BEIJING, May 9 -- Western politicians should stop reinventing their "China threat" theory and cast away their ideological prejudice so they can appreciate the true benefits of China's peaceful rise.
Talks of China menacing international order and security have been routine rhetoric in the West whenever politicians decide it seems fit to drag China's name through the mud.
Addressing the Korber Foundation in Berlin in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping acknowledged that certain people tend to view China through "tinted glasses," even comparing China to Mephisto, the demon figure in the German classic legend of Faust.
The latest case of demonization came this month with some observers alleging that China is conducting "neo-colonialism" in Africa. The allegations came during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's ongoing four-nation Africa tour.
For a country scarred by invasions from Western powers, these accusations border on delusion, yet they cause little surprise.
For decades, China's enviable economic growth has unnerved many established powers. After more than 30 years of reform and opening up, China is now the world's second-largest economy.
But in the eyes of those still locked in the mindset of zero-sum games, China's rapid rise and its positive contributions to world economy are only cause for concern.
Much of their worries stem from China's expanding military. China said in March that it would raise its military expenditures by 12.2 percent to 808.2 billion yuan (about 132 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014.
The figure quickly drew ire from the West, with some describing it as worrying news for China's neighbors, particularly for Japan.
Such "concerns" are unfounded and misplaced, particularly given the sheer dominance of Western militaries.
A report released by London's International Institute for Strategic Studies showed the United States remained the world's biggest defense spender in 2013, with a budget of 600.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2013. The figure was close to five times that of China in the same year.
Although China boasts a territory some 26 times larger than Japan's and a population nine times larger, its per-capita spending in national defense is only about 20 percent of Japan's.
In fact, to seriously look for a cause for alarm in Asia, one should fix one's gaze on Tokyo, where a nationalistic prime minister has turned his administration into a regional troublemaker.
Furthermore, any reasonable person could see that China is still a developing country and needs a stable environment both within and outside its borders to sustain its current growth.
Though China's economy is second only to the U.S. and the country has lifted hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty, there is still work to be done.
China has indeed experienced an unprecedented surge in national GDP, but its per capita GDP is still low, and problems such as the wealth disparity have the potential to cripple the country's further development.
People still wait too long to see a doctor. Family incomes are too low to raise and support both children and elderly parents.
Sustainable growth would be impossible without a stable and peaceful environment.
It is for this very reason that China will not resort to violence and hostility, but will choose a path of peaceful development.
Those skeptical of China's peaceful rise fail to grasp the importance of China as a responsible player in maintaining regional peace and security. A country as large as China unable to protect itself would only bode ill for world peace and stability.
They also overlook the contributions China has made to the world economy, which has become more interdependent than at any other time in the past.
According to figures from the National Statistics Bureau, China has topped the list of contributors to the global economy, with up to 19.2 percent of world economic growth coming from China in 2007, compared to only 2.3 percent in 1978.
While focusing on developing its own economy, China has never forgotten to share the benefits with the rest of the world. Ties between China and Europe as well as Africa serve as the best examples of win-win interaction.
Those whose minds remain stuck in zero-sum games need to come to terms with the fact that in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, there is no such thing as "winner takes all."
As French philosopher Henri Bergson put it, "The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend."
Western countries need to fix their mentality and shed their prejudice. Only in this way can they seize the benefits of China's peaceful rise.