Political Breakfast with Sun Jiazheng

Berlin, May 27, 2011

Sun Jiazheng, Vice-Chairman of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, met with representatives of federal ministries, government agencies and selected think tanks to discuss China’s political, economic, social and cultural developments during the “12th Five-Year-Plan for National Economic and Social Development”.

In the course of the discussion it became apparent that the economic reforms introduced over the last 30 years have led to significant changes in Chinese attitudes. People in China have acquired greater self-confidence and are now more conscious of their interests in the context of the global community.

There was general agreement that relations between China and Germany were very good. However, greater cooperation between the two countries is certainly desirable.
Some of the participants took the view that the excellent bilateral relations between Germany and China should be used to enhance China’s relations with the European Union. They were good, but there was still room for improvement. China and the West understand democracy in different ways. It was pointed out that the West tends to emphasize the importance of elections, whereas China prefers the principle of consultation.

The discussion also focused on the idea of harmony, which is of central importance for the way in which the Chinese construe the state and society. A central goal in China is the creation of a harmonious society and a harmonious world. Most of the participants were of the opinion that harmony actually presupposed the existence of contradictions, and could emerge only as a result of discussions which sought to reconcile conflicting interests. However, some of those present did not believe that there were open debates among the rank and file of the CP of China, and thought that China’s political system did not give contrarians the opportunity to express their views.

Körber Foundation regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. As in the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place shielded from the public, so as to enable a confidential, frank, and constructive exchange.

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