Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind – the Key Theme of Our Times

By Wang Lei

Shortly after the world entered the 20th century, the catastrophic World War I broke out, bringing in more than four years of carnage which threw the future of the world and mankind into doubt. However, through the darkness, some faint light could be seen, and peace finally dawned in November of the year 1918.

A century has passed since then. At the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Davos, Switzerland on January 23rd this year, the theme was “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. Similar to the problems confronting humanity a century ago, we are now living in a world filled with uncertainties, and we are confused and anxious about the future, yet we still harbor great hopes too. We are coming to a crossroads of human society which pushes us to ask what ails our world. And what are the remedies?

In such a fractured world, China’s solution is “building a community of shared future for mankind characterized by win-win cooperation and sharing”. The speech President Xi Jinping delivered in 2017 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva has given an effective solution to upholding peace and stability and to boosting common development in this restless world.

The initiative of Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind is based on a thorough and profound analysis of the current situation of the world.

The world is approaching a crucial point of major development, transformation, and adjustment. On the eve of great change, unrest, uncertainty, and instability are manifest. Facing this crossroads, it is essential that we remain vigilant and find ways to overcome the law of the jungle, to transcend confrontation, to fight against isolation and misunderstanding, and to dissolve the mindset of prioritizing one’s own private gain.

The initiative of Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is designed to solve two major global issues – what kind of world to build, and how to build it. The initiative calls on mankind to build a better world together.

From the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to the Boao Forum for Asia, from the G20 Hangzhou summit to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, from the UN headquarters in New York to the Palais des Nations in Geneva, building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind is already a significant theoretical breakthrough and a new norm for international relations with extensive influence.

The reason for Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind is the need to reconstruct a basic understanding of the international system. This initiative transcends the theoretical presumptions and premises of traditional western theory in international relations, which deems the international community an anarchist society. It provides a sound solution to the problem of sustaining security, development, peace, and stability in the international system, and promoting the healthy development of international relations. It is an innovative approach to understanding the international system.

Firstly, building a community of shared future for mankind calls for a brand new approach to national relations. Its essence is to develop a new pattern for national exchanges, which transcends the set pattern of traditional western theory whereby countries should seek power and security by forging political or military alliance; it breaks free from the old thinking of leader-follower and difference of parties; it advocates that countries should develop state-to-state relations through partnership and cooperation, but not alliances, and that in place of confrontation we should set up a network of global partnership.

Secondly, building a community of shared future calls for a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. It aims at breaking the stereotype of binary opposition, and casting aside the shackles of countries can only pick side on absolute benefits and relative gains. It breaks through the straitjacket of the zero-sum game, winner takes all mentality and ends the imbalance between justice and benefit. It provides a brand new concept for countries gaining mutual benefit and achieving common development.

Fostering a new model of international relations is an achievable goal that lays the foundations for a community of shared future for mankind, which in turns provides the guidance and sets the goal for the new model of international relations. Without this new model, the international community will still be dominated by the major powers or a rigid system of fixed power, while without the community of shared future, it will be impossible for international relations to abandon the law of jungle and counter isolation and misunderstanding.

Following on from a series of creative diplomatic theories including the Five Principle of Coexistence, building a Community of Shared Future is another major contribution for dealing international relations offered by Chinese diplomacy to the world. It is highly adaptable and inclusive. This vital theory is suitable for all countries, regions, nations and civilizations; it reflects a supreme ideal for human society; it reflects mankind’s common aspirations to peace, security, common development and a better life. It has thus attracted great attention and widespread acceptance from the international community, and has been written into the UN’s related resolutions. This year’s WEF annual meeting, taking “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” as the theme, is also an attempt to call on the whole world to share success and setbacks, and work together to build a community of shared future.

Building a Community of Shared Future is the basis for carrying out major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. China’s diplomacy in a new era will not only strive to uphold world peace and security and promoting common development, but will also drive and lead the establishment of a community of shared future for mankind through practical and concrete actions.

On the process of building a community of shared future for mankind through the joint efforts of people all around the world, China will continue its efforts to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development and uphold international order. As a permanent member of the UN security council and an emerging power that is approaching the center of the world arena, China will stick to the Five Principles of Coexistence and continue to be a staunch force for upholding world peace and stability.

Being the largest developing country in the world, China is now gradually realizing its national rejuvenation, steadily building itself a great modern socialist country, and blazing a new trail for other developing countries to follow. It offers a new option for these and other nations who want to accelerate their development while preserving their independence.

China will adhere to the principle of opening up to establish a new model of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. China welcomes the world – and especially developing countries – aboard the fast train of its own development, and will actively promote international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative so as to build a new platform for international cooperation. This is the full range of the contributions and commitments from China to the initiative of Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind.

The initiative of Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind is gaining support and approval from more and more people, and the process of transition from ideas to actions is now accelerating. Mankind lives in one world and shares good fortune and ill. Building a community of shared future for Mankind will guide human society out of confusion and error, and urge us to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. This is also the profound meaning behind the theme of the Davos WEF annual meeting this year: “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”.



Wang Lei, director of the BRICS Cooperation Center of Beijing Normal University.
The article reflects the author’s opinion, and not necessarily the view of China Matters.