Articles on ‘When China Rules the World’
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.
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.
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.
I refer to the letter “HK student protesters right to fight for democracy” (Oct 6). It was arguably the umpteenth time I heard that democratic change was needed regardless of the circumstances.
Firstly, could the writer clarify what contractual obligation Beijing reneged on? Article 45 of the Basic Law states: “The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.” It is therefore the pro-democracy activists who want to change the Basic Law, not Beijing.
Secondly, as Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam pointed out (“Shanmugam: Beijing’s position on HK understandable”, Oct 6), Beijing’s perspective on the issue would be in the context of implications on the whole of China, not Hong Kong alone.
This is about inequality, not politics, so democracy can’t fix the problem.
HONG KONG — The prevailing media narrative about the Hong Kong protest — namely that the citizens are politically dissatisfied and are fighting for democracy against the tyranny of Beijing — is false. What’s actually happening is this: A fringe of radical (or sometimes, more charitably, merely naive) ideologues are recasting the real and legitimate economic grievances of people here as a fight about Hong Kong’s autonomy. The movement is part of a global trend you might call maidancracy (rule of the square, from the infamous Maidan in central Kiev where the Ukrainian protests began). If carried out to its full extent, it will not end well for Hong Kong.
Maidancracy is an increasingly common post-Cold-War phenomenon. From the former Soviet Union to Southeast Asia, from the Arab world to Ukraine, it has affected the lives and futures of hundreds of millions of people. Hong Kong’s iteration shares certain characteristics with the ones in Cairo and Kiev: First, there is general popular discontent over the prevailing state of affairs and the region’s probable future. Second, while the foot soldiers are largely well-intentioned people with genuine concerns for their own welfare and that of the Hong Kong society, they are led by activists with a strong ideological agenda. As a result, their aim becomes the overthrow of the government or sometimes the entire political system. Third, the press relentlessly cheers them on and thereby amplifies the movement and turns it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fourth, democracy is always the banner.
Nascent political movements are a little like the Hunger Games. The odds are almost never in the little guys’ favor, which is why we marvel at the fall of the Berlin Wall or the success of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Last week, Jeff Bader, the Obama administration’s former top adviser on Asia, gave a stark prediction: Hong Kong protestors will almost certainly fail in their demands for universal suffrage. The reality, Bader told the Washington Post, is “Beijing is quite intractable.”
Bader’s assessment is brutal, but fair.
There are, however, pundits who lack Bader’s discernment, and confuse saying “it’s unrealistic” with “it’s absurd.” They sway readers by obfuscating two lines of thinking: Something is difficult to obtain, ergo, it is unworthy of attempt.
Martin Jacques’s piece “China is Hong Kong’s Future, Not It’s Enemy” is a classic in this vein. Its logic flows thus: