China: Friend or Enemy? – recent published book


Prof. Meine Pieter van Dijk, Senior Project Consultant at MSM, recently published a book in Dutch titled “China, Friend or Enemy”. The book consists of three parts. In the first part, the situation in China is analyzed and in the second part the new role of China in the world is discussed. The book concludes with a chapter on what it means to travel through China and visit the big cities.

Part 1 - An analysis of China’s situation
This first part of the book consists of four chapters:

Chapter one discusses the success of China, of becoming the new economic and political superpower and what that means. Chapter two explains more about the rapid economic development while the question is asked; who benefits from this? There are big differences between East and West China, farmers and people living in the city and young and elderly people. Chapter three discusses the backside of economic success: inequality, a deteriorating environment, little respect for the political human rights and a social control system, which uses many cameras and face recognition software to track citizens everywhere and all the time. Chapter four gives an overview of the opposition of the reigning party. This chapter analyses different types of resistance, coming from religious organizations, ethnic groups (Uyghur, Tibetans, etc.), students, the urban middle classes, farmers, writers, artists and citizens. The question is do these protests lead to change?

Part 2 – The new role of China in the world
In this part, the seven stages in the rise of China as a global power are analysed:

1. China becoming a trading nation, earning foreign exchange by stepping up exports, based on the export oriented development model
2. The country starting to invest in other countries
3. Buying, inviting or stealing technology becomes important
4. Soft power is used to sell China's behaviour abroad
5. With president Xi Jinping, China claims sovereignty over the South China Sea
6. President Xi Jinping launches the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has become the flagship of China's foreign policy
7. The US wants to stop China's rise and launches a trade war

The third part of the book focuses on travelling in China and gives an impression of the interesting or boring cities the author visited.

China: Friend or Enemy?
The answer to the question depends to a large extent on how China deals with the opposition and revolts within the country. Not only with Hong Kong and Taiwan, but also with the countries affected by the claims of sovereignty (neighbouring countries) and countries which signed up for the BRI initiative but are now unable to repay the loans received.

Prof. Meine Pieter van Dijk aims to achieve a less naive view on China’s rise to superpower status with this book. China is more present than ever before in the current world. This book (in Dutch) discusses whether China's image abroad has been changing, from a friend of the poor and developing countries to an enemy for 'undisciplined' Chinese citizens, neighbouring countries and countries which signed up for the BRI initiative. The government uses face recognition software and a social credit system to monitor what the population is doing.

To launch the book MSM will organize a book launch. More details will follow soon.

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