Fu Ying: China as 'Equal Partner' to the West

Fu Ying, PRC Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, offers a Chinese goverment rebuttal to Western denunciations of China's human rights abuses in Hong Kong on July 11, 2011. (6 min., 2 sec.)

HONG KONG, July 11, 2011 – One of the world's biggest problems today is "the inflationary pressure in newly rising countries in the developed world," said Fu Ying, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China. Speaking at Asia Society Hong Kong event co-presented with the Better Hong Kong Foundation, Fu noted that the problem was spreading into the developed world, hurting overall demand and consumption.

While the worst of the financial crisis has passed, she said, "the statistics are not looking very optimistic at the moment" — the European economy has grown by 0.8% in the first quarter, and the U.S. by less than 2%.

“For China, it is important that the developed world recover from the setbacks caused in the aftermath of the financial crisis and return to the track of healthy development,” Fu said. Given the interdependence between the economies of China and the West, it would be impossible for China to stay on the road to prosperity while the West's economy remains in meltdown. And as the world's second largest economy, China must do what it can to support the West.

On Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent visit to Europe and his subsequent signing of approximately US$20 billion in agreements, Fu claimed his actions have laid the groundwork for strong Chinese-European relations and demonstraet a "political resolution to work together" as well as a "high economic interest for the partnership."

But those relations are not entirely smooth, she admitted, pointing out the divisive issue of human rights. Whenver China's human rights record is brought up, Fu said, there is a common misconception that "China must be wrong."

China will not falter from its goal to make the 21st century one of "peace, cooperation and development," Fu said, urging the West to be an equal partner with China in this ambitious task. Over the past few years, Fu said, China has undergone large-scale development and moved towards a democratic policy-making process in steps that are "very important to China." She rejected any notion of a West-to-East power shift in the world, instead insisting that there was a "movement from the Western-centered format to a wider area."

 In today's globalized and interdependent world, she said, "we cannot survive alone, we all need to work together."

Reported by Rachita Mehrotra, Asia Society Hong Kong Center