by Xinhua writer Liu Chang
BEIJING, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Germaine Colette Menyeng does not have to worry anymore.
With the arrival of solar-powered lights, the 51-year-old headmaster of a primary school in Ngang village, western Cameroon, no longer needs to grade her students' homework in dusky oil lamps, which had seriously harmed her eyesight.
Rural areas like Ngang in the western African nation used to be without electricity because of the high cost of connecting to the national power grid. A solar panel plant, sponsored by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, has not only ended the dark days there, but also brought fundamental changes to the day-to-day life of the local population.
PUBLIC GOODS PROVIDER
Huawei's efforts to boost sustainable development in Africa finds its roots in China's Belt and Road Initiative, which pursues global cooperation by building or improving infrastructure to raise living standards in the countries along its routes.
A new report released by the Asian Development Bank in late February shows that Asia alone needs some 26 trillion U.S. dollars between 2016 and 2030 to meet its infrastructure needs, not to mention the huge funding gap for the rest of the world.
Coupled with the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to make up for the financing, China's modern-day land and maritime Silk Road initiative, first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, has now become one of China's most important public goods offered to the world, and a key vehicle for Beijing to improve global governance.
So far, China has invested more than 50 billion dollars into the program. It has won support from over 100 countries and international bodies, and more than 40 of them have signed cooperation agreements with China.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently told the China Development Forum in Beijing that unbalanced development is the root cause of many of the world's major problems, adding that Beijing proposes that all nations should pursue their interests through common development.
Pieter P. Bottelier, a China scholar at Johns Hopkins University, said the initiative illustrates China's vision of collaborating with countries not only in its neighborhood, but in Europe, Latin America and Africa as a way that bolsters the global economy and meets China's long-term interests.
GUARDIAN OF PEACE
For Bai Shuo, a young Chinese sailor, her job to steer the giant navy ship Honghu, a new 23,000-ton offshore supply ship, in an expansive and rough sea is challenging. Yet she knows that her mission represents China's steadfast commitment to helping shape a more peaceful world.
The 24-year-old helmswoman, along with her other more than 700 comrade-in-arms, belongs to the 25th convoy fleet of the Chinese navy. They have been carrying out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden to protect passing ships against pirate attacks and maintain the freedom of navigation along the waterway, which passes nearly 30 percent of the world's crude oil and 12 percent of global maritime trade.
China initiated such missions in 2008, and has escorted about 6,300 ships through this vital sea route. Because of China's joint efforts with some 20 international partners, the passage of goods through the Gulf of Aden is more secure.
Meanwhile, China is an important peacekeeping force within the UN. China began to participate in the UN peacekeeping missions in 1990. It is now the largest contributor to the peacekeeping force, deploying more than 2,600 of the total 88,000 "blue berets" in 10 peacekeeping missions in countries like South Sudan, Lebanon and Liberia.
China also uses multilateral platforms such as the Xiangshan Forum and the Shangri-La Dialogue to discuss security and defense cooperation with Asia-Pacific members and others.
In his January speech at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland, Xi said China remains committed to upholding world peace.
"We Chinese firmly believe that peace and stability is the only way to development and prosperity," he said, adding that "China will never waver in its pursuit of peaceful development."
A PIONEERING REFORMER
To have a better global governance system, reforming current institutions is a must.
The current global governing bodies, including the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), were largely formed in the post-war period.
For many years, China has called for necessary changes to these bodies, especially regarding the quota reforms within the World Bank and the IMF, to better reflect the growing needs of the developing world. It also insists that the AIIB and the New Development Bank are set up as a supplement, not replacement, for global financial institutions.
Beijing has also sought to tackle many of world's most pressing challenges like supporting free trade and globalization, combating climate change, reducing poverty and boosting common development by offering its proposals and solutions via such important international gatherings as the APEC meetings and the G20 summits.
The notion of building a community of a shared future for all humankind, which was first put forward in late 2012, epitomizes the direction in which the Chinese government believes global governance should head in the future.
This March, the UN Security Council for the first time incorporated this concept into its resolution on promoting security and stability in Afghanistan and the region, showing that the proposal has won growing recognition worldwide.
Kerry Brown, a professor of China studies at King's College in London, said China is now "exposed in ways it was not before and it has a prominence it did not have ... it is going to have to take a pretty big leadership position."
But Joseph Nye, a Harvard professor and prominent U.S. foreign policy expert, warned in a recently published article that the world needs to acknowledge what he calls "the Kindleberger Trap," by which he worries that China could fail to provide global public goods while the global system could sink into "depression, genocide, and world war."
In fact, what Beijing has done over the years has proved Nye's worry largely unfounded.
Looking back, China's stunning economic and social development over the past four decades has benefited greatly from an open and increasingly interdependent global system. It is in the vital interests of China and the world to jointly patch up the gap in global governance.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic told Xinhua recently that China "does not use hard power, does not use weapons, but uses projects, and positively helps others to live better through economic integration."
"China has moved all countries in the world to forge ahead. This is a chance for the humankind to have a much better future," he said.