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The following article by Martin Jacques appeared in Gulf News, 27th February 2018. 

The Belt and Road Initiative marks a new stage in China’s rise. Launched in 2013, it built on China’s going out strategy which took shape around the turn of the century. If the lines of continuity are clear, the differences are even starker. The going out strategy saw China developing closer relations with Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America, to name the most prominent. In contrast, the BRI is an overarching project designed to transform the Eurasian land mass, presently home to around two-thirds of the world’s population.

We have never seen the like of it before, a project on the grandest of scales and in that sense consonant with China’s own traditions.

Although Europe is part of the Eurasian land mass, the central aim is the transformation of the developing countries that comprise most of the continent. The developmental logic runs roughly as follows. China transformed itself — the most remarkable transformation in human history, one never likely to be repeated — by massive investment, in which the state was instrumental and which was largely directed towards infrastructure.

The result was spectacular economic growth and a massive reduction in poverty. If it worked for China, then why could it not for other developing countries? China doesn’t see itself as a model, but it does believe that these lessons are of more general application.

Spectacular though Belt and Road maybe, it would be wrong to underestimate or dismiss its chances of success. After almost four decades of continuous growth, China has a formidable record of delivery. Belt and Road should not only be taken seriously, it should be assumed that it in the long run it is likely to be largely successful.

By 2050, Eurasia will surely look very different, growth will have taken root in many countries and Eurasia will have moved to the centre of the global economy and geopolitics. For the more sceptical, it should be born in mind that by 2030 the Chinese economy is projected to be twice the size of America’s.

For various reasons, most importantly the closeness of the US’s relationship with the Middle East, China has moved relatively cautiously in expanding its ties with the Middle East. But the pace has quickened since the Western financial crisis.

The most important single aspect of China’s relationship has been its dependence on the Middle East for half its oil imports. But the Chinese approach has consistently focused on the need to establish a much broader economic relationship. In this context, the Middle East countries have shown great interest in the Belt and Road Initiative.

All the Middle Eastern states, bar five, are members of the Asian Infrastructure Bank, and three of the 12 directors are from the region.

Apart from the obvious economic importance of China to the Middle East, there are two key reasons why the latter is showing such interest in Belt and Road. Firstly, these countries — and perhaps most notably the Gulf states — occupy a key strategic position with regard to both the land and maritime routes.

This lends their ports an obvious significance and enhances the potential of their accompanying economic zones. The second is that with the decline of fossil fuels now firmly on the agenda, they need to diversify their economies with some alacrity, Saudi Arabia being the most compelling example.

The UAE has been well to the fore in broadening its relationship with China. China is the UAE’s second largest trading partner while the UAE is China’s second largest partner in the Gulf region.

The Khalifa port is one of the fastest growing in the world and, with Cosco’s decision to establish its own container terminal, is set to almost double in size. The Kamsil industrial zone is expanding rapidly with major Chinese investments.

A UAE-China investment fund was established in 2015 and the UAE sees itself as becoming a major financial hub. Lying on the key trading routes to Africa, Europe and the Indian subcontinent, the UAE is well-placed to be a major beneficiary of the BRI.

Original article by Arif Nizami in Pakistan Today can be found here.

The China that I saw last week is a far cry from the country that I had first visited with Prime Minister Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto in May 1976. At the time one of the few hotels in town was the Peking hotel where the Pakistani delegation accompanying the prime minister was put up.

Men and women, both were attired in Mao suits plying mostly on bicycles. There were only a few cars on the roads belonging mostly to communist party officials. The first premier of China, Zhou Enlai had died back in January the same year, while Mao Zedong the chairman and founder of modern China was gravely ill.

Bhutto was the last head of state or government who got an audience with Mao when he was suddenly whisked away from an opera performance in his honour to meet the Great Leader. A few months later Mao died and with that an era ended.

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The following interview with Martin Jacques appeared in ‘The Paper’, 16th December 2017.

近年来,尽管中国在世界舞台上发挥着愈加重要的作用,但西方对于中国崛起的探讨仍多半集中于经济。2009年,英国学者马丁·雅克(Martin Jacques)出版《大国雄心:一个永不褪色的大国梦》(When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order)一书,从经济、政治、文化、社会等方面全方位地分析中国崛起在全球范围内所引起的经济和地缘政治的重大变化,指出中国作为开启另一种现代化发展模式的先行者,已能够融入世界体系并领导全球新秩序的重塑。

身为中国问题专家的马丁·雅克,是伦敦政治经济学院IDEAS的高级客座研究员以及剑桥大学政治学与国际问题系高级研究员,同时还是亚洲研究中心客座研究员。他现为清华大学访问学者,曾在京都立命馆大学、新加坡国立大学任教,并曾在中国人民大学做客座教授,是英国智库Demos的创始人之一。

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The following article by Martin Jacques appeared in China Daily, 20th January 2018.

As momentous historic events go, China’s reform period was relatively unheralded. Little did anyone realize at the time – probably no one, in fact – that 1978 would enter the history books as one of the most important years in modern history.

We should not be surprised. At the time, the Chinese economy was a mere one-twentieth of the size of the US economy, with a per capita GDP roughly on a par with that of Zambia, lower than half of the Asian average and lower than two-thirds of the African average. China’s impact on the world was very limited, even in East Asia.

Although its growth rate had averaged a little more than 5 percent from 1960-1978, this compared rather unfavorably with economies like Japan and South Korea. For the majority of the world’s population, China was largely forgotten or ignored, usually both. Even in China, there was little anticipation that the country stood on the eve of a remarkable transformation. When chairman Mao had died in 1976, the country was relatively isolated. The “cultural revolution” (1966-76) continued to cast a long shadow, the leadership was divided, and Deng Xiaoping had only very recently begun to emerge as the country’s key leader. Notwithstanding the unquestioned achievements made since 1949, the future did not look particularly promising.

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The following is an English translation of an article by Martin Jacques that appeared in People’s Daily, 9th January 2018

The 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress marked a new moment in China’s arrival on the global stage. Congresses of the Chinese Communist Party, even in the modern era, have invariably attracted little attention in the West. They have been regarded as neither particularly relevant nor important, rubber-stamp occasions that were difficult to understand or decipher and best left to the China experts. The 19th Congress broke the mould. It was widely reported and recognised in the West as an event of major global importance. Instead of treating the Congress as a somewhat bizarre tribal occasion, some of the coverage displayed a greater sense of seriousness and inquiry. It was widely acknowledged that this was one of the most important political events of 2017. The coverage was further evidence that China has moved to the centre of the global stage. 

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The following is an English translation of an article by Martin Jacques that appeared in the People’s Daily, 22nd December 2017.

At the end of 2017 uncertainty dominates the outlook for the future. As we can now see with great clarity, the Western financial crisis of 2007-8 proved the most important turning point in the West since 1945. For a decade, the Western economies have been mired in varying degrees of stagnation, not least with regard to living standards. And it was the Great Recession that begat the Great Populist Uprising in 2016. The latter signalled the end of the hegemony of neo-liberalism in the West, which began in 1980 with the arrival of Reagan and Thatcher and was characterised by hyper-globalisation, privatisation and a huge growth in inequality. The Uprising was driven by large swathes of the population in both the United States and Britain whose living standards had more or less stagnated for four decades. It was a popular revolt against the governing elites by those who felt left behind and who held these elites responsible for their deteriorating situation. Politically the new mood was articulated most clearly, though not solely, by the right, notably Trump in America and the Brexiteers in the UK. 

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我们应当铭记,2017年始于习近平主席在瑞士达沃斯世界经济论坛上的演讲。这一演讲的主要观点迅速传遍世界,并被视为对经济全球化的标准界定,将之称为新的全球共识也毫不为过

这是一个充满不确定性的时代。但有一点很明确,对西方而言,2007—2008年爆发的国际金融危机是自1945年以来的一个重大拐点。10年间,西方国家陷入了不同程度的停滞,尤其是在人民生活水平方面。这次大衰退最终导致了2016年西方民粹主义的兴起。民粹主义泛滥标志着始于上世纪80年代、以自由放任的全球化、私有化和收入差距拉大为特征的西方新自由主义支配地位的终结。

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Updated and expanded new Chinese edition just released.

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Turkish edition just published!

When China Rules the World is the first book to fully conceive of and explain the upheaval that China’s ascendance will cause and the realigned global power structure it will create.

New edition available now from:

Amazon UK
and all good booksellers.

US second edition is available now via: 

Amazon US