This photo taken on Jan. 11, 2023 shows the headquarters building of the China-aided Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Xinhua/Dong Jianghui)
The BRI will "give a stronger voice to those not having a voice at the moment," said David Ferguson, honorary chief English editor of the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing.
BEIJING, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is of great significance as it will bring prosperity and confidence to the Global South and "give a stronger voice to those not having a voice at the moment," a British international communication expert has said.
"The BRI is at least as important as a small number of initiatives since the end of World War II, for example, the founding of the United Nations and the signing of the Paris Accord, but it has a more profound significance in the sense that it will have a very profound impact on the world," David Ferguson, honorary chief English editor of the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing, who has been living and working in China for more than 15 years, told Xinhua here in a recent interview.
The BRI "will bring prosperity to many poor and developing countries along the way. It will add to these countries' confidence in the system and confidence in the culture ... and it will fundamentally change the structure of the international order," said Ferguson, who received China's Orchid Awards earlier in September for facilitating cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.
It will "give a stronger voice to people who do not have a voice at the moment," he said, adding that in terms of culture, the BRI has long been dedicated to promoting people-to-people connectivity.
What today's world needs is "not leadership in the old Western colonial sense of leading by dictating other people on how they should behave or by coercing them into doing what they want, but leadership that respects other parties," he said. "And that is a feature of China's international diplomacy."
"It has always insisted (that) all countries, no matter how strong or how weak, no matter how powerful, how large or small, should have an equal voice," he added.
Over the years, Ferguson has edited the English translation of works by Chinese leaders, including four volumes of "Xi Jinping: The Governance of China," as well as a range of government white papers and books aimed at conveying China's perspectives to global audiences, and has authored a collection of books introducing the historical backgrounds and modernization processes of Chinese cities.
This photo taken on Sept. 11, 2023 shows the construction site of Central Business District (CBD) project constructed by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) in the new administrative capital, east of Cairo, Egypt. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
The expert noticed that the BRI has been a target of criticism from some Western countries and media outlets since the initiative was proposed in 2013.
The West has been talking of the so-called "Chinese neo-colonialism," and of the so-called "debt traps," but those are based on fallacies, he said.
In fact, the expert pointed out, "the West has adopted a position of arrogance far too long," where it believes its system is the best.
This arrogance has restricted dialogue among different countries, and is to blame for the rocky patches of the relationship between China and the West, he noted.
Unlike the BRI, initiatives brought out by the West have failed to take into consideration cooperation and coordination among countries, Ferguson said.
The 600-billion-U.S. dollar Global Infrastructure and Investment fund announced last year by the Group of Seven members, for example, was "all about countering and competing with China," the expert said.
If the West had stood up and made the same proposal by talking about coordination with the BRI, and about cooperation with member parties to the BRI, there could have been a huge difference, he said.