CHINA’S profound engagement with the world will over time engender a “global mentality” in its citizens and make its peaceful rise more acceptable to a sometimes skeptical world, an acclaimed British author and scholar said yesterday.
Martin Jacques, author of the best-seller “When China Rules the World,” attended the Fifth World Forum on China Studies in Shanghai that ended yesterday.
The time since Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening up policy has been the most open period in Chinese history, said Jacques.
Although China is still at the initial stage of its transformation, its economy is projected to be twice the size of United States’ in 20 years, at which point, with the help of a more cosmopolitan population, China’s global influence will expand remarkably, according to Jacques. Despite the homogenizing force of globalization, Chinese will still feel Chinese, and their country will remain a “civilizational state,” rather than the “nation states” prevalent in the rest of the world.
He, however, warned China against going down the same road of expansion of powers that went before, including Britain and the United States. These powers assumed a superior attitude, a “missionary mentality” that they were there to “civilize the uncivilized.” Their expansion was mainly through the military and politics, said Jacques.
By contrast, China’s expansion is by and large economic and cultural. During this process it should develop mutual respect, empathy, affinity, sensitivity, all attributes of a truly “global mentality.”
The “Chinese Dream” is beyond materialism, a common byproduct in other East Asian nations during their economic rise, said Jacques.
“The ‘Chinese Dream’ could be interpreted as simply as a refrigerator, a nice car, but it also represents wider horizons and a broader vision, such as a better relationship at work or balance of life,” he added.
Jacques said China can redeem its dwindling demographic dividends by raising its industrial efficiency.