Traditional ideas are combining with economic self-confidence to create a new and powerful sense of ‘Chineseness’

Martin Jacques persuasively argues that a modernising and modernised China will keep its essential and dynamic Chineseness in a new era of “contested modernity”, and that the rise of China as both a “civilisation-state” and a nation-state is ending the dominance of the west and ushering in a new era of global diversity in values and power distribution. It is hard to contradict his observation that “contrary to almost universal western expectations after Tiananmen Square in 1989, the Communist party not only survived but reinvented itself and, over the last 30 years, has presided over the most remarkable economic transformation in human history”. But his assertion that China’s age-old sense of superiority will reassert itself is more controversial.

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