“Western society still has many misunderstandings about China,” said Kishore Mahbubani, a distinguished fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore.

“In addition to what I call irrational fears, there are emotional and subconscious fears, which also cause misunderstandings,” the expert said in an exclusive interview during the fourth Understanding China Conference which closed Sunday.

Mahbubani hopes the world can know more about China through the conference, saying that the conference is “timely and important” with new consensuses achieved.

According to Mahbubani, the development of China has not only brought benefits to its own people but also to countries around the world.

“The Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) has linked China extensively with its neighbours,” he said, adding that with strengthened cooperation, more dividends will be seen among B&R countries.

Mahbubani also spoke highly of China’s role in world poverty alleviation. “I think it means a lot for the world.”

Since 2000, more people have shaken off poverty worldwide, and the number continues to grow rapidly, he said.

Between 2013 and 2018, China lifted 82.39 million rural residents out of poverty, about the entire population of Germany. China has made historic achievements in fighting poverty over the past decades, making itself a major contributor to the world’s poverty reduction endeavours. “If China can bring its poverty down to zero, that would inspire the world,” he said.