June 04, 2018

IS THIS CHINA’S CENTURY? : 2019 Camden Conference


2019 Camden Conference


Join us for the 32nd Annual Camden Conference


February 22, 23, 24, 2019

More than 600 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, and President Xi Jinping promises to eliminate poverty in his country by 2020.  China’s emerging middle class seeks an ever-rising standard of living.  Chinese investment on all continents is both welcomed and regarded with some anxiety, while Chinese diplomatic intervention has been essential to stability on the Korean peninsula and China is attracting European as well as Asian nations to new multilateral institutions.  In Beijing, the absolute authority of the Chinese Communist Party has been reconfirmed, and President Xi now has the option to remain his country’s leader for as long as he wishes.

On the other side of the globe, America’s role in global affairs may be less predictable than at any time in recent history.  How long will the US economy be #1?   How strong is the US commitment to alliances, treaties and rules that shaped post-war world order?   Is American democracy strong – or vulnerable?   What role in global affairs do Americans want for their country?

“Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind” can help solve global problems, says President Xi.  But Is China ready for global leadership?   And if its global role expands, by intention or by default, what will that mean for the United States, for Japan, India, Russia and other neighboring nations?

The 2019 Camden Conference will explore what is happening inside China today and how this will affect China’s international role.  We will start by asking what historical events have shaped China’s global ambitions, what its leaders’ current priorities are, and how they assess the ambitions of other nations. Speakers will then look inside Chinese society today, exploring the important demographic challenges the country now faces, the relationship between the individual and authority, the rural-urban divide, confrontation over dissent and the rights of minorities, and the role of the Internet and social media.

Next, we will explore the Communist Party’s leadership and its control over individual lives, the workplace, media and other institutions.  The Chinese economyis now the world’s second largest and probably on a path to become #1.  Among the topics our speaker will address: how the Communist Party exerts authority over the Chinese economy, the role of the military, the extent of Chinese investment abroad, and the impact of China’s Belt and Road project.  Another speaker will focus on China’s aspirations to be the global leader in technology and innovation.  In what sectors can China be most competitive?    

One session will look at China’s activism on environmental issues.  President Xi strongly supports the Paris climate agreement.  China now invests more than any other country in renewable power.   At the same time, China also must find solutions to immediate health threats such as polluted groundwater and air pollution.   

Conference speakers will also explore China’s relations with her Asian neighbors, including disputes over the South China Sea and competition for resources, including water.  Where is Chinese investment welcomed, and where has it become a point of friction?  What security concerns do the neighbors have about Chinese military expansion? 

Finally, our speakers will explore what the ascent of China will mean to the United States. What issues matter most now, and what will be the areas of future competition or potential cooperation?  How shall we define US interests vis-à-vis China, and what can the United States itself do to ensure a peaceful, fruitful relationship? 

Throughout the conference, panels of speakers will have an opportunity to comment and share opinions on each other’s remarks.  Always a highlight of the Camden Conference, the Sunday panel of all speakers will bring together their broad expertise and very diverse viewpoints on China’s achievements at home and its aspirations for a large, respected role in world affairs.


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