Event summary by our intern Steph Coulter:
Attendees were treated to a comprehensive debate at the Centre for Global Constitutionalism’s first event of the semester- a roundtable on “China and the 21st Century Global Order”. Three guest speakers from various academic backgrounds gave their thoughts on one of the most pressing contemporary questions in International Relations; what does China want? University of Exeter’s Dr Beverly Loke asserted that China was far from the revisionist, Maoist power it once was but was still intent on juxtaposing itself from the US-based global order. A salient theme throughout her address was that Donald Trump’s decision to retreat from international institutions may allow China the space to take greater ownership with regards to global governance. Historian Dr Konrad Lawson brought his own unique take to proceedings, using personal anecdotes to elucidate how Chinese students and thinkers currently have much greater access to ideas than in previous years and questioning whether such resources could be used to establish China as a “moral power” in the international sphere. Lastly, Dr Catherine Jones made the claim that China’s intentions remain somewhat opaque but stressed its ability to alter the environment that states make decisions in, with particular reference to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The ensuing discussion saw attendees quiz the panel on related issues, with queries pertaining to China’s role in global academia and technological conflicts with the West drawing enlightened responses from our guests. The discussion was followed by a wine reception, where those in attendance got the chance to further discuss modern political phenomena with our speakers.