Speaking at a TED Salon in London, Martin Jacques asks: How do we in the West make sense of China and its phenomenal rise? This hugely successful TED talk has over one million views.
There is understandable concern that the recent food contamination scandals in China, starting with the Fonterra melamine dairy product crisis in 2008 and book-ended by the fresh concerns over botulism this August, could have a corrosive effect on the trading relationship between China and New Zealand.
The relationship matters a great deal to New Zealand. China is now by some margin the country’s second largest trading partner, having rapidly overtaken the United States and long outdistanced Europe. And we are only at the beginning of what will in time become New Zealand’s most important economic relationship.
Factory Girls is a fascinating video by Aowen Jin. The migrant girls that have left the countryside to go and seek a new life in China’s cities are often considered to be the victims of China’s transformation. Jin tells a different story: she shows the girls as full of dreams and ambition about their future, taking their lives into their own hands and transforming their prospects. The video has been entirely filmed on mobile phones which are seen by Jin as a crucial agency of their empowerment.
In October Martin Jacques was invited to give several talks in New Zealand. He gave the keynote speech at the New New Zealand Forum on China which was organised by Massey University in conjunction with Westpac and to which were invited a broad range of movers and shakers in Auckland.
He also spent a day in Wellington as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade [MFAT]. He spoke at several meetings with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Ministry of Defence.
During his time in New Zealand, Martin conducted numerous media interviews with television, radio and the press (some of which can be found below). It was abundantly clear from his visit that New Zealand – like Australia – is in the midst of a huge historic shift away from its traditional Western orientation towards a growing recognition that China is the key to its future. In fifty years New Zealand will be unrecognisable. Already China is its second biggest trading partner and poised to overtake Australia as its largest. But this is only the very beginning. China will transform New Zealand over the coming decades.
China’s War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival, by Rana Mitter, Allen Lane, RRP£25, 480 pages
The British think of the second world war as starting in 1939, when Germany invaded Poland; in America it begins with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941; for Russians the war also commences in 1941, with the launch of Operation Barbarossa. For China it started much earlier, in 1931 with the Japanese occupation and subsequent annexation of Manchuria, followed in 1937 by an invasion that led to the conquest of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and many other cities. Yet in the west the Sino-Japanese war has received scant attention and has at most been viewed as a sideshow to the primary theatre of war in Europe.
Australia is home to the most advanced and interesting debate on China in the Western world. The reason is obvious: a quarter of its exports now go to China. In April, the Australia Davos Connection (ADC) organized a two-day summit on China — speakers included the then-PM, Julia Gillard. Present at the conference were many of Australia’s leading corporate, media and political figures. Martin Jacques gave the opening keynote speech to the two-day conference, the video of which is below:
There has been much exaggerated talk about the rise of Chinese military expenditure. The first graph below gives an historical perspective. In 2012, Chinese military expenditure was less than a quarter of US military expenditure. As a proportion of GDP, China’s military expenditure was 2.0% compared with 4.4% for the US. The striking fact remains the US’s huge military expenditure. The second graph below gives the per capita military expenditure of a range of countries. As is clear, in per capita terms, China’s military expenditure remains still extremely low.
Click to expand:
The above figures are taken from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Military Expenditure Database. For more information, refer to Xiao Tiefeng’s article at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, Misconceptions About China’s Growth in Military Spending.
Following a sold-out run at the Almeida Theatre, the critically-acclaimed play Chimerica has now transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End. In the programme, playwright Lucy Kirkwood notes that,
The sources the play draws on are too vast to list here, but special mention must be made of[...] When China Rules the World by Martin Jacques, [a work] I found myself returning to again and again over the years.
Read the full extract below:
This is a special 45 minute CCTV television programme broadcast on April 8th of the debate earlier that day at the Boao Forum in Hainan on China’s Reform Agenda. It features Justin Lin, until recently chief economist of the World Bank, Fan Gang, president of China’s National Economic Research Institute, Charlene Barshefsky, former US Trade Representative, and Martin Jacques.
by Martin Jacques
March 2013 – Transatlantic Academy
China has the world’s second largest economy. As it overtakes the United States in the relatively near future, and becomes the world’s largest economy, China will exercise a growing global influence. Meanwhile, the West — the home of Western liberal democracy — is in relative economic decline. By 2030, it will, by one estimate, account for only 28 percent of global GDP, compared with 33 percent for China and 67 percent for the developing world. In such circumstances, the West’s political influence is bound to decline. China is not a product of Western democracy and shows very little sign of moving in that direction.
Recent Western commentary on the Chinese economy has been decidedly negative, emphasising the problems and downbeat about the prospects. This, of course, is hardly new: indeed it is absolutely par for the course. In fact, as the figures below show, the Chinese economy has done extraordinarily well in the five years since 2008 and the Western financial crisis. The contrast with the performance of Western economies over the same period is sobering to say the least.
Martin Jacques presents a highly successful series of programmes on how best to understand the unique characteristics and apparent mysteries of contemporary China, its development and its possible future. In this new series, he sets out the building blocks for making sense of China today.
2.00-4.30pm: EIAS, Rue de la Loi 67, B-1040 Brussels
Dinner Debate: "How China will change nearly everything"
7.30pm: Private event
7.30pm: Jubilee Room, House of Commons
Sponsored by the PRC State Council Information Office and organised by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the China International Publishing Group
2:10pm: Conference Room 104, Centre for American Studies, Fudan University
24/04/13 — Beveridge Hall, Senate House, London University
09/11/12 - Trouw