Last year was a year to forget for Hong Kong. For months there was serious unrest and rioting. China is now introducing national security legislation. Will this restore stability? And if it does, will it work? How do the Chinese win the hearts and minds of the Hong Kong population? The attitudes of Hong Kong’s population can only be understood in terms of over 150 years of British colonialism. Part of the problem is that the people are experiencing a profound crisis of identity. Interview with Fu Xiaotian.
From the outset, Covid-19 was highly politicised. The Western media and politicians attacked China in January for its alleged tardy reaction and a cover-up. And when the pandemic reached Western countries their attacks on China intensified, presumably to try and distract attention from their own abysmal performance, most notably that of the US and the UK. Does Covid-19 mark the lowest point in recent US-China relations? Will they get worse? How might the process be reversed? Interview with Liu Xin.
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.
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.
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?
In a New Year’s address, Chinese President Xi Jinping lauded the country’s accomplishments in 2017 and gave a road map for China’s priorities in 2018.
2017 has been a big year for China – from President Xi’s travels to Davos to hosting the first Belt and Road Initiative Forum to the 19th CPC Meeting. China is taking the lead across the world and at home. So what’s the outlook for the country this year?
To discuss President Xi’s speech and the future of China in 2018: Victor Gao, a Chinese international relations expert Dan Wang, a China analyst with The Economist Intelligence Unit; Martin Jacques, author of “When China Rules the World” and a senior fellow in politics and international studies at Cambridge University; Jacques deLisle, a professor and director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
The unhappiness with China among segments of Hong Kong society stems from the city’s failure to understand its privileged relationship with Beijing, prominent China expert Dr Martin Jacques said. In a wide-ranging interview with Celene Tan, the British-born author added that China has learnt from the past and will be patient in drawing Taiwan closer to the mainland. He also spoke about China’s territorial claims and President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. Below is an excerpt of the interview, the first part of which was published yesterday.
As China takes on more global responsibilities, it is faltering in its effort to pull Hong Kong and Taiwan closer to the mainland. Why are the people in these two territories so resistant to China? How can they be swayed by Beijing?
Hong Kong had been under British rule for 155 years. The whole of Hong Kong’s modern experience was under British colonial rule, so it grew up, in a sense, deprived of its birthright, which was China, because it was cut off from China. It was brought up with a kind of adopted birthright, which was Britain, and looked West.
One-hundred-and-fifty-five years is a long time — many, many generations — so it’s left deep roots in the way in which Hongkongers see the world. They were very ignorant, by the end of British rule, about the country to their north. They were Chinese, but they knew very little about China. On the other hand, they were very knowledgeable, in many ways, about the world to their west, particularly Britain and, to a lesser extent, other countries in Europe and, of course, the United States.
China has shown enormous capacity for reform in the past three decades without the need to move towards a Western-style system — a point greatly underestimated by the West, said prominent China expert Martin Jacques in a wide-ranging interview with TODAY’s Celene Tan this week. Dr Jacques also said that the Chinese Communist Party does not need economic growth to legitimise its rule and he believes China will grow to be a benign power. Below is an excerpt from the interview.
The latest issue of Foreign Affairs painted a picture of China as a country facing the classic challenges of the middle phases of development. It said China’s existing institutions may not be able to manage the country’s problems in the long term and Beijing seems unlikely to adopt the reforms that could help because they would threaten the Communist Party’s hold on power. What are your views on this?
China has done extraordinarily well over the past 35 years. It has shown an enormous capacity for reform, not only economic reform, but also political reform. Because if you’re growing at roughly 10 per cent a year, your economy is doubling its size every seven years. Now, more like every 10 years with the current growth rate. It’s impossible for the institutions to cope with this level of change without being constantly reengineered and reinvented. Generally, this has been greatly underestimated in the West. Foreign Affairs is a sort of journal of the United States foreign policy establishment — generally they don’t recognise this political reform because the only political reform they recognise is that which is moving China closer to the West. So, if it’s not doing that, then it’s not acknowledged, really.
SINGAPORE — China’s rise has to be viewed with the right lens and many in the West fail to understand the Asian power because of a lack of knowledge of the country’s unique history and culture, said prominent China expert Dr Martin Jacques.
In an interview with TODAY, the British-born author said it is a mistake for the West to think that Beijing is unwilling to implement political reforms in its institutions simply because the reforms China has taken do not move towards a Western-style system.
Instead, China’s vast economic transformation in a mere few decades means that institutions in the country have been constantly re-engineered and reinvented to cope with the level of change, said Dr Jacques, whose book When China Rules The World has sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. “Generally, this has been greatly underestimated in the West — they don’t recognise this political reform (in China) because the only political reform they recognise is that which is moving China closer to the West,” he said.
The Western portrayal of China’s future tends to “blow hot and cold”, but the heat of China’s rise is here to stay, British scholar Martin Jacques said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Commenting on a resurfacing “Chinese Century” debate among global media, Martin said that the reason behind this hot discourse is simple: the fact that China’s development continues.
“The Western commentary about China’s rise is erratic, and tends to be a bit negative. And then from time to time, they sort of wake up and realize that the trend continues,” said the author of the international best-seller “When China Rules the World”.
In an article for the Vanity Fair magazine, U.S. economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate, foresaw the arrival of a “Chinese Century” in 2015 on the grounds that China has surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest economy in terms of GDP based on purchasing power parity.
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