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Although China has made a series of achievements in governance modernization, it will never impose its own development model on others through political and other means, Song stressed.

This is what it all rests on. Removing the teleology and the universalism of development is a key to better development discourse. The Civilization Policy in the US utilized a singular notion of “civilization” that was meant to disqualify and dehumanize Indigenous modes of life in order to create private property. China’s public facing initiatives are an invitation of good faith dialogue and cooperation. It is good to be critical, but I think in some way when you translate these sorts of things into English it will always carry the baggage you have brought up, even when it may not have the same geneology.

One of my favorite Indigenous authors, Gerald Vizenor, talks about how he sees himself as a “word warrior”, or a public facing intellectual that is attempting to communicate important ideas to the dominant society and the academy with the academy’s own language. This means that in his own community, behind closed doors, he may say something else entirely. I do wonder what PRC thinkers believe about the “global” and about development as a colonial weapon behind closed doors.

Still I am always skeptical of anything “global” because the globe that people think of is likely more of a simulation, or systematic misrepresentation of the real - the absence of the real, than it is real. In some ways it may be that these initiatives are doing the same - using public facing language of the empire to say something to the globe which is a creation of empire itself. Going forward I am curious what kind of globe the PRC is approaching. The fact that they reject the “rights” framework of liberalism and the fact that the stress particularistic approaches to development is hopeful the global can have new futures.

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