Dr Martin Jacques predicts new Chinese world order

28 Jan

Author and academic Dr Martin Jacques believes democracy is coming to China but not in the form seen in Western countries.


5 Responses to “Dr Martin Jacques predicts new Chinese world order”

  1. timhaythorne February 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    I think what Jacques says about China not being a nation state but a civilisation state is really interesting. The fact that it is really difficult to make sense of China for many of us in the west is often forgotten, as people just make assumptions / adopt stereotypes quite easily, thereby reacting to China’s actions (with regards to the Hong Kong handover) or developments with far less understanding than necessary.

    Because of the radically different culture, and widely non-westernised past, I think instead of trying to make sense of China with regards to what we know here, we need to come to terms with the fact that we cannot understand China in the way that we may make sense of, for example, the rise of Germany over the last 50 years. We must accept it as something completely new, unique and embrace this in an attempt to completely understand it.

    [Apologies if this was a bit long but it is far more interesting than Economics..]

  2. de1g11 February 2, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    The idea of a civilization state is very interesting but how different is that to a nation state. If it just depends on ‘one nation one state’, to what extent does the United Kingdom with devolution become an exception to Jacques theory?

  3. lo2g11 February 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Amitav Acharya and Barry Buzan (2007) have grappled with the debate regarding what can be said to constitute as non-Western theory. Although Martin Jacques (2012) is arguing the birth of a new global order which challenges the traditionally Westerncentric International Relations theory; I would question whether his work can be said to contribute to the limited repertoire of non-Western theory. Jacques was born and educated and has spent most of his life in the West, these factors would have influenced his work, even if it is merely the way he articulates himself.
    The video link I have posted (The ABSCBNNews (2012) shows the Philippine Foreign affairs Secretary: Albert Del Rosario labelling Mr Jacques response in the above video as `measured knowledge’; this can be seen to accentuate my point. As his knowledge is limited to the experience that he was exposed to as a Westerner and therefore he cannot fully comprehend some of the complex yet integral aspects that are unique to Non-western countries such as China and the Philippines. This could therefore be the reason for the title of the video: ‘Brit author mistaken about PH-China relations’


    Acharya, A. and Buzan, B. (2007) Why is there no non-Western international relations theory? An Introduction. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 7 (3) 287– 312.
    Jacques, M. (2012) When Chine rules the world, 2nd ed. Penguin.
    The ABSCBNNews (2012) Youtube. Brit author mistaken about PH-China relations. Available from: [Accessed 01 February 2013]

  4. samhemming February 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Dr Martin Jacques talks about the differences between China and a traditional, European concept, of state but historically is a ‘civilization state’ new? The concept of civilization over nation can be seen in pre-modern Europe. European nations have been squabbling over borders for a long time but at the same time Europe was considered civilization and beyond it was everyone else. The Crusades show this when European nations were willing to fight with each other but together would face the threats from beyond their civilization of ‘Christendom.’ Whereas Dr Jacques talks about race being the ‘glue’ behind China’s ‘civilization state’ in European Christendom religion did the same thing. More recently a similar model can be seen in the European Empires. Individual nations were unified, not equally, within the greater empire or ‘civilization.’ While an empire had a centralized authority, different regions where run differently – i.e. without a one-system. This can be seen during the management of India by the British East India Trading Company between 1757 and 1858 but the UK was managed by a Parliamentary system. China itself has a similar imperial history which Jane Teufel Dreyer refers to being one of the ways of interpreting modern Chinese foreign policy (, the ‘past is future’ model.
    I don’t mean to say that China will develop in the same way that the ‘west’ has but there will always be variance between the ways that states develop. This national difference can be seen within the west without having to travel to the other side of the planet, i.e. the differences between the Republican system of the USA and our own British Constitutional Monarchy. A western-centric way of thinking is not enough to fully comprehend the east, including China, but that doesn’t mean that we have to consider ourselves to be diametrically different.

  5. tw8g11 February 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Jacques can be seen to further elaborate upon his ideas in the above article. A point I found to be of particular interest was that of the democratic system adopted by the West not necessarily being of greater legitimacy than the Chinese system of governance. Citing statistics gathered by Tony Saich at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Jacques outlines how between 80 and 95% of Chinese people were either relatively or extremely satisfied with central government. When compared with a European democracy such as Italy where, as Jacques notes, half the population do not have belief in their government, the point raised appears to be a valid one.

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