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Seek Understanding, Even in China - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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There is a new administration in the United States of America along with a new President whose policies and direction appear on the face of things to be different than that of the notorious George W. Bush and the neo-conservative group that surrounded him.

Arab governments will seek to tirelessly communicate with the new American administration in order to make it understand the sad realities in the Middle East, and how its [the USA’s] policies are biased towards Israel and contribute to the empowerment of this rogue state and its merciless, ruthless, and bloody Nazi practices because it does not stand as a moral deterrent to the rabid and deadly Israeli machine.

It seems that now the time is ripe to think “outside the box” with vision and wisdom and head eastwards towards the Chinese dragon. China today is not the China that people remember from the past. Today China has an impressive presence on the international scene thanks to its developing economic clout, especially in Asia and Africa, while at the same time maintaining its role as the leading trading partner to the major industrialized countries. The preliminary results show that the global financial crisis has affected the Chinese economy less than it has affected other countries such as Britain and the USA.

Not to mention the economic strength embodied by the Chinese Diaspora community, particularly throughout Asia, in countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand. This strength is large and pivotal, and has an effective capacity to influence and cause large change in order to achieve impressive results.

Today China measures its presence in Africa not by the amount of money it spends there, but by the number of Chinese who will move there, and China intends that there will be 20 million of its citizens in Africa by 2020, even though the number of Chinese there today barely exceeds two million.

China does not have the well-known Saxon patronage towards the Jews, nor does it share their guilty complex due to feeling complicit in the Nazi crimes against the Jews, and the Holocaust it launched against them. China is not involved in the insane relationship between the extreme Christian Right and Zionist Israel which blinds [the West] to what is right.

Popular culture in the Arab world today knows nothing about modern China expect that it is the source of cheap products, and that its cuisine provides some of their favorite dishes, but China is far more important than this, and now is the time to really open the door [infitah] to China, and build common interests with it.

China has a large Muslim minority, and this is a point of departure that must be used in order to build bridges with the mother country. Yet extreme caution is required, along with [staying away from] and not supporting extremist movements that support Muslim separation movements [in China], as this will never happen until after much bloodshed, and anyway there is no need for any of this so long as the different religions are allowed to worship freely [in China] as is currently occurring.

It is important to learn from what happened with regards to the Kashmir Cause in India, for this gave birth to a troubled and unequal relationship with the Arab world, and could have been avoided if there was political consideration as to [the repercussions of] interfering in internal Indian politics.

China represents an opportunity for long-term investment in political relations, and we must move quickly if we are to take advantage of this.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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