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Yet there is no end of very high-profile figures wanting to be on his one-hour show — especially intellectual figures who have achieved some public prominence. Bernard Henri Levy and Tariq Ramadan have been among his guests or victims. The combat, in short sharp sound-bites, still allows more thought to be portrayed than any other programme. When Mehdi flags, he turns to three panellists who, in turn, ask questions of the guest.

Mehdi might have moments when he can thus pause, but his guest cannot. I was instead somewhat furious. Insofar as a public intellectual is possible in China, it is the sort sanctioned by the Party. He acts as a scholarly apologist for the Party and its government. Zhang is very good at this, and has built a considerable international following — as someone who has something new to say about China. I think it is disingenuous apologia, cloaked in the misuse of scholarship, and is designed to seem like new insights that, in reality, defend a very old authoritarianism.

I was also angry because the programme was to be recorded shortly after the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of — and the scars of that still linger deeply enough for the Chinese authorities to have gone to extreme lengths to prevent the commemoration of its anniversary.

Sun Yat Sen, when he campaigned for a republic at the turn of the twentieth century, said he did so because of a non-reactionary Confucianism — when loyalty and fealty not only went up the chain, but care and protection had to come down. In , the Chinese government certainly came down against greater democracy — and it is important to point out that this was a Gorbachev-style series of reforms that the students wanted, statues of liberty notwithstanding, so the demands were radical at the time but not revolutionary — but it also came down against its own civilizational impulses and bearings.

Jacques went on to marry a Chinese woman, and his hugely influential book, When China Rules the World , was a sympathetic portrait of Chinese dynamism and implicit aspirations. It also perceptively heralded, if not a new global order, finally competitive globalisations. Zhang Weiwei was to take this term and run with it. My other co-panellist was Diana Wei Liang. She had been at Tiananmen Square, crawling over tanks and shoving leaflets into their turrets — and had escaped to take an American MBA and PhD and become a professor at university business schools in both the US and UK, before making her name as a novelist — her detective fiction set in the twisting lanes of an old China that has now been largely obliterated by relentless modern urbanisation.

China Wave, The: Rise Of A Civilizational State - Weiwei Zhang - Bok () | Bokus

Along the way, she stopped speaking Chinese. Of the three of us, it seemed it was she of whom Zhang Weiwei was most cautious. It is a hermetically-sealed virtuous or vexatious circle. It works off an old Chinese sense of exceptionalism — but this has gotten China into huge historical tracts of trouble, from the Mongols, to the Western imperial states, to the Japanese military machine of World War II. Being Chinese is no safeguard against things non-Chinese and, even with competitive globalisations, there are still very many competitive things that are non-Chinese.

It starts acquiring the habits of a hermitage and the rules of a monastery. Letting in placatory materialism assumes that associated philosophical, ideological and sheer deconstructive impulses can be filtered out.

The three ‘genetic defects’ of the Western model

In this sense, the maintenance of the civilisational state becomes a grotesque naivety and its enforcement — which must veer here and there, defining exclusions and inclusions — a kind of postmodern Stalinism. This renders the controlling Party not only one with a measure of unpredictability, as it seeks to achieve some impossible consistency on what is allowed or not, but makes the Party determined to maintain its hegemonic position of final arbiter of the shape and, above all, content of society. Without intervening variables such as a genuine civil society, a free press, an independent judiciary, and free universities with freely-speaking students, the Party seeks to progress from hegemonic to monolithic.

This is where I found the purposeful disingenuousness of Zhang to be offensive.

The China Wave: Rise of A Civilizational State

His thesis is that each leader of China, and his senior cohorts, has emerged through a system of such selectivity, level by level, that he who emerges at the top has already shown his mettle by having administered and governed vast provinces and economies. No one can become Party chairman or state president without such a degree of experience and honing that the process can only be described as one of ensuring the highest merit.

Put more properly, however, and certainly not dismissing merit entirely, it is also an emergence, level by level, through a closed system of intrigue, faction-fighting and patronage, pacts to obtain protection and accord it, the building of alliances, and the securing of favours.

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The China Wave

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Synopsis About this title This is a best-seller in China and a geopolitical book for our times. From the Inside Flap : This text on quantum mechanics begins by covering all the main topics of an introduction to the subject. About the Author : Zhang Weiwei is a professor of international relations at Fudan University and a senior research fellow at the Chunqiu Institute, China. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Search for all books with this author and title. Customers who bought this item also bought.