Martin Jacques, author of the best-selling “When China Rules the World,” said China’s rise in becoming a global power may not tread the old and disputed paths of the United States and Britain.
In an interview during the 5th World Forum on China Studies that closed on Sunday, Jacques said as the world inquires about China’s path toward global power, he believes its style will differ from that of Britain and the United States.
“Historically, the expansion and influence of Britain and America were largely military and political; in the case of China, it would be economic and cultural,” said Jacques, who is also a columnist and visiting fellow at London School of Economics and Political Science.
Jacques hopes China will not adopt the same global mentality of bygone and current superpowers, which features strong superiority and racism in the case of Britain at its imperial and industrial apex, and the sense of entitlement for Americans in its participation in global institutions.
China, however, must be alert of its historical superiority. “The Chinese have a strong sense of where they come from, and many Chinese believe their civilization, in its long history, is the greatest civilization,” he said.
“A global mentality means to have relations of mutuality, respect, empathy, affinity and sensitivity, and to believe you have as much to learn as to give,” he said.
Jacques also urged Chinese people to update their world vision, which often confuses engagement with the world with engagement with the West, especially as the country becomes more involved with the developing world.
“It’s different people and different races from all over the world, as ‘black’ as much as ‘white.’ I think Chinese people are sometimes not very good at this, but it’s very important,” he said.