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SACU Panel Discussion: China's 21st Century Silk Road

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Published on Jun 30, 2017

SACU Panel Discussion: China's 21st Century Silk Road: setting the terms of an alternative globalisation?

-- Video Edited by Cai Chen

Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (www.sacu.org)

[Please follow SACU on Facebook, Twitter(@SACUUK), WeChat(SACU1965)]

20 May 2017, Strand Campus of King's College London, UK

Speakers:
Keith Bennett, Vice-Chairman of The 48 Group Club and longstanding SACU member;

Shao Zheng, Counsellor for Policy Analysis and Strategic Planning, Chinese Embassy to the United Kindom;

Dr Frances Wood, SACU Vice President, historian and former Curator of Chinese Collections at the British Library.

Chair:
Professor Kerry Brown, Lau China Institute, King’s College London.

Event Information:
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been hailed as “the greatest economic development project ever undertaken”, of huge significance in redefining China’s place in the world through a different kind of globalisation. By reawakening the Eurasian super-continent, it may help to shift the global landscape fundamentally away from a Transatlantic axis.

The ancient Silk Road was the world’s first and greatest trade route, a meeting point of the major civilisations of Asia, Europe and Africa, and today’s new connectivities seek to build on this historical legacy of peaceful economic and cultural interchange. The scale of the project demonstrates huge ambition but is it really workable? To what extent will it open opportunities across the three continents to ‘hitch a ride on China’s economic express train’?

Sceptics view the scheme as a bid by China for greater land and maritime power. Might the initiative trigger a modern day great game, with Chinese influence spreading into the back yards of Russia and India? Or a new Cold War between East and West for dominance over Eurasia? Then again are the critics missing the point? Will the Belt and Road evolve a new type of ‘heritage diplomacy’, releasing a dynamic of inter-civilisational exchange to transcend today’s geopolitics of rivalry?

To coincide with the 2017 international summit on the Belt and Road to be held in May in Beijing, SACU brought together a panel of experts to discuss the economic, intercultural and geopolitical dimensions of the project and to weigh its globally transformative potential. The panel considered whether the West is taking the initiative sufficiently seriously and how we in Britain in particular should be responding.

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