Martin Jacques is the author of ‘When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order’ (Penguin, 2012), and a senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University.

To all intents and purposes, Europe – including the UK – is more or less frozen. It is still living in the dark shadow cast by the financial crisis. This is the era of stagnation, and it may last for another decade or more. So we can expect that not too much will happen in 2015 – except, of course, in terms of the political fallout from such a condition. While the US is clearly more dynamic, this is overshadowed by its tumultuous decline as a global power. Which brings us to China.

The preoccupation of the western media and financial analysts with China’s reduced economic growth rate has served, once more, to divert attention from the continuing enormity of the changes taking place in China: from the anti-corruption drive and judicial reforms, to the Shanghai free-trade zone and the rise of consumption. However, as 2014 drew to a close, what began to capture global attention was China’s growing dominance in east Asia.

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16/12/14 – People's Daily

As China rises, so its relationship with the rest of the world becomes ever-closer. At the same time, it also grows more complex. There are bound to be setbacks as well as advances. Overall, however, one must conclude that 2014 has been a very good year as far as China’s global rise is concerned. More and more countries around the world want to build a closer economic relationship with China, which increasingly they see as crucial to their own future prosperity. China is pioneering a new paradigm in international relations in which military concerns are no longer paramount – as has been the case in the post-1945 American world order – and, in their place, economic relations, based on trade, investment and loans, are assuming primacy.

This trend – embodying the notion of win-win co-operation – is most apparent in China’s relationship with the developing world but it is also becoming a growing feature of, for example, China’s relationship with many European countries. This is even true of the UK, which has been a relative laggard in its relationship with China: since December 2013 it has been enthusiastically seeking Chinese investment in its nuclear industry and trying to make London the European hub for the renminbi.

The most dramatic example of this primacy of the economic, however, is East Asia. The United States introduced its ‘pivot to Asia’ – now described as ‘rebalancing’ – in 2012 in an attempt to reverse its decline in the region while at the same time seeking to constrain and contain China’s rise. The key plank of the pivot was – in time-honoured American tradition – to strengthen its military alliances with Japan and South Korea, and also the Philippines. Yet the reason for America’s decline in East Asia was not military but economic. Similarly, the reason for China’s rise was not military but economic. In other words, the very conception of the pivot was fundamentally flawed.

2014 offers powerful evidence that the US strategy will fail. The launch of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank with 21 members – notwithstanding powerful American pressure to dissuade countries from joining – shows that the main trend in the region is economic partnership and co-operation, with China at the heart of the process, rather than military alliances. Japan, South Korea and Indonesia were the only East Asian countries that refused to join, and since then Indonesia has announced its intention to sign up. We can expect the process of economic integration in the region to accelerate, with the US, it would seem, increasingly an outsider. Even its attempt to seize the trading initiative – the deliberately divisive TPP – is in serious trouble.

This offers an insight into what the world might be like when China possesses the largest economy. If American power has been characterised, above all, by its military might, together with its predilection to interfere in the political affairs of other countries, China offers a very different example. The American worldview is based on the notion of enemies and allies – a fundamentally military logic. China thinks in terms of economic development and mutuality. China, in fact, does not have enemies – the nearest example is Japan – and nor does it have allies. On the contrary, all countries, including Japan, are viewed as actual or potential partners. This is a very different conception of the world, which also finds reflection in the style of Chinese political leadership, quiet and reserved rather than lecturing and hectoring.

The roots of these differences, of course, are historical. While Europe – the progenitor of the United States – sought to extend its influence around the world through military conquest and direct political rule resulting in vast colonial empires, China’s influence in East Asia and beyond was based on a combination of economic and cultural rather than military and political power. While Europe sought to impose its values on the world by force and subjugation, China’s sense of itself as the most advanced civilization – the Middle Kingdom, the land under heaven – was expressed in a desire to prioritise the domestic – or stay at home – rather than conquer the world.

A fundamental feature of the China Dream concerns China’s evolving relationship with the world: this, of course, is still very much work in progress. Ever since China was forced by its own weakness at the end of the nineteenth century to submit to the Western norms of the international system, it has enjoyed very little international influence. That is changing rapidly, but we are still only at the very beginning of this process. Based on little contemporary experience or historical knowledge of China, the world is watching to see how it will exercise its growing power. Inevitably, because China is so unfamiliar and also so huge, there is some apprehension. But what has been most striking so far is how relatively little hostility there has been towards China’s rise, and even a sense of expectation. China must do everything in its power to ensure this continues.

The reforms that count tend to conform to the western model, writes Martin Jacques

In the west there is an underlying assumption that the Achilles heel of China is its political system. Since the country lacks western-style democracy, its system of governance is unsustainable. Ultimately, China will be obliged to adopt our kind of political system.
Yet China’s governance system has been remarkably successful for more than three decades. It has presided over the greatest economic transformation in modern history.

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Hong Kong’s chief executive says he is willing to hold talks with the demonstrators who have camped out for days now in the city’s financial center. This came as a response to a request from the protesters.

Students are demanding more freedom on choosing the candidates for Hong Kong’s next leadership election in 2017. They also want the Chief Executive, CY Leung, to resign. Leung has said he will not resign. Beijing has called the protests illegal and has supported the Hong Kong leadership. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the protest was illegitimate when he met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Yi also urged protesters to withdraw.

Martin Jacques, a senior fellow at Cambridge University and author of “When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order”, joins CCTV America to discuss the latest developments in the demonstrations.

“For 155 years, the British ruled Hong Kong but they never gave universal suffrage. So, Hong Kong under the British was never a democracy. It became an issue only during the handover of Hong Kong from the British to China. For the British it was not important to give universal suffrage when they ruled it,” Jacques said.

30/09/14 — Diplomacy Magazine (Gaiko)

Gaiko is the leading publication in Japan on foreign policy issues

In April this year the World Bank’s International Comparison Program projected that during the course of 2014 China’s GDP (measured by ppp) would exceed that of the United States. Although widely anticipated to happen in the next several years, hardly anyone expected it to be this year. But, it should be noted, the West has consistently underestimated the speed of China’s rise. As a result, it has been, and remains, consistently behind the curve of China’s rise, with the consequence that it constantly underestimates the extent to which the world has changed because of China’s transformation.

Of course, economic power does not translate immediately and directly into political power. On the contrary, if we look at the rise of previous hegemons, notably the UK in the nineteenth century and the US in the twentieth century, there has always been a significant time lag between their emergence as great economic powers and their subsequent arrival as major hegemonic powers enjoying broader political, cultural and military as well as economic influence. That said, however, economic power was the fundamental pre-condition for, and prelude to, their emergence as global hegemons. The same will be true of China.

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Alas, we remain far too ignorant about the country, too often resorting to cliché

The visit of the Chinese prime minister, Li Keqiang, to London last week is the latest illustration of a huge shift that is taking place in Sino-British relations. On taking office, the Coalition government talked about the importance of emerging markets such as China but did little. Then David Cameron met the Dalai Lama in 2012 and the Chinese put us in the deep freeze for 18 months. But, to its great credit, once normal relations were resumed, the Government lost no time in seeking to place the relationship on a different footing. In Beijing last December, Cameron spoke of Britain and China becoming “great partners”.

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Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall was an utterly unique figure. Although he arrived at the age of 19 from Jamaica and spent the rest of his life here, he never felt at home in Britain. This juxtaposition was a crucial source of his strength and originality. Because of his colour and origin, he saw the country differently, not as a native but as an outsider. He observed this island through a different viewfinder and it enabled him to see things that those shaped and formatted by the culture could not. It took an outsider, a black person from a former colony, to understand what was happening to a post-imperial country seemingly locked in endless decline.

His impact was to be felt across many different fields. Perhaps best known is his pioneering work in cultural studies, but his influence was to be felt in many diverse fields. By the end of the 1970s, it was the connections that he started to make between culture and politics that was to redefine how we thought about politics.

This was how my own relationship with Stuart began in 1978. Soon after I became editor of Marxism Today, I commissioned an article from him on Thatcher. The result was one of the most important pieces of political writing of the past 40 years. Stuart, drawing on his cultural insights and the work of Antonio Gramsci, proceeded to rewrite the way in which we make sense of politics; and in the process, incidentally, he invented the term Thatcherism. For the next decade, it felt as if we lived in each other’s pockets. The way in which Stuart wrote was fascinating. Some, like Eric Hobsbawm, the other Marxism Today great, produced a perfect text first time out. Stuart’s first draft, in contrast, would arrive in an extremely incoherent and rambling form, as if trying to clear his throat. Over the next 10 days, one draft would follow another, in quick succession, like a game of ping-pong. His was a restless, inventive intellect, always pushing the envelope, at his best when working in some form of collaboration with others. His end result was always worth savouring, his articles hugely influential.

Tragically, Stuart’s ill health slowly but remorselessly curtailed and undermined his ferocious energy. But his mind remained as alert and involved as ever. The response to his death has served to demonstrate how much his work has influenced so many people in so many different ways: cultural studies, race and ethnicity, politics, the arts, the media, academe. Little has been left untouched by his intellectual power and insight.

Stuart’s extraordinary impact was not because he happened to be black and from Jamaica. It was because he was black and from Jamaica. It took an outsider, a black Jamaican, to help us understand and make sense of Britain’s continuing decline. He was in so many ways well ahead of his time. It is difficult to think of anyone else that has offered such a powerful insight into what has been happening to us over the past 70 years.

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