Friday, June 2, 2023

The Problem With China's Global Civilization Initiative

 President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) while delivering a keynote speech at the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting on 15 March.  According to a 17 April commentary in the CPC Global Times, the GCI is "another major public good provided to the world by China after the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, both put forward by President Xi, in 2021 and 2022, respectively."

The Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative, and GCI are effectively Beijing's alternative to the Western "rules-based international order," which China is working to replace.  

The Diplomat published on 1 June 2023 an analysis titled "The Trouble with China's Global Civilization Initiative" by R. Evan Ellis, U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute.  

The author argues that by promoting the relativism of values and arguing against it, the GCI concept appeals to regimes that desire to do what they wish, from criminality and repression at home to the ruthless invasion of their neighbors under the spurious mantle of legitimate security concerns.  The GCI is rooted in a convenient forgetting of the origins of international law and institutions of global governance, however imperfect they may be.