A Chinese scholar gave a lecture and held discussions with British experts at Britain’s Oxford Brookes University on Monday on China’s development path and the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

Professor Zhang Weiwei, Director of the China Institute of Fudan University, comprehensively introduced China’s development philosophy from a civilizational state perspective and its road to prosperity.

Citing statistics and examples to illustrate China’s development, Zhang said the Fourth Industrial Revolution has come to China with the surge of things like e-commerce and financial technology, as well as breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and quantum communication.

Proceeding from a civilisational state perspective, Zhang clarified “the Chinese Way” in its political, economic and social dimensions and its implications for the BRI. He stressed the significant role played by the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the country’s rapid economic development.

In the panel section, Zhang held a discussion with two British China experts, Professor Rana Mitter, director of the University of Oxford China Centre and Martin Jacques, Senior Fellow at Cambridge University.

Mitter described Zhang’s lecture as constructive & said that British people were interested to hear about China’s steady and very rapid economic growth over the past 70 years.

Mitter said that he believed that the BRI will be an increasing interest for Britain after Brexit, assuming that Britain is looking to find independent channels of trade in the world.

“In particular, I think that Britain will be very interested in the new trading ecology and networks that grow up as a result of the BRI”

Jacques said it was important for westerners to have a more thorough understanding of China nowadays from different perspectives.

“The difficulty in the west is that we try to understand China through western eyes, through a western present; you can’t understand China like that because China is very different. The history is different, the culture is very different, so you have to understand China in Chinese circumstances. And that requires a very serious intellectual effort,” he said.

Jacques said that western countries need to further deepen their understanding of China. In today’s international situation, the BRI and the implementation of related projects are conducive to further strengthening international cooperation.

The lecture, organised by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism and jointly sponsored by the China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd. and the Confucius Institute at Oxford Brooks University, was held to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.