Stupid to regard one civilization as exceptional
Editor's note: Last month, Kiron Skinner, director of policy planning at the United States State Department, made racist remarks and described the US trade dispute with China as a "clash of civilizations". Zhong Sheng, a columnist for People's Daily, comments:
Skinner did not hide her deep-rooted antipathy toward China, describing the US' fractious relations with China as "a fight with a really different civilization and a different ideology." Skinner said it was the first time the US had faced a "great power competitor that is not Caucasian".
Such kind of uproar is reminiscent of the words used by the Nazis on the Jewish and Slavic nations. It is still chilling to think of the heinous crimes committed by the Nazis backed by their belief in Aryan supremacy.
Her remarks invited fierce criticism even in the US. The Washington Post said Skinner's argument lacks empirical support while Bloomberg said the "clash of civilizations" tone has no space in the US foreign policy and does not help the US win competition.
One of the biggest features of Chinese civilization is "amity". Through the ancient Silk Road, there were cultural exchanges between the ancient Greek, Roman and Indian civilizations. China's long-cherished adherence to friendly relations means the Chinese have open and inclusive minds. As President Xi Jinping said, "The peace-loving thought is deeply embedded in the spiritual world of the Chinese nation, and it remains China's basic philosophy when handling international relations today."
The danger of Skinner's racist rhetoric is that since a clash of civilizations is based on racial differences, the only solution is to exterminate the races not liked.
The world consists of diverse civilizations. With different histories, cultures, social systems, China and the US are naturally going to have differences and misunderstandings. The key is not to use these differences as an excuse to adopt a confrontational approach, but to adhere to mutual respect and equal consultation to find a solution acceptable to both sides.
Raising the problem between countries to the level of civilization and reducing the different civilizations to their ethnicity is not only unhelpful, but also dangerous.