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Last week a Tibetan mastiff was flown into Xian airport in central China, where it received a welcome fit for an emperor.

The dog was swept into town by a convoy of 30 Mercedes-Benz cars. Tibetan mastiffs are a rare and noble breed – and the pampered pooch had cost his new owners Rmb4m ($586,000, €402,000, £351,000). Reporting the story, the China Daily newspaper commented nervously that such an extravagant display of wealth might “heighten tension between rich and poor”.

This shaggy dog story is just a particularly weird example of the new wealth of modern China. When I last visited the Pudong district of Shanghai, in the mid-1990s, it was a ramshackle area of factories and warehouses. Last week, I found it transformed into a forest of neon-lit, modernist skyscrapers. China has shrugged off the global recession and should grow by 8 per cent in 2009.

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Friday morning, British author Martin Jacques talked about his new book, “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order.” As one listener noted, it’s a great title for getting attention for the book. However, the book itself is less hyperbolic than the title and offers food for thought about how little Jacques thinks China is likely to change as it grows into the world’s dominant economy.

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A new study shows that democracy and prosperity are inextricably linked.

With autocratic states like China and Russia looking poised for economic recovery, it’s often hard to make the case for ideals such as democracy and rule of law. To some, like Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules, autocrats seem destined to rule the world economy.

A columnist for the Guardian, Jacques predicted that by 2050 China will easily surpass America economically, militarily and politically. The belief in the power of autocracy even extends to such leading American capitalists as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who have nothing but high praise for what Gates enthusiastically describes as a “brand-new form of capitalism.”

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China’s global vision may not augur well for India

Barely three weeks after top officials, including the national security adviser, berated the media for Sinophobia and war hysteria, New Delhi has been stung by what it regards as an astonishing lack of reciprocity from Beijing. It is one thing for China to routinely issue proforma denunciations of the “splittist Dalai clique” and object to every journey undertaken by the exiled Tibetan leader. Yet, even by the exalted standards of Chinese insensitivity, the protest against the visit of the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, to Arunachal Pradesh for an election rally took the proverbial biscuit.

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KUALA LUMPUR — In her relationship with Malaysia, be it bilateral or at the regional level, Beijing has always been willing to listen and suggest cooperative endeavours for all-round benefits, said Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman. He said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had made a most successful visit to China earlier this year where he was warmly received.

Anifah said a number of new areas for cooperation were also identified which Malaysia was looking forward to jointly pursue. He said during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis when the West turned its back on East Asia, China did not devalue the Renminbi to ensure countries in trouble did not get deeper in it and proposed swap arrangements for those with balance-of-payments difficulties.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman believes that there is a small group of people with “ulterior motives” playing up supposedly contentious issues between Malaysia and Indonesia.

In his meeting with his Indonesian counterpart in Jakarta on Thursday, he said they will discuss why a small group of people in Indonesia kept on playing up the Pendet dance issue despite the explanation given by the Discovery Channel to the relevant authorities. Anifah said he was confident that the small group of people who were repeatedly playing up the issue had ulterior motives.

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Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman leaves for Jakarta tomorrow for a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Dr Hassan Wirajuda on Thursday in the wake of anti-Malaysian incidents and media reports there. Anifah also hoped he would get to call on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his brief visit to the Indonesian capital.

“I think it is only proper that we meet and discuss and see how to ease the tension and possibly find out what transpired in Indonesia concerning a couple of issues highlighted in the media in Indonesia and see how best to overcome, tackle or minimise the negative perception by a small section of people there,” he said of his meeting with Hassan.

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Racism is a subject that people often seek to avoid, it being deemed too politically embarrassing, any suggestion of its existence often eliciting a response of outraged indignation and immediate denial. Yet it is central to the discourse of most, if not all, societies.

So writes Martin Jacques in his recent book When China Rules the World: the rise of the Middle Kingdom [China] and the end of the Western World. Well, he certainly did not have South Africa uppermost in mind where the topic of racism is far from “politically embarrassing” to raise, but rather a political embarrassment as it is endlessly and gratuitously raised to shroud the real issues. Just take the Caster Semenya and Brandon Huntley hullabaloos for a start, not to mention rugby and nearly every time Julius Malema opens his mouth.

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The predictor of Beijing’s rise and Washington’s decline in less than two decades from now gives his first Asian interview to China Daily

The man who says China is about to rule the world makes his way toward me at an exit of Wudaokou subway station. None of the Chinese people around us en­joying a sunny Saturday morning in this popular student hangout of northwestern Beijing would have any idea who this shaven-headed, slightly quirky figure was or even care.

They might be slightly more intrigued if they knew the man coming into view. Martin Jacques has written a book about them and their future that is already attracting major interest in the West.

Jacques in his sandals may be an unlikely vanguard for 1.3 billion people but nonetheless When China Rules the World, which argues the former Middle Kingdom will take over from the United States as the world’s leading power, is fuelling a huge debate.

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The Chinese state has a competence that far exceeds that of Western states

There is a standard Western reflex to any discussion about China: it is not democratic. True, but that does not get us very far. Nor was any Western country during its economic take-off; nor was Japan; and nor were the Asian tigers. The great majority of countries have not been democratic during their period of take-off: the most obvious, and remarkable, exception is India. As for China, about half the population still lives in the countryside, meaning that its economic take-off – the shift from agriculture to industry, from the countryside to the cities – still has a long way to run.

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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