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Book Review - When China rules the World

UK's Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool - David Alton - a member of the All Party Parliamentary China Group reviews Martin Jacques' book, 'When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order', for the Independent Catholic News.

Image from the Independent Catholic News report Image from the Independent Catholic News report
  • United Kingdom
  • October 5, 2011
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When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order (out in paperback next January) is the provocative the title of Martin Jacques’ assessment of China’s future role as the dominant global power. (David Alton, Independent Catholic News)

For more than a decade Jacques was editor of “Marxism Today” - having first transformed it from an obscure ideological organ of the Marxist Left into a broad platform for wide ranging political and social debate. Not long after the collapse of the Soviet Union “Marxism Today” was also wound up and Jacques went on to become deputy editor of The Independent, an engaging newspaper columnist and author.
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?Having heard him speak recently about his book on China my main reservation is that he is still overly influenced by his political antecedents, and perhaps too willing to overlook the nature of the Chinese political system as he rightly dwells on China’s extraordinary growth, economic capacity, and cultural richness. ?

?The title of the book is itself a giveaway.?

?Mercifully, no nation has ever ruled the world and however much national fortunes may change no free people would accept the idea of one nation determining our destiny. It’s neither desirable nor historically probable.?
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In 1963 the great Welsh tenor, Sir Harry Secombe, recorded a song entitled “If I ruled the world”. It contained the memorable lines that if he ever found himself in that position “every man would be as free as a bird” and “every voice would be a voice to be heard.” Would this be China’s song for its own citizens or the rest of us? A troubling answer might come from Ai Weiwei, the celebrated Chinese artist and political activist, who was incarcerated in Chinese jails for two months earlier this year; or ask Chen Guangcheng, the blind civil and human rights activist, jailed for four years after challenging China’s one child policy, and still under house arrest having recently been beaten up by his surveillance officers.?

?Jacques tends to dismiss concerns for human rights as the West patronising China and he believes that because the Communist State has created economic growth (a Pew Poll indicated that over 91% of its people are satisfied with its economic performance) this confers legitimacy on the Government. He argues that there is no widespread desire for democracy or for the “enlightenment values” of the West.?

FULL ANALYSIS

Viewpoint: 'When China rules the world' (Independent Catholic News)
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