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China—a Silver Lining to the dread 2020 -Strategic and Security Review 2020/2021, Beijing

China—a Silver Lining to the dread 2020 -Strategic and Security Review 2020/2021, Beijing

(Photo by Ji Chunhong/Guangming Picture)

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the unprecedented centennial changes. Regional cooperation and free trade programs advanced while the game between major powers and regional conflicts go on. The previous world-old structure was gradually collapsing while the new one has not formed yet. At the end of 2020, the Strategic and Security Review 2020/2021 seminar was held in Beijing. Dozens of scholars attended.

“2020 is a year that goes down in history. Despite the virus raging all over the world, the elections in the US, the constitutional amendment in Russia, and the leadership transition in Japan all took place in 2020. We also have witnessed a significant economic downturn, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the rise of populism. Thus, it is very difficult to accurately interpret the world situation,” said Yuan Peng, President of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, at the opening ceremony. In 2020, China successfully contained the virus and achieved overall resumption of work and production. In addition, we have launched the 14th Five-Year Plan and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035.

Zhu Feng, Director of the Institute of International Studies of Nanjing University, believes that the overall pattern of international strategic security in 2020 had the following features. First, the virus posed a great threat to public health that we have not encountered in a century and became a booster for major power rivalries. Second, the pandemic disrupted the stable development that we had maintained after the Cold War. Third, the pandemic hindered relations between countries. He said that now China is at the crossroads where contradictions over broader distribution of global wealth, power, and interests converge. We need to figure out how to shape a more active, more charismatic international image for China.

Yan Xuetong, Dean of the Institute of International Relations, Tsinghua University, said that in 2020, two trends occurred. One is that anti-globalization has risen, and the other is that the pandemic has become the most significant factor shaping the global pattern, and it might become a constant if it keeps raging on. He believes that uncertainty would be the theme of 2021.

The pandemic impacted not only the international situation but also the Western value system. Zhang Jian, Assistant President of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said at the seminar that the West's so-called universal values did not guarantee a stable economy and society in the pandemic. It used to be forceful and convincing because of the military, economic, and technological strength of the Western world. As the overall strength of the West decreases, however, the value system is also being questioned. This is also the main reason why populism is rising in European and American societies.

Contributed by Li Zengkui, Guangming Daily reporter

Translated by Ren Meiqi

[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]