China

Be it resolved, the 21st century will belong to China...

June 17, 2011

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Is China's rise unstoppable? Powered by the human capital of 1.3 billion citizens, the latest technological advances, and a comparatively efficient system of state-directed capitalism, China seems poised to become the global super power in the coming century. But the Middle Kingdom also faces a series of challenges. From energy scarcity to environmental degradation to political unrest to growing global security burdens, a host of factors could derail China's global ascent.

To encourage public debate of the geopolitical of issue of our time, the Munk Debates will table the motion: Be it resolved, the 21st century will belong to China...

The Results

Pre-Debate

39%

Pro

40%

Con

21%

Undecided

Post-Debate

38%

Pro

62%

Con

CON gains 22%. CON wins

The Debaters

Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson

Pro

"For the next 10 or 20 years it is going to be very hard to derail China’s economic locomotive."

Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson

Pro

"For the next 10 or 20 years it is going to be very hard to derail China’s economic locomotive."

Niall Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford. A prolific commentator on contemporary politics and economics, Ferguson is a weekly columnist for Newsweek and a contributing editor for Bloomberg TV. He is the author of numerous bestsellers including The Ascent of Money.  Last year he published Civilization: The West and the Rest, also a Channel 4/PBS documentary series.

Niall Ferguson is a regular contributor to television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2003 he wrote and presented a six-part history of the British Empire for Channel 4. The accompanying book, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, was a bestseller in both Britain and the United States. The sequel, Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, was published in 2004, and prompted Time magazine to name him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Two years later he published The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, a television adaptationof which was screened by PBS in 2007. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the Worldfollowed in 2008 and was also a PBS series, winning the International Emmy award for Best Documentary. His film company Chimerica Media recently released its first feature-length documentary about Henry Kissinger, whose biography he is currently writing. The film won the New York Film Festival’s prize for Best Documentary.

Controversial, expansive, and eloquent, Ferguson has been called “the most talented British historian of his generation”. But the ambitious themes he explores in his work have urgent relevance to the present as well as the past: the costs and benefits of economic globalization; the interface between finance and politics; the lessons to be learned from the British experience of empire; and the strengths and limitation of American global power.

Niall Ferguson is married to the acclaimed author and feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

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David Daokui Li

David Daokui Li

Pro

"China’s economic emergence is showcasing a new model of economic growth and interaction between China and the rest of the world."

David Daokui Li

David Daokui Li

Pro

China’s economic emergence is showcasing a new model of economic growth and interaction between China and the rest of the world.

David Daokui Li is the Director of the Center for China in the World Economy at the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing. He currently teaches courses on economic transition, corporate finance, international economics, and China’s economy. Professor Li holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, and is one of three academic members of the monetary policy committee of the central bank of China. Li is delegate to the Beijing People’s Congress and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee.

His childhood was spent in Sichuan province, as a result of his parents being displaced to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. He is a member of the 1985 inaugural class of the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management, and received PhD in Economics from Harvard in 1992. His current research interests are China's macroeconomy, economic development models, international comparisons of economic growth, and China's need to pursue a development pattern fitting with its large economic status.

Li has also held the following position of Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Development of the Harvard Kennedy School (1986), Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and Professor and Deputy Director of the Economic Development Research Center of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Li has also served as the editor for the Journal of Comparative Economics (2000–2003) and the Economics Bulletin, as well as being named an honorary professor at Sichuan University and Nankai University. He returned to China in 2004 to teach at his alma mater Tsinghua and serve as head of the Center for China in the World Economy research center.

He currently lives in Beijing with his wife and two children.

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Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger

Con

"They will have a huge demographic problem… so one shouldn't project a straight line in which China emerges as totally dominant."

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger

Con

They will have a huge demographic problem… so one shouldn't project a straight line in which China emerges as totally dominant.

Henry Alfred Kissinger was the 56th Secretary of State of the United States from 1973 to 1977. He is one of the world’s most influential commentators on geopolitics. Among his many accomplishments as a public servant Dr. Kissinger has been credited for normalizing relations between the United States and China at a crucial juncture in the history of both countries. After leaving government service, he founded Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm, of which he is chairman. Dr. Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (America’s highest civilian award) in 1977.

Dr. Kissinger received the BA Degree Summa Cum Laude at Harvard College in 1950 and the MA and PhD Degrees at Harvard University in 1952 and 1954.

From 1954 until 1971 he was a member of the Faculty of Harvard University, both in the Department of Government and at the Center for International Affairs. He was Associate Director of the Center from 1957 to 1960. He served as Study Director, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, for the Council of Foreign Relations from 1955 to 1956; Director of the Special Studies Project for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund from 1956 to 1958; Director of the Harvard International Seminar from 1951 to 1971, and Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program from 1958 to 1971.

Secretary Kissinger has written many books and articles on United States foreign policy, international affairs, and diplomatic history. Among the awards he has received are the Guggenheim Fellowship (1965-66), the Woodrow Wilson Prize for the best book in the fields of government, politics and international affairs (1958), the American Institute for Public Service Award (1973), the International Platform Association Theodore Roosevelt Award (1973), the Veterans of Foreign Wars Dwight D. Eisenhower Distinguished Service Medal (1973), the Hope Award for International Understanding (1973), and the Medal of Liberty (1986).

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Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria

Con

"China is entering a new era but seems ideologically and operationally ill prepared for it."

Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria

Con

China is entering a new era but seems ideologically and operationally ill prepared for it.

Fareed Zakaria has been called “the most influential foreign policy advisor of his generation” and was named one of the top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy in 2010.

Zakaria is the host of CNN’s flagship international affairs program, Fareed Zakaria GPS, which features interviews and panel discussions with heads of state, intellectuals and business leaders and has been broadcast to more than 300 million homes around the world. He is also a Washington Post columnist, a contributing editor at The Atlantic and a New York Times bestselling author.

Zakaria served as editor-at-large for TIME magazine from 2010 to 2014, prior to which he oversaw all of Newsweek’s foreign editions. His columns have received many awards over the years, including a National Magazine Award in 2010. His 2001 Newsweek cover story, “Why They Hate Us” remains his most well-known and lauded.

As a book author, Zakaria has received plenty of acclaim. The New York Times Book Review called his 2008 book The Post American World, which was a New York Times bestseller, “relentlessly intelligent” and The Economist called it “a powerful guide” to facing global challenges. The Future of Freedom, published in 2003, was also a New York Times bestseller and was translated into 25 languages. His most recent book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, was published in 2015 and praised by the New York Times as “an accessible, necessary defense of an idea under siege.”

Zakaria was born in India, received a bachelor of arts from Yale College and a Ph. D. from Harvard University. He has received honourary degrees from numerous universities, including Johns Hopkins, Brown, the University of Miami and Oberlin College. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

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