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Martin Jacques: China's development a world task

Updated: 2013-03-25 13:43
By Uking Sun (

Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World, said China is expected to face enormous challenges and the world will be more profoundly affected during the next phase of the country’s development.

"China is still little more than halfway through the process of modernization, and the country's economy was too small to have much of an impact outside its own frontiers for most of the first phase," he said at the 5th World Forum on China Studies in Shanghai.

Martin Jacques: China's development a world task
Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World. [Photo by Uking Sun/]

In the next twenty years, China's global impact will be more fundamental and extensive, and both the West and China need to be prepared for the changing scenario ahead.

He said the West has never been obliged to really understand the rest of the world in the past 200 years of its dominance, economically and militarily, but now it's time for the United States and Europe be able to make sense of countries like China and India.

Imperial countries at any time find it very difficult to accept and acknowledge they are on a decline and think strategically, and it's very important for the West to understand how to respond to China's rise, according to him.

Jacques, also a visiting senior fellow at IDEAS, London School of Economics and Political Science, believed the economic takeoff of Britain and America in the past provides extremely limited lessons for China to learn from because of the country’s huge population and rapid growth rate.

"This is an entirely new phenomenon and it carries enormous responsibilities and challenges since China will not only be transforming itself but also the world at the same time," he said.

It takes time to be a global power, and the next twenty years will see formidable tasks in China's modernization, including poverty reduction and urbanization. He said China's experience and knowledge of the world is still limited and narrow and the nation needs a cosmopolitan outlook in interacting with the world.

He suggested China needs to find out a way that not only to modernize itself but also move beyond the consciousness of being outside the world to engage it in a way that provides new kind of initiative and leadership.

"How China sees it self is still West- centered, and China needs to have multi-dimensional dialogues with both the West and all continents. In another word, Chinese needs to be global Chinese."

"China is going to be more democratic but it's a process since Mao's time. But China is certainly not like the West.


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