‘Shanghai Spirit’ in full swing in China ahead of SCO summit

China Plus Published: 2018-06-09 11:22:27
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By Malik Ayub Sumbal 

The coastal city of Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong Province is set to host the 18th annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this weekend. Since it was established 17 years ago, the SCO has achieved remarkable economic and investment development, and improved connectivity and people-to-people exchanges.

Dozens of sideline events have kicked off around China that highlights the importance of the SCO. Chinese President Xi Jinping promised last year to launch the SCO Media Summit, a promise fulfilled this year when Beijing hosted the first such summit with journalists and media organizations representing more than 50 countries in attendance. President Xi sent a congratulatory message to the meeting and asked media representatives to raise awareness of the SCO and its role in promoting people-to-people interaction and exchanges. 

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (1st L) is greeted upon his arrival in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, June 9, 2018. Rahmon is here to attend the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.[Photo: Xinhua]

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (1st L) is greeted upon his arrival in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, June 9, 2018. Rahmon is here to attend the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.[Photo: Xinhua]

Culture is one of the major tools in today’s world order, and cultural diplomacy can play a vital role in spreading and promoting the SCO and the Shanghai Spirit. In this vein, China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism hosted an art festival in Beijing that showcased the talents of folk artists from SCO member states. Events like this are important for intercultural communication and exchange within the SCO.

The SCO has also emerged as a powerful organization in terms of its ability to improve connectivity and boost economies, with increasing investment from China into the other member states estimated to have reached 80 billion U.S. dollars. And with Pakistan and India now having joined the organization, it has come to represent around half of the world’s population, a quarter of its GDP, and about 80 of the Eurasian landmass. And SCO membership is open to the other states in the region. The organization has achieved tremendous trust from its members, and a growing number of countries are interested in joining the bloc. 

Central Asia countries are also gaining significant global attention through their active participation in the SCO. This will help to raise the level of economic development and enrich the lifestyles of the people living in these countries. 

For now, all eyes are on what has come to be known as the “Qingdao Declaration”, the major position statement that will emerge from this weekend’s summit. The world faces numerous challenges, including terrorism, environmental threats, and protectionism, to name just a few. The heads of the SCO member states will make a joint declaration on what they see as their mutual challenges. 

One major challenge not only faced by SCO members but the world more widely is the threat of terrorism. SCO members will likely put a strong focus on eradicating the menace of terrorism in in all its forms. Terrorism is a common enemy and a threat to the mindset of progress, prosperity, and the development of mankind. 

This SCO Summit in Qingdao will also be a major boom for trade, investment, and tourism in both Qingdao and Shandong Province more broadly. In the aftermath of this summit there will be a definite increase in the number of conferences and exhibitions held in this coastal city. 

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has evolved into an organization that provides genuine representation of its members. This highly valued platform has been developed by countries whose importance was traditionally discounted by the world’s leading organizations. Now is the time for the SCO members to be united and to work together for peace and stability in the region. 

(Malik Ayub Sumbal is an award-winning political analyst, columnist, and broadcaster.)

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of chinaandgreece.com, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.