RAS Lecture

Wooden Box

China’s Great Gamble: Neo-Mercantilism in One Belt One Road and its Global Consequences

Speakers: Zhang Junhua and Maximilian Mayer

JOINT EVENT The Hopkins China Forum and RAS

18:45 – Doors Open
19:00 – Lecture
19:45 – Q&A
20:15 – Mixer/Live Jazz

While the historical Silk Road arose from bottom-up trade, driven by nations outside China, One Belt One Road (OBOR) was designed by China’s leadership, and is China’s first major attempt to design and implement a cross-continental mercantile strategy with global consequences. OBOR is a product of Chinese neo-mercantilist thinking, which endorses global trade and its institutions while also pursuing a government-led globalization strategy to accumulate capital and wealth for the nation. China’s strategy clearly prioritizes state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and is focused on establishing free trade areas — similar to the China–ASEAN Free Trade Area which came into effect in 2010 — with Central Asia and South Asia. There are, however, significant risks with China’s OBOR strategy. China’s neo-mercantilism can lack sensitivity toward certain issues in the host countries, particularly regarding culture, the environment, and ethnic minorities. Beijing’s approach may also end up impeding effective cooperation with democratic countries.

Zhang Junhua is currently Professor of Political Science at the School of International and Public Affairs at Jiaotong University, where is also Director of International Master’s Degree Program and Executive Director of the Centre for Contemporary Sino-Israel Studies. He has also been Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex and Visiting Professor at Hebrew University. In addition, he is Senior Associate at the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) in Brussels. Apart from his long-term academic career at the Free University Berlin and Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, he has also been visiting professor at several universities around the world, including the University of Victoria in British Columbia, the University of Moscow, and the Institut Européen des Hautes Etudes Internationales. His research includes Chinese politics, international security, international political economy, and social memory, and his most recent book is Participatory Budgeting in Asia and Europe (2012). Zhang holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the J.W.Goethe-University in Germany.

Maximilian Mayer is a Research Professor at the German Studies Center of Tongji University. He holds a master degree from the Ruhr University Bochum and obtained his Ph.D. at Bonn University. After lecturing at the Institute for East Asian Studies at Ruhr-University Bochum, Maximilian joined Bonn University’s Center for Global Studies, where he was Managing Assistant, Senior Fellow and Lecturer between 2009 and 2015. His research interests and expertise include the global politics of science, innovation, and technology, China Studies (especially foreign, energy and environmental policy), global energy and climate politics, and international relation theories. He presents regularly at international conferences, publishes his research in peer-reviewed journals, and is co-editor of the two-volume The Global Politics of Science and Technology (2014) and Art and Sovereignty in Global Politics (2016), and editor of Rethinking the Silk-Road: Chinas Belt and Road Initiative and Emerging Eurasian Relations (forthcoming). He has been Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Science, Technology and Society, and is co-chair of the STAIR (Science, Technology, Arts and International Relations) section of the International Studies Association.

About Hopkins China Forum: Hopkins China Forum events are organized under the auspices of The Johns Hopkins University and its affiliated alumni associations worldwide. For more information on Hopkins events in Shanghai, please contact Frank Tsai at the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association – Shanghai at editor@shanghai-review.org.

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