Why won’t China wholly break with its past?
There is a tension between the old and new in China, but more than in any other country, the Chinese reference their history constantly.
If China becomes economically all-powerful, what will happen to the world?
China won’t become more Western as it grows more powerful. Instead, the world will grow more Chinese. With economic power, China will expand its soft power abroad as well.
What’s China’s most vital interest?
One of the most important things for the Chinese is holding their country together. Each time they failed to, they suffered. They know it.
Even if their government makes an unfavourable decision, the people will support it?
For the Chinese, their state is intimate—like a family member. People accept the state’s authority in China in a way that they don’t in India.
Farther from India’s centre, it’s more chaotic.
In China, it’s found that people are unwilling to do something that’d undermine the centre. But support in the provinces and local government is still very high: 60 or 70 per cent.
How was your book received in India?
The book itself is favourable to China and India has a bit of a complex there, so it is probably read here because of that. Also, because of India’s rise, it too can relate to China’s rise.
Why a book on geopolitics and economy?
Going to Japan in 1993 blew my mind. Then, Singapore, Hong Kong.... I had a question, these places are so modern—are they Western?
How did your time in Asia change you?
I was forced to confront all kinds of questions about my country, race, colour etc that I have never before been obliged to answer.
What do the Chinese really think of Mao?
It’s complicated. There is huge veneration—more than of Deng Xiaoping, though this may sound contradictory.
Is China’s rise a good thing?
In a world shaped by a small minority, China’s rise is inevitable. It’ll happen anyway.
The 10Q with Martin Jacques (Jul 30) was a lot of speculation by a man infatuated with China. It wasn’t too long ago that there was similar speculation about Japan. In spite of its wild growth, the Chinese economy is still less than one-third that of the US.
This is a lot of specuation by a man infatuated with China. It was not too long ago when we had similar spculation that Japan would control the world economy. If history is any guide the U.S. is simply not going to let this happen for at least a couple more lifetimes. Further, there is still a chance that India with perhaps more population than China in the foreseeable future might clean up its act. Also, in spite of all the wild growth (which is likely not sustainable) the chinese economy is still less than one-third of the U.S.
"Further, there is still a chance that India with perhaps more population than China in the foreseeable future might clean up its act."
No signs of this yet or as you say "in the foreseeable future". But then of course there might be a God and he/she might do us a favor. Personally, I think the chance of this is the same as "hell freezing over".
You are of course right that unlikely China will over take the US. However, it is a strong possibility that China becomes a strong alternate/competing "pole" to the US, essentially the other superpower. If this does happen, I think India will have a serious problems on our hands OR we have to learn to live like the Canadians do next to the US (which might be extremely difficult for us given our own aspirations on the world stage and of course being quite different than the Chinese).
Indian foreign policy will be truly tested like never before ..... of course history doesn't suggest we are up to handling this challenge.
The idea of China or any country 'ruling the world' is disgusting and repellent. It's nothing more than 19th century European colonialism in a new guise. And a European like Jaques can identify with it, even admire it, because the notion reminds him of his own country's 'greatness' i.e its intent to rule the world at one time. Europeans and Americans can more readily identify with and admire, even grudgingly, China because they see a similarity in motive and intent, namely global domination.
This is where India with its belief and advocacy of multi-polarity, pluralism, integration and peaceful co-existence can and will play a more ethical and intelligent role. India is not a country or culture that displaces another, rather integrates and blends with that culture, being enriched in the process.
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