Media Archive

Discussions about China’s rise and its global impact have been growing more heated over the years. Martin Jacques (Jacques), a senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University and author of When China Rules the World, shared his thoughts with Global Times (GT) London correspondent Sun Wei.

GT: In your book When China Rules the World, you argued that “China will become the dominant global power within decades, and it won’t become more westernized but will make the rest of the world more Chinese.” Do you still stick to this conclusion now?

Jacques: Yes, very much so. Of course, as China has become increasingly integrated into the global economy, it is being influenced by other countries and cultures, especially Western. But as China rises, it is clear that it is exercising a growing influence on the world. Countries around the world are looking to China, and pivoting to China because they see China as increasingly central to their own futures. This is abundantly clear in East Asia, but also Africa and indeed Europe. Major European countries, notably Germany, France and the UK, are more and more orientating themselves towards China. If Westernisation was the dominant trend for over two centuries, we are now seeing the beginnings of a process of Sinicisation. That doesn’t mean that Westernisation is no longer important, but it is no longer the overwhelming influence that it was in the past. What is remarkable since the publication of my book in English in 2009 is now far this process has gone in such a short period – and this is only the beginning of the process.

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Carmen N Pedrosa

We are ecstatic that the Filipino crowd has finally found its strength and the way to express it. For the moment Duterte supporters are full of hope that Rodrigo Roa Duterte, an obscure mayor from Mindanao is the answer. He has come forward with his program and he has a party to implement it – the PDP Laban. He is serious about constitutional change that will transform the Philippines into a parliamentary system with a federal structure. He will have many enemies but he will also have friends and a multitude of supporters to carry out the difficult task.

I don’t think he needs to be told about the treachery of evil. He has lived with it when he was mayor of Davao. But caveat emptor (avoid danger) the famous Latin quotation is relevant to him as well as to us. Evil is a constant in reality. The danger is to think that it can be destroyed with a magic wand. No matter how much he may wish it, it will not happen overnight. Nation building is a slow process of creating effective institutions that should last long after he is gone. And most of all he must keep in mind that as leader of the Filipino crowds that waited for him to remember always that he must not make “the perfect come in the way of the good.” That I believe is the temptation for a man with a heroic bent like Duterte. He wants to do good, he lives humbly and speaks in the language the masses understand. Never mind the critics who tell him that he needs to speak with the Arrneow accent.

His role in history is to begin the process of change. We were subjected to an imperialist constitution from the Americans in favor of a presidential system. That ensured the rule of oligarchy as its new channel to imperialist rule. The all powerful Philippine President would act like the all powerful American governor general.

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Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Growing up in California with no special interest in China, one of the few things I associated with the big country across the Pacific was mix-and-match meal creation. On airplanes and in school cafeterias, you just had “chicken or beef” choices, but Chinese restaurants were “one from Column A, one from Column B” combination domains. If only in more debates on China, a similar readiness to think beyond either/or options would prevail!

I thought of this early in 2013 when I saw a January 10 Reuters assessment of Xi Jinping’s actions during his first few weeks as head of the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.). The article carried this “chicken or beef” headline: “China’s New Leader: Harbinger of Reform or Another Conservative?” Previous Chinese leaders had often turned out to have both reformist and conservative sides. Even Deng Xiaoping, considered the quintessential reformer due to his economic policies, held the line on political liberalization and backed the brutal 1989 crackdown. Despite what the headline suggested, I joined with those analysts who thought it most likely that Xi, too, would end up ordering from both the reformist and conservative sides of the menu. And that’s what he has done. For example, he has instituted a dramatic change in the way rural property rights are handled, something that economist Barry Naughton, hailing it as one of several key important recent economic reforms, lauds for finally giving farmers “a clear system to support renting, leasing, and mortgaging land.” But, conversely, Xi has also done even more than his predecessor did to rein in civil society and shown an even greater penchant than Hu for celebrating traditional Confucian values.

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Joe Cock

On the evening of February 22nd, Martin Jacques gave his talk entitled “When China Rules the World” at the National Liberal Club in London. The title, lifted from his newly expanded book which has sold 350,000 copies in 14 languages, is crafted to alarm Western sensibilities; not ‘if’, but ‘when’. China’s rise is far from over, but its hegemony is already considered a foregone conclusion.

The basic facts of China’s ascendancy are indeed unique in our experience of history. The USA is the benchmark of what a modern superpower looks like, and even in 1980, the USA’s economy was over twenty times the size of China’s. Yet somehow, the IMF predicts that by 2020, China’s economy will be 20% bigger than its nearest rival. Every single country in the world has had to reconsider its relationship with China in the last 25 years. To illustrate this we need only glance at Jacques’ illustration of China’s grasp on world trade today, where red signifies that China is the country’s largest trading partner, orange second-largest, and yellow third or below.


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Illustration: Tom Jellett

Simon Marginson

International education in the Asia-Pacific is tremendously exciting because the region’s countries are tremendously exciting at this juncture in world history. Student mobility continues to grow. More than half of all cross-border students are from Asia and mobility within Asia is increasing. China, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and others have ambitious targets for further growth.

What explains this growth? And the equally dynamic growth of other forms of internationalisation, including movement of ­academics, co-publication in research, transnational education? Without fully exploring the research literature on push-pull factors, I want to put forward three explanations.

First, international mobility, cultural engagement and learning in new sites have an attraction for us that cannot be explained simply in terms of cost-benefit. It is more about possible future benefits, or even just future possibilities, than about immediate rewards. We practise internationalisation whether or not we generate revenue from students. We subsidise internationalisation heavily. We lose money on research collaboration, and staff and student travel, but we keep doing them. For their part, many international students don’t know whether their international degree will truly boost their careers, but they go anyway.

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by Helen H Wang
Forbes, 26/2/16


© Frank Jang

In a recent Commonwealth Club event in Silicon Valley, two prominent China experts, Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World, and Susan Shirk, author of China: Fragile Superpower, had a fascinating exchange of opinions about China’s relationship with the West.

The premise of the discussion was that the United Kingdom is the U.S.’s closest ally, but it has adopted a very different policy toward China. As I wrote here, the British now call themselves “China’s best partner in the West.” Last March, the U.K. decided to join China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) despite the strong opposition from the U.S. When the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the U.K. in November, the British government showered him with an extraordinary pageantry – a startling contrast to his treatment from the U.S. where President Obama threatened to sanction China.

“This is a symptom of the rise of China,” Mr. Jacques said. “It represents a shift in [global] geopolitics.”

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China’s President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave as they board their aircraft to return to China, at Manchester airport in Britain.

There were emotional scenes as President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, waved while their limousine swept out of Albert Square in Manchester at the conclusion of their weeklong state visit to the UK.

Thousands of Chinese, many of them local students, surrounded the square in front of the city’s town hall, a symbol of Britain’s Victorian industrial power, where the couple had just had lunch with civic leaders. They shouted, “Xi Dada! Xi Dada”, a term of endearment, referring to him as uncle.

This was no manufactured nationalism, as some of the British media had suggested, but reflected both a youthful nationalism and a confidence in the new direction of the country.

Apart from South African president Nelson Mandela nearly two decades ago, you would have to go back to perhaps 1977 to witness such crowd scenes for a foreign leader’s visit. It was then that US president Jimmy Carter famously ventured to another northern English city – Newcastle upon Tyne.

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