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National Strategy Lecture - China 2020: a Confucian Democracy?

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  • May 04, 2011
    Speeches and Lectures
    Open for all
    1000 hrs

    1. Why Understanding China is important, especially for India

    China is an emerging 21st century superpower; India is too, but way behind. Yet China and India neither understand each other, nor are they engaging each other’s strengths to mutual advantage. If they do so, Tagore’s and Toynbee’s ‘Asian Century’ could be a potent force for inclusionary and sustainable development for the entire planet.

    2. Understanding China in its own terms

    China today cannot be categorized within simplistic categories such as ‘dictatorship’, ‘socialist’, or ‘capitalist’. It is a peculiar and unique mixture of all of these, borne out of its own history and culture. In particular, Confucius and his philosophy has had a lasting influence on China’s institutions and society, and-- as I submit-- its likely future. Democracy has evolved since its origin in Periclean Athens—perhaps East Asia may throw up a new mutation? ‘Confucian democracy’ and ‘scientific development’ may be political formulations that are best suited for China to address its future challenges and as its vehicles to promote harmony in the wider world order.

    3. Implications for India, and the World

    This presentation will, I hope, also provoke some reflections on how best India and China can live and prosper together, rather than be drawn into a paradigm of destructive rivalry and confrontation. Should India engage with China or hedge against it? If the former, how should a democracy like India engage with China? What outcomes from the relationship should India aim at for business, society and the people at large? Is the planet about to witness the start of a ‘post-American’ cold war between the two Asian giants?

    Click here for Working Paper

    Click here for Presentation