Past Program

Dec 04 - Dec 09, 2012

China in the 21st Century: What Kind of World Power?


The program of annual sessions on Asia will continue in 2012 with a session on "China in the 21st Century: What Kind of World Power?" The event-modeled partly on "The US in the World", held immediately after President Obama's election in November 2008-will closely follow the formal inauguration of the successors to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in late 2012. Members of the new Communist Party politburo are by most accounts likely to be even more committed to China's still-developing role as a global power than the current leadership, but how they will interpret that role is a largely unknown quantity - one that is of enormous importance to the rest of the world as well as to China itself.

This session will appraise the direction of China's considerable and growing global influence. Like other superpowers, past and present, China pursues a foreign policy focused on its own national interest and, perhaps, pre-eminence - regional and increasingly also worldwide. Like them, too, it sees itself as a force for global stability and shared prosperity. How far do other actors in the global system, near and far, share that perception? Will China emerge as a benign superpower, and will it be perceived as such - by its neighbors, and by other powers which see their own influence slipping by comparison? What factors influence China's self-perception? In considering these questions, participants will be urged to take a realistic look at the issues that may divide China from the rest of the world-territorial disputes, competition for resources, differing views on the responsibility for meeting global environmental challenges, civil and political rights, trade and finance, weapons proliferation, etc.-but also to work together in proposing solutions based on a shared premise of global citizenship, cooperation and goodwill.

The China Seminar will have an overarching theme-China's emergence as a global power-but much of the discussion will be held in smaller, more specialized working groups. The agenda and composition of these will be carefully planned in advance, and each will be led by an established expert or experts. Potential Working Groups topics include:

  • Drivers of China's Foreign Policy
  • China's Approach to Multilateralism
  • China's Expansion in Latin America
  • Assessing China's Financial Power
  • Environmental Challenges in China