Shaping an ideology for tomorrow’s non-Western world

What’s important is that, it wasn’t China that tried to impose that ideology on others


I’ve promised in one of my recent articles to tell my readers about a conference in China that I’ve been invited to make a presentation.

The conference proved to be a part of, probably, the most important trend of today’s global developments. Namely, it’s about the shaping of an ideology for tomorrow’s distinctly non-Western world.

What’s important is that it wasn’t China that tried to impose that ideology on others.

There was a huge forum of partners of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Beijing last month.

Around 150 nations were represented, which meant almost all of the “non-West” and some Europeans too were at the forum. And it was in the course of the preparation to that top-level event when a lot of people began to prod the Chinese to “stop saying that your BRI is only about infrastructure for trade, just business and no policy or ideology”.

It’s already more than just business, especially in our very tense and hostile world that changes dramatically.

So, let us discuss the general ideology of that future world. Not a Chinese world, mind you, but the one that’ll be good for all of us — however different we are.

And so, we were at the 2019 Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations. Some of the participants then moved to another conference, discussing almost the same problems.

All in all, we are talking about several dozen of such brainstorming sessions, attended by people from around 100 nations.

We were sharing our ideas with our Chinese hosts, who would rather write things down than press their own points.

It’s impossible to describe such an event in full with multitudes of ideas presented. So, I’ll quote several passages from my own presentation.

There is one point among the standard accusations against China that deserves attention. That is the idea that China is an oppressed nation, subjected to total surveillance, a nation devoid of freedom with clever gadgets following people’s every move.

We know that the idea of total surveillance, with modern gadgetry to enforce, has not been developed by China. It’s a Western thing. It’s already a reality there and globally.

We know a lot about it thanks to people like whistleblower Edward Snowden, who escaped to China after revealing so many American secrets. Now he lives in Russia, as you may know.

But still, that accusation against China looks strong because people love their privacy and freedom.

That accusation against China hit the note with the audience because privacy, freedom and dignity is a serious topic for those who live in the modern West.

Much can’t be said about the terrible previous century because a few nations tried to make all their citizens think and act alike.

The process came to its extreme after an idea emerged that people all over the world should and may be alike in ideas and lifestyles. We call that calamity “globalisation”.

But in the past, people were resisting such massive attacks on their hearts and minds because the oppressors were lacking the means of enforcing their bans and limitations.

It was technically impossible to change the human nature because nobody in the previous ages, could reach into people’s homes and control totally what they did or say to each other in private.

But now it has become possible, or some people think it’s possible, that a public resistance to such a change may be violent and unpredictable, ruining societies and causing civil wars.

In today’s global atmosphere, any nation that really practically defends freedom, dignity and privacy of an individual may gain a lot.

Asia in general, and China in particular, has a long tradition of respecting human dignity and different lifestyles, of reaching compromises inside societies.

But what’s important is that it’s not enough just to talk about it and hold conferences. It’s the practical example that matters.

Just one such example: While the West invented sophisticated surveillance techniques, Asia — and especially China — may start inventing and producing systems that defend human privacy and defend people from excessive surveillance.

Such systems will eventually be created by someone anyway, just like any weapon pushes inventors to develop an anti-weapon, as in a sword and a shield.

It’s only a question of who will profit from sales of such anti-intrusion technologies.

There are a lot of ideas of how to make China and Asia in general a symbol of human dignity and co-existence of people of different kinds.

But presently, you just have to initiate that process to gain a lot of face and respect.

End of the long quote. So, how does that new ideology for the new world sound by now? Sorry. We are only at the start of the process and that new ideology is only beginning to shape itself.