Last Thursday evening marked the final public event of the year for Griffith Asia Institute as it played host to the book launch of “Chinese Statecraft in a Changing World” by Jean Dong, a renowned research fellow from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies. Dong’s work delves into the intricate landscape of Chinese statecraft and its far-reaching global implications.
At the heart of Dong’s exploration is the crucial question of how China’s ambitions will unfold on the global stage. Her emphasis lies in unravelling the underlying rationale of Chinese statecraft, cautioning against an undue focus on China’s military prowess that could inadvertently spark an arms race. Dong, motivated by Henry Kissinger’s contemplation on whether the West should base its stance on China’s capabilities or conduct, underscores China’s vulnerability and the potential consequences of negative perceptions hindering global collaboration on critical issues.
Dong’s book goes beyond a mere examination of China’s capabilities; it identifies the structural constraints that shape its statecraft, presenting a nuanced approach to understanding its influence. The work underscores the necessity of differentiating short-term tactics from long-term strategy by delving into China’s historical evolution.
In a world grappling with unprecedented challenges, Dong advocates for a multifaceted strategy to address the China challenge. She proposes proactive efforts to shape the context and environment in which China emerges, aligning with the imperative for global paradigm shifts and innovative governance models. Dong’s book urges a comprehensive approach to navigate China’s influence in a rapidly changing global landscape.
During the engaging session, the audience’s questions touched upon various facets, including the relationship between China and Australia, the evolving attitude of the Chinese people towards changing statecraft, and the practical application of this information when advising government officials and policymakers.
As we reflect on this insightful event, we invite you to mark your calendars for more captivating discussions at the Griffith Asia Institute next year. Join us for a series of events that promise to unravel the complexities surrounding the Asia-Pacific region, providing a deeper understanding of the dynamic forces shaping our region.
Author | Kelsey Wotherspoon