A new collection of reflections of eminent leaders and academics considers the nature of China in the 21st Century

06 October 2021
Posted by Study Group

A new collection of reflections by eminent leaders and academics considers the nature of China in the 21st Century

The Chair of Study Group UK Professor Sir Keith Burnett has contributed to a new volume of essays by leading experts, policymakers and commentators on modern China.

Consensus or Conflict - China and Globalisation in the 21st Century is available online and open access in China, the UK and the USA and will be available in hardback in all three counties in early November.

Sir Keith’s chapter focuses on the importance of scientific collaboration between China and the wider world, especially in the key global challenges of climate change, cleaner energy, food security and medical care in an ageing society. In it, he describes his personal experiences of UK Chinese scientific collaboration and what each has to learn from the other's perspective, observing:

“The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world” and this is as true for those of us who explore the Sciences and the Arts. Sometimes the challenges we face will require an interdisciplinary approach, at others an international one that draws on the experiences of our different cultures and traditions. It is by meeting one another, virtually and in person, that we expand our vocabulary and with it our comprehension.

“For Science, a failure to meet and work together could carry a heavy price in misunderstanding. Certainly, the developing world must have its input into the solutions to the great social and ecological challenges of global health and climate change, and here China speaks with authority. China has lifted 800 million people out of poverty and a significant portion of our global progress on this issue is due to this fact. How was this possible? On this, as so much else, I know my country has a lot to learn from my Chinese colleagues.”

In addition to Sir Keith, 35 eminent contributors include:

  • The 2005 Nobel economics prize winner, Professor Edmund Phelps
  • Professor Joseph S. Nye Jr. who coined the term ‘soft power’ and was the former Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
  • H.E. Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and Chair, S4 Capital
  • Lord Jim O’Neill, Former Chairman of Chatham House and Chief Economist to the UK Treasury
  • Professor Kishore Mahbubani former Chair of the UN Security Council
  • Pascal Lamy, former WTO Director-General
  • Ronnie C. Chan, former Chinese Foreign Affairs Vice Minister
  • Zhu Guangyao, former Chinese Deputy Finance Minister
  • Professor Yuanli Liu, founding Director of the Harvard School of Public Health China Initiative
  • Dr. Hermann Hauser, Chairman of Amadeus Capital
  • and Dr Wendy Cutler, Director, Asia Society Policy Institute, Washington DC.

Commenting on the book, Rana Mitter, Professor, History and Politics of Modern China at The University of Oxford and respected author on Chinese history and politics, described the work as “an original, wide-ranging and stimulating set of essays. The relationship between China and the west is one of the most important in contemporary geopolitics, and these authors give us a range of productive and thoughtful ways to address its future." The book is available online here. 

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