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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Russia’s colossal economic shift toward Asia in energy, finance, and infrastructure deepened at this year’s APEC summit in Beijing with 17 major bi-lateral business deals with China. The strategic alliance could crowd out other global players.
The deals signed by the world’s second and eighth largest economies reflect a ‘synergy’, as natural resource rich Russia has a lot to offer a country with one of the world’s fastest growing populations and economies, Martin Jacques, columnist and author of When China Rules the World, told RT.
“Russia is very rich in natural resources and China is very poor so there is a natural synergy in their economic relationship. Russia has something to offer China which China needs,” he said.
Both Russia and China are also uncomfortable with the current US-dominated world order, although not in quite the same way, says Jacques.
“Russia’s interests, needs, and status is not respected and I think that is essentially the problem. China acknowledges the importance of the international order, definitely wants to be part of it, but at the same time it doesn’t feel it has got the same stake in that system as for example the US,” he said.
The headline stealing accord was, of course, the deal between Russia’s Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp. When completed the western pipeline will deliver up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas in addition to the 38 billion annually agreed in May.
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