Reflexive sinophobia may be self-fulfilling for it risks strengthening the forces within China that are opposed to political reform. So argues the essay that follows, which was written in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics and published, with the title ‘Altered Images’ in Index on Censorship (Volume 37 No. 2, 2008).
The government of China has long taken the view that its own development must be sui generis, resisting ‘foreign models’ or at least adapting and investing them with ‘Chinese characteristics.’ International development agencies and some developing countries are now asking what lessons they can draw from China’s own fast-forward growth. This essay, which was presented as a discussion paper to a Wilton Park conference in November 2007, questions whether the diverse forces that have propelled China forward can be emulated. A shorter version entitled ‘Saving Globalisation’ appeared in the Winter 2007 (No. 41) issue of China Review.