Globalization and Populism
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  • YU Keping

    Chair Professor, Peking University

    Director,PKU Research Center for Chinese Politics

  • WANG Yizhou

    Vice President, School of International Studies, Peking University

    Chief Editor, The Journal of International Studies

On December 24, 2016, Peking University Research Center for Chinese Politics(RCCP)and the editorial office of The Journal of International Studies co-held Symposium on “Globalization and Populism” at School of Government of Peking University. 24 experts and scholars in related fields participated in the symposium and had academic exchange about the situation of the new round of the spread of populism, the trend of globalization, and the changes of the world political pattern.

Professor Yu Keping, Director of RCCP, first gave the speech and pointed out that there were five features of the current trend of populism: it first predominated in developed countries; it commonly held an anti-globalization attitude; it was mainly right-wing populism; it relied on the Internet as the main dissemination platform; and due to the features above, the trend of populism this time had great uncertainties so it was hard to predict whether its destructive and negative effects would be restricted.

Professor Wang Yizhou, Vice President of School of International Studies of Peking University and Chief Editor of The Journal of International Studies, said that there should be serious thinking and criticism of the new round of the spread of populism and compared with that in the past, the populism this time had some different forms and situations that need to be concerned about. The spread of populism was very likely to bring a new round of strongman politics, which would destroy or distort some original orders and rules, and some old consensuses might face new challenges.

Professor He Zengke, Director of the Academic Committee of RCCP, hosted the first half of the symposium. Professor Cai Tuo, Director of Globalization and Global Issues Institute of China University of Political Science and Law, Ma Longshan, research fellow of World History Institute of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Professor Li Qiang, Director of Institute of Social Science Survey of Peking University, and Professor Sun Jin of School of Government of Beijing Normal University made statements in the symposium.

Professor Cai Tuo analyzed the possible trend of future globalization and the role of populism in the globalization process from the perspective of the understanding of the concept of globalization. He thought that globalization was not the direct cause of populism but populism would challenge global governance. Research fellow Ma Shanlong proposed the six basic features of Russian populism and pointed out that the academia should pay attention to the development of Russia’s contemporary populism and its relationship with Western populism, which might have huge influence on the future world pattern and Sino-Russia relationship. Professor Li Qiang pointed out that it should be noted that the supporters of the U.S. Tea Party were not totally the people from the lower class and their right-wing populist attitude would be the mainstream of the development of future populism, which was worth further studying. Future world political situation might manifest as the replacement of identity politics for interest politics. Professor Sun Jin pointed out that populism was only a kind of political rhetoric and since 1980s, populism was only the inevitable result and complementary form of democratic politics. The effective way of striking populism would be to rethink the current knowledge system and values.

The second half of the symposium was held by Professor Tang Shiqi, Assistant Dean of School of International Studies of Peking University. Professor Wu Zhicheng of Zhou Enlai School of Government of Nankai University, Associate Professor Guan Guihai, Executive Assistant Dean of Institute of International and Strategic Studies of Peking University, Associate Professor Guo Jie and Associate Professor Xiang Zuotao of School of International Studies of Peking University made statements in the symposium.

Professor Wu Zhicheng first pointed out that although the populist trend this time had the common feature of anti-globalization but it could not be ignored that it was governance crisis that was its root cause. Associate Professor Guan Guihai argued that populist movements in Russian history was barely related with the contemporary populism trend or even had the opposite tendency. Contemporary Russia did not have populism and its main manifestation was the middle-right logic of foreign policy, so similar populist phenomena should be included in the scope of populism. He reminded the experts and scholars present in the symposium that there were certain differences between Russia’s “populist” phenomenon and western populist trend, which should be distinguished carefully. Associate Professor Guo Jie clarified that domestic Latin American scholars usually translated populist phenomenon as more neutral populism, which represented Latin America’s general attitude towards populism to some extent. Associate Professor Xiang Zuotao analyzed East Europe’s populism in the aspects of proposition, cause, harm etc., and reminded that populism could easily cause power politics and might gradually go towards extremism in policy.

Finally, Professor Zhang Xiaoming, Deputy Chief Editor of The Journal of International Studies of School of International Studies of Peking University gave the closing speech. The symposium ended in the hot discussion of the scholars present in the symposium. Part of the contents of this symposium will be published in the first and second issue of 2017 of The Journal of International Studies.

Disclaimer: The remarks of experts above are of their own, which don’t represent this website.