The current narrative concerning China promulgated by the Western media and many political commentators is invariably hostile. This positioning is especially notable in the US and the UK. Whether out of a fixation with projecting power or motivated by ideological propaganda, this is a distorted perception.
While there are policy areas where, as with any country there is room for criticism on specific issues, in relation to China there is a collective political and media failure to focus on these issues. Instead, specific issues are used to heap unwarranted and ill-informed criticism on all aspects of China’s governance and policies, internal and external.
It is this misleading, and overly judgemental, approach to describing China, and its governance, that is addressed by this book.
About the Book
In eleven chapters this book addresses the issue of the re-emergence of China and a new global order on the world stage, with implications for the existing US hegemonic liberal international order. The Re- Emergence of China reviews the history of China’s astounding economic growth and geopolitical development over the past 30 years.
The book reviews: the economic, technological, and global development of China during this period; explores the political philosophy and praxis from imperial neo-Confucian times to the present socialist regime; the cultural and social development of China, including the role of the Chinese diaspora; and finally, examines the prospects for a new international order with a major role for China.
Changing the Key Features on the Western Narrative
Although China formally portrays itself as a unitary state, its sheer size and governance structures belie the idea of a highly centralized, authoritarian governed polity. The Leninist, democratic-centralist structure of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) lends credence to this perception.
The CCP clearly has a profound influence on policy, as does Xi Jinping, China’s paramount leader. However, the political reality in China reveals a more nuanced and contested polity. The Chinese constitution empowers provinces, autonomous regions, and large cities with significant devolved decision-making.
The People’s National Congress (PNC) – separate from the CCP and recognised in the Constitution – has 3,000 members. Elections to the PNC are through a complex hierarchical structure of People’s Congresses. Each congressional layer – at levels of towns, cities, provinces, and regions – elects a set of representatives to the congress above, up to the national level. The CCP tends to dominate in these elections, but the dominance is not complete.
It may be argued that though the CCP strong determination of policies means that it is not directly responsible to the people, nonetheless through various channels, including the PNC, and also copious opinion-polling, it is responsive to public opinion. Audiences
The aim of the authors is to establish a dialogue with a number of specific audiences, and through them public opinion about China in Western countries. Prominently, the targets are academics, think-tanks, politicians and political commentators, and the media, mainstream and social. Lecture series and media appearances will help in multiplying the messaging of the book and increasing its readership.