When China Rules The World: The End Of The Western World And The Birth Of A New Global Order
Author: Martin Jacques
Publisher: Penguin, 848 pages

SKEWED as they may be, reactionary Orientalist perspectives of East Asian realities remain the norm in Western punditry and news reports. The problem has become prevalent in both conservative and liberal circles.

The problem for the West itself is that such a persistent misperception of modern China may undermine Western interests further. Martin Jacques’ When China Rules The World: The End Of The Western World And The Birth Of A New Global Order is intended largely as a corrective, looking at the historic phenomenon of China’s grand return to the global stage in China’s own terms.

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It should not take a political economist to see how the scores of books being published on China’s “rise” vary in quality and outlook, reflecting as much the standpoint of their respective authors as the subject itself.

Doomsayers insist modern China will break down or collapse, Cold Warriors persistently condemn Beijing for whatever it does, alarmists panic at the thought of “communist” China succeeding at anything, pragmatists take a balanced view of the big picture, and incurable optimists see only the positive side.

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This is a formidable book which is also provocative. At its Kuala Lumpur launch, the author Martin Jacques asked that its title not be read literally, but its subtitle The Rise of The Middle Kingdom and The End of The Western World will not sit easy even among those who might not mourn the passing of that Western World.

The narrative is relentless, with remorseless, somewhat scary, conclusions. The central thesis is clear-headed: China will come to be the dominant power in the world and will bring to it its own hegemonic system based on its long history, civilization and culture which have special embedded characteristics different from those in the global system we know today. It will not be the same world simply with China at the top. It will be a world re-formed in China’s image where these special characteristics will determine the values, standards and practices of the international system.

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