Throughout 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud diplomacy, the use of technology by countries to facilitate communication on international affairs, has become the main mode of carrying out diplomatic functions effectively. In the past year, President Xi Jinping conducted 79 telephone calls with leaders of foreign countries and international organizations, and attended 40 major diplomatic events via video link, building consensus and promoting cooperation.
A return to the Cold War mentality, as seen from several countries over politicized notions such as "democracy" and "human rights," divided the international community along ideological lines, resulting in challenge and confrontation. Yet China still holds high the banner of multilateralism in a global system with the UN at the core and its order underpinned by international law, and continues to champion diverse views. The country has also taken an active part in shaping the global governance system on climate, the environment, healthcare and digital development, offering up-to-date suggestions and solutions.
While some are seeking to sow division, China has been advocating humanity's common values—peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom. It has underlined the importance of furthering inclusiveness and respecting the explorations of populations worldwide to turn these values into reality.
China has continued international cooperation against the pandemic, always advocated the No.1 feature of vaccines to be global public goods, and supported waiving intellectual property rights on vaccine research and development. It launched the joint production of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines with other developing countries, providing more than 2 billion doses to over 120 countries and international organizations, accounting for one third of global vaccine use outside its territory. The country was among the first to conduct global origin-tracing cooperation with the World Health Organization and to reject politicization and stigmatization.
In 2022, China must proactively tackle the many challenges of the post-COVID-19 era, and deepen its global partnerships. This year marks the 50th anniversary of former U.S. President Richard Nixon's visit to China, an icebreaking event that ended decades of hostilities. Lessons from history remain relevant as people in the diplomatic community and beyond ponder how to get relations between the world's two largest economies back on track.