What Does China Think?

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am

What Does China Think?

by Mark Leonard

Fourth Estate, HK$138

Pan Wei, Hu Angang, Yan Xuetong. They may not be household names but they are part of a growing number of influential Chinese intellectuals fostering debate about their country's future, which will have global ramifications. As Mark Leonard underscores in What Does China Think? we may know that half of the world's clothing is made on the mainland and be aware of its enormous currency reserves, but few realise it is also becoming a cauldron for economic, political and foreign-policy ideas. Many of the beliefs are evidence of Chinese intellectuals 'proclaiming independence from foreign models and plotting the future on their own terms', Leonard writes. Increasingly voices are denigrating development at the cost of inequality and environmental degradation. And as an anti-globalisation movement is strengthening, questions are being raised about whether the liberal democratic model is right for China. Fighting for prime position are the New Left, who favour a 'gentler form of capitalism', the New Right, who want the public sector sold and the 'Neo-Comms', who want China to assert itself globally by using military might, cultural diplomacy and international law. This is one book other Sinologists will lament they didn't write.