No. 14 | 26.09.2021
Expanding the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and building a community of shared future for humanity
Li Ziguo
Li Ziguo (李自国) is the director of Department for European-Central Asian Studies, China Institute of International Studies.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) reaches another milestone on its 20th anniversary as it initiates the process of accepting Iran's membership and adding three countries as dialogue partners-Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar. Li Ziguo argues that geopolitics is the decisive factor in the SCO's development, especially its expansion. That India and Pakistan joined in 2017 amid growing "anti-globalization" trends like the Brexit referendum, shows the strong appeal of the organization. Growing SCO's membership does not necessarily make it stronger as each member state brings its own existing geopolitical, cultural, security, territorial, and other conflicts. Adhering to the principle of "non-targeting of third parties", the SCO tries to avoid geopolitical conflicts though currently is facing stronger confrontation with the US. Meanwhile, through unilateral actions, the US arbitrarily exercises "long-arm jurisdiction" to violate international laws. Moreover, the complicated relationships between the countries and the US are decisive in whether Iran, Afghanistan, or Mongolia become member states. Specifically, what really impedes Iran's membership are Iran-US relations and the member states' willingness to criticize the US for its unilateral actions and unfair policy toward Iran. Li suggests that the SCO should re-position itself according to the new situation, contribute more to the development and security of the region, and explore new grounds for building a community of shared future for humanity.

China’s “dual circulation” strategy redefines the relations between China and the World
Cao Yuanzheng
Cao Yuanzheng (曹远征) is chief economist of Bank of China (BoC) International who worked for the State Commission for Economic Restructuring of the PRC.

Since President Xi announced China's "dual circulation" (双循环shuāng xúnhuán) strategy in May 2020, it has been misunderstood by the West to mean that the country would adopt an inward-looking strategy-such as decoupling and market closure-as a response to a hostile international environment. According to Cao Yuanzheng, however, dual circulation is designed to share China's domestic market – which recently became the largest global consumer goods market – with the world through implementing an institutional opening-up policy. The synergy of the domestic market growth that stimulates the international market creates a dual circulation that will in turn drive China's growth. Also, the process of synergistic dual circulation will redefine China's place in the global economy and reshape the economic globalization. Cao explains that during the planned economy era, China focused on economic domestic circulation and laid the foundation for China's modernization through independent industrialization. In the reform era, China gave priority to international circulation and engaged in the world through an exported-oriented development, which accounts for the rise of China and increased global prosperity. At the same time, due to the free capital flows across national borders, global economic imbalance grew. Developed economies consistently run a current account deficit –where the value of goods and services it imports exceeds that of its exports – while developing countries increase its current account surplus. The China-US trade war reflects this global imbalance in an extreme way. Cao concludes that dual circulation has already made a difference in China where economic reliance on exports has been reducing. If innovation becomes a powerful engine for growth in the domestic market, not only could China see sustainable development, but it will also contribute to the world economy.

Common prosperity emphasizes economic development and socialist work ethic rather than creating a “welfare state”
Lü Dewen
Lü Dewen (吕德文) is a researcher at the Center of China Rural Administration and Research, Wuhan University

In a recent media interview, Lü Dewen points out that China's efforts in eliminating absolute poverty and working towards common prosperity reflect the essence of the socialist system under CPC's leadership. There is an ongoing and lively debate about how to achieve common prosperity and whether the CPC should focus on primary, secondary or tertiary distribution. The country is pushing ahead with a range of adjustments on its economic and social policies to remedy the negative consequences of the past market-based reforms, including high housing costs and education anxiety. The goal of common prosperity is to alleviate the polarization between the rich and the poor. According to Lü, as China has just been defined as a middle-income country, economic development must remain the central task of the CPC. While maintaining a high level of economic development, China should focus on improving the primary distribution system, which will facilitate the development of China's tremendous number of migrant workers into middle-income earners. The secondary and tertiary distributions can just play a supplementary role. Lü also argues that China should avoid the welfare trap and discourage the people from relying only on aid (等靠要 Děng kào yào) to achieve common prosperity. A socialist country also emphasizes that work creates happiness, which is a core ethic of the socialist spirit. Only through the people's hard work towards building a socialist society will be owners of the country. This, in turn, translates to the collective sharing of social wealth.

Understanding China’s growing divorce rate of young marriages since 1978
China Youth Studies
China Youth Studies(《中国青年研究》) is a monthly academic journal focusing on studies of social development issues of the youth. This journal was founded by China Youth and Children Research Center and is supervised by the Communist Youth League of China.

Since reform and opening up, China's divorce rate of young couples continues to grow. The divorce rate rose slowly between 1978 and 2002 but swiftly after 2002. The first reason outlined is because of the openness and diversification of people's values and lifestyles where divorce is now more regarded as a private issue as opposed to the traditional confinement to morals. Second, due to the one-child policy, the only-child generation has a stronger demand for gender equality and will not tolerate grievances in marriage. Third, with women growing higher social status, they hope for their spouses to take on equal household responsibility such as cleaning and raising children, in which some men have yet adapted to. For example, among all divorce cases that Chinese courts have handled between 2016 and 2017, 73 percent of applicants were women. Fourth, young people put more emphasis on romance and individual needs in marriage as opposed to family as a basic unit of society, where differences in child-rearing and incompatibility of sex life are among newer reasons for divorce. In addition, the article illustrates that the rapid growth of divorce after 2002 is also attributed to the strengthening of freedom to divorce in legislation and the implementation of law. In 2003, China simplified the procedure of divorce and in 2004, the changes in the constitutional amendment consolidated freedom of divorce, both of which also contributed to an increase family separation, hasty divorces, and fake divorces in order to enjoy favorable policies such as loan, house and school enrollment. The article argues that while China's new Civil Code requiring a 30-day of cooling-off period for divorce may slow down the pace of divorce, but it will hardly change couple's willingness to divorce.

Remembering Lu Xun’s Internationalism on the 140th anniversary of his birth
Zhao Jinghua
Zhao Jinghua (赵京华) is a professor at the Beijing International Studies University, and Vice Director of the Lu Xun Research Association of China.

September 25 of this year marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Lu Xun (鲁迅, 1881-1936), a great Chinese writer, thinker, and revolutionary. Zhao Jinghua points out that during the 20th century and even since the founding of the People's Republic of China, Lu Xun's internationalist spirit has been overlooked. Over the last 30 years, Lu Xun was recognized for his cosmopolitanism, seen as being of a liberal democratic tendency set against the backdrop of imperialism. Zhao argues that, although Lu Xun had neither joined the Communist Party of China or the Communist International, Lu Xun was able to explore new ideas brought by the Russian Revolution. During 1920s and 1930s, he began to understand the existence of class relations through literature, thus forming his class-conscious and internationalist worldview. In 1936, for example, Lu Xun wrote that people from all around the world should be united, especially the oppressed. Lu Xun highly respected Maxim Gorky, the proletariat Soviet writer who represented the lower classes. Lu Xun also spared no effort to promote Chinese left-wing literature to the world, sympathized with international anti-fascist progressive writers, and sharply criticized the White Terror inflicted by the nationalist Kuomintang government. To recognize Lu Xun's internationalism today does not overshadow his legacy as the great national soul of the Chinese Revolution. According to Zhao, the national liberation struggles that emerged after WWI were interconnected with the international socialist movement, with the national struggle rooted in the internationalist one. Amid the current crises facing globalization, returning to the spirit of internationalism of the world's working class can help break the barriers of the narrow-minded nationalism and inspire us to pursue a "new internationalism".

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