Publications
China’s Image in the Western Media


With the rise of the People’s Republic of China, many Western academics, professionals and policymakers have become increasingly interested in, and concerned about, China’s intentions. China’s integration into a traditionally Western-dominated global order is liable to arouse Western suspicions, while President Xi Jinping has introduced a vision of global governance that is characterized by the harmonious co-existence of the dominant powers. This newly articulated idea was summarized by President Xi in a meeting with the former American president Barack Obama: the nature of relations between the great powers would entail, “no conflicts or confrontations, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.”1

But positive rhetoric aside, there are deep cultural differences between Western countries and China that cannot be papered over by reassuring statements, no matter how powerful or high the source. Likewise, deeply held suspicions of Chinese intentions cause Westerners to misinterpret legitimate Chinese concerns and achievements, and Western observers, afraid of and confused by China, continue to view China as a global competitor, if not a threat.

  1. Qi Hao.“China Debates the ‘New Type of Great Power Relations”, The Chinese Journal of International Politics, 2015, 349–370

Global Governance and Political Islam

In the study of Israel’s Perspective on Xi Jinping Thought and its implications for the Middle East, SIGNAL’s board member, Prof. Ori Goldberg, of IDC Herzliya College in Israel, examines Political Islam and its impact on global governance.

The withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, the so-called nuclear agreement with Iran, has directed attention to a struggle taking place within the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is, in fact, a struggle taking place within political Islam. The developments in Iran and across political Islam all over the world represent an opportunity for a profound change in world governance. Conventional wisdom on the subject is faltering. The world grows more divided and aggressive. This aggression is significantly routed in fear, and one of the most frightening forces on the global stage today is political Islam. Applying some basic concepts from Xi Jinping Thought, most prominently the dialectical drive of a principal contradiction, I would like to consider the challenges and opportunities offered by engagement with political Islam.

This term, “political Islam”, is not easy to define. I use it broadly, referring to all movements and political parties that consider Islam to be a foundation (not necessarily “the” foundation, but certainly a significant one) of their political views and practices. The Islamic Republic of Iran is the most sophisticated and complex example of political Islam. It is the only state in the Muslim world that is directly controlled by members of the clergy. While there are differences between Shi’i Iran and the Sunni Muslim world, I suggest that developments in Iran reflect a discernible difference between two global strands of political Islam.

Intercultural Communication for Effective International Relations in the ‘New Era’

Introduction
President Xi Jinping has communicated China’s transformation by explaining it has moved from tao guang yang hui (hide brightness, nourish obscurity)1 to fen fa you wei (striving for achievement) – ushering in a ‘New Era.’ These Sino-centric terms are deeply embedded in Chinese culture and represent a kind of communication that is difficult for the West to interpret and understand. In fact, culture plays a critical role in shaping and defining each nation’s communication.

While China expresses a commitment to ‘peaceful coexistence,’ its swift rise and increased assertiveness have invoked ambivalence amongst members of the international community. Its newfound great power status implies a transformation that could have widespread implications for a nation that has the economic resources to build a competitive military to back its interest in reshaping global governance. In recent years the so-called ‘Thucydides Trap’ -which holds that when a rising power challenges an existing hegemon, conflict is inevitable- has become ubiquitous in western media. In 2012, Xi Jinping proposed an alternative to this narrative; ‘a new type of great power relations.’ The framework consists of three central ideas: no conflict or confrontation, mutual respect for one another’s core interests, and a shift from ‘zero-sum’ thinking to ‘win-win’ cooperation.2 While the concept has aided in altering old mindsets; challenging realist thinking, and breaking away from the traditional cold war mentality, America has been reluctant to embrace this new geopolitical framework.

  1. 阎学通. “从韬光养晦到奋发有为.” 国际政治科学 4 (2014): 1-35. (Yan Xuetong, “From taoguang yanghui to fenfa you wei”, Journal of International Political Science)
  2. Ferguson, R. James, and Rosita Dellios. The Politics and Philosophy of Chinese Power: The Timeless and the Timely. Lexington Books, 2016.

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