China can win people over with benevolence: Chan Chun Sing

How China "reaches out to the rest of the world" will inspire others to come towards itself.

Darryl Laiu | September 18, 2020, 05:25 PM

Big countries like China has won people over by their benevolence historically, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said on the final day of the FutureChina Global Forum on Sep. 17.

Big powers win people over by their benevolence

Chan was commenting on how China could position themselves as a force of good at the forum, an annual event that brings together business leaders and experts around the world to share their insights on forces that drive China's growth.

In response to a question from moderator Robin Hu, who is the head of Sustainability & Stewardship at Temasek International, Chan said: "There's a saying in English that all major powers can either choose to demonstrate the power of their example, or the example of their power."

Chan added:

"In Chinese, there is also an equivalent saying that is "强者之权可治人一时,强者之德可治人 一",which essentially means that we win people over by our benevolence. This is especially so for big countries, and historically, it has been so."

China wants to remain connected

The theme for this year's forum, which was conducted virtually, was “A Resilient Future: Post-Pandemic Transformation & Opportunities in China and ASEAN”.

Chan remarked:

"I think if you look at the history of China, the most prosperous era of China in the course of history has been the times when China has been most connected with the rest of the world, trading with the rest of the world, exchanging ideas with the rest of the world.

And I think this will be similar to this current generation."

He added that this is a historical opportunity for China "to win friends and build friendships", and how it "reaches out to the rest of the world" will inspire others to come towards China.

He said that his experience with Chinese diplomats have shown to him that they intend to stay connected with the rest of the world.

In the session, Chan also talked about how the U.S. elections might affect the country's relationship with China, suggesting that both sides have many shared interests.

Commenting on China's global role in the past, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote in an op-ed on Foreign Affairs magazine that a larger and more powerful China should not only respect global rules and norms but also take on greater responsibility for upholding and updating the international order.

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Top image from Chan Chun Sing/Facebook.