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Shared human values to foster community of shared future

SANG JIANQUAN and DAI YUQI | 2021-12-09 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

Staff members transfer the seventh batch of COVID-19 vaccines from China at the Phnom Penh International Airport in Cambodia on Nov. 17, 2021. Promoting COVID-19 vaccines as a global public good is part of China’s efforts to practice the shared human values. Photo: CFP 

“We must champion the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom, and steer the tide of human progress,” according to the “Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century,” which was adopted at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on November 11, 2021. 

Chinese President and General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping, has elaborated on the rich implications and significance of the shared human values on many major occasions, such as the grand ceremony to celebrate the CPC’s centennial in July 2021 and the general debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021. 
The shared human values listed above are a common vision and the broadest consensus of values for people around the world, providing the mental motivation for them to jointly pursue a good life. 
In the current complicated global context featuring an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and profound changes unseen in a century, carrying the shared human values forward will help foster solidarity in the international community and encourage cooperation among countries, thereby bringing more certainties to the development of the times and advancing the great cause of building a community of shared future for mankind. 
Wisdom shared by the CPC
The shared human values first represent wisdom shared by contemporary Chinese Communists on problems in the present era. A paradox of global modernization is that humanity is confronted with profound crises of unprecedented degrees while achieving unprecedented leaps in the development of productive forces. Common human crises indicate that wealth gaps, developmental imbalances, violence and terrorism, and environmental deterioration have closely tied the fates of human beings. Coping with these global crises calls on countries around the world to work together to build a bright future for human society under the guidance of the shared human values. 
The “One Earth Two Systems” idea is a basic manifestation of the contemporary world pattern established by nearly 200 sovereign states. The shared human values are based on the spatial fact that capitalist and socialist countries are developing synchronously. The theoretical intention and goal for the present stage is not to confront or eliminate capitalism. 
Then how should we respond to current common predicaments and crises facing human society? Chinese Communists offer the answer: A peacefully developing world should carry civilizations of different forms, and countries should abandon ideological prejudices and go beyond the antagonism of ideologies to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation. 
Meanwhile, the shared human values advocate for sovereign equality within the reality of global governance and support each country’s right to choose their social system and development path independently, respecting the actual conditions, stages, and processes of their development. The concept of “shared human values” contains quintessential ideas of fine traditional Chinese culture, such as “seeking harmony among nations” (xiehe wanbang) and “harmonious coexistence” (hexie gongsheng). They are the theoretical innovation and shared wisdom of the CPC which responds to the epochal issue of building a better world.  
Reflecting common human interests
As early as the mid-19th century, Karl Marx had pointed out with foresight that, with the full development of human interaction, common interests will exist in people’s minds. This is not merely a universally occurring phenomenon, but the result of interdependent relationships between individuals following the division of labor. 
Currently, common human interests have been embedded as an objective reality in economic and trade contacts, exchanges in science and technology, cultural interactions, global anti-terrorist actions, ecological protections, and many other fields. Safeguarding common human interests consciously and further expanding the interest intersection with other nations should be an extensive consensus and concerted action of all countries. However, thought trends such as anti-globalization and de-globalization are gaining steam, disrupting the normal process of economic globalization. 
The widening wealth gap arising from economic globalization results from negligent profit-seeking acts of capital in the global market. The key to solving the problem is to redress the negative logic of capital through collaboration, instead of negating economic globalization. 
Human civilization’s continuation still needs economic globalization’s positive effects in accelerating productivity, fueling the global flow of production forces, and promoting communication between civilizations. 
To safeguard common human interests amid economic globalization, President Xi said when addressing the Opening Ceremony of the Second China International Import Expo in November 2019 that, “We must all put the common good of humanity first, rather than place one’s own interest above the common interest of all.” Championing the shared human values is exactly an expression of putting the common good of humanity first in the realm of common values.
Shared vision for a good life
Through the modern evolution of world history, humanity bore witness to not only huge advances of productive forces across the world, but also two bloody world wars, and experienced poverty and hunger within the human community. Most developing countries were even colonized and oppressed. 
Into the contemporary era, particularly since the start of the 21st century, increasingly frequent international exchanges and accelerated global flows of factors such as capital, technology, and talent, have brought about unprecedented integration in human society. “The integrated world is there,” said Xi in his speech at the conference marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx, “those refusing the world will finally be denied by the world.”
Common historical memories and life practices have generated common human value pursuits. A good life characterized by “peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom” has become the value expression of a common vision for people around the world. 
Value support for global risks
At present, the COVID-19 pandemic still flares up from time to time. In the face of the most severe global public health emergency since WWII, putting the common good of humanity first means that all countries should abandon their ideological biases and political interests to form synergy and secure victory against COVID-19 by upholding and advancing the shared human values. 
In terms of possible risks and challenges from globalization in the future, contemporary humanity should reflect on its survival and draw wisdom from history and reality. As the value support for people around the world to overcome global risks, the shared human values can not only provide mental fortitude as humanity tackles grave plights or disasters in solidarity, but also offer value codes for peaceful coexistence, sincere dialogue, and equality-based treatment in real life. 
Significance of upholding the values
Upholding the shared human values conforms to the evolutionary law of human civilization. Varied regional characteristics and diverse histories and cultures have contributed to human civilization’s diversity. Diversity is not only a basic feature of human civilization, but it also showcases its unique charm. Despite varying characteristics, different civilizations are on an equal footing. None is superior to others. The shared human values acknowledge and respect the diverse developmental paths and models of different nations, committed to creating a more universal form of human civilization. 
Moreover, upholding the shared human values aligns with the trend of multilateralism. The global expansion of capital pushed humanity to a time in which national histories are increasingly interactional, but it also brought the world to a unilateralist order derived from the logic of capital. A review of modern world history easily reveals that unilateralism was always accompanied by a shift in hegemony, widening development gaps, as well as the absence of fairness and justice, trends against progress of the current age. To actualize the pursuit of a good life, contemporary humankind should break away from thinking patterns of unilateralism, zero-sum games, and ideological confrontations, and safeguard the shared human values. 
As a founding member state of the United Nations and permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China is a staunch defender of multilateralism. As a major country, China’s development is inseparable from the rest of the world, while the advancement of human civilization cannot be divorced from China’s participation and contribution, either. In recent years, particularly since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has participated in global governance with a more proactive attitude and actions. In the global COVID-19 fight, for example, China has been intensifying cooperation with the World Health Organization and other nations, making unremitting efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccines as a global public good. 
In addition, upholding the shared human values can effectively rally people from all countries around the world to unite. In the uncertainty-ridden contemporary world, the shared human values are synonymous with certainty and a mental bond which can raise the consciousness of solidarity among people from different countries. 
Building the community of shared future for mankind is a long-term process. It cannot be completed overnight. In related practices, such as promoting the Belt and Road initiative, humanity will still meet challenges from global uncertainties like the COVID-19 pandemic. Only by championing the shared human values and absorbing spiritual nourishments from building the community of shared future for mankind can people of countries around the world jointly grasp the destiny of humanity and create a bright future in the historical process of understanding, carrying forward, and practicing the shared human values. 
Sang Jianquan and Dai Yuqi (professor) are from the Research Center for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics at Zhejiang University.