now widely recognized in the international community that the vision has nothing to do with self-interest and protectionism. Instead, by presenting China’s vision of the course of human development, it confronts the hegemonic thinking of certain countries that seek supremacy. It is therefore of great significance to promote solidarity and cooperation among all countries and create a better future for humanity.
The Chinese government is publishing this white paper to introduce the theoretical base, practice and development of a global community of shared future. We hope it will improve understanding and expand consensus in the international community, and reinforce the global effort to realize this vision.
I. Humanity at a Crossroads
This is an era of promise, and an era of challenges. At yet another crossroads in history, we have to choose between unity and division, between opening up and closing off, between cooperation and confrontation. With the overall interests of humanity at stake, this choice tests the wisdom of all countries.
1. Interdependence is the prevailing trend throughout history
In its history, humanity has progressed from primitive society to the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and now the Information Revolution. While this process has seen a steep increase in productivity, one fundamental reality has remained unchanged: The Earth is our one and only home. All countries bear responsibility for the safety of this planet and the future of humanity. If the pursuit of power and profit escalates to vicious competition or even armed conflict, self-destruction will be the certain outcome.
Throughout history, peace and development have been the primary aspirations of humanity. Having experienced the ravages of wars and conflicts, especially the two world wars, people around the globe have built a keener awareness of cherishing peace, expanding cooperation, and seeking common development. The idea that “we are all one human family” is gaining traction, and the desire for a global community grows stronger than ever.
Globalization has improved the allocation of production factors worldwide, including capital, information, technology, labor and management. As if connecting scattered lakes and creeks into an uninterrupted expanse of water, it draws nations out of isolation and away from the obsolete model of self-reliance, merging their individual markets into a global one and combining their respective experiences into world history.
As information technology advances with every passing day, most prominently in the fields of Internet, big data, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence, human exchanges have become deeper, broader, and more extensive than ever before, and countries are more interconnected and interdependent than at any point in the past. Globalization is not an option; it is the reality and the way of life. The global village is getting smaller – the longest distance between two places on earth has been reduced to a flight of no greater than 24 hours, and our planet is becoming flat – one tap on a mobile phone connects us to the other side of the world in a split second. This is an integrated world. Those who turn their back on it will have no place in it.
Living on the same planet, all countries, adjacent or distant, large or small, developed or developing, are members of an emerging community of shared interests, responsibility, and destiny, whose wellbeing and security are interrelated. Only when appropriate attention is paid to the collective future of humanity is it possible that the wishes of every country, people and individual come true. Whatever we may encounter on our journey ahead, the only right choice is to work together for the benefit of all.
2. Global challenges call for global response
Our world is undergoing change on a scale unseen in a century. Various problems old and new and complex issues are converging with and compounding each other, posing unprecedented challenges for human society. Instability, uncertainty, and unpredictability are now the norm.
The peace deficit is growing. Though human society has largely maintained peace since the end of World War II, threats to world peace continue to amass. War has returned to the Eurasian continent, tensions are rising, and a series of flashpoints are emerging. The shadow of the arms race lingers on, and the threat of nuclear war – the Sword of Damocles that hangs over humanity – remains. Our world is at risk of plunging into confrontation and even war.
The development deficit is ballooning. The global economic recovery is sluggish, and unilateralism and protectionism are rampant. Some countries are turning to a “small yard, high fence” approach to wall themselves off; they are pushing for decoupling, severing and “derisking” supply chains. All this has caused setbacks to globalization. At the same time the Covid-19 pandemic has reversed global development, exacerbating the North-South gap, development fault lines, and the technology divide. The Human Development Index has declined for the first time in 30 years. The world’s poor population has increased by more than 100 million, and nearly 800 million people live in hunger.
The security deficit is glaring. Due to more intense global strategic competition and a lack of mutual trust between major countries, the Cold War mindset has re-emerged, and calls for ideological confrontation have resurfaced. Some countries’ hegemonic, abusive, and aggressive actions against others, in the form of swindling, plundering, oppression, and the zero-sum game, are causing great harm. Non-traditional security challenges are on the rise, including terrorism, cyber-attacks, transnational crime, and biological threats.
The governance deficit is more severe. The world is facing multiple governance crises. The energy crisis, food crisis, and debt crisis are intensifying. Global climate governance is urgently needed, and the transition to green, low-carbon development requires dedicated efforts over an extended period of time. The digital divide continues to expand, and sound governance of artificial intelligence is lacking. The Covid-19 pandemic is a mirror through which we have observed that the global governance system is falling further behind the times and keeps breaking down on issues requiring resolution. It has to be reformed and improved.
In the face of global crises, the 190-plus countries in the world are all in the same big boat. Only big boats can withstand battering winds and crashing waves. No country, however strong it may be, can do everything on its own. We must engage in global cooperation. Only when all countries work together, only when we align individual interests with the interests of all, and only when we truly build a global community of shared future, can humanity tide through the crises confronting us and sail towards a better future.
3. The new era calls for new ideas
This is an era when the world is undergoing rapid changes almost every day. We can no longer interpret the reality we are living in or find satisfactory solutions to the conundrums we are facing by means of traditional approaches to international relations. It is increasingly obvious that the idea that “all strong countries will seek hegemony”, the obsession with superior strength, and the zero-sum mentality are in conflict with the needs of our times. Humanity is in great need of new ideas that generate positive developments and conform to positive historical trends.
There is no iron law that dictates that a rising power will inevitably seek hegemony. This assumption represents typical hegemonic thinking and is grounded in memories of catastrophic wars between hegemonic powers in the past. China has never accepted that once a country becomes strong enough, it will invariably seek hegemony. China understands the lesson of history – that hegemony preludes decline. We pursue development and revitalization through our own efforts, rather than invasion or expansion. And everything we do is for the purpose of providing a better life for our people, all the while creating more development opportunities for the entire world, not in order to supersede or subjugate others.
The strong preying on the weak is not a way for humans to coexist. If the law of the jungle is imposed on human society, and the idea that “might makes right” prevails, the principle of sovereign equality will be fundamentally undermined, and world peace and stability will be severely endangered. In the age of globalization, all countries are interdependent and interconnected. Therefore the law of the jungle and the winner-takes-all mindset will lead nowhere – inclusive development for the benefit of all is the right path forward. China has consistently championed equity and justice, and remains committed to friendly cooperation with other countries, on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, in order to advance democracy in international relations.
The zero-sum game in which one wins by causing others to lose is doomed to fail. Nevertheless, certain countries still cling to this mindset, blindly pursuing absolute security and monopolistic advantages. This will do nothing for their development over the long run; it will simply create a major threat to world peace and prosperity. No country should hope for others to fail. Instead, it should work together with other countries for the success of all. China consistently aligns its development with global development, and aligns the interests of the Chinese people with the common interests of all peoples around the world. When the world thrives, China thrives, and vice versa.