The presentation provides a cultural perspective on the ways Chinese elites make decisions and process information. Culture drives and shapes political behaviour, thus understanding strategic Chinese culture is fundamental to understanding the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the evolution of the Chinese Communist Party.
The West perceives ambiguity, non-transparency and inconsistency in the PRC’s intent, interests and behaviours, yet this reflects a lack of cultural awareness. For example, mistranslations of key concepts and ideas within Chinese strategic thinking seriously misled decision-makers and the public in the Western countries. Our lack of cultural and philosophical understanding means we perceive conflict and change differently leading to unnecessary disagreement. Fundamental geographic differences mean that analytic tool developed in a European context are inadequate. Western analysts of the PRC must engage Chinese traditional studies, its history, philosophy and, especially, the strategic bible ‘the Art of War’. Only this will allow us to more rationally navigate an age of global disruption and complexity as China rises.
About the speaker: Kelvin Chau currently works for CASG, he has a Masters in Strategic Studies & Bach of Art majoring in Sociology and Human Ecology from ANU. Kelvin is an expert in Chinese culture. He is fluent in classical Chinese, his studies cover history, language, and the philosophy of the Chinese culture and East Asian strategic and military studies.
R1 Theaterette Russell Offices, Canberra
dale.turnbull [at] defence.gov.au