Thursday, July 03, 2008

What Does China Think?

«The Rise of China is granted by nature. In the last 2,000 years China has enjoyed superpower status several times... Even as recently as 1820, just 20 years before the Opium War, China accounted for 30% of world GDP. This history of superpower status makes the Chinese people very proud of their country on the one hand, and on the other hand very sad about China's current international status. They believe China's decline to be a historical mistake which they should correct». Yan Xuentong, 'The Rise of China in Chinese Eyes'
Very few things that happen in our lifetime will be remembered after we are dead. But China's rise is different: like the rise and fall of Rome or the Soviet Empire, its after-effects will echo down the generations to come. So why is it that we know almost nothing about the thinkers in China who are shaping their country's future? What kind of country are they dreaming of? How do they see their influence in the world? We might know that half of the world's clothes and footwear have a 'Made in China' label and that our economies are inextricably linked with China's – but what do we know about China's experiments with democracy; about its anti-globalisation movement; about its plans to deal with America as its own influence grows across the globe?
If you find this exciting, as I and Renaldas do, then you should definitely read 'What Does China Think?', in which Mark Leonard provides a fascinating and unexpected perspective on the debates raging within China society today and shows us just how radically China's rise will change the nature of our world.


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