The Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies presents Professor Ross Terrill, the Melbourne-born, Harvard-based and internationally renowned author of nine books on China.
National rises and falls are likely to be less convulsive in the 21st century than they were in the 20th century. Today’s rise of China, more promising than the one foreshadowed in Song Mayling’s China Shall Rise Again, or the PRC rise after 1949 as USSR’s junior partner, or the Lin-Biao-Mao rise of the 1960s to "surround" the global "cities", has four measures of success:
- increasing standard of living for all
- preserving the unity of the PRC in the process
- retaining the CCP's monopoly on political power
- eclipsing the U.S. in Asia
It is good for the US and Australia that Beijing continue its economic progress, though not if political liberalization fails to advance, and mostly it is good to see a continuation of the PRC's unity. The 3rd and 4th pursuits run counter to US and Australian interests. A freer China is not guaranteed if the monopoly of power by the CCP ends, but such would be in our interests. No US president would willingly accept a China-led world replacing a U.S.-led world. Overall, a united, prosperous, restrained, and freer China is more in U.S. interests than a giant beset by troubles.
Ross Terrill enjoys high respect in China Studies and wide readership for his books and articles. Associate in Research at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, he is the author of The New Chinese Empire, the biographies Mao and Madame Mao, China in Our Time, The Australians, and a memoir Myself and China published in Chinese in Beijing. Raised in East Gippsland, he graduated in history and political science from the University of Melbourne and served in the Australian Army. His Ph.D. thesis at Harvard on R. H. Tawney was published there entitled Socialism As Fellowship. While teaching Chinese politics and international affairs at Harvard, he wrote 800,000,000: The Real China, The Future of China: After Mao, and Flowers on an Iron Tree: Five Cities of China. The late Richard Holbrooke noted: ‘Terrill has acted as an informal channel between the Chinese and two governments, and also produced some of the most important Western writing on China.’
Over the years Terrill has been visiting professor at Monash University and the University of Texas at Austin and contributing editor of Atlantic Monthly. His writing awards include the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Magazine Award. Both an Australian and a United States citizen, his independence of mind is suggested by his articles for New Republic and New York Times, as well as for Weekly Standard and Wall Street Journal. He was honoured by Sichuan Province in 1984 for writings on China, expelled from China for assisting pro-democracy students in 1992, and currently has a 600,000-copy best-seller (Mao) out in Chinese in Beijing.