Xi grabs centre stage as China gears up for SCO Summit


China is gearing up for hosting the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit due in June in Qingdao – a coastal city of Shandong Province in East China.

The Summit would be a new milestone in the history of the SCO with eight full members attending the Summit including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and India.

This summit is bringing the SCO back to China. It will be the first of its kind after a membership expansion last year as Pakistan and India became full members of the elite club.

With a focus on revitalizing the Shanghai Spirit, the summit will enhance trust and solidarity between the member states and build a closer SCO community.

Participants in the Qingdao summit will work on a five-year outline for implementation of the Treaty on long-term good neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation, as well as a number of resolutions or documents concerning security, economic, cultural and environmental cooperation.

The member states will also advance Belt and Road projects in SCO member states. Moreover, China and other SCO members will help the organization take a clearer stand on major international and regional issues and play a more active role in regional cooperation and global economic governance.

In a run-up to the SCO Summit, China hosted the First SCO People’s Forum in the city of Xian in northwestern China on 9-10 April this year which was founded at the initiative of the Chinese NGO Association for International Exchanges (CNIE).

Ji Bingxuan, the vice-chairperson of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress, addresses the opening ceremony of the first SCO People’s Forum.

The theme of the forum was “Promoting regional peace and cooperation, building a community with a shared destiny for humanity: the mission of NGOs.”

The forum brought together more than 80 delegates from the SCO member nations, observer states and dialogue partner states including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Cambodia, Nepal and Turkey.

Assistant Minister of the International Liaison Department of the CPC Central Committee Wang Yajun, Governor of the Shaanxi province Liu Guozhong, ex-Prime Minister of Nepal Madhav Kumar, SCO Deputy Secretary-General Nurlan Akkoshkarov and Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China Mr Ji Bingxuan addressed the attendees at the opening ceremony.

The plenary sessions in the programme focused on the activities of NGOs, and scientific, research and education centres and other humanitarian organisations that play an active part in the social life of their countries.

The delegates adopted the Xian Declaration of the 1st SCO People’s Forum. Building a community with a shared future for humanity, a concept proposed by China, was also a consensus among the SCO states. The declaration commended the consensus, stating that it indicates the direction for the long-term prosperity and stability of the region.

The declaration suggested governments and NGOs carry out various exchange activities with relevant themes. Other proposals include working hard to eradicate poverty and advancing pragmatic cooperation to improve the well-being of the people.

CNIE Vice President Dou Enyong proved to be a gracious host as he ensured that all the guests from the SCO member states, dialogue partner and observer countries are fully looked after and taken to historic sites in China. Briefing the participants, Dou said that the CNIE, with support from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Council, was established in October 2005 and is the country’s largest non-profit organisation uniting 265 NGOs, 36 of which have consultative status at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Trip to the Revolutionary Bases in Yan’an city proved to be the most interesting site for the visitors as they looked for themselves how Chairman Mao Zedong and his colleagues had fought the battle against Japanese occupation forces and got China liberated fighting against all odds.

A visit to historic Liangjiahe was instrumental for visitors as Chinese visionary Xi Jinping, then 16-year-old youngster was sent to this village for “re-education,” under orders from Chairman Mao during the tumultuous 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution. Mao wanted well-to-do city dwellers like Xi, who was the son of a high-ranking CPC official, to get a sense of how difficult life was for poor farmers.

Xi spent his formative years living in cave homes and working as a young Communist Party cadre there. The village has since been transformed into a theme park as Xi has first championed his vision to pull poor people out of poverty clutches.

Now, thousands of ambitious Communist Party members flock to the site each month, eager to show that they want to learn from the experiences of the party’s most important person in decades.

One anecdote the tour guides share is that Xi was rewarded with a motorcycle for doing good work but he turned it down, choosing instead to purchase two machines that could grind corn for the village. Visits to Shanghai and Beijing also proved informative for the visitors as historic Chinese tourist resorts attracted attention.

The delegates believe that building a community with a shared future for humanity, a concept proposed by China, would now be the guiding principle for further bridging peoples of the SCO states. The participant vowed to urge their respective governments and NGOs to carry out various exchange activities, working hard to eradicate poverty and advancing pragmatic cooperation to improve the well-being of the people to materialize the dream of building a community of shared and prosperous future for the mankind.