Regardless of how you feel about China, one thing is clear- that it has captured the imagination of much of the world for good and bad. With its surging economy and growing global importance, there has certainly not been a dearth of writers, academics and journalists who believe China will be the next superpower. Leading UK intellectual, Asia expert and journalist Martin Jacques’ latest book boldly proclaims that not only will China become a superpower that may lead the world, but its rise will signify the end of the dominance of the West (the U.S. and Western Europe) in global affairs.

With When China Rules the World, he has written an ambitious, insightful and wide-ranging piece of work that argues that China’s rise will shake up the world order, due to its unique sense of identity and culture.

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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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When China Rules The World: The Rise Of The Middle Kingdom And The End Of The Western World 

The less-than-subtle title of this thought provoking book almost guarantees it will be read. Some will be drawn to it because the idea of China ruling the world — or, perhaps, the United States losing global supremacy — is what they want to hear. Others will be attracted because the book spells out what they fear (we all secretly enjoy the thrill of a good horror story at times). Martin Jacques has both bases covered. Quite clever, really.

The central premise to Jacques’ 550-page warning-red tome is that China’s rise is assured and the Western world, which has been top dog for more than two centuries, should be worried sick. The British journalist and author argues that the West’s conviction that all developing nations aspire to one universal idea of modernity, and that Western civilization (popular representation, rule of law, free markets, etc.) reveals human achievement at its most admirable, is flawed or, at least, outdated.

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《国际先驱导报》记者杨英发自北京 让我们闭上眼睛来想像这样的画面:哈佛商学院的学生指着地图上的中国上海说:“这里,我的理想在这里。”在非母语国家旅行的游客拦住一位当地人问:“请问您会讲普通话吗?”周边国家围绕着复兴的中国,深深折服于中华文化的博大精深,感谢中国给予无私的经济援助;孔子的学说、秦朝的建立、四大发明、新中国的建立变得众所周知;人民币成为世界货币……

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With the astonishing rise of China in the past three decades, the the accompanying scheme decline of the West and the flaws in the capitalist system revealed by the global financial crisis, Martin, of Jacques’ When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom, and the the End of the Western World (Allen Lane, Special Indian Price: Rs, 699) has come at the right time. Jacques, who was the last editor of the defunct of British magazine, Marxism Today, brings a broadly left perspective to his study of sympathetic to China with a few benign qualifications that became necessary if it was to avoid the blunders, which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. As the cliché went at the time, “too much glasnost, too little perestroika.” But he is clear on the central tenets of the Chinese brand of socialism: that free markets cannot work in the long run and that democracies don’t correct their mistakes on their own volition. Controls were necessary and western concepts of democracy and the rule of law were not necessary preconditions for the West’s economic power; they were merely a coincidence and, in any case, do not apply ipso facto to other states with different historical backgrounds.

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On October 1, China will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its founding as a modern nation-state. It is a momentous anniversary since it marks the completion of a full 60-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, and symbolises a metaphorical rebirth of an ancient civilisation. To mark this milestone moment, the Chinese government will unveil a dazzling series of events to showcase the country’s evolution and ascendance, much as it did at last year’s Beijing Olympics.

The anniversary coincidentally comes at a time of Great Change in the world economic order. That coming economic powershift is underlined by the global financial meltdown of 2008 and the enfeebled nature of Western economies, coupled with China’s rapid economic growth in the 30 years since it opened up to the point where, in Goldman Sachs’ bullish estimation, it will be the world’s largest economy by 2027!

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Recent books dealing with China’s unprecedented development over the last 30 years and its future have an annoyingly-repetitive habit of starting out by yelling the big facts: the country’s GDP growth, urban migration, education levels – and normally a concern or two about corruption, reforms and opacity. While these are all important issues to address, it does make the majority of these titles blend into one singular snapshot of the country.

At least journalist Martin Jacques tries a different and more anthropological tact. When China Rules the World leaves it until page 73 before it seriously starts to look at China and its current position. Until that point the book concentrates on exploring previous models of industrial revolution: Britain’s in the 1750s, the United States’ soon after, and Japan’s rise in the 19th and early 20th century following its adoption of many Western institutions and attitudes.

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作者認為,中國將以文化統治世界。到時,周邊國家向中國朝貢;有更多人看中國電影和學習漢語。 文:余綺平 圖:網上圖片

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Without inner harmony, the world will see ‘Pax Sinica’ only as a symbol for an angry dragon rather than a gentle panda

It’s never easy to predict the future. There are so many variables that are beyond a man’s foresight. A “black swan” that is out of the norm can pop up anywhere, anytime. And yet, only a few people object to the forecast that the 21st century will be the era of China. Those who were buoyed by the neo-imperialistic fantasy of “Pax Americana” said the 21st century would be the era of the United States, but their voices were buried under the sandstorms of Iraq and the collapse of Wall Street. “Pax Sinica” is not a matter of supposition: It has become recognized as a matter of time.

Goldman Sachs’ 2007 forecast is often quoted in talks about the China’s economic future. According to the report, China will catch up with the United States’ gross domestic product by 2027 and become the world’s largest economy. By 2050, China’s GDP is expected to be two times larger than that of the United States.

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