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About the film
It is now 20 years since Francis Fukuyama launched his renowned theory regarding the end of history. Liberal democracy on a capitalistic foundation had defeated its rivals. Those who did not adopt this system would be irrevocably left behind.
The country that most clearly contradicts this hypothesis is China. It has seen unparalleled economic development at the same time as the regime has retained its grip on society and the economy. Powerful voices in the Chinese debate say that China should not attempt to emulate the West, but should find a way of its own.
Can we now speak of a Chinese model, an authoritarian capitalism, which perhaps can even inspire others, in particular now when the crisis that has emanated from the USA drives many people to a critical view of the West?
Glasshouse Forum assembled prominent academics from China and the West at Maison Louis Carré outside Paris on 23-24 February 2009 to an intellectual summit on the theme “Is there a China model?” In the video documentation which Glasshouse Forum has produced in cooperation with the production company Edinim, we can follow the occasionally tense debate, moderated by Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times, on the issue of whether there is such a model and whether the rest of the world, including the West, might have something to learn from it.
It is significant that no one at the meeting subscribed to Fukuyama’s theory on the end of history. No one saw any signs of China adopting liberal democracy. It was also evident that the Chinese participants considered China to have good prospects to overcome the global economic crisis.
This documentation gives fascinating and thought-provoking insights into what may become the political landscape of the future.
The participants in the film are: Gideon Rachman, moderator of the summit and Chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times, Timothy Garton Ash, Oxford University, Daniel A. Bell and Zhiyuan Cui of the Tsinghua University in Beijing, Azar Gat, Tel Aviv University, Simon Long, Asia editor for The Economist, Vivienne Shue, Oxford University, Shaoguang Wang, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Feng Zhang, The Foreign Policy Centre in London, Wei-Wei Zhang, Centre for Asian Studies in Geneva and Fudan University in Shanghai, and Yongnian Zheng, National University of Singapore.
Quotes from the film
"I think that China may be the first major economy that emerges from this crisis." Wei-Wei Zhang, Fudan University in Shanghai
"It does seem to me that the Chinese government faces a particular problem in a way most developed countries’ governments don’t so acutely in that its success has been measured so much in terms of economic growth." Simon Long, The Economist
"China is a one party system. A one party system needs a crisis." Yongnian Zheng, National University of Singapore
"I’m surprised how much socialist values have been incorporated into people’s value system."Shaoguang Wang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
"The government is looking to Confucianism partly as a way of making sense of what it’s doing, partly as a way of inspiring people." Daniel A. Bell, Tsinghua University in Beijing
"Certainly from our Chinese participants, there seems to be quite a lot of confidence in the Chinese economic model’s ability to withstand the shock coming from the United States. Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
"I think corruption could be the fatal flaw in the Chinese case." Vivienne Shue, Oxford University
"The system is everything from Confucianism to punk and therefore cannot possibly be summarised in any single ism." Timothy Garton Ash, Oxford University
"China is still a developing country and it has a long way to go." Azar Gat, Tel Aviv University