#28 – China’s Dilemma: Marching West but Thinking East

event #28
September 24,  2013

Prof. WANG Jisi 王缉思
Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University




Where do we trace back the origin of the “March West” theory? Does it have any precedent in the Chinese scholarship and to what extent it can be connected to the American Pivot to Asia and to the need for a peaceful and balanced relationship with the United States? Does it imply a move away or some sort of continuity with the Chinese tradition of continentalism? Which role does the fundamental revision of Chinese economic policy play in the development of this theory? Does it preclude a revision of Chinese economic openness to trade and internationalization? The so-called Arab Spring and the financial crisis affecting the Southern countries of the Eurozone have turned the Mediterranean region into an “arc of tension”, with political instability, bursts of extremism, and economic dislocation now dominating the regional landscape. Which challenges does this set of trends poses to China and how the “March West” theory cope with them?


Speaker Bio

Professor WANG Jisi is dean of the School of International Studies, Peking University, and director of the Center for International and Strategic Studies, Peking University. He has been a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of the Foreign Ministry of China since October 2008 and is honorary president of the Chinese Association for American Studies. He is currently a Global Scholar at Princeton University (2011-2014). After working as a laborer in the Chinese countryside in 1968-78, Wang Jisi entered Peking University in 1978 and obtained an MA degree there in 1983.
He taught in Peking University’s Department of International Politics (1983-91), and then served as director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences until March 2005 when he assumed the current position at Peking University. He was concurrently director of the Institute of International Strategic Studies at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China from 2001 to 2009.
Wang Jisi was a visiting fellow or visiting professor at Oxford University (1982-83), University of California at Berkeley (1984-85), University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (1990-91), and Claremont McKenna College in California (2001) .In February-March 2002, he taught and conducted research at the Singapore Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies as an S. Rajaratnam Professor. He advises a few U.S. foreign policy think tanks and is on the editorial boards of The American Interest, Global Asia, and many Chinese scholarly journals.
Professor Wang’s scholarly interests cover U.S. foreign policy, Chinese foreign policy, and Asian security. He has published numerous works in these fields, including Guoji zhengzhi de lixing sikao (Rational Reflections on International Politics, 2006) and Sanshi nian shijie zhengzhi bianqian (World Politics in Transition: 1979-2009, co-editor, 2012). His article “China’s Search for Grand Strategy” was published in Foreign Affairs (March/April, 2011). He co-authored with Dr. Kenneth Lieberthal the study Addressing U.S.-China Strategic Distrust, published by the Brookings Institution in March 2012.


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