China’s size in terms of its geography, economy & population, means that its impact will be felt in significant ways around the world. Like its politics or not, therefore, people of all nations will come into contact with its tech, social media apps, investments, trade, e-commerce, values, influence and reach.
We caught up with our charity’s Political Ambassador, Dr Kerry Brown, a leading academic on China, and Professor of Chinese studies at the Lau China Institute, King’s College London. Dr Brown says,
In the 1970s the Chinese realised that their knowledge levels of the outside world were poor. Consequently, they invested vast amounts of time and effort in going to look at that world and learn from it. In 2021, Europeans – and Americans in particular – need to adopt a similar mindset, and see China not as an object of criticism and a place which is a repository of difference, but somewhere where we can truly learn from.
Despite its economic progress in recent years, that it is home to more billionaires than anywhere else in the world and is the initiator of the Belt & Road initiative – heralded as an economic driver for the world for a generation – China is little understood in the west. Brits who can speak decent Mandarin Chinese could be counted only in a few thousand.
This year the Coronavirus was called by President Donald Trump, “the China virus.” That single nomenclature added to the commonly held negative feelings about the world’s second largest economy.
In Dr Brown’s short video, however, he suggests that we would do well to take a closer look at what China is, what it means, what we can learn from it, “not least because it represents one fifth of humanity and therefore a large part of humanity and its society.” In 2020, this year in which Britain leaves the European Union and seeks to find fresh ways to achieve its global goals, it would do well to consider what China has to offer other than cheap goods and labour. Indeed, for our nation’s young people, China and its opportunities should be taken into consideration when looking at future careers.
Dr Brown is a regular speaker, author of countless books, papers and articles on China. We are proud to have him as one of our stellar ambassadors who can share real insights into what China is now and support us in our work to build China literacy in schools.
Let us know what you think.