Martin Jacques is the author of the global best-seller When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, which was first published in 2009. It has since sold over a quarter of a million copies and been translated into eleven languages. The second edition of the book – greatly expanded, revised and updated – was published in 2012.
He is a visiting senior research fellow at the London School of Economics, IDEAS, a centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and a fellow of the Transatlantic Academy, Washington DC.
His interest in East Asia began in 1993 with a holiday in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. After that, he found every reason or excuse he could find to spend time in the region, be it personal, for newspaper articles or television programmes. The most important of these was meeting his wife-to-be, Harinder Veriah, in Malaysia in 1993 who then came to live with him in England the following year. His research on the book started in earnest when he went to live in Hong Kong with his wife and nine-week old son Ravi in 1998.
During the following year he travelled extensively in China, Japan and Taiwan but his work on the book was interrupted by the tragic death of his wife on January 2, 2000 at the age of 33 in hospital, a consequence of negligence caused at least in part by racism. He stayed on living in Hong Kong with his son until March 2001, fighting for an inquest into his wife’s death and then helping to initiate a campaign for the introduction of anti-racist legislation which was finally successful in 2008. In 2010, after a legal struggle with the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong concerning the hospital’s clinical negligence that lasted almost a decade, the Hospital Authority was finally forced to settle days before the matter was due to go to the High Court.
Disconsolate, stricken by grief for Hari, his love for her beyond imagination, Martin was unable to touch the book for five years. He eventually resumed work on it in 2005. He was a visiting professor at the International Centre for Chinese Studies at Aichi University in Nagoya and later a visiting professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. In 2005-6 he was a visiting professor at Renmin University, Beijing, and in 2006 a visiting senior research fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He completed the final manuscript for the book in December 2008.
Born in Coventry in 1945, he took a first class honours degree at Manchester University followed by a masters degree. He then went to Cambridge University, where he was a member of King’s College, and gained a PhD. He subsequently held a lectureship in the Department of Economic and Social History at Bristol University.
In 1977, he became editor of Marxism Today, a post he held for fourteen years, transforming what was an obscure and dull journal into the most influential political publication in Britain, read and respected on the right and left alike, and the home of the best contemporary political analysis; it was the foremost analyst of Thatcherism, coining the term, identified the decline of the left before others, and introduced the idea of ‘new times’, based on post-Fordism and globalisation. In 1991 he closed Marxism Today. It had enjoyed a huge reputation and after its closure was sorely missed by many.
In 1994 Martin became the deputy editor of the Independent newspaper, a post he held until 1996. In 1993 he co-founded the think-tank Demos, the idea for which first occurred to him during the latter phase of Marxism Today, and which was to become influential during the 1990s.
An award-winning journalist, in 1988 he became a columnist and essayist for the Sunday Times, a relationship which continued until 1994. In 1991-2, he was also a columnist for The Times and in 1996 – 8 for the Observer and from 2002 for the Guardian and more recently the New Statesman. In addition he has written extensively for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and elsewhere including: Financial Times, The Economist, Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Daily Mail, Daily Express, The European, THES, TLS, Management Today, Esquire, World Link (journal of World Economic Forum), International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Daily Beast, New Republic, Volkskrant, Profil, La Stampa, Corriere della Sera, L’Unita, Il Mondo, Politiken, Ta Nea, Volkszeitung, Liberation, Le Monde Diplomatique, Folha Des Paulo, China Daily and South China Morning Post.
His most influential essays have included the End of Politics, the Rise of East Asia, Meaning of Middle Class Insecurity, the Age of Sport, and the Global Hierarchy of Race.
He has made many television programmes for the BBC including writing and presenting Italy on Trial (1993), The Incredible Shrinking Politicians (1993), a two-part series on The End of the Western World (1996) and Proud to be Chinese (1998).
He co-edited and co-authored the Forward March of Labour Halted? (1981), Politics of Thatcherism (1983), New Times (1989), Wrong (1998) and has contributed essays to many other books.
He is in great demand as a speaker. His TED Talk on ‘Understanding China’ has had almost 900,000 views. He has given lectures at many of the world’s top universities including Harvard, Cornell, UCLA, USC, Cambridge, Oxford, Peking, Tsinghua, Renmin, NUS, Tokyo, University of Hong Kong, amongst many others. And he has given lectures to many corporate clients including Bank of America, Shell, Allianz, BNP Paribas, Financial Times, British Telecom, BBC, HR50, Amerada Hess, Investec, DSM and Khazanah.
He is chairman of the Harinder Veriah Trust which was established in memory of his wife and gives financial support to under-privileged children at Harinder’s old school Assunta Primary in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, in order to assist them in their education. It has also sponsored young Malaysian lawyers from under-privileged backgrounds to work for two-year stints at Hogan Lovells in London.
He lives in London with his son, Ravi.