Enhance International Communication andTell the Belt and Road Story
—Keynote Speech at the "Silk Road International Communication Forum"
Liu Xiaoming (October 25, 2023, Xi'an, Shaanxi)
This year marks the 10th anniversary of BRI put forward by President Xi Jinping. Over the past decade, this initiative, based on the principles of “planning together， building together, and benefiting together”, has made continuous progress in the direction of high-quality development. It has created a magnificent picture of connecting the world and sharing prosperity, and greatly enriched the narrative of China's international communication, receiving wide acclaim and recognition from the international community. However, it is important to acknowledge that there are still doubts, misunderstandings, and even suspicions about the BRI internationally. Telling the story of the Belt and Road well remains a challenging task, and strengthening international communication for the Belt and Road faces new situations and challenges.
In my view, to tell the story of the Belt and Road cooperation well now and in the coming years, we must focus on five key aspects:
First, tell the story of BRI’s 10-year achievements.
Over the past decade, with hard efforts and significant achievements, BRI has evolved from a vision into a reality, achieving historic successes. Its benefits have reached over 150 countries. It has found a path of cooperation, opportunity and prosperity that leads to common development. It has become the most popular international public good and the largest international cooperation platform in the world today. The fact that representatives from 151 countries and 41 international organizations are attending this summit forum, with a total registration of over 10,000 people, fully demonstrates BRI's tremendous appeal and global influence. The practice of the past decade has proven that Belt and Road cooperation is in line with the trend, popular among the people, beneficial to the people, and beneficial to the world. Belt and Road cooperation has progressed from “sketching the outline” to “filling in the details”, and blueprints have been turned into real projects. It is a belt of development that benefits the world. It is a road to prosperity that benefits all countries. It is showing even broader and brighter prospects.
Second, tell the story of win-win cooperation under BRI.
President Xi Jinping has pointed out that “win-win cooperation is the sure way to success in launching major initivies that benefit all”. Belt and Road cooperation was proposed by China but it benefits the world. The BRI pursues development, promotes win-win cooperation, and inspires hope. Over the past decade, over 3,000 cooperation projects were carried out,pooling nearly a trillion dollars in investment. From hydro, wind and solar energy based power plants to oil and gas pipelines, from industrial and trade zones to convenient e-commerce, and from promoting multi-dimensional connectivity to spreading modern-day Silk Road spirit, the Belt and Road cooperation has enabled "hard connectivity" in infrastructure and enhanced "soft connectivity" in rules and standards. It has effectively facilitated the flow of commodities, capitals, technologies and personnel among partner countries, injected new impetus into world economy, and created new opportunities for global development.
Third, tell the story of people-to-people connectivity under BRI.
President Xi Jinping has pointed out that the Silk Road spirit of peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit is the most important source of strength for Belt and Road cooperation. Over the past decade, BRI has placed great importance on connecting the hearts of the people of partner countries and composed a symphony of friendship in the new era: It transcends differences in civilization, culture, social system and development stages. It has blazed a new path for exchanges among countries, and established a new framework for international cooperation. It is opening up a new prospect of enhanced exchanges, integration and mutual understanding among different peoples and cultures.
We embrace the vision of equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness among different civilizations. We uphold the promotion of common values of humanity, deepen cultural exchanges and cooperation, and jointly build a road of cultural exchange and mutual learning where every country can showcase the beauty of its civilization and share with others. Especially, colorful bilateral and multilateral activities with media cooperation as the theme have flourished and served as important platforms for consolidating consensus. Partner countries have jointly created a number of branded cultural projects and activities to keep strengthening the popular goodwill and approval of Belt and Road cooperation.
Fourth, tell the story of China's contribution and wisdom.
BRI has injected positive energy into world peace and development, sending a clear signal of unity, cooperation, and mutual benefit to the world. This is a vivid example of China being a participant in and contributor to global governance. In his keynote speech at the just concluded Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping announced eight major steps to support high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. These steps include building a multidimensional Belt and Road connectivity network, promoting green development, and advancing scientific and technological innovation, as well as carrying out practical cooperation, supporting people-to-people exchanges, and strengthening institutional building for Belt and Road cooperation. These policy announcements, major steps and measures fully demonstrate China's strong sense of responsibility as a big country and highlight our resolve and actions to work together with all parties to promote high-quality development of BRI.
Fifth, tell the story of a community with a shared future for mankind.
President Xi Jinping has pointed out that humankind is a community with a shared future. China can only do well when the world is doing well; When China does well, the world will get even better. BRI is a vivid endeavour in building a community with a shared future for mankind. It is based on the belief that mutual support can get everyone far. Such cooperation seeks to deliver a good life not only to people of just one country, but to people in other countries as well. It promotes connectivity, mutual benefit, cooperation and win-win outcomes. It is a platform for common development through cooperation that help accelerate the modernization process of many developing countries. President Xi Jinping shared with the participants at the just concluded Third Forum a grand vision of the modernization of the world characterized by peace, development, mutually beneficial cooperation and common prosperity. This vision aligns with the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind and sets the direction for high-quality BRI development. Looking ahead, Belt and Road cooperation will undoubtedly add new impetus to realizing the beautiful vision of common development of various countries and make new contributions to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Great transformations unseen in a century are accelerating. Changes of the world, of our times and of historical significance are unfolding like never before. In this context, telling the story of Belt and Road cooperation well requires us to further strengthen international communication capabilities. Facing the new situations and tasks, international communication work is even more crucial in serving the partner countries and the modernization of the world, and capability-building is more urgent. We must persistently strengthen such capabilities, firmly defend the core interests of the country and the common interests of countries along the route, and promote greater mutual understanding among the peoples. To achieve this, the following five points are crucial:
First, implement earnestly the outcomes of the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
We must actively promote the eight major steps announced by President Xi Jinping to support high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, fully display China's sincerity and goodwill in deepening cooperative partnerships with all parties, and enhance friendship and cooperation among countries. As we promote the landing of the global civilization initiative in countries along the route, we should take this opportunity to engage in rich and diverse people-to-people exchanges, further consolidate international consensus on high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and inject new and strong dynamism into building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Second, deepen the understanding of the rich content of Xi Jinping Thought on Culture and its requiements on practice.
To make solid advancement in international communication for Belt and Road cooperation, we should follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Culture and grasp the underlying significant of the combining Maxism with the quintessence of Chinese cultural heritage. We should start from China's unique cultural tradition, historical experience and basic national conditions to distill the spiritual identity and cultural essence of Chinese civilization，demonstrate the ideological and spiritual strength behind China's development path and governance philosophy and principles, form a system of Chinese discourse and Chinese narrative and facilitate cultural exchanges and mutual learning among different countries.
Third, we must strengthen exchanges and cooperation among media and think tanks in the countries along BRI routes.
We should make full use of various resources, channels and platforms, such as the Belt and Road News Network and the Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road, to engage actively in mutual visits, exchanges and joint research activities that help strengthen communication, cohesion amd collaboration. We should use more vivid and lively narratives to increase the visibility of the influence, appeal and vitality of Belt and Road cooperation.
Fourth, keep bulding up the capabilities and improving the efficacy of international communication.
President Xi Jinping has emphasized the need to comprehensively improve the efficacy of international communication and enhance its affinity and effectiveness. A good communication on Belt and Road cooperation entails a thorough interpretation of the development concept, principles and cooperation methods as well as deep, diversified and effective exchanges that evoke empathy and compassion with the international audience and are easily understood and accepted. The task of international communication workers is to make sure that the stories of Belt and Road cooperation are audible, comprehensible, relatable, and credible, and to enhance the awareness and emotional connection with the BRI. We must keep pace with the times and be innovative. We should use both online and offline resources and platforms, provide regular programmes that cater to the need of different regions, countries and audiences, keep optimizing the content, and create new concepts, categories and expressions that bridge China and the world. As BRI development deepens and solidifies, we should employ new technologies to upgrade overall international communication efficacy.
Fifth, spread truth and rectify distortion in international communication.
Some Western countries, in the name of so-called "human rights and democracy" and "rules-based order," fabricate and spread lies and rumors to distort, attack and smear Belt and Road cooperation. We must firmly refute and counter all kinds of distorted narratives and attacks, and take the moral high ground of international discourse. We must emphasize that in Belt and Road cooperation, ideological confrontation, geopolitical rivalry and bloc politics are not a choice for us and we stand against unilateral sanctions, economic coercion, decoupling and supply chain disruption. We must highlight that peace, development and win-win cooperation represent the prevailing trend and people’s common aspiration. Launching a Cold War-style confrontation and building “small yards and high walls” are futile attempts to turn back the wheel of history and defy the will of the people. They will surely fail.