Five years is a fleeting moment in world history and it may be premature to make judgments about the long-term sustainability of what China is doing. It is possible that future political and economic factors may limit outcomes, causing China’s soft-power strategy to fail. History also testifies that dominant powers do not willingly leave the stage to make way for brash new challengers. China’s Belt and Road Initiative may not transform the world or elevate China to superpower status, but it is innovative and has captured world attention; hence more needs to be learnt about its geopolitical, economic and cultural aspects as well as about the Chinese model of state capitalism. So far its investment blitzkrieg has grown from 50 partners to more than 80 governments and five Chinese provinces and many more countries are waiting to join. In the first five years, China has built nearly 200 hydroelectric dams worldwide, 41 gas and oil pipelines, and 203 railway lines, roads and bridges in Africa and South and Central Asia. China has also invested in green energy, public health, new information technologies, a digital city and an assemblage of oceangoing ports often called its “string of maritime pearls”. This seminar aims to provide the badly needed information and answer a fundamental question: is it within China’s reach to remake the global economy organised around its core interests? Or, will China inevitably stall in mid-flight trying to do something seemingly implausible?

Daniel Drache is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at York University, Toronto and Senior Research Fellow, the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies. His work focuses on understanding the changing character of the globalisation narrative in its economic, social and cultural dimensions. He has worked extensively on the WTO’s failed Doha Round with particular focus on food security and nutrition, and poverty eradication. He published extensively on North American integration and NAFTA. He is also lectured most recently on the “Canada European Free Trade Agreement: Ought We Be Worried?” At King’s College London 2016. He has just published with Lesley Jacobs eds. Grey Zones in International Economic Law and Global Governance, UBC Press, 2018 and Daniel Drache and Lesley A. Jacobs (eds). Linking Global Trade and Human Rights: New Policy Space in Hard Economic Times. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2014. Currently, he has completed a major research project, One Road, Many Dreams – Beijing’s Bold Plans to Remake the Global Economy, London: Bloomsbury, May, 2019 (forthcoming). In all he has published over 20 books with major publishing houses.

His work has been recognised internationally and he has held numerous visiting appointments around the world including Beihang University, Wuhan University, Fudan University, JNU, New Delhi, Kings College London , the European University Institute, Florence, CEPREMAP-CNRS, Paris, the University of Western Sydney, Arizona State University and UNAM, Mexico.

Faculty host: David Zweig (  
Speaker(s) Prof. Daniel Drache
Senior Research Fellow Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies
Emeritus Professor Department of Political Science
York University
Date 12 Mar 2019 (Tuesday)
Time 12:00 - 1:30 pm
Venue Room 3301 (via lifts 17-18), Academic Building, HKUST
Prof. Daniel Drache
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
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