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China Centre, Jesus College

The China Centre aims to deepen mutual understanding between China and the West at the crossroads of civilisation.

The global financial crisis of 2008-9 signalled a turning point in world history. The 200-year era of global dominance by a small group of countries in the West is coming to an end.

For most of the 2000 years prior to the British Industrial Revolution, China was a unified and peaceful country, ruled by a meritocratic bureaucracy. It was culturally sophisticated, with a vibrant market economy, and the most important location for global innovation. China’s government attempted to integrate the dynamic force of the ‘invisible hand’ of market competition with the ‘visible hand’ of ethically-guided state regulation.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China since 1978 it has experienced an extraordinary transformation under the policy of ‘Reform and Opening Up’. China’s national rejuvenation is returning the country to the position within the global political economy that it occupied before the nineteenth century.

The termination of the relatively brief era of Western economic, political and military dominance, which began with the British Industrial Revolution, will be complicated and prolonged. China’s path towards national rejuvenation is full of challenges.

Both developed and developing countries are faced with global challenges of the destruction of the natural environment, global warming, inequality of income and wealth, concentration of global business power, and instability of the global financial system. Both developed and developing countries are ‘groping for stones to cross the river’ (mo zhe shi tou guo he) in the search for intelligent governance of the global political economy.

Mutual understanding between China and the West is vitally important at this crossroads in human civilisation.

China needs to work hard to understand better the profound challenges that the current era presents for the West. The West needs to work hard to understand China better, especially the history of China’s politics, philosophy, economy and culture. It needs to understand better the contribution that China’s approach to regulating the market can make to global governance in the common interest of the whole global population.

A zero-sum confrontational relationship will harm the interests of the mass of citizens in both China and the West. A positive-sum relationship between China and the West will contribute to harmonious global governance in the face of the profound challenges that confront the human species.

Contact us

Director – Professor Peter Nolan CBE
Tel: +44 (0)1223 760625
Email: phn21@cam.ac.uk

Deputy Director and Senior Research Associate – Dr Jin Zhang
Tel: +44 (0)1223 760625
Email: jz208@cam.ac.uk

Administrator – Denise Hayles
Tel: +44 (0)1223 760625
Email: China Centre Administrator

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University of Peking’s Summer School in China

Each year Jesus College offers two students the opportunity to attend the PKU Summer School in Beijing, thanks to the generosity of Peking University and the Marshall Foundation. The Tutorial Office will contact all current undergraduates in Lent Term with full details of the programme, and how to make an application. 

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