Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power

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Overview

"China's great thinkers from the time of Confucius are known for their profound contributions to philosophy, ethics, and military strategy. Less appreciated in the West is their sophisticated thinking about statecraft. The incessant conflicts among the fragmented principalities that eventually formed a unified China in 221 BC produced a rich flowering of conceptual thinking on issues of governance and interstate relations. In this fascinating study, inquiring readers will find a wealth of information regarding how ancient China's strategic sages assessed the factors determining the success or failure of rulers and states, with immediate relevance for better understanding the implications of China's current rise to wealth and power."—Dr. Henry A. Kissinger

"China's increasing strength and influence in the modern world are confronting Chinese with a new set of intellectual challenges in assessing how the country's enhanced status will affect Chinese behavior, how other countries will react, and what policies China should adopt to optimize its interests. Not surprisingly, thoughtful Chinese are looking for clues in their distant past, two and a half millennia ago, when the competition over six centuries among the political enclaves that eventually formed a united China prompted an outpouring of philosophical thinking on issues of statecraft. This stimulating book examines this thinking in ways relevant both to international relations theory and China's emerging position in world affairs."—J. Stapleton Roy, former U.S. ambassador to China

"Xuetong Yan, one of China's liveliest and most provocative international relations scholars, provides an excellent introduction to ancient Chinese theories of statecraft. Combined with the responses of his critics, his thoughtful essays reveal the exciting intellectual ferment among China's international relations thinkers. Many of the concepts are recognizable to Western scholars, some are not, but Yan's masterful effort to show how all these ideas might be relevant to China's 'rise' should be read by everyone who is interested in understanding how the past may influence the present."—Alastair Iain Johnston, Harvard University

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Editorial Reviews

Asia Pacific Business Review
[I] found Dr. Henry A. Kissinger's comment that it is 'a fascinating study' very much to the point. . . . Given China's growing influence in the world right now, the work should no doubt have a wider readership than might appear the case prima facie. Princeton University Press should be congratulated on producing such a handsome volume. It can be highly recommended for library purchase in its hardback edition.
— Malcolm Warner
Australian Review of Public Affairs
[F]or those who welcome a China that is increasingly active at the global level, as well as for those who do not, it seems the time is right to thoroughly engage with the ideas and proposals of prominent Chinese thinkers today like Yan Xuetong. By putting his grand vision for a Chinese 'superpower modelled on humane authority' to the test before it becomes a possible political reality, we will have gained a greater appreciation of China's cultural heritage and, following that, a glimpse at its possible political future.
— Mark Chou
Asian Affairs
[T]his collection of essays, mostly by Beijing-based foreign affairs expert and academic Yan Xuetong and beautifully translated by Edmund Ryden, is thought-provoking and worth looking at.
— Kerry Brown
Political Studies Review
While parts of this nicely translated book might be too specific for the general reader, the volume provides stimulating insights not only into the rich world of ancient Chinese thought, but also into the way contemporary Chinese thinkers see the world today. In this respect, the excellent introduction by Daniel Bell and a long interview with Xuetong in the appendix are especially rewarding.
— Michael Rochlitz
Asia Pacific Business Review - Malcolm Warner
[I] found Dr. Henry A. Kissinger's comment that it is 'a fascinating study' very much to the point. . . . Given China's growing influence in the world right now, the work should no doubt have a wider readership than might appear the case prima facie. Princeton University Press should be congratulated on producing such a handsome volume. It can be highly recommended for library purchase in its hardback edition.
Australian Review of Public Affairs - Mark Chou
[F]or those who welcome a China that is increasingly active at the global level, as well as for those who do not, it seems the time is right to thoroughly engage with the ideas and proposals of prominent Chinese thinkers today like Yan Xuetong. By putting his grand vision for a Chinese 'superpower modelled on humane authority' to the test before it becomes a possible political reality, we will have gained a greater appreciation of China's cultural heritage and, following that, a glimpse at its possible political future.
Asian Affairs - Kerry Brown
[T]his collection of essays, mostly by Beijing-based foreign affairs expert and academic Yan Xuetong and beautifully translated by Edmund Ryden, is thought-provoking and worth looking at.
Political Studies Review - Michael Rochlitz
While parts of this nicely translated book might be too specific for the general reader, the volume provides stimulating insights not only into the rich world of ancient Chinese thought, but also into the way contemporary Chinese thinkers see the world today. In this respect, the excellent introduction by Daniel Bell and a long interview with Xuetong in the appendix are especially rewarding.
From the Publisher
"[I] found Dr. Henry A. Kissinger's comment that it is 'a fascinating study' very much to the point. . . . Given China's growing influence in the world right now, the work should no doubt have a wider readership than might appear the case prima facie. Princeton University Press should be congratulated on producing such a handsome volume. It can be highly recommended for library purchase in its hardback edition."—Malcolm Warner, Asia Pacific Business Review

"[F]or those who welcome a China that is increasingly active at the global level, as well as for those who do not, it seems the time is right to thoroughly engage with the ideas and proposals of prominent Chinese thinkers today like Yan Xuetong. By putting his grand vision for a Chinese 'superpower modelled on humane authority' to the test before it becomes a possible political reality, we will have gained a greater appreciation of China's cultural heritage and, following that, a glimpse at its possible political future."—Mark Chou, Australian Review of Public Affairs

"[T]his collection of essays, mostly by Beijing-based foreign affairs expert and academic Yan Xuetong and beautifully translated by Edmund Ryden, is thought-provoking and worth looking at."—Kerry Brown, Asian Affairs

"While parts of this nicely translated book might be too specific for the general reader, the volume provides stimulating insights not only into the rich world of ancient Chinese thought, but also into the way contemporary Chinese thinkers see the world today. In this respect, the excellent introduction by Daniel Bell and a long interview with Xuetong in the appendix are especially rewarding."—Michael Rochlitz, Political Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691148267
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/3/2011
  • Series: Princeton-China Series
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Yan Xuetong is professor of political science and director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing. His many books include "The Rise of China and Its Strategy", "International Politics and China", and "American Hegemony and China's Security".

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
A Note on the Translation ix
Introduction by Daniel A. Bell 1

PART I: Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power
Chapter 1: A Comparative Study of Pre-Qin Interstate Political Philosophy byYan Xuetong 21
Chapter 2: Xunzi’s Interstate Political Philosophy and Its Message for Today by Yan Xuetong 70
Chapter 3: Hegemony in The Stratagems of the Warring States by Yan Xuetong and Huang Yuxing 107

PART II: Comments
Chapter 4: An Examination of the Research Theory of Pre-Qin Interstate Political Philosophy byYang Qianru 147
Chapter 5: The Two Poles of Confucianism: A Comparison of the Interstate Political Philosophies of Mencius and Xunzi by Xu Jin 161
Chapter 6: Political Hegemony in Ancient China: A Review of "Hegemony in The Stratagems of the Warring States" by Wang Rihua 181

PART III: Response to the Commentators
Chapter 7: Pre-Qin Philosophy and China’s Rise Today by Yan Xuetong 199
Appendix 1: The Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods and the Pre-Qin Masters by Xu Jin 223
Appendix 2: Yan Xuetong: A Realist Scholar Clinging to Scientific Prediction by Lu Xin 229
Appendix 3: Why Is There No Chinese School of International Relations Theory? By Yan Xuetong 252

Notes 261
Select Bibliography 283
Contributors 291
Index 293

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