In the 21st century China is striving to carve itself a niche proportionate to its size, economy and population – but is not seeking world domination, believes Doris Naisbitt, author and Director of the Naisbitt China Institute in Tianjin.
The way China is viewed from abroad does not usually correspond with this reality, she says.
“The Chinese of today still have a kind of innocence and openness. Once they trust you, they embrace you and they really become friends with you,” she revealed, noting that even in politics the Chinese are quite open, providing that their opponents’ attitude towards them “comes out of a positive spirit and does not simply seek negative spots.”
In China it is the community that comes first, and only then the individual, because the second is a part of the first – be it a family, a city or the country itself.
Still, the new generation of Chinese people who were born in the 1990s and did not witness the hardships of their parents, “really demand to do whatever they want to do.”
“The new generation has grown up with communication systems, with information about anything they can achieve in their lives – and they are going to fight for achieving that – they have goals, they want to be the best,” explained Naisbitt.
In modern China, the communist ideology has been replaced by the search for the meaning of life. People have got interested in the meaning of life and what can be done with one’s life, how to serve their country – which contradicts the common Western question, “how can my country serve me?”
“We feel that there is an increasing search for meaning and for spiritual fulfillment in China,” shared Doris Naisbitt.
Naisbitt believes that the Chinese are seeking acknowledgement and their proper place in the world of the 21st century.
“They do not have enough self-confidence, including that of China as a country,” because, the author added, despite the fact that they have achieved a lot, “they do not really dare to look at themselves and say ‘Well, what we did was right’.”
“The West is too much focusing on failures and flaws [of China], while I think we should have a balanced opinion about China, there are a lot of good things there,” the author stressed.
In Doris Naisbitt’s opinion, China wants to restore the position that the old Chinese Empire once held, but “they are not fighting to dominate the world” – they simply want to play the role they deserve due to their size, economy and population.
“These days wars cannot be won – so why would China start a war that would be destructive for itself?” questioned Naisbitt.
The author believes that if China wants to dominate the world in any way, it must follow the American example and massively export its culture, because it is cultural dominance that gives a nation power and control in the world.
“That is one of the things that China really has to establish – its cultural identity in the 21st century. They need to create cultural brands of their own,” Doris Naisbitt concluded.