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The 1st Global China Dialogue series, on the theme ‘the experience of China’s modernization from a comparative perspective’, was held successfully on the 17th December 2014, at the London Capital Club. Professor Xiangqun Chang, Director of CCPN Global, chaired this event (left picture). It was organized by CCPN Global and YES (The Young Entrepreneur Society) and sponsored by many institutions inside and outside China. More than 40 academics, consultants, professionals and entrepreneurs participated (right picture).
The panel consisted of 7 guests: (from left to right in the middle picture): Professor Stephan Feuchtwang, The London School of Economics and Political Science, Professor Martin Albrow, Senior Fellow of the Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Studies, Law as Culture, University of Bonn, Germany; Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences, UK, Mr Charles Grant, Director of Centre for European Reform (CEF), Mr Xiang Xiaowei, Minister Counsellor, Cultural Office, Embassy of the PRC in the UK, Professor GUO Fengzhi, Deputy Dean of School of Marxism, Northeast Normal University, China, Ms Xinran Xue, author, journalist, and founder of the Mothers’ Bridge of Love (MBL), and Mr Philip Hao, President of Young Entrepreneur Society (YES); CEO of UVIC Group.
Minister Counsellor Xiang Xiaowei (right) gave an opening address. He stated that during the visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Britain last June there has been a general agreement between the two governments that they will be hosting the Year of Cultural Exchange between China and the UK. There would be huge anticipation for the ‘UK Season’ in China, starting from January to June and the ‘China Season’ in the UK from July to December. While organizing the activities we both agreed that we have to be creative. Following a very strong call from academia that we should further and deepen the exchange with our British counterparts, exchanging sources and creating platforms for cultural dialogues, we are currently trying to create a platform that would allow the free flow of ideas and encourage and nourish the discussions about topics of concern. 2014 was the 160th anniversary of Mr Yan Fu’s birth, a pioneering character who helped to introduce a significant number of ideas from Britain to China (most famously Darwin’s Theory of Evolution) and commenced the process of modernization, which at the time was called the Yangwu movement, which means ‘learning from the West’.
When we look back to our own history about our own modernizations, we have undergone such dramatic ups and downs in our process, if we take research in the movements in China and also if we could look around at the modernization movements worldwide we can see there have been some very important points that have been missed in this movement, based on not only how we look at modernization, but also on what concept the modernization should be based. From there, we are (referring to both government and academia) very interested in trying to find out and trying to build a forum for each and every country and its academia to come forward and discuss issues that concern them. I think this might be a good time for us to re-evaluate this concept of modernization. As a movement that originated in Europe and was accompanied by Industrialization, the modernization has already become a path that most countries are committed to for their social reform and evolution. Currently we are working very vigorously with different works and different influences from different academic circles in order to try and build this Forum, and will hopefully be able to host this Forum here in October 2015.
The panellists then gave talks from global, European, Chinese, grassroots, professional and practitioners’ perspectives in turns.
Professor Martin Albrow (left) began his talk by responding to the original European idea of modernization. He said; “’the idea of ‘modern’ has undergone many changes in the course of the history of Europe, and it really takes off at a very crucial time in East-West relations, roundabout 1700, when there were these very enlightened Jesuit priests going to China and taking Western science there and bringing Chinese ethics back’”. He continued, stating that ‘the idea of the ‘modern’ was the rational, the reasonable and human beings all finding their common humanity, now that’s the basis we need for global governance, the sense that every nation, every civilization can contribute, and of course, the contribution of China in the future is going to be, I would say, the most fundamental because in a sense, it is the newest when we’re thinking about global governance, that is, it is the newest contributor because it is the only civilization which, for a very long time, was in the shadow of the West, no longer.So what we look forward to, and I’m sure this Forum looks forward to, is that joining together of civilizations in creating a general global humanity’.
Mr Charles Grant (2nd left) said, ‘global governance is a good idea because it means that states regulate their relations through negotiation and rules rather than ‘might is right’ and invading each other but I don’t think it’s going very well; look at the World Trade Organization, created 20 years ago it’s achieved just about nothing; one set of rules recently agreed in Bali on so-called ‘Trade Facilitation’. The G20, which became an important talking shop when the financial crisis blew up in 2008 to resolve some financial difficulties it’s now’. He wrote a book a few years ago comparing Russia and China’s views on global governance. He found that ‘China is quite committed to the economic institutions of global governance, it joined the World Trade Organization rather early and it’s a part of the financial stability board that regulates financial markets at an international level, so it likes the economic side but its much more cautious on the security side’.
Professor GUO Fengzhi (middle) believed the Chinese model is different from the Western model of modernization because ‘in order to realize modernization China has to pursue the domestic objective of improving its people’s quality of life, as well as resolving the external issue of being backward compared with other countries. All the issues related to China’s modernization need to be addressed in a globalized context, in the same way as China’s development can only be evaluated in comparison with the rest of the world’.
Ms Xinran Xue (2nd right) worked at The Guardian and the BBC as a journalist and a writer, and founded a charity as a volunteer. Baaed on her working and living experiences in the UK and many countries in the world she raised three questions: (1) understanding before thinking or thinking before understanding; (2) human history is rooted, shaped or ordered by family or religion? (3) globalization or Englishlization? She believes there are ‘brilliant, remarkable values of in our society, of our history’, and would like to ask the world ‘how much and what the world can learn from China’.
Mr Philip Hao (right) also made three points: (1) ‘a deeper understanding about what corporate social responsibility is something China should learn from Europe’. Corporate social responsibility so ‘one of the key things to make a business sustainable, one of the key tools to engage business itself, employees, talents, clients and society’. (2) ‘The second one is about something that Europe could learn from China… In the last 10 years we have clearly seen Europe fall way behind in terms of business development in the Internet industries’ than China because lack of the motivation for changing the lifestyle Chinese people have already been enjoying. (3) Based on his work experiences he realized that ‘the integration between Europe and Asia particularly China is irreversible, …… so we just have to deal with the differences so let’s try to embrace a modern mindset, I call it ‘Stay together and stay different’.
Professor Stephan Feuchtwang (left) Began his closing remarks by commenting on every panellists’ talk only with an academic perspective, neither ‘idealistic or business-related or speak from [his] own experience except in [his] profession’. In response to Albrow’s quoting of Leibniz, Feutchwang added that there are several other 18th century theorists espousing a ‘kind of global language… [And] global government’, which are idealistic, in contrasting Grant’s more ‘realistic’ stance, agreeing that most global institutions are indeed ‘talking shops’ but that they ‘are capable of being reformed’, believing that we all have a responsibility to discuss what kind of ‘pressures we can help put on for the reform of the United Nations Security Council and all the other organizations, including the WTO’.
Commenting on Professor Guo’s assertion, as well as Mr Xiang, that China had found its own path of modernization, they were both promoting the path of modernization against the Washington Consensus. Feuchtwang stated that he would ‘certainly support’ their point and came back to this after his general comments.
Feuchtwang proceeded to contest Mrs Xue’s controversial views about Western family values in comparison to Chinese family values, to say one country was more or less ‘family-oriented’ would be disingenuous. He believed that whilst there were certainly differences in family values in both cultures, as Chinese family system is patrilineal, but for more general claims for the importance of Chinese family’s function in society needs more empirical based studies.
Philip Hao’s talk received high regards from Feuchtwang with a description as ‘rousing’, noting his particular ‘endorsement’ of Hao’s final statement: ‘stay together and stay different’, choosing to elaborate on it. He stated; ‘I do believe that this is a forum for comparison, but also for different kinds of views coming from different experiences… but I do think that comparison needs to be solidly evidence-based, and the only way to get evidence about other countries… is to try and question the Euro-centrism, the assumptions that we come with, in order to say ‘you’re different from me’ I have to open myself out to you in was that are going to shock me’. He continued by backing up his claims with assertions made by Professor Fei Xiaotong, who said that [in his fieldwork in a minority nationality in China] that ‘the thing he’d learnt most from was the shock, the unexpected that he met there in studying those people. It is the readiness to be shocked and to have your own foundations shaken, but never to assume that you are the same, and so therefore I don’t think global governance is going to come from any assumption that we’re the same, but from listening to each other, and listening to each other’s differences, so that’s my idealism’, methodologically, it is more advanced and realistic than the 18th centurial European theorists’ idealistic views on modernity and global governance.
Feutchwang then returned to Mr Xiang’s opening address, believing that ‘the dialogue on modernization is inevitably going to be between different experiences of adapting whatever we mean by modernization as a project and what have been the accompanying sources of advice and the orthodoxy of the times in which that has happened’. He stated that ‘modernization needs to be broken down… It’s not just one thing; it’s state formation including militarization and security, it’s industrialization, it’s the provision of welfare, it’s marketization, it’s aspirations to individual freedom’, then noting the differences between the concept of ‘patriotism’ in China and the West and how this is yet another part of the modernization process. He ardently believed that ‘we shouldn’t assume to know China’, and that ‘neither should Chinese people assume they know China’, as there are many Chinese academics who do not know China despite studying it empirically. He stated that this made it necessary to open a dialogue between people, ‘not just from their experiences but what they have learned by studying, by investigation, from more than one country.’
In relating to the above topic Feutchwang also tackled Ms Xue’s question how Europe can learn from China with the Beijing consensus, which he has been studying, and just came to the end of a large study of urbanization in China, and ‘it tends to be an immensely effective top-down process, but it has a huge amount of waste’. According to Fuechtwang, ‘The Beijing consensus also includes Chinese measurements, the most wasteful use of efficiency per unit of production, much more wasteful than any in Europe, so I’m saying that one needs to make good economic comparisons using those kinds of measurements as well as the extraordinary growth, the 52 airports while Terminal 5 was built, the extraordinary growth in renewable energy industries in China, which are now exporting to the rest of the world, I think that’s an extremely helpful sign. But there’s also comparisons to be made, with Europe, as well as with the UK and other countries in Europe, for instance the whole move to privatize the state and welfare, and compare that with China, that’s personally what I would be most interested in comparing, its privatization, it goes on in China but in a different way’.
Finally, Fuechtwang continued to answer Ms Xue’s question how Europe can learn from China with a contrast of Yan Fu and James Legge. ‘Yan Fu is a translator and a policy maker and advisor to be compared to subsequent translators or advisors on China in Europe as well as in China’. In contrast, James Legge’s translated work is hugely influential in Europe about China. He ‘translated the Confucian classics and some Daoist classics in the late 19th Century, and this is long, long after Matteo Ricci and the Jesuits had translated into Latin, this is one of the many, many translations into the vernacular languages of Europe, which had a huge influence on people who did learn from China, … so people became Buddhist, Europeans became Buddhist, Europeans have become Daoists, Europeans above all have become to some extent impressed with Confucius through these books. So that is one thing we have learned from China, or thought we had learnt (it’s a sort of idealization of Chinese philosophies and religions) but nevertheless, very influential, and not just the religions but the poetry, in my case it was through reading Chinese poetry that I began to study China, it’s the Chinese literature, it’s a great literature, and you underestimate the amount to which it has been read by people in European countries who come to China through them.’
Before the floor was opened the panellists had some discussion amongst themselves. For example, Professor Xiangqun Chang introduced an empirical-study based comparative research work on academic mothers in four cities in China and the UK which found that the British mothers are always put their children at the first priority above their work. She also revealed a life fieldwork finding that two important attendees made their absent apologies because they were either looking after their new born granddaughter or in helping with a daughter-in-law’s birth.
During the Q & A there were many interesting questions raised, such as (1) what China can learn from pensions and social welfare from Europe and the West as it approaches the new dynamic of cultural rebalancing with an aging population? (2) what is it about the UK that is attractive to Chinese entrepreneurs’ to come in and start a business? Is it much easier to start a business here than in other European countries? (3) What are the panellists thoughts on new ideas about modernization, for example, in the Colombian Pacific, in the West and globally, particularly in Latin America. How do they see these new kind of ideas impacting China in the future, do they think they will gain hold or they will remain brittle? (4) What are the Asian values or Chinese values that would prove to be coming from the legacy of Chinese cultures to be productive in China’s modernization, rather than, so those Asian values could be the helpful elements that could make China’s modernization something more advanced than Westernization. (5) …… in Western culture long term is something like four to five years, whereas in China it’s more like a hundred years, so when we get this more in sync we can start learning a little more productively from each other and apply something from globalization, modernization, every single country needs to change, so it’s not just about Chinese problems, it’s not just about British problems, it’s a global issue, because the world is becoming smaller and smaller, and I think it seems to be that if we find the sync time in terms of what kind of progress we’re looking at I think that would help us a lot, any views on this.
Professor Albrow made a final touch to the event. ‘I think the outcome of all the academic research there’s ever been suggests that we can never understand another person or another culture completely…. The best things that we can learn from each other are when we do things together, and I think the prospects for global governance are best if we think in terms of projects for the future, reforming what we’ve got, creating better things and collaborating with each other in those things, and not to assume that collaboration with each other means we understand each other perfectly, because that’s not the case, you can collaborate very effectively with other people even when you don’t understand them and I think that is a very crucial thing to recall.’
During the networking session the panellists and participants has further discussions.
Let us remember that we have been involved in the 1st Global China Dialogue!
Edited by Neil Clarke
Click here to return to the GCD I page
“全球中国对话”系列于2014年12月17日在伦敦伦敦金融城心脏地带的资本俱乐部（London Capital Club）拉开序幕，全球中国比较研究会会长常向群教授主持了这一活动（左图）。该活动是由全球中国比较研究会（CCPN Global）和青年企业家协会（YES）联合主办，并得到国内外多家单位的赞助，来自学术界、智库和企业的40余人应邀参加了开坛仪式（右图）。
首届“全球中国对话”以“中国现代化进程的经验教训与其它发展中国家和地区之比较”为主题，从全球、欧洲、中国官方与学术界、海外华人专业人士和民间视野，涉及亚洲、中东、非洲、拉美等地区发展的现状，把中国晚清的“洋务运动” 以来的现代化的话题，置于当今全球社会发展中的语境下加以比照。其的专家学者小组由7人组成，他们是(中图自左至右): 伦敦政治经济学院人类学教授、著名中国专家王斯福教授，英国社科院院士、德国波恩大学高研院院士马丁•阿尔布劳教授，欧洲改革中心 主任查尔斯•格兰特先生，中国东北师范大学马克思主义学部副部长郭凤志教授，中国驻英国大使馆 文化处公使衔参赞项晓炜先生，英籍华人作家、记者，慈善机构“母爱桥”创办者薛欣然女士，以及青年企业家协会 会长，英国UVIC集团总裁郝斐先生。
项晓炜公参（右） 在开幕词中说，2014年6月李克强总理访问了英国的时候，英中双方同意举办中英文化交流年。根据双方协议，上半年英国在中国举办文化季，下半年中国在英 国举办文化季，其活动的特点是创造性。英国学术界希望我们能够深化中英两国之间的文化交流，鼓励对共同关心的问题的自由交流提供平台。今年是中国中国近代 启蒙思想家严复诞辰160周年，他不仅将许多英国社会科学著作及观念介绍到中国，还发起了现代化的运动，因此，回顾一百多年来中国现代化曲折历程，并将中 国现代化运动和世界各国的现代化运动做一比较，将可能成为世界各国政府、学术界和各界共同关心的问题。目前我们正在和很多学术领域的有影响力学者合作，我 们希望明年10月能够在伦敦举办以中国与全球现代化问题比较研究为主题的论坛。
接着学者专家们分别从全球、欧洲、中国、民间和企业家视野谈了他们的看法。马丁·阿尔布劳教授（左 一）首先从欧洲现代化概念的起源加以回应，他说，历史上“现代”的概念发生了很多变化，到18世纪变得更重要了，当时东西方关系已经进入一个关键性的阶 段：传教士将西方科学介绍到中国，并而将中国伦理学等介绍到西方国家。其实，“现代化”与资本主义无关，“现代的”的意思就是“合理的”、“理性的”，是 人类寻找共同的人道（common humanity），它是我们当下全球治理的基础。从全球治理的角度上看，中国是最年轻的贡献者，中华文明正在摆脱西方的阴影，一起加入到人类的文明进程 之中，共建一个普遍的全球化人类社会。查尔斯·格兰特先生 （左二）首先坦诚地指出，虽然全球治理是一个好主意，即世界各国间的关系是按照谈判和法规规矩处理的，但是目前其况状并不好，他列举了世界贸易组织、20 国集团、安理会、北约等国际组织，认为他们都是“清谈俱乐部”。他说，他曾经写过一本书，对俄罗斯和中国在全球治理作了比较，注意到中国想遵守全球治理的 经济机构，例如，它很早加入世界贸易组织，也是对全球金融体系进行监管的金融稳定委员会的参与成员，并对全球安全治理采取谨慎的态度。郭凤志教授（中）认为，中国的现代化对内要实现人民生活水平不断改善的目标，对外要解决在世界比较中我们相对落后问题。在经济全球化条件下中国的现代化己经置于全球化背景中，一切发展问题只能在全球背景下去思考，发展能力和发展质量也只能在世界比较中得到评价。薛欣然女士（右 二）通过对她在英国BBC和《卫报》以及创办“母爱桥”所扮演的作家、记者和志愿者的角色，以及在英国和世界许多国家的体验，就中国与英与世界国家的差异 提出了三个问题：（1）“先理解再思考，还是先思考再理解”；（2）“人类历史及其秩序的根基和型塑是家庭还是宗教？”（3） “全球化还是英语国家化？“ 她从家庭到社会举例说明每个国家和社会有自己的优秀的价值观，并借此机会发文，世界能够从中国学到什么，学到多少？郝斐先生(右 一)也讲了三点，他首先倒过来说作为华人企业家，他向英国企业家学到了企业的社会责任的精神，不是简单的纳税、雇员等，而是其组成和内涵，认为这是企业吸 引人才、提高凝聚力、增加品牌认可和确保可持续性发展的关键因素之一；然后，他通过中国与欧洲的互联网企业发展状况的比较，指出中国在这一领域远远优于欧 洲的原因在于中国人有努力改变自己生活方式的活力；最后，他通过中国与英国的语言习惯和教育体制的比较指出差异的存在，提出，”让我们在一起，求同存异 “。
之后，王斯福教授（左） 作了总结发言。他首先对上述嘉宾的发言依次作了点评，认为在马丁提出的莱布尼兹的例子上还可以加上康德关于永久和平的观点以及18世纪一批提倡全球话语和 全球治理的理论家及理性主义者的观点，需要把这些理性主义与查尔斯提出的现实问题结合起来，即探讨如何帮助这些清谈俱乐部式的全球组织进行改革的问题。郭 教授和项先生都把中国式的现代化道路作为华盛顿共识之外的另一种选择，指出薛欣然女士对中国和英国家庭的比较还需要进一步深入。王斯福认为郝先生的讨论充 满活力，欣赏他的”让我们在一起，求同存异“的观点，并对此加以拓展。认为我们把中国与其他国家作比较研究要基于实证研究，得到关于其他国家的证据的唯一 方法就是试图质疑欧洲中心主义，在作出“你和我不一样”的假设时，要敞开自己来接受他者不同方面的冲击，正如费孝通在作少数民族研究时最大的体会是受到不 同的差异的冲击。当我们在讲全球治理时，不是提倡大家都一样，而是要互相倾听，互相了解并接受对方的不同，这是我自己对全球治理的理想主义的观点。
王 斯福重点谈了他对现代化的看法，认为事实上没有一种现代化的定义。现代化是国家形成的过程，包括军事化和安全问题，是工业化进程，是福利制度，是市场化， 是追求个人自由的愿望，不仅在在欧洲，也在中国，还有个人自由和集体责任的关系，以及不同种类的爱国主义，如目前在英国奈杰尔·法拉奇在利用爱国主义，应 该说爱国主义也只是现代化进程的一部分。上述问题可以一个一个地用中国与其他国家和地区的相比较，如把中国的爱国主义与英国等欧洲国家的爱国主义作比较研 究也很有意义，还有城市化问题，全球货币与地方价值转化的问题，以及关于国家与社会福利民营化的过程，中国在打造与西方现代化不一样的民营化路径，这些都 是很值得研究的现象。
最后，王斯福回答了欣然的世界向中国学习什么的问题，他认为就现代化而言，欧洲正通过北京共识中涉及的很多问题研究中 国经验，他还结合项公参提到的严复将现代化和社会理论翻译介绍到中国的问题，与欧洲翻译介绍中国古代哲学和文学作了对比，认为从利玛窦和其他传教士把中国 经典翻译成拉丁语以后，到了19世纪，许多欧洲人通过阅读理雅各用英文翻译的儒家和道家经典，都成为佛教徒或道教徒，包括他本人也是通过对中国的诗歌和文 学的学习，走上了毕生都从事中国研究之路的。
在 对话环节开始后，与会者提出了一系列感兴趣的问题，如：中国人口老龄化之后，中国从欧洲和西方的社会福利能学到什么？与其他国家相比，为什么中国企业家更 愿意到英国来创业？在全球很多地方出现反全球化的运动中，许多地区都提出了现代化的新观点，根据我对中国所做的发展人类学的田野调查，为什么那些观点对中 国主流现代化观点没什么影响？在现代化的进程中，中国要重视什么亚洲或中国价值，什么亚洲价值会使中国现代化放弃西方化的过程？中国不仅与西欧不同，与东 欧也有很多差异，如我们说长期是四、五年，中国是上百年，在时期的长度的理解上差距非常之大，在世界变得越来越小的时候，如何寻找到一种什么样的时间上的 同步，对这样的全球问题如何理解？
在嘉宾与参与者互动之后，马丁·阿尔布劳教授的一席话对本次对话活动作了点睛之笔，他说，从阐释社会学角 度看，研究“他者”的过程是另人沮丧的，我们没办法完全相互了解，人们永远不会完全了解一种外语，其实，也不能完全了解自己的母语，正如我们不可能完全了 解别人或家人，在已有的基础上，尽量完善全球治理，尽量合作吧！