Recently China has achieved economic supremacy in Asia and has gained a pivotal position in the New World Order. The complex decision-making process of China’s internal power structure and its unique social fabric together with the diversity of its people makes China often misunderstood by its Western counterparts. A rare and fascinating glimpse into China in terms of its leadership structure and policies is offered by the insightful and entertaining volume “Insights from China: Leadership, Policies, New World Order” by Professor Jean Christophe Iseux von Pfetten with the aim to better understand China and its next moves.
“With a vast population of over 1.36 billion and impressive economic growth, the People’s Republic of China has become a key actor on the international stage. In 1978, when China started implementing its ‘opening-up’ policy and a vast program of economic reform, China ranked tenth in the world with a GDP of USD 148 billion. Thirty-seven years later it now ranks second with a GDP of USD 9.2 trillion. China’s supremacy has obliged the current generation of policymakers and stakeholders to include China in their internal planning and worldwide strategy.
The complex decision-making process of China’s internal power structure and its unique social fabric resulting from 3000 years of history, together with the diversity of its people makes China a very interesting country to study and learn from. Concealed behind a curtain of discretion and obscured by linguistic and cultural differences, China exposes many facets to its Western counterparts often leading to misunderstandings. The enigmatic dynamics of China’s core makes its moves difficult to predict.
Despite its international relevance, the undeniable appeal of its huge market and increasing interest and knowledge of governments and multinationals worldwide, China remains an enigma and remarkably difficult to understand, especially viewed through Western glasses. At the heart of this difficulty is the difference of logic between West and East, where the West indulges in hypothetico-deductive, manicheist, often static logic, while the East has refined 3000 years of evolving logic (particularly obvious since the Han Dynasty) based on the dialectic movement between immanence and transcendence. In mathematical terms, if A expresses a proposal and A* its opposite, Western logic makes ‘A+A*=0’ (zero-sum game) and Eastern logic makes ‘A+A*=multiple As’ (win-win situation). In practical terms, Western logic gives the Western world a Judeo-Christian principle of right and wrong (or black and white, with few shades of grey), while Eastern logic gives China a Confucian “Doctrine of the Mean” (principle of harmony with many shades of grey, and little that is black or white).
One can easily understand why Western minds find it difficult to comprehend Eastern logic, particularly when they feel ethno-centric after conquering the World (in every sense of the word) over the past 500 years. However it is important to recognize that the Eastern mind can effectively comprehend Western logic. For this reason Chinese leaders have been better able to negotiate contractual terms than their Western counterparts…”
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More about Jean Christophe Iseux von Pfetten
Professor Jean Christophe Iseux von Pfetten is a French citizen, born 1967, educated at Oxford University, former diplomat, distinguished academic and senior advisor to multinationals. He was the youngest Ambassador at the United Nations in Geneva at the age of 28. He also served as a specially invited member of China People’s Political Consultative Conference in Changchun,the first European ever to hold parliamentary seat in China. He is currently President of the Royal Institute for East-West Strategic Studies affiliated with Oxford University Department of Continuing Education and also Visiting Professor at People’s University in Beijing. Pfetten has been credited with advancing Sino-Vatican diplomatic relationship and the Iran’s nuclear negotiation bringing together, for the first time since WWII, senior officials from China and Vatican in 2011, and “top military commanders” from China, US, EU, Russia, Iran and Israel since 2013 for breakthrough meetings at his chateau in Burgundy.
Insights from China: Leadership, Policies, New World Order