SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Red Flags: Why Xi Jinping’s China is in Jeopardy

IMG - George Magnus
George Magnus (Research Associate, SCI) in discussion with Jonathan Fenby (Research Associate, SCI) and Carrie Gracie (Former BBC China Editor)

Date: 29 October 2018Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 29 October 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT)

Type of Event: Book Launch


In Red Flags (Yale,11 September), economist George Magnus argues that Xi’s China is in jeopardy.  He demonstrates that Xi’s China has reached the end of extrapolation and faces serious economic and political challenges to its predicted rise.   In the book, Magnus explores four key traps that China must confront and overcome in order to thrive: debt, middle income, the Renminbi, and an aging population. Looking at the political direction President Xi Jinping is taking, Magnus argues that Xi’s authoritarian and repressive philosophy is ultimately not compatible with the country’s economic aspirations.

Magnus also sheds crucial light on the global implications of Xi’s China for the brewing conflict over trade, China’s evolving relationship with Trump, and the country’s attempt to win influence and control throughout Eurasia as it pursues the Belt and Road initiative.


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Red Flags: Why Xi Jinping’s China is in Jeopardy

Speaker Biography

George Magnus has occupied a front row seat as events have challenged governments, economies and financial systems around the world since the Great Financial Crisis in 2008. He is widely credited with having identified the trigger points leading to the crisis and with helping us to understand its lingering consequences.

Formerly Chief Economist and then Senior Economic Adviser of UBS, George now works as an independent economist, author and speaker. His views and opinions appear regularly in the written and social media, radio and TV. He is the author of The Age of Aging (2008) which assesses one of our leading contemporary economic and social challenges, and of Uprising: will emerging markets shape or shake the world economy? (2011).  George lives in London and is available for interview.

Discussants Biographies

Jonathan Fenby is Chairman of China Research and Managing Director, European Political Research at the research service TS Lombard. He has written nine books on China and ten on other subjects. His most recent publication on the PRC is Will China Dominate the 21st Century? He is also the author of the Penguin History of Modern China, Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China Today and Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the China he Lost. His next book, Crucible, Thirteen Months that Forged Our World, will be published in August 2018.

As a journalist, Jonathan held senior editorial positions at Reuters, The Economist, The Independent, and the Guardian, and edited the Observer and the South China Morning Post. He has written for a wide variety of media and broadcasts regularly. He is on the board of trustees of China Dialogue, a Research Associate of the SOAS China Institute and an Associate at the London School of Economics (LSE). He is a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and a Knight of both the French Légion d’honneur and the French Order of Merit.

Carrie Gracie grew up in north east Scotland and set up a restaurant before doing a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford. She spent a year teaching in two Chinese universities and then built a small film business, before joining the BBC in 1987 as a trainee producer. She went back to China as the BBC's Beijing reporter in the early 1990s and served as China correspondent and Beijing bureau chief until 1999 when she returned to the UK to focus on presenting. For several years she anchored the morning slot on the BBC News Channel and hosted the weekly BBC World Service programme The Interview. In 2014, she took up a newly created post as BBC China Editor and has since covered many news stories in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has also made documentaries about China for BBC TV and radio, winning prizes including a Peabody and an Emmy and commentating ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Her academic qualifications include degrees in Mandarin Chinese and Interactive Media. In January 2018, Carrie left her post as BBC China editor in protest at unequal pay, publishing an open letter to BBC audiences on the subject and appearing before a parliamentary select committee. She has since returned to BBC HQ as a news presenter and continues to campaign for an equal, fair and transparent pay structure at the BBC. For more on Carrie's China work, visit her website:

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