This year’s two sessions will play an important role in helping China communicate its views on globalization to an international audience, according to Kerry Brown, a professor of Chinese studies at King’s College London and director of its Lau China Institute.
He said the fact that this year’s two sessions is being held at a time when China is increasingly taking a leadership role in promoting globalization and free trade, while the US is adopting more protectionist measures, will mean it attracts more international focus.
“It will be an opportunity for China to communicate its views to an international audience, who believe what China thinks matters, rather than just to a domestic audience,” Brown said.
He praised President Xi Jinping for delivering a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, in which he defended free trade.
“It is a unique moment where China has prominence in global trade in a way it never had before,” Brown said.
“So this year, China needs to convey to the outside world why the two sessions is a big deal, and that the topics on the agenda－including climate change, economic growth, globalization, and nuclear nonproliferation－are important contributions to help at a time of great uncertainty.”
Encouragingly, China has already demonstrated commitment to its increasing global role, by standing firm to its pledge of carbon emission reductions signed at the Paris Conference on climate change, and by discussing free trade at the latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Brown said.
In November at the APEC CEO Summit in Peru, President Xi called for the building of a free trade area within the Asia-Pacific region.
“There was a series of events in 2016 that showed a lot of contempt for globalization, so there is a need for new ideas and fresh perspectives, and China has an opportunity,” Brown said.
He added that China’s next steps in pushing forward its Belt and Road Initiative, especially in helping the international community understand the initiative in concrete ways, could be a key topic for discussion during the two sessions.