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Chinese Conceptions of World Order

How does China view its role in the world, and how does this conception manifest itself in Chinese domestic and foreign policy? What are the implications of this worldview for the future of Sino-American relations? This session, hosted by the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, will analyze two noteworthy new books on the rise of Chinese nationalism and the projection of Chinese global power through the One Belt One Road Initiative.

Bill Hayton is a journalist at BBC World News TV and the author of three books on Asia. His most recent, The Invention of China, published through Yale University Press, is a compelling account, Hayton shows how China’s present-day geopolitical problems—such as the fates of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and the South China Sea—were born in the struggle to create a modern nation-state.

Eyck Freymann is a doctoral candidate in China Studies at Balliol College, Oxford. His new book, One Belt One Road: Chinese Power Meets the World, argues that Xi Jinping’s legacy project is as much about politics and ideology as infrastructure and loans. Belt and Road propaganda for domestic audiences harken back to ancient model of regional order in which foreign emissaries supposedly performed their submission to the Chinese emperor in return for political patronage. Freymann also finds that the Belt and Road project is attracting more willing partners than Western media reports suggest. 

Susan Thornton, Senior Fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School and Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings, will reflect on the significance of these works for the current and future state of U.S.-China relations. Ambassador Thornton is a retired senior U.S. diplomat with almost 30 years of experience with the U.S. State Department in Eurasia and East Asia. Until July 2018, she was the Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, where she led East Asia policymaking amid crises with North Korea and escalating trade tensions with China.

The discussion will be moderated by Arne Westad, Jackson’s Elihu Professor of History and Global Affairs.
Event Updated 2021-05-04


May 3
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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