Asia Global Institute
Reading China’s Future by Reading the Past: How China-West Relations are Being Shaped Today by Historical Thinking

Reading China’s Future by Reading the Past: How China-West Relations are Being Shaped Today by Historical Thinking

Monday, June 17, 2024

Rana Mitter, Dee Poon, Heiwai Tang, Brian Wong

AGI Lectures

Enquiry: T: +852 3917 1297 | E: agimail@hku.hk

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Why do relations between China and the western world still seem so fraught? One key reason is history: China’s historical experience of war and conflict, deep ideological change, and revolution still deeply shape its reactions to the West. It is, however, little understood in the wider world.

In this lecture, Rana Mitter from the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) joined Dee Poon from Tessellation Group, as well as Brian Wong from the Department of Philosophy, HKU, to discuss some of the key events from the recent and ancient past and how they continue to shape political thinking and policymaking in China and which should be better understood by its counterparts in the West and beyond.

Mitter delivered an insightful presentation exploring the four major factors that have shaped China's social thought and diplomatic approach. The economic legitimacy, which provides a rationale for China's emphasis on economic development, and it elucidates why both the government and the people exhibit robust support for advancements in science and technology; China's modern history, which explains its vision and unwavering pursuit of leadership in the Global South; The traditional thought of Confucianism, combined with Marxism-Leninism, offers insights into China's selection of social policies and its approach to tackling challenges, such as inequality and social mobility.

In the subsequent panel discussion, Heiwai Tang delved deeper into China's economic policies within the Global South and its strategic approach to collaborating with developing nations. In contrast, Wong offered a philosophical perspective on China's social development since the initiation of the Reform and Opening Up policy. Poon as a business professional, contributed an on-the-ground viewpoint, sharing her experiences navigating geopolitical tensions, deciphering various policies, and striving for sustainability while growing her enterprise.

About the Speakers

S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

Rana Mitter

President, Brands and Retailing and Director, Tessellation Group

Dee Poon

Director, Asia Global Institute

Heiwai Tang

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, The University of Hong Kong

Brian Wong

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Reading China’s Future by Reading the Past: How China-West Relations are Being Shaped Today by Historical Thinking
Reading China’s Future by Reading the Past: How China-West Relations are Being Shaped Today by Historical Thinking
Reading China’s Future by Reading the Past: How China-West Relations are Being Shaped Today by Historical Thinking
Reading China’s Future by Reading the Past: How China-West Relations are Being Shaped Today by Historical Thinking

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