In an interview with German magazine Spiegel, China’s vice minister of foreign affairs, Fu Ying (傅莹), used the word “conceited” — not once, but thrice — in referring to the West’s dealings with China:
The countries in the West think they have the only system that works and they have narrowed down “democracy” to a multi-party election system, which works well for some countries, most of the time, but as we are now seeing with the latest financial crisis, they sometimes experience difficulties too. The West has become very conceited. At the end of the day, democracy alone cannot put food on the table. That’s the reality.
I think at the moment it is the Western governments that are having problems. We are observing what is going on in the West. We try to understand why so many governments made so many mistakes. Why do political parties make commitments they cannot fulfill? Why do they spend so much more than they have? Has the West been stagnating since the end of the Cold War? Or has it just become conceited?
(In response to a question whether Ai Weiwei was intentionally arrested shortly after German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle attended the opening of an exhibition in Beijing with Chinese officials) That’s why I say you are conceited. You really take yourself very seriously. Why would a country like China decide on domestic matters and try to make them coincide with a visit by a foreign minister from a European country? I don’t see the linkage. The case you are discussing is a legal matter. I am not really interested in this case.