T N Ninan – This is an edited extract from The Turn of the Tortoise: The Challenge and Promise of India’s Future published on October 9.
Hainan Island lies off the south-western coast of China, jutting into waters stirred by controversy. At its southern tip, China has built a massive naval base with subterranean hiding places for nuclear submarines, and long piers for parking the aircraft carriers it will build. The South China Sea stretches from there into territory claimed controversially by China and contested by other South East Asian countries. Hainan is also touted as China’s answer to Hawaii, another sunny spot where a key naval base exists side by side with sandy beaches and palm-fringed holiday resorts. Flights land at Hainan’s Haikou airport from all corners of the region. Bullet trains speed you from the airport in the north to the holiday resorts in the south.
Read more >
CHINA’S increasing involvement in the economy of The Bahamas is inevitably attracting controversy here. Having already invested heavily in Freeport (the harbour, container port, airport and hotels) and in New Providence (the huge Baha Mar project, new roads, a sports stadium, the British Colonial Hilton hotel), it now has plans for the redevelopment of downtown Nassau.
Then, the Prime Minister’s visit to Beijing in January – in order to discuss, among other issues, an air services agreement, opportunities for investment in sectors of the economy like tourism, financial services, agriculture and energy (including BEC), together with assistance in restructuring the country’s debt – has put the bilateral economic relationship under even greater scrutiny.
Not surprisingly, such growing involvement by the Chinese induces fear about a distant foreign country, which is still a communist state but has become an economic powerhouse, acquiring too much control of the affairs of a small nation already closely beholden in many ways to its giant and influential neighbour.
Read more >
In the continent, unlike in the US, China is not seen as a major strategic competitor, says academic expert
Timothy Garton Ash believes China and Europe have the opportunity to forge one of the great-power relationships over the next few decades.
The internationally renowned historian and commentator says such an alliance has far more potential than any the world’s second-largest economy may have with the United States since it would be devoid of superpower rivalry.
“I think the Europe-China relationship is the neglected great-power relationship. Europe is China’s largest trading partner so there is a massive economic relationship,” he says.
“It is also a less difficult relationship than that with the United States, which is not taking kindly to relative decline. It is finding it more difficult to accommodate a rising China.”
Read more >
Two major new developments between China and Canada/North America took on new meanings for me after a recent trip to China to introduce my new Chinese-Canadian grandson to his Chinese relatives.
My trip was much enriched by a simultaneous reading of Martin Jacques’ political page-turner: When China Rules the World. As The Economist reviewer commented on Jacques’ insights, “The West hopes that wealth, globalization and political integration will turn China into a gentle giant … Time will not make China more Western; it will make the West, and the world, more Chinese.”
That was illustrated to me by the recent signing of the U.S.-China climate change agreement and by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s signing a deal to set up a Chinese currency-trading hub in Toronto. Harper’s approach to China itself is indicative of the West becoming more Chinese. Gone are his earlier principled objections to human rights violations, a reflection of western Christian democracies’ legal rights and constitution-based approach to politics.
Read more >
With the inevitable rise of China as no. 1 in the world economy it is important that we re-examine our foreign policy about it. I find it useful to quote once again from a talk by Martin Jacques, a British author who came to Manila in November 2012. He predicted that in a decade, China would surpass the American economy.
Well, with the news that it is now no.1 according to IMF figures, it has come sooner than expected. Jacques’ talk then was about findings that he put together in a book that became a world best seller “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order.” It was published in 2009 and it has continued to enjoy a wide readership. It has since sold over a quarter of a million copies and translated into 11 languages.
Jacques also has a blog where his lectures are posted. I was able to talk to him while in London recently and his position about China’s rise was unchanged. In his talk in Manila, he was keen to impart to Filipinos that we ought to be ready for the Chinese economic supremacy. The author had the credentials to deal with both Eastern and Western culture and developments.
Read more >
As Hong Kong’s student protests continue to heat up this week, protest leaders plan to visit China’s capital city to bring the issue directly to Premier Li Keqiang.
But the planned trip to Beijing may be thwarted before it can begin. China’s Chief Secretary Carrie Lim says that students would be wasting their time coming to the capital if they were only going to repeat their same demands.
But the secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, Alex Chow, told reporters that Saturday’s planned trip to Beijing “symbolises that Hongkongers are not afraid of Beijing’s manipulation.”
These student protests, also referred to as the Umbrella Movement to convey how umbrellas are being used to deflect tear gas canisters and batons, started in September of this year to fight China’s decision on proposed electoral reform for the 2017 elections. The country’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) announced that it would disallow civil nominations, essentially allowing the committee to elect two to three candidates before the general public could vote. This angered the Hong Kong Federation of Students and the protesters took to the streets to show their disapproval.
Read more >
China will soon possess the world’s largest economy, and cultural influence will follow economic power. Martin Jaques argues in his book ‘When China Rules the World’ that this change will shape the next century. But what does it mean for the future of Buddhism?
What is the most significant development in the world over the last three decades: the end of the cold war? The clash between the West and militant Islam? Economic booms and crashes? Martin Jacques’ answer is the rise of China, which has quietly gathered momentum since 1978. When China Rules The World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order argues that, sustained by a population of 1.3 billion, China will be the dominant power of the 21st Century.
When this book’s first edition appeared in 2008 reviewers doubted its prediction that the China would overtake the US and become the world’s largest economy in 2027. But when developed economies stalled after 2008 China’s economy continued growing at 9-10 percent a year and the date when China is expected to take the lead is now 2018. We daily read of Euro-zone leaders imploring China to fund bailouts and the US dollar being saved from depreciation by Chinese-owned Treasury Bonds. Power is flowing from west to the east: welcome to the future.
Read more >