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Once China becomes a superpower, its decline is inevitable: scholar Tan Chung

Catch Team | Updated on: 16 November 2017, 20:39 IST
(Manas Gurung/Catch News)

Warning China of the fate of the British empire, Tan Chung, an authority on Chinese history and Sino-Indian relations, says that once China becomes a superpower, its decline is inevitable.

A recipient of the Padma Bhushan, making him only the second Chinese scholar to have earned that distinction, Tan Chung, who is now associated with the University of Chicago, says civilisation states thrive on harmony.

According to him, China would do well to not get corrupted by the western idea of a nation state which survive on power while it is on its upward trajectory towards becoming a superpower.

Chung is no stranger to India. His father, Tan Yunshan, who had come to India when Rabindranath Tagore invited him to teach Chinese studies, founded the Cheena Bhawan at Viswa Bharati University in Santiniketan. Yunshan was a key figure during the freedom movement, and Tagore even affectionately called Tan Chung Ashok.

Forced to leave India eventually, Tan Chung eventually made his way back in 1955 and has since then been at the forefront of shoring up Indo-China ties, relying on civilisational connect.

In this interview, Tan Chung recalls how Cheena Bhawan, founded by his father, was the result of the good personal rapport between Chinese nationalist leader Chiang Kai Shek and Tagore. "It was a very good relationship between both countries," he says.

Later, Jawaharlal Nehru, was one of the first leaders to recognise Republic of China. Friendly ties between the two countries continued to grow and Tan Chung reflects on how Mao Zedong visited only two embassies - the Soviet Embassy and the Indian Embassy. But a dispute over the border soured relations, he says.

Watch the whole interview here: 

First published: 16 November 2017, 20:39 IST