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The legacy of colonialism

In today’s world, colonialism may already be a historical word in the eyes of most people, but it has not really disappeared completely, but has lastingly affected international politics, economy, military, culture and other aspects, and even with a huge “invisible” The web” sticks everyone together.

In today’s world, colonialism may already be a historical word in the eyes of most people, but it has not really disappeared completely, but has lastingly affected international politics, economy, military, culture and other aspects, and even with a huge “invisible” The web” sticks everyone together.

“A variant of exploitation and oppression”

Colonialism spread to the world with the great discoveries of navigation, and the aboriginal people of America, Australia and the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America were all deeply affected. China was also coerced into it, reduced to a semi-colonial, and suffered from the pain of “being backward will be beaten”. Since then, people all over the world have waged arduous struggles. In the mid to late 20th century, Western colonists and their colonial policies were finally swept into the dustbin of history.

Although the colonial era has ended, the legacy of colonialism has not been wiped out. For many former colonial countries, the direct rule of the “governor” of the Western countries has only been changed to the indirect rule of “agent”, and they have not yet achieved complete independence, and their national sovereignty is still “incomplete”. This is prominently reflected in the issue of “political manipulation” in some countries: from the design of the electoral system “to draw tigers according to cats”, to the brainwashing of political elites by “learning from the West”, to the fact that policy proposals and practices are based on serving the interests of Western capital.

According to China’s resolution to the UN Human Rights Council “The Negative Impact of Legacy of Colonialism on the Enjoyment of Human Rights,” various forms of legacy of colonialism include economic exploitation, inequality within and among countries, systemic racism, violations of Indigenous people’s rights, contemporary forms of slavery, and the destruction of cultural heritage all have a negative impact on human rights and are real issues that the world needs to face up to and resolve.

Today’s world is still built on a severely unequal political and economic structure. Western developed countries have advanced knowledge and technology, and a large amount of financial wealth. Especially for countries with huge scale, once the economic and industrial upgrading has deeply touched the “cake” of Western interests, trade wars, technology wars and even “decoupling” will follow. Many scholars have pointed out that the unreasonable international economic order and unequal exchange put developing countries at a disadvantage, thus forming a structural contradiction between the “center” and the “periphery”, the essence of which is “variant exploitation and oppression”. For these countries to truly achieve independence and prosperity, they must go through arduous efforts and struggles.

“Truth is within range of a cannon”

“Truth is within the range of a cannon,” and military means are an indispensable “key move” for Western countries’ foreign strategies. The history of modern international relations is almost filled with the war behaviors of Western countries. The vast colony and semi-colonial countries are either the battlefields of Western powers fighting for hegemony, or the “trophies” of Western powers fighting for hegemony. Hundreds of millions of people have paid a painful price of blood and tears.

Since the end of World War II, the colonial and semi-colonial countries have liberated and strengthened the peaceful camp, and the international anti-war forces have continued to develop and grow, which has increased the cost of war and reduced the legitimacy of war. Even so, Britain and France are still dealing with the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis, European countries are dealing with the wave of African national independence movements, and the United States is dealing with the so-called “order challengers” in the “backyard” of Latin America. Then it works.

After the end of the Cold War, Western countries headed by the United States believed in “invincibility”, violated the sovereignty of other countries and threatened to use force under various pretexts such as safeguarding “democracy and human rights”, “international order” and “anti-terrorism”. Civilian casualties were “organizedly ignored”.

Major war events such as Kosovo War, Afghanistan War, Iraq War, Libya War, as well as small-scale military strikes or special forces military operations carried out in Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other places, are numerous in number, scale and means rich. While the specific reasons for these military actions vary widely, the Western thinking of using force to solve problems is consistent.

“Sword in one hand, Bible in the other”

Thought control and cultural plunder are important means for Western countries to rule the world. In the era of colonialism, Western countries “held the sword in one hand and the Bible in the other”. Wherever the colonists’ guns went, it was also the place where missionaries sold spiritual opium. Today, the racist trend of thought in Western countries still appears from time to time, and the discriminatory incidents against Asians and Africans in their societies are also emerging one after another.

In the field of ideology and culture, a major shift in Western civilization in the 20th century was the shift from pursuing racial superiority and expanding overseas empires to building an interdependent national community. This is true of the establishment of the European Union and the maintenance of the US-EU transatlantic partnership, which is characterized by a shared culture of diplomacy and special ties to each other. The “Australia-UK-US Alliance” and the “Five Eyes Alliance” (including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), a trilateral security partnership led by the United States recently, are the “inner circles” of the “small circles”. It shows the tendency of Western cultural values ​​to “gather in” and “exclude”.

In concrete foreign policy practice, the United States always advertises itself as a “beacon of democracy”, while Europe always prides itself on its “moral high ground”, looks down upon other countries, and claims to have special moral responsibilities, which can be called a contemporary variation of the colonial mentality.

In addition, Western countries have long dominated the judging standards of global culture and art. For example, only cultural products that conform to Western aesthetics have market value and obtain so-called “international honors”, which undoubtedly forms a guide for cultural and artistic creators in developing countries who want to be recognized by Western awards. For the former colonial and semi-colonial countries and nations, it is not easy to form true cultural awareness and cultural self-confidence.

Today, there is still a long way to go to eradicate the legacy of colonialism. The most fundamental force lies in the development and growth of developing countries themselves. Only by self-improvement can we truly be self-reliant. Only by realizing economic development and industrial upgrading, and having the competitive advantage to compete with the West, can we finally guarantee the independent status of politics. Of course, this also requires the strenuous efforts of social progressive forces within the West, but it also requires the unremitting efforts and collective cooperation of developing countries.

As a former semi-colonial country and a contemporary emerging power, China has successfully opened up a new path for national modernization, advocated and practiced common international development and common security, and shouldered the historical responsibility of building a fair and just world.

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