Nothing will be quite the same again. It raises many questions. Why the extreme China-bashing? Will US-China relations continue to worsen? How will China’s success and the West’s relative failure in dealing with the epidemic impact on the world? Will the trend towards nationalism grow? What will happen to globalisation? To migration? Will Chinese students ever return to Western universities in the same numbers? Interview with Anand Naidoo.
When China Rules The World
How have different governances performed on COVID-19? Why have China and East Asian countries done much better than the West bar Germany? Why the China-bashing? Why can’t US get its act together? What about the future? My interview with Tian Wei on World Insight.
During January the onslaught in the Western media, notably the US and the UK, against the Chinese government’s handling of the Covid-19 epidemic, was merciless. The Chinese government stood accused of an inhumane attitude towards its people, secrecy, a cover-up, and an overwhelming concern for its own survival above all other considerations. The actual evidence was thin bordering at times on the threadbare but this made little difference to the venom and bile of the assault. Read more >
Martin Jacques Photo: Sun Wei in London/GT
1. After more than a month since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, the epidemic has been coming under control inside the country. How do you evaluate China’s efforts in the fight against the epidemic?
Judging by the situation now, China seems to have got on top of it, with the number of new cases declining. By and large, it looks as if China has managed to restrict the worst of it to Wuhan in Hubei Province. I think that the situation is looking encouraging.
2. Some people view the epidemic as an assessment of different political systems. How do you evaluate the measures taken by different countries such as China, Japan and South Korea?
This review of Martin Jacques’ book ‘When China Rules the World’ was written by Iftikhar Ahmed and published in the Daily Times on 31 March 2019.
In his researched and far-reaching book when China rules the world published in the United States of America in 2009, Martin Jacques argues that we have only barely begun to understand what life will be like when China rules the world. Being modern is not necessarily being Western. Based on his extensive research work focused on Chinese history and comparative studies in Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and some Asian study centres and his experience of writing columns for The Guardian and The Times of London, etc, Martin Jacques developed an insight into a frame of reference and a vision of the end of the western world and the birth of a new Global Order. He has been visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE ideas) a centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy. Martin Jacques has been a visiting professor at the Renmim University, Beijing, the International Centre for Chinese studies, Aichi university and Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, and the senior visiting research fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. “When China rules the world” is the first book to explain how China’s meteoric rise will extend far beyond the economic realm, unseating the west and creating an entirely new global order. The role of economic and cultural relevance will, in our lifetimes, begin to pass from New York and London to cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. The West is deeply mistaken in believing that China is becoming more like the west. And increasingly powerful China will seek to shape the world in its own image, believes the author of this book. In a way Martin Jacques book is a groundbreaking investigation of how China’s rise as an economic superpower will alter the cultural, political and ethnic balance of global power in the 21st-century.
“When China rules the world”, an important book, full of historical understanding and realism, is about more than China. As suggested by the author, the ideas and assumption will be different, unlike that of the north Atlantic power. And that difference will define the influence of the expected new world order. The book is a look beyond China: full of bold but credible predictions. Only time will tell how prophecies pan out. Food for thought is plenty and hence the credit goes to the author for the foresight and insight. There is, however, need to follow the lines and accept the challenge to go in for serious research-based studies to formulate propositions and hypotheses that follow objectivity, data and assumptions that could be scientifically tested for unbiased and realistic workable conclusions. If assumptions are wrong, we can not arrive at objective, workable and realistic conclusions. The taste of pudding is in the eating. The end of the western world and the birth of the new global order depends on the quality of the world leadership and their concern for the people and the need for security, peace and justice, over and above basic human needs.
It is important to seriously attend to the content of the book to get a real feel of what the writer intends to communicate to the reader. One must get knowledge of major periods in Imperial China. One must understand the meaning of China’s Ignominy. One must grasp the concept of “contested modernity”. That mostly covers what the author has to communicate on the changing of the guard. Theme then takes the reader to the age of China :i.e, China as an economic superpower; the civilization-state; the middle kingdom mentality; China’s own backyard; and China as a rising global power. Systematically proceeding the next theme is the main idea- when China moves the world. Questions like “how sustainable is China’s economic growth?” and “what is the environmental dilemma?” have been discussed in the book.
The reason for China’s transformation has been the way it has succeeded in combining what it has learnt from the West, and also it’s Asian neighbours, with its own history and culture, thereby tapping and releasing its native sources of dynamism
There are many differences that define China. Economic change, fundamental as it may be, can only be part of the picture. This view, blind as it is, to the importance of politics and culture, rests on an underlying assumption the China, by virtue of its economic transformation will, in effect, become Western. Consciously or unconsciously, it sounds like Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’ view: that since 1989 the world has been converging on western liberal democracy. The other response, in contrast, is persistently sceptical about the rise of China, always half expecting it to end in failure. In the light of Maoism, the collapse of the Soviet union and the suppression of the students in the Tiananmen square, the argument runs, it is impossible for China to sustain its transformation without fundamental political change: unless it adopts the western model, it will fail. This book is predicated on a very different approach. It does not accept that the “western way” is the only viable model. It should be borne in mind that the West has seen off every major challenge it has faced, culminating in the defeat after 1989 of it’s greatest adversary, Soviet communism. It has formidable track record of growth and innovation, which is why it has proved such a dynamic force over such a long period of time.
The reason for China’s transformation has been the way it has succeeded in combining what it has learnt from the West, and also it’s Asian neighbours, with its own history and culture, thereby tapping and releasing its native sources of dynamism. We have moved from the era of either/or to one characterized by hybridity. Central to the book is the contention that far from there being a single modernity, they will in fact be many. Over the last half century we have witnessed emergence of quite new modernities, drawing on those of the West but ultimately dependent for their success on their ability to mobilize, build upon and transform the indigenous. These new modernities are no less original for their hybridity; indeed, their originality lies partly in that phenomenon.
The problem, as Paul A Cohen has pointed out, is that the Western mentality- nurtured and shaped by its long-term ascendancy- far from being imbued with cosmopolitan outlook as one might expect, is in fact highly parochial, believing in it’s own universalism: or in other words, it’s own rectitude and eternal relevance. If we already have the answers, and these are universally applicable, then there is little or nothing to learn from anyone else. While the west remained relatively unchallenged, as it has been for the best part of two centuries, the price of such arrogance has overwhelmingly been paid by others, as they were obliged to take heed of Western demands. But when the west comes under serious challenge, as it increasingly will from China and others, then such a parochial mentality will only serve to increase its vulnerability, weakening its ability to learn from others and to change accordingly.
Most of what is China today –it’s social relations and customs, it’s ways of being, its sense of superiority, it’s belief in the state, its commitment to unity– are all products of Chinese civilization rather than its recent incarnation as a nation-state. On the surface it seems like a nation state, but it’s geological formation is that of a civilization state. As China once again becomes the centre of the world, it will luxuriate in its history and feel that justice has finally been done, that it is restoring it’s the rightful position and status in the world. China is increasingly likely to conceive of its relationship with East Asia in terms of Tributary state, rather than nation state, system. The Tributary state system had lasted for thousands of years and finally came to an end at the conclusion of the 19th century. The rise of the developing world was only made possible by the end of colonialism. For the non-industrial world the colonial era overwhelmingly served to block the possibility of their industrialization. The land of colonialism was a precondition for what we are witnessing, the growth of multiple modernities and the world in which they are likely to prove at some point decisive. Chinese modernity will be very different from western modernity, and that China will transform the world far more fundamentally than any other new global power in the last two centuries. The West End powers cannot, however, comprehend that the change is on its way. On the other hand, what looks obvious also needs to be researched and subjected to scientific investigation. Facts must be identified and verified, and sociology of science must be understood.
The writer is a former director, National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) Government of Pakistan, a political analyst, a public policy expert and a published author. His book “Post 9/11 Pakistan” was published in the United States. His latest book “Existential Question for Pakistan” discusses a large range of important issues related to governance and policy, having importance and implications for a variety of professionals, policymakers, academics, politicians and administrators.
The writer is a Formerly Director NIPA, Govt of Pakistan
This is a recorded version of a live interview CGTN, to discuss China’s reform and opening-up policies, and the China-US relationship, during a special Town Hall program recorded at the George Washington University on December 11 2018.
CGTN America presented a special town hall filmed at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. on China’s dramatic transformation, and the path forward towards the 21st century.
Speakers on the panel were:
– Zhou Jingxing, minister-counselor and chief of Political Section, Chinese Embassy in U.S.
– Martin Jacques, senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University. He is also author of “When China Rules the World”.
– Yukon Huang, Senior Fellow with the Asia program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is also the author of “The China Conundrum”.
– Robert Hormats, former U.S. Under Secretary of State and Vice-Chairman at the Kissinger Associates.
In this interview with Global Times, Martin Jacques, on the 40th anniversary of “reform and opening up”, reviews the significance of Deng Xiaoping’s historic initiative and China’s prospects in the light of the deteriorating relationship with the US in the era of Trump.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. what do you think of the role the reform and opening up has played in china’s extraordinary changes?
China’s transformation started in 1949, but only in 1978 did China’s economy start to take off in an extraordinary way. It was only then that the Chinese worked out what the appropriate economy strategy was for the country. This was the stroke of genius of Deng Xiaoping.What he proposed was very radical and represented a major shift in the communist tradition. Basically he said two things: firstly, socialism is not synonymous with the state and state planning,but that socialism had to combine both the state and the market. And secondly, he argued that China needed to see itself as part of the whole world, including the capitalist world. China had to live with and compete with and learn from the capitalist world, and not just the socialist world.
This was an intellectual revolution which required a complete rethink and unleashed enormous intellectual energy. This ignited a long process of transformation in China.1978 is one of the most important dates in the 20th century, it prefigured the 21st century: the transformation of China and later the world.
China vows to continue opening up. Some people see this as an opportunity, but some say it’s a threat. How do you evaluate these contradictory views?
One of the great things since 1978 is that China is always thinking, always experimenting, always learning, always trying to work out what is the best way in the situation, in the circumstances that it faces, which are constantly shifting. There’s a general idea of where to go and how to do it. But there’s not a tablet of stone about how to do it; instead of a tablet of stone, you “cross the river by feeling for the stones.” The Chinese combine a general set of principles with a very strong dose of pragmatism.
Itis obviously a lot more complex because China’s economy is many, many times larger now than it was, and China’s impact on the world is now also huge: there are so many more factors China has to consider both internally and globally. China is very interestingly different and distinctive from both the old Soviet mentality and also the West. It has learnt from the West, but it is also very distinctive from the West. It is very important to maintain that. I think one of the reasons for the success of China is its capacity to draw different elements together from different places, different experiences, different traditions, and then combine them in a very unique Chinese way.
Of course, some people think China should be more like America. Now? Really?America is in big trouble, it is in serious long-term decline, which is part of the reason why we got Trump. No, China has to be distinctive. It has to combine those elements which it needs to learn from the West with its socialist and Chinese traditions.
Earlier this year, you wrote an article arguing that the fortieth anniversary of the beginning of the reform period is a cause for celebration and reflection not only in China, but around the world. Can you specify what are the issues that the world, including the Western countries, should reflect on most?
1978 led to the the most extraordinary economic transformation in the modern era. This is much more remarkable than America’s transformation between the 1860s and 1914. It’s a very important event to study. But the West doesn’t think in these terms about 1978, because they don’t really understand any of this.The West is very ignorant about China.
But I would say look, reform and opening up has transformed China. Then,during the 1990s, China began to transform the world and, as a result, the world is now very different from what it was before because of China’s impact. Since 1978 China has been the most important engine of global change. So every country should study China and the Chinese experience.That doesn’t mean that China is a model, but it does mean China is an interesting and important example from which to learn. Many developing countries understand this but the West is still in partial, sometimes total, denial.
On October 4th, the US Vice President Michael Pence made a speech at the Hudson Institute, claiming that US has rebuilt China over the last twenty five years. The US President Trump also mentioned this many times on different occasions. Are you surprised by Pence’s speech?
Not really. You have got to say that the Trump administration,including the Vice President, is many ways remarkably ignorant. Their reaction to American decline is to reassert American nationalism and to try and bully the rest of the world.It’s nonsense to say America is the major reason for China’s transformation over the last 25 years. That tells me that they know nothing about China’s transformation. What planet are they living on to make that kind of remark? It’s obviously just cheap self-serving propaganda. Has America made a contribution to Chinese rise? Yes. It has. As China itself has frequently said, China has been the beneficiary of the era of globalisation which the US played a key role in shaping.
Some American scholars believe that the US has adopted an engagement policy toward China, which has greatly benefited China. But now believe that China has “betrayed” the US and does not intend to follow the US way in terms of its political system. What do you think?
I think a very big political shift has taken place in America. It is not just the Republicans. The Democrats have also shifted to a more anti-Chinese position. Now the question is why, and this is a question that the Chinese themselves need to reflect on.
Until about 2010, America was generally relatively benign towards China.The period after 1972, following the Nixon Mao accord,was characterised by relative stability in the US-China relationship. There were two assumptions that underpinned American attitudes towards China. The first was that China’s economic rise would never challenge America’s economic hegemony. And the second assumption was that China would, in time, become like the West, because they assumed that unless China became like America it could never succeed, its transformation would fail. It would be unsustainable both economically and politically. From 1972 until the Western financial crisis, the relationship remained very unequal, though less so over time.America was the major power. China was the junior partner.
From around 2010, it became increasingly clear that these two positions were wrong. Firstly, because China’s economic transformation continued very successfully and in 2014 overtook the US economy according to GDP measured by ppp. And secondly, it became clear that China was not going to be like America. The political system was not going to become like America’s. Furthermore, China would not accept American global leadership and do whatever America wanted it to do. Two things served to dramatize the situation: one was the Western financial crisis of 2008, the worst in the West since 1931. Suddenly the West was in deep trouble. And, on the other hand, China was not in trouble and China’s rise continued.It shook the confidence of the West. Until this point,America did not believe it was in decline. It had, of course, been in decline for some time, but it was in denial about it. Trump was the product of, and gave expression to, this new uncertainty, angst, disappointment and a growing mood of anger and frustration. This historically explains the shift in the American attitude towards China.
US President Trump frequently summed up his approach to foreign policy with two words: America First. The US has withdrawn from various international mechanisms and is creating barriers for trade, technical exchange, and personal exchanges with a lot of countries. Do you think this will reverse the globalization process and maybe make the world more differentiated or more difficult to access?
I definitely think the era of neo-liberalism has come to an end.There are lots of elements and dimensions to this. Clearly, there’s a reaction to the globalization era in the West. And the ideology of that period in the West, namely neo-liberalism,is in crisis;Trump is a reaction against it. The uber or extreme globalization, which was the western ideology of this period, has hit the wall.
I also think that the whole American view of itself and its role since the end of the second world war has come to an end. I don’t see any simple reversion to the previous era of American multilateralism and leadership. I think that era is over and is unlikely to be revived in its old form. I don’t think we should be so surprised by this because if you look at American history over a much longer period, for example from the War of Independence against Britain until 1939, it was largely dominated by American nationalism and isolationism. The period after 1945 until the election of Trump in 2016, during which America saw itself in terms of multilateral institutions, broad alliances and leadership, was the exception rather than the rule.
Before the second world war, America was always for itself. It was very nationalistic, for long it existed in splendid isolation on its continent. It thought of itself in its own terms. Historically it was very aggressive.It was built on violence, built on slavery, built on wars. Wars against the Amerindians, against Britain, against Spain, against Mexico. That’s how it expanded. So this latest period of American development has been an exceptional period. And Trump lies within the old tradition. He’s reacting against the post-1945 period, he is reverting to the past, by so doing he wants to make America great again, making America as it used to be. Of course, he cannot succeed. Times have changed profoundly.
I don’t think we should expect the Trumpian era to be short lived. There will be no easy or simple return to the status quo ante before Trump.This period could last twenty years, thirty years; a reaction against western-style extreme globalisation. In the long-run, of course, globalization will continue but in the next decade, perhaps much longer, it will suffer setbacks and could even be reversed in certain respects.
Meanwhile, there’s a different globalization taking place, which is what I’ll call Chinese-style globalization with Belt and Road being its most prominent feature. We are moving into a much more complex period, with a much more divided and fragmented world. In this context I think the Pence speech was quite ominous. It was a speech that could have been given in the cold war, it was a very broad attach on China, an attempt to demonize it.It’s not going to be the same as the cold war, but there will be some similarities.
For decades, China has benefited a lot from globalization and the multilateral trading mechanism. What challenges will the current situation bring for China? And what’s your advice on China’s next step on reform and opening up?
I think that what is now deeply preoccupying the Chinese leadership is how to respond to the shift in America, how to understand it and how to deal with it. I think the fortieth anniversary is a reminder of things we should not forget. The wisdom of Deng Xiaoping: keeping your lines of communication open, keeping your curiosity about the world and making as many friends as possible. And I think that those are still good advice.
The following article by Modesto P. Sa-onoy appeared in the Daily Guardian on August 21st 2018.
A RECENT report by the Pentagon says that China is “likely training for strikes against the United States and its allies” but China debunked this report as “pure guesswork”.
As the late US President John Kennedy said in his inaugural address in 1963, “sincerity is subject to proof”. And proof is in what one sees or hears from credible sources. Studies can be guesswork if seen from the eyes of the suspect, as China is in this case. Surely we cannot expect China to admit it is conducting training exercises for a military strike.
In 1927, a study by the US military strategists claimed a possible conflict in the Pacific. There were two countries with the possible intent of striking – the Russia and Japan. The US preparations for a likelihood of war with Japan was code-named War Plan 5 with an orange ribbon covering, thus the plan became popularly known as WP Orange. The study projected possible hostilities within 10 years. Well, as we know the
Japanese struck in 1941 although it already began invasion in China in 1938; the Americans considered that as a “training” exercise.
Indeed, Martin Jacques in his book, When China Rules the World (2009) considered the Chinese capable of becoming the dominant military force in Asia after it has gained a phenomenal economic growth. He asked,
“How will the impact of China’s economic rise be felt and perceived in ten years’ time? How will China behave twenty years hence when it has established itself as second only to the United States and effectively dominate East Asia? Will China continue to operate within the terms of the established international system…?”
We know that China has already refused to accept the jurisdiction of the International Tribunal in the issue of the West Philippine Sea. The tribunal said the islands belong to the Philippines; instead China defied the tribunal by constructing military installations there with capabilities for a bombing strike against the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Despite our complaints, China continued its constructions at the same time befriending the Philippine government and courting it with offers of financial aid that have not materialized. China nurtured the anti-American sentiment of President Duterte and it got its way.
The Philippine government, small and putty at China’s hands, can only complain a situation that the Philippines created for itself because it has no more powerful friends to come by its side. Worse the Philippine is courting Russia, China’s ideological ally and too far away to help us. The US has issued a warning of the risks of this shift but the Philippine government refuses to listen. Historically, we might be a rehearsal for military conflict due to Chinese incursions.
Jacques likened the situation in 2009 with those years prior to WW II. “International relations experts are fond of citing the rise of Germany and Japan in the early twentieth century as examples of nations whose new-found powers could not be contained within the existing international system and whose ambitions eventually culminated in war. The rise of China will not necessarily result in military conflict -and for the sake of humanity, we must fervently hope it does not – but it is a sobering thought that the ramifications of China’s rise for the world will be incomparably greater than those of Germany and Japan, even accounting for the differences in historical times.”
The United States is a deterrent to China’s ambition for an East Asian hegemony with it as the dominant power, a realization of its belief as the center of the Universe.
Comparatively, the US has more fixed-wing aircraft, surface combatant ships and submarines and can draw allied forces from its allies (Japan, Taiwan and South Korea). The US can no longer depend on us.
The US has more nuclear weapons but the Pentagon says China is building fast with nuclear missiles striking capabilities against the US mainland and its military facilities including those of US allies. To the Pentagon these are dangerous developments.
Jacques quoted the warning of the Chief of Malayan navy: there exist uncertainties in the form of China’s behavior once she attained her great power status.
Modesto P. Sa-onoy
The following interview with Martin Jacques originally appeared in the New Internationalist.
This article, by Modesto P. Sa-Onoy, was published in the Daily Guardian, 16th May 2018
CHINA has reportedly installed facilities for a missile strike in the Philippine’s side of the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine Navy estimates that the facilities can be operational in three months. Pro-Chinese Filipino officials claim that the missiles are not pointed at the Philippines as if the missile launching pads are stuck to one direction. The Philippine Navy said they have interceptors, but how many? Are they enough to prevent missiles from devastating the country?
For years China has set its eyes on the Philippine Sea that had been proven in the international court to be Philippine territory but China refuses to accept that decision and uses its military might to bully the Philippines from enforcing its rights.
Now it is using its economic clout to entice the Philippines not to outright demand the removal of its missiles but to just keep on making statements against them. In return it has befriended President Duterte with offers of economic aid, loans and investments. But as one commentator warned, “don’t trust China with those financial offers.” But Duterte wants to be close to China as a counter-balance to the US that he accuses of unfriendly acts for the US criticisms of Duterte’s human rights record.
China needs to expand to survive and the Philippines is an easy target – close, weak and “friendly”. Martin Jacques whose 2009 book, “When China Rules the World” I had quoted before, has a grim assessment of China’s rapid development that bears on this subject of expansionism.
“China is increasingly dependent on the rest of the world for the huge quantities of raw materials that it needs for its economic growth. It is already the world’s largest buyer of copper, the second biggest buyer of iron ore, the third largest buyer of alumina. It absorbs close to a third of global supply of coal, steel and cotton, and almost half of its cement. It is the second largest energy consumer after the US, with nearly 70 per cent produced from burning coal. In 2005, China used more coal than the US, India and Russian combined. In 2004 it accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the increase in the world demand for oil. If the Chinese was to continue to expand at 8 per cent a year in the future, its income per head would reach the current US level in 2031, at which it would consume the equivalent of two-thirds of current world grain harvest and its demand for paper would double the world’s current production. If it were to enjoy the same level of per capita car ownership as the US does today, it would have 1.1 billion cars compared with the worldwide total of 800 million; and it would use 99 million barrels of oil a day compared with a worldwide total of production of 84 million barrels per day in 2006. Of course, such a level of demand would be unsustainable in terms of the world’s available resources, not to mention its global environmental impact, which is dire.”
These are not just estimates but projections and we are already feeling the impact of China’s needs. The Western countries were able to expand their economies without harming or exhausting their natural resources because they had colonies to provide the raw materials and absorb their outputs. Japan had the same idea at the turn of the 20th century and embarked on expansionism in 1936 with its slogan, “East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”, its euphemism for Japanese colonies like the Philippines.
Martin’s book was published nine years ago and we are now seeing the movement of China to expand and secure a new kind of colonies, dissimilar to the concept and methods as the Western colonizers but colonization nevertheless.
A few years ago a report said that China wanted to lease one million hectares in the Philippines that it will cultivate for food production. That is not for local consumption but to help feed the billions of Chinese. Although China has large tracts of land not all are suitable for agriculture and their water source for agriculture is limited. It must expand.
A report said that real estate prices in the Philippines are rising fast; one reason is that Chinese investors are buying land. Caveat emptor is still an excellent policy.
Modesto P. Sa-Onoy