Prescient author now rules the roost

By Andrew Moody | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-10 08:46

"The United States has been plunged into an era of self-doubt and weakening influence in the world, which I think is now widely recognized. You cannot say the referendum (on EU membership) in the UK was a great experiment in democracy and you have got countries like Italy which have been frozen for more than 10 years because its party system is unstable."

The British journalist sees China as having moved into a new historical period of its own after the election of Xi as general secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC in November 2012.

"He has been successful in broadening the perspective about China and moved it away from defining itself in narrow economic terms, which I think had been the case after Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening-up in the late 1970s.

"He has emphasized the Chinese Dream and national rejuvenation as well as being more proactive on the global stage with initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the formation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank."

The academic argues where this matters most is in the developing world, particularly in Africa, which sees China as a role model.

"The great axis that has changed is that between China and the developing world. The United States cannot relate to it in the way that China can. China is a developing country and can understand the problems of development in a totally different way."

Jacques, who is a well known left-wing thinker in the UK, was born in Coventry in England almost immediately after the end of World War II to parents who were members of the British Communist Party.

After studying at Manchester University, where he took a first class honors in economics, he was one of the youngest-ever executive members of the party in the UK at 22.

He was very much in the European Communist tradition of Antonio Gramsci than the faction of the party that remained admirers of the former Soviet Union.

Jacques rose to prominence as editor of Marxism Today for 14 years from the late 1970s onwards.

He turned it from an obscure leftwing political magazine to one that contained views and opinions from across the political spectrum as Margaret Thatcher rose to power.

Its contributors including the late Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, who Jacques regarded as a mentor.

Jacques went on to be deputy editor of The Independent newspaper in the mid-1990s and combines being a high-profile columnist with lecturing around the world.

Jacques says his late wife Harinder Veriah, a Malaysian-Indian lawyer who he met on holiday on the island of Tioman off the east coast of Malaysia in 1993, inspired him to write his seminal book, which has now sold more than 400,000 copies and has been translated into 15 languages.

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