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The outline Xi presented at the College of Europe is familiar to most Chinese and to students of modern China worldwide.

  • China is the world’s oldest continual civilization.
  • China has suffered greatly.
  • China practices socialism with Chinese characteristics.
  • China is the world’s largest developing country.
  • China is undergoing profound reform.
  • 中国是有着悠久文明的国家;
  • 中国是经历了深重苦难的国家;
  • 中国是实行中国特色社会主义的国家;
  • 中国是世界上最大的发展中国家;
  • 中国是正在发生深刻变革的国家。

Implicit in this standard text is the claim that only the Chinese leadership can understand or accurately interpret the implications of China’s historic and social conditions. This certainty was displayed during Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s rejection of a Canadian journalist’s question about human rights in an Ottawa Press Conference on June 2, 2016.

“I want to make a response to the questions that the journalist has just raised concerning China. Your question was full of prejudice against China and an arrogance that comes from I don’t know where. This is totally unacceptable to me. Do you understand China? Have you been to China? Do you know that China has come from a poor and backward state and lifted more than 600 million people from poverty? Do you know that China is now the world’s second biggest economy with $8,000 per capita? If we weren’t able to properly protect human rights, would China have achieved such great development? Do you know that China has incorporated protecting human rights into its Constitution? I want to tell you that it’s the Chinese people who most understand China’s human rights record — not you, but the Chinese people themselves. You have no right to speak on this. The Chinese people have the right to speak. So please don’t raise such irresponsible questions again. China welcomes all well-meaning suggestions, but we reject all groundless accusations.” (Translated by the New York Times)


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