Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Cooperation between China and Central & Eastern Europe: Allies again?

Updated: 2012-04-26 19:40
By Ouyang Shi (

Jay Chou's "Prague Square" once made Central and Eastern Europe a dream place for numerous young Chinese hearts. Central and Eastern Europe appeals to Chinese as a perfect blend of peace and passion. It once offered many Chinese in their middle age now and beyond a memorable glimpse of the world out there, and the young among us their beloved Bohemian tassel lace, among many other things.

For more than two decades, the traditional friendship between China and Central and Eastern Europe has enjoyed a strong momentum of progress. The 2nd China and Central and Eastern Europe Economy and Trade Forum is taking place in Poland these days, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is meeting with 16 heads of governments from the region, the first of its kind ever. With all these new developments in the context, it is not too much to expect even bigger strides of the friendly cooperation between China and the region.

As welcome as it should be by people on both sides, there are always some people who won't let go their stubborn suspicions on China's strategic intentions and possible "hidden agenda". The paranoia is somehow made worse by the contrast of a Europe struggling between the financial crisis and sovereign debts issue and a China thriving and still going strong.

The myth of "China buying out Europe" was quite popular in Europe for some time. Some countries and institutions try very hard to undermine cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe. Some "experts and scholars" try to make believe ridiculous stories such as "China is trying to divide and rule Europe" or "China is seeking to re-start old alliances in Central and Eastern Europe". Wait a minute. Am I alone in smelling Western-centricity and jealousy here? Yes, it's that obvious.

The ancient Chinese sage Chuang Tzu once told a story like this: a phoenix is on its migration from the southern sea to the northern sea. An owl who just caught its fresh prey comes across and shouts at the phoenix: "Don't touch my prey!" To some extent, the mentality of some westerners is no different from that of the owl. What they are truly afraid of is a stronger China "touching their cheese".

For a start, Central and Eastern Europe is no one's cheese but their own. Behind the friendly cooperation between China and the region, there is no conspiracy, only good will of win-win and mutual benefit. China has no interest in an exclusive bloc or alliance. Our interest and the interest of Central and Eastern Europe are elsewhere, in building mechanisms and platforms helpful to cooperation. As partners, we are on the same wavelength.

Czech writer Milan Kundera once said, Central Europe longed to be a condensed version of Europe itself in all its cultural variety. With its legendary history and splendid culture, the region has contributed profusely to the humanity. After 20 years of transition, Central and Eastern Europe is set in the overall orientation of reintegration with Europe, a choice China respects. A long-term champion of non-alignment, China has no interest in any race for allies.

Central and Eastern Europe is an integral part of China's foreign policy concerning Europe. Better cooperation with the region will contribute to across-the-board development of our relations with Europe as well. China and Central and Eastern Europe are both in an important phase of development. Our economies complement each other well and if there is a moment for the two sides to upgrade our cooperation, it is now. Some countries in the region suffer from the sovereign debt issue. We share their pain and stand ready work side by side with them to tide over the difficulty by broadening and deepening substantive cooperation in various fields.

Now this is our advice to those who smear China with sinister intentions: "Stop trying to gauge the heart of gentleman with your own mean measure." China has good intentions and a clear conscience and what it does will stand tall against the test of the time. China's cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe is the shared aspiration of people on both sides and China's peaceful development rides an overwhelming momentum that no one could possibly hold back or divert.

The author is a Beijing-based scholar of international relations.

Hot Topics
China reported less traffic-related deaths and road accidents during the week-long National Day holiday from Oct. 1 to 7, according to the Ministry of Public Security.