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Zhang Weiwei and Martin Jacques against Western assumption liberal democracy is panacea for China

November 13th, 2012 16 comments

Following is a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared recently pitting Zhang Weiwei and Martin Jacques arguing together against Western assumption that liberal democracy is panacea for China. A few points raised by these two really struck me. Jacques cautioned the West to tone down its arrogance and engage China with more humility. Zhang pointed out that China’s present day system is one of meritocracy and intra-party elections. Zhang also stated that the Chinese are confident of their system. In the 1700’s when the British Empire first encountered the Chinese, China was arrogant and failed to recognized that a country of measly 20 million could industrialize and pull far enough ahead to invade it – then the wealthiest civilization on the planet. He cautioned that arrogance is gripping liberal Western democracies. China’s continuing rise economically will further undermine those who believe in this false dichotomy: that anything not exactly a Western liberal democracy must be “anti-democracy.” It’s like during the Crusades where many Christians believed non-believers must be evil.

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Martin Jacques on Understanding China

January 26th, 2011 8 comments

Martin Jacques is famous for his controversial book, “When China Rules the World.” Everyone on the planet seems to have weigh in on him and his book. A good friend of mine asked me to weigh in on what he said in the video below. Honestly, I think most Chinese dare not think China ruling the world. However, as I said in this post, “Peaceful rise, the biggest international relations issue of our life time,” China’s or any other country’s rise is an inevitability. For that reason, Martin Jacques forces the issue, and therefore is helpful. He also promotes this idea that the West should try harder to understand the rest of the world. That message certainly deserves repeating. Conversely, I think the Chinese need to enhance their appetite for understanding the West and the rest of the world too. Some of you who have followed this blog or Fool’s Mountain will find Martin Jacques’ views in the video below quite consistent with what we have been saying all along.

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