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Overview

Presenting new and invaluable Chinese perspectives on international relations in general and BeijingOs foreign policy in particular, this work offers the first balanced and thoroughly researched analysis by Chinese scholars. Drawing on original Chinese sources and interviews, In the Eyes of the Dragon explores Chinese views on sovereignty, national interest, security multilateralism, international human rights, nuclear nonproliferation, Taiwan, and the United States. Illuminating how China views the postDCold War world and its place therein, the contributors enhance our understanding of the nationalist sentiments driving the PRCOs foreign policy and elevate the debate over China to a higher, more sophisticated, and productive level.
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Editorial Reviews

Asian Affairs
The authors of this volume represent a "new cohort of extremely bright products of the Chinese education system" who have gone on to undertake demanding graduate programmes in the USA and who are uniquely able to bridge gap between Western analytical methods and Chinese scholarship. These Chinese authors, joined by Thomas Christensen of MIT, draw on Chinese academic studies and journalistic commentaries to provide useful summaries of evolving Chinese thinking on international questions that are of concern to Beijin.
— Kenneth C. Walker
Canadian Journal of Political Science
This volume is a welcome relief from strident and shrill assessments of People's Republic of China foreign policy which have cropped up in the post-Cold War era. ...this highlights the evident usefullness of the book under review as an important statement of the challenge of a rising China. Students and scholars can find no better mirror in which to test their own vision of the risks and opportunities posed by China to global stability in the twenty-first century.
Choice
If a reader seeks a sophisticated and thorough answer to the question 'why don't the Chinese like America now?' this is the book to read. . . . This is one of those rare books that combine enough depth for advanced students and sufficient transparency for the uninitiated.
— H. Nelsen, University of South Florida
Allen Whiting
A critical and comprehensive analysis of Chinese politics by Chinese scholars with advanced U.S. degrees. The research is most impressive; the authors combine recent interviews in Beijing with disciplined analysis based on a close reading of Chinese sources not always available in the West. They also include fresh material on post-Deng China. Superb for undergraduate and graduate use, this book will be widely used.
Asian Affairs - Kenneth C. Walker
The authors of this volume represent a "new cohort of extremely bright products of the Chinese education system" who have gone on to undertake demanding graduate programmes in the USA and who are uniquely able to bridge gap between Western analytical methods and Chinese scholarship. These Chinese authors, joined by Thomas Christensen of MIT, draw on Chinese academic studies and journalistic commentaries to provide useful summaries of evolving Chinese thinking on international questions that are of concern to Beijin.
CHOICE - H. Nelsen
If a reader seeks a sophisticated and thorough answer to the question 'why don't the Chinese like America now?' this is the book to read. . . . This is one of those rare books that combine enough depth for advanced students and sufficient transparency for the uninitiated.
Allen Whiting
A critical and comprehensive analysis of Chinese politics by Chinese scholars with advanced U.S. degrees. The research is most impressive; the authors combine recent interviews in Beijing with disciplined analysis based on a close reading of Chinese sources not always available in the West. They also include fresh material on post-Deng China. Superb for undergraduate and graduate use, this book will be widely used..
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847693375
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Series: Asia in World Politics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 0.66 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Yong Deng is associate professor in the Department of Political Science, U.S. Naval Academy. Fei-Ling Wang is associate professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology.
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Read an Excerpt




Chapter One


Introduction: Toward an Understanding of China's Worldview


Yong Deng and Fei-Ling Wang


The consequences of power redistribution prompted by a rising new power have been a key subject that concerns practitioners and scholars of international relations. The twentieth century has witnessed several such rises, each with its own outcome for the international system. America's rise to the world's center stage was relatively peaceful, but the ascent of the Soviet empire triggered the Cold War with the West, which eventually led to its demise. Germany's and Japan's reemergence as great powers succeeded only after their failures in the two most destructive world wars. The variegated consequences and prices associated with rising powers suggest that the nature and intention of the rising power itself are perhaps more consequential than the systemic reconfiguration of capabilities in determining war or peace.

    By the dawn of the new millennium, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has been widely perceived to possess the potential to evolve into a full-fledged superpower. Although few would dispute the view that "no other foreign policy issues deserve a higher priority" for the United States than to develop a sound China policy, consensus is lacking as to how exactly this growing power should be assessed and dealt with. By elucidating how China views the post-Cold War world and its place therein, this volume helps to elevate the debate over China to a higher, more sophisticated and productive level.Understanding Chinese views and intentions is essential to determining whether, what, and how to deter, constrain, induce, and cooperate in dealing with China. For that purpose, the contributors rely primarily on original Chinese sources and extensive field research to examine respectively China's self-image and Chinese views on sovereignty, national interest, security multilateralism, international human rights, nuclear nonproliferation, Taiwan, the United States, and aspects of its relations with the reigning hegemon, the United States. By probing China's worldview, we hope to enhance understanding of the nationalist sentiments driving China's foreign policy.


    THE DEBATE: HOW TO DEAL WITH CHINA?


In the United States, unwarranted expectations, heightened sentiments, and wishful thinking about building a "special relationship" with China have historically impeded a realistic understanding of the country. Since 1989, U.S. China policy lost its bipartisan consensus, existent since Pres. Richard Nixon's visit to China in 1972, and consequently has been beset by divisions in the American public image of China, among organized social interest groups, and between the White House and Congress. Profound disagreements exist concerning how to make sense of China's domestic changes and foreign behavior and how best to deal with this rising power.

    In the immediate aftermath of the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Incident, many predicted the imminent collapse of the Chinese communist regime. Yet prediction about domestic implosion soon gave way to the "China threat" theory. In the 1990s, China's growing strength and seemingly assertive irredentism over "lost territories" have fueled a new debate centering around a concern about how to deal with an ascending hegemon. Washington's proclaimed China policy currently goes under the name of engagement. Unsatisfied, however, many call for a containment strategy against Beijing.


Arguments for Containment


Since containment is such a loaded word with Cold War connotations, supporters of this strategy tend to refrain from being explicit in their advocacy. Generally speaking, however, those who argue for this strategy focus on the growing Chinese power as a menace and impute aggressive intentions to China: that it would destabilize the East Asian region and undermine the U.S. national interest. Primarily seeing China as a threat, containment advocates believe a coalition along Chinese borders should be created to deter Beijing's aggressive behavior and put Chinese influence in check. In addition, the United States should withhold its support for China's economic development and for its participation in international institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and instead insist on Beijing's complete conformity with regional and global multilateral regimes.

    China's actual capacities are notoriously hard to ascertain due to its own secrecy and questionable statistics. Estimating Chinese power can be anybody's guess. Partial convertibility of Chinese currency to the U.S. dollar, in combination with extrabudget sources, including profits from the People's Liberation Army (PLA)—run businesses and arms sales, make Chinese defense expenditures a frequent subject of sensational speculation. A 1998 decree banning PLA-run businesses, issued by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Military Commission chair Jiang Zemin, will certainly help increase transparency in China's defense spending. Those who advocate containment are often on the high side, with a tendency to overstate Chinese capacities. They also point to China's efforts to upgrade its capabilities for naval and airpower projection, weapon acquisitions (especially from Russia and Israel), and recent development of quick-response troops. The common premise of containment is that China is "the hegemon on the horizon."

    The tendency to overstate Chinese capabilities often goes along with a penchant for ascribing malign intentions to China and the destabilizing implications to the Chinese rise. China threat theorists subscribe to the realist logic that posits dangerous implications inherent in the rapid rise of a new power. The realist view pervasive in American scholarship on international relations has provided broad assumptions in support of a containment strategy against China. From this perspective, China's threat to its neighbors and the reigning hegemon, the United States, is on the rise with growing Chinese power. Underscoring the Chinese danger, Lucian Pye writes, "In the past the emergence of all the great powers was accompanied by wars, as with Germany and Japan, or intense conflict, as in the case of the Soviet Union and the cold war." Richard Betts asserts that "the principal U.S. strategic aim should be to prevent the emergence of a hierarchical regional system under any dominant power other than the United States.... A China, Japan, or Russia that grows strong enough to overturn a regional balance of power would necessarily also be a global power that could reestablish bipolarity on the highest level." The conclusion is that the rising Chinese power would by necessity be fundamentally destabilizing and "is bound to be no strategic friend of the United States, but a long-term adversary."

    The Chinese threat is also seen from an assumption that fast economic and population growth generates lateral pressure for aggressive competition that is likely to end in war: When the nation experiences fast economic growth and upswings in the business cycle, the resultant ultranationalism in combination with raging demands for natural resources tempt the nation to embark on foreign aggression. Accordingly, China's population pressure and insatiable demands for energies and natural resources could tempt it to violently expand its "living space" (shengcun kongjian) and push aggressively through the South China Sea. Most pressingly, the South China Sea contains the critical sea-lanes by which most of Japan's and other Asian countries' energies are transported. China's unruly behavior toward the South China Sea could be especially destabilizing because it is where issues of sea-lane safety, sovereignty, economic interest, and regional security converge.

    The challenge of managing an ascending China is reinforced by the view that China is "not your typical superpower." Some sinologists have argued that China is more a civilization than a modern nation-state and historically had had little experience in interacting with other, legalistically equal sovereign states. And since it was forcefully drawn into the European-centered international system during the mid-nineteenth century, China endured a century of humiliations and sufferings at the hands of Western and Japanese powers. A China with profound historical grievances and unaccustomed to the prevailing norms and practices of international relations is, to say the least, hard to get along with, so the argument goes.

    Moreover, China is not a democracy. A widely accepted democratic peace theory has provided an additional framework to highlight the China threat. The thrust of the theory holds as follows: Even though democracies may not necessarily be more peaceful than nondemocracies, they almost never resort to force against other democracies, whereas nondemocracies are the major threat to democracies. The democratic peace tenet has made significant inroads in the official thinking guiding the U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War era. Pres. Bill Clinton, in his State of the Union address on January 25, 1993, stated, "Ultimately the best strategy to insure our security and to build a durable peace is to support the advance of democracy elsewhere. Democracies don't attack each other."

    In this logic, China threat theorists point to Chinese domestic repression. As the argument goes, one cannot trust a communist regime that has killed peaceful students in Tiananmen Square—and continues unabated human rights abuses—to respect the sovereign rights and concerns of other countries. Moreover, one cannot expect a regime that rejects the global standards on human rights and nuclear nonproliferation not to be eager to rewrite the rules of international society. Only a political democracy in Beijing, which some estimate could be twenty years away, may obviate the China threat. Some observers argue that a China in transition may be even more dangerous, to the extent that the coexistence of the legacies of the old regime and the fragility of new institutions may unleash destructive nationalism and chauvinism beyond any control.

    Those who primarily see threat in China's rise invoke images, symbols, and analogies to suggest that China is not a legitimate great power that deserves respect but rather a hegemonic power that is on a course toward a coming conflict with the United States. China has been compared to an eighteen-year-old teenager—strong enough to knock people down but immature—and therefore it should be disciplined by the "adults" of the family of nations. China has also been referred to as an "800-pound gorilla" on the loose that does not accept the rules and regulations of the international system; and as a "mercantilist juggernaut" that leverages its market for high-tech acquisitions and favorable treatments.

    The most frequent historical analogy that has been used to highlight the Chinese danger is Germany, a Wilhelmine, even Nazi Germany. Edward Friedman writes, "As with Germany and Britain in the first part of the twentieth century, analysts worried that the downturn in Beijing-Washington relations could plummet toward all the horrors that exploded after the Great War, the First World War—fascism, depression, and another war." Fareed Zakaria argues,


Like Germany in the late 19th century, China is also growing rapidly but uncertainly into a global system in which it feels it deserves more attention and honor. Chinese military is a powerful political player, as was the Prussian officer corps. Like Wilhelmine Germany, the Chinese regime is trying to hold onto political power even as it unleashes forces in society that make its control increasingly shaky.


In a similar vein, Arthur Waldron draws a parallel between China and Wilhelmine Germany: Like China today, Wilhelmine Germany was a new powerful state with an authoritarian regime, and Bismarck's departure unleashed social forces that led to the two world wars. The ominous question is: With the death of Chinese strong man Deng Xiaoping in 1997, will China become another Germany by the turn of another century? For Waldron, the U.S. policy on Taiwan thus becomes a choice with self-evident answers: "Would we support a democratic Taiwan against any or all threats—or would we perform a sort of Munich, and attempt to browbeat Taipei into backing down?" The most explicit and crude advocates for containing China make frequent references to Hitler's Germany and militaristic Japan.


Arguments for Engagement


Arguments for engaging China generally derive from the assumption that China's national interests and intentions can change and that it can become a responsible power due to domestic liberalization, external pressure, and internationally induced assimilation. Engagement advocates point to how China's economic reform and integration into the capitalist world economy have engineered a break in Beijing's foreign policy outlook, from Maoist revolutionary diplomacy against the international system to a prevailing pragmatist paradigm seeking to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the capitalist economic system. They argue that China's enmeshment into the regional and global economies has translated into pacific effects on Chinese foreign policy. China is now preoccupied with its economic modernization, the success of which depends on investments, capital, markets, and technologies from Asian neighbors and the West. China's prosperity depends on regional stability. China's penchant for the status quo in terms of East Asian security is evidenced by China's withdrawal of support for communist resurgents throughout Southeast Asia, as well as China's acquiescence to the U.S. security presence in the western Pacific.

    From this perspective, alarmist views about China's capacities and intentions are largely unwarranted. Proponents of engagement argue that China, compared to the United States, is still an underdeveloped country with enormous domestic challenges that will keep its hands full for quite a while. Most of China's gross national product (GNP) increase will be consumed by its growing population, with a current annual net increase of some 13 million. Contrary to the inflated threat that alarmists see in China, those who favor engagement point to China's myriad security vulnerabilities, painting a China barely able to fend for itself. Beijing's recent military modernization program does not indicate aggressive ambitions but rather is driven by an attempt to update its outdated weaponry and to make up for the neglect of defense during much of the 1980s. China's efforts to increase its blue-water navy and airpower capabilities are basically a reactive move in light of the growing military capabilities of its neighbors. Moreover, one should expect some increase of military spending from a growing power like China. Hence, there are no grounds to associate China's recent military modernization with perilous Chinese intentions for foreign aggression. Instead, China is a "conservative power," too weak and too preoccupied domestically to challenge the status quo and balance of power in East Asia.

    Most China scholars support engagement because they detect evidence of China's gradual evolution toward a more open, liberal, and possibly democratic society. For example, Yasheng Huang shows that since the late 1980s regular, competitive, and direct elections for officials at the village level across China's vast countryside have given Chinese peasants, more than 72 percent of the population, the first taste of grassroots democracy. Susan Shirk points to how internationalization has generated domestic social groups, sectors, and regional interests in support of continued reform in China: "Once the wall between China and the world economy was partially dismantled, international economic forces evoked positive domestic responses to China's reform drive." These changes, though gradual in pace, are fundamentally transforming Chinese society.

    Even though different in dimension, perspective, and assessment of the extent of change in China, most China scholars share a guarded optimism that a more open and democratic China can be brought into being through further domestic reform and international interdependence. International enmeshment facilitates China's social learning in terms of the values, norms, principles, and rules of the international system and adds China's stakes in the existing institutions and order. China's worldview and definition of national interests can be transformed toward greater compatibility with the rest of the world through transnational activities and networks, including tourism, academic and cultural exchanges, and commercial ties.

    To facilitate China's evolution along that line, as Robert Sutter argues, the United States has a key role to play in shaping China's future largely through constructive engagement. Despite Chinese realpolitik, Tom Christensen argues, "by engaging China and encouraging its participation in multilateral forums and confidence-building regimes, over the long term the United States may help soften China's skepticism about these institutions, which could help stabilize East Asia." Similarly, Chalmers Johnson cautions against a U.S.-Japanese alignment to contain China. The United States and Japan are the two richest countries that possess power to shape Chinese foreign behavior through inducements (a strategy that Japan has been executing all along).


Engagement: Rhetoric and Reality


Vast disparities exist in the understanding of Chinese capabilities and intentions, and theories suggest divergent strategies for dealing with China. Containment views stem from various forms of deterministic thinking. Realist logic underlying much of the containment argument negates the authorship of the agent (the state) in determining its behavior. Rather, it posits that state behavior is driven by the international structural force, that is, its position in the distribution of power across the international system. It follows that a rising power such as China will inevitably find the existing system nonconducive to its interests, which in turn necessarily conflict with those of the reigning hegemon, the United States. In the China debate, containment arguments based on the democratic peace theory simply label a country as either democratic or authoritarian and hold that the rise of a nondemocratic power such as China is inevitably threatening.

    Deterministic logic similarly underlies the historical analogies used frequently in the containment argument. But as Robert Jervis maintains, decisionmakers often "too quickly" and mistakenly rely on their perceived historical lessons in making policies to avoid repeating past failures, with the assumption that "the contemporary situation resembled the past one so closely that the same sequence would occur." The danger is that historical analogies are often used for advocacy, not for informing diagnosis but in lieu of serious analysis. A Cold War precedent was that in the 1980s U.S. politicians used the Hitler analogy in reference to the Soviet Union to justify larger defense spending and a "peace through strength" strategy. Despite frequent references to Hitler, according to Alexander Dallin, "there was not a single effort, on the record, to ask whether the assumptions regarding Nazi Germany were equally applicable to the Soviet Union: by implication, they must be." In an amazingly similar fashion in the current strategic debate over China, those raising the historical analogy of Hitler's Germany simply use history as an anecdote without bothering to systematically examine the truthfulness of what is implied: that China is or will become like Nazi Germany.

    Fortunately, in the current China debate no policymaking official has used the Hitler reference to drum up a China threat. As many have pointed out, containment as a policy is a nonstarter. For one thing, a military and political alliance to encircle the enemy nation, a key requirement of containment, is almost impossible to form. Containment advocates' call for the United States to establish a coalition with Russia, Japan, India, and Vietnam to counterbalance Chinese power appears to be a pipe-dream. As a matter of fact, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan are adopting their own style of quiet, nonconfrontational engagement with China, and there is no sign they prefer a U.S.-led containment strategy.

    Arguments for containment highlight the challenges and difficulties in coping with the Chinese rise; nevertheless, containment is not only undesirable but also infeasible. On balance, arguments for engagement tend to be based on a more factual, nuanced understanding of the realities in China and the international environment. The pronounced official U.S. policy has been one emphasizing engagement, whereas containment has never been an explicit option. The Secretary of State under the George Bush administration, James Baker, argued in 1991 that China's strategic importance as shown in issues of weapons proliferation control, the U.S.-led international coalition in the Persian Gulf, and conflicts management in Asia "underscores the need for sustained engagement with China on issues of common concern." President Clinton's policy was initially held hostage to his own campaign attack of Bush's policy of "coddling" the dictatorship in Beijing. But in the course of strategic debate, a consensus on the outlines of engagement emerged around 1994-1995; the underlying reasoning was articulated by Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Nye Jr.:


It is wrong to portray China as an enemy. Nor is there reason to believe China must be an enemy in the future.... In the face of uncertainty among the experts, suppose that we simply posited a 50 percent chance of an aggressive China and a 50 percent chance of China becoming a responsible great power in the region. On this hypothesis, to treat China as an enemy now would in effect discounting 50 percent of the future. Moreover, a containment strategy would be difficult to reverse. Enmity would become self-fulfilling prophecy.


    Despite Bush's and Clinton's avowed commitment to engagement, ever since the Tiananmen crisis in 1989 U.S.-China relations have been beset by an array of irritants and crises. Disagreements over human rights, China's most-favored-nation trading status, weapons proliferation, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Dalai Lama brewed raging frustrations, resentments, and recriminations in both capitals. Anti-American feeling in China was fueled by the Yinhe tangle, the U.S. opposition of China's bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games, and human rights-related incidents, culminating in 1996-1997 in the publication of a group of wildly popular and virulently anti-American books (such as China Can Say No) that promote nationalistic and even xenophobic rhetoric.

    A survey published in China Youth Daily in September 1995 indicates that 87.1 percent of the young respondents regarded the United States as the most unfriendly country to China. The U.S.-China relations have bumped into crisis after crisis, leading closer than ever since 1972 toward a military clash over Taiwan in March 1996, when the United States sent two carrier battle groups into the Taiwan Strait. From the Chinese perspective, U.S. policies on Taiwan, diplomatic normalization with Vietnam, and reaffirmation of the U.S.-Japan security treaty belied the proclaimed engagement strategy. All these incidents and crises appeared, instead, to have stemmed from a containment agenda against China. Anti-American sentiments peaked in 1995-1996. However, the majority of students and intellectuals we talked with in Beijing during summer 1997 still believed that the United States had a strategy toward China, and that the strategy was containment.


TOWARD A SOUND CHINA POLICY: TAKING THE CHINESE VIEWS SERIOUSLY


Containment advocates are too deterministic and suffer from a lack of serious analysis. Engagement arguments are often equated with appeasement in the U.S. domestic debate. Engagement policy ignoring Chinese concerns is often viewed by Beijing with suspicion and even hostility. We propose that the debate over China can be elevated to a higher, more sophisticated and productive level if the Chinese side of the story is taken into account. A sound China policy, based on an effective engagement strategy, entails a thorough and accurate understanding of Chinese views and intentions.

    Engagement is not appeasement or antithetical to disagreements. Indeed, some of the bilateral issues between China and the United States are rooted in the inherent tension between a rising power trying to find its rightful place and an established hegemon seeking to defend and define the rules of the game in the international system. Although engagement presupposes a critical attitude against many of the present Chinese views and behaviors, it nonetheless signifies a positive attitude that "the U.S. has rejected the argument that conflict with China is inevitable." Insofar as the goal of engagement is to ensure that China becomes a responsible and conformist power, engagement "contains elements of constraints." Differences, disagreements, and even conflicts on many issues will persist in Sino-American relations. But the overall relationship should not be held hostage to one single issue, be it human rights or trade; instead, particular policy issues should be subordinated to the larger engagement strategy rather than the other way around. The mood of the relationship tends to he easily poisoned when the overall relationship is dictated by one issue.

    To bring China into the international system peacefully requires China's proper response; hence, it is imperative to treat China as a partner whose legitimate concerns should be addressed. The current engagement discourse tends to fixate on how the United States should deal with China without giving adequate attention to how China would respond. This one-sidedness contains a major flaw: Unilateral fixation tempts one to set preconditions for China to meet and ignores China's concerns and demands, thereby fueling Chinese fear of containment and suspicion about U.S. intentions. A purpose of engagement is to forge a nonhostile environment in which issues of disagreement can be managed and dealt with. Setting preconditions for China on issues of ongoing dispute between the two countries, such as human rights, the use of force over Taiwan, and trade, will only elicit hostility from Beijing.

    China, like any other major power, has legitimate national interests. In the strategic debate, whether or not China rightfully has concerns and demands is often unclear. The realist logic, which posits inevitable Sino-American conflicts and destabilizing implications accompanying a stronger China, negates China's legitimate national interest, thereby justifying an ignorance of Chinese intentions. An effective engagement policy entails a recognition and accommodation of China's preeminent security interest in maintaining regime survival and integrity, prohibiting Taiwan independence and other vital regional security concerns. In particular, "increasing confidence concerning America's Taiwan policy is most fundamental because this dimension of U.S. policy colors Beijing's attitudes in the other areas." Engagement without considering legitimate Chinese concerns and interests could be, and has been, interpreted by the Chinese as a comprehensive containment strategy aiming to belittle, destabilize, and hold back China. By addressing Chinese demands properly in time, the established powers can help make China a benign instead of a predatory power before a nationalistic flame turns the rising dragon into a fire-breathing monster.

    How China relates to the international system has been a perennial issue besetting both the Chinese nation and the world since China was violently and forcibly drawn into the European-centered international system in the mid-nineteenth century. Although China's past search for its rightful place in the world has been especially traumatic, never before has the Chinese leadership posed the questions for its people so explicitly than now: What kind of China will be brought to the twenty-first century? What kind of attitudes should China have to welcome the twenty-first century? This book is intended to enhance the understanding of the Chinese debates, views, and policies in coming to terms with these questions. It is our conviction that the outside world, with a better understanding of China's worldview, can help the Chinese to answer these critical questions in a way that makes the Chinese rise more as an opportunity than as a threat.


    ABOUT THE BOOK


With that in mind, this book sets to explore the Chinese views of the post-Cold War world and to interpret the concerns and intentions as well as the likely international demands of the PRC. The following chapters deal with China's self-perception and views on national interests, human rights, multilateralism, weapons proliferation, the United States, Taiwan, the World Trade Organization, trading relations with the United States, and other vital issues. We hope these discussions, taken as a whole, can illuminate key aspects of China's worldview. We try as meticulously and objectively as we can to report our findings in our attempt to interpret Chinese views.

    To that end, we rely heavily on firsthand Chinese-language materials published inside and outside China. Secondary English-language literature is used to various extents when appropriate. All of the authors have conducted extensive field research in the PRC and have accumulated substantial data and observations through formal and informal interviews. Efforts are made to utilize the available quantitative data, yet this volume is largely a qualitative analysis of the massive information gathered. Although we are fully aware that any good understanding of China's worldview must relate to its historical roots, this project nevertheless concentrates on contemporary developments since the end of the Cold War.

    No matter how thorough, objective, and accurate we have conscientiously tried to be in our endeavor to probe China's worldview, our findings are not free from uncertainties and incompleteness. The inconclusiveness is partially inevitable due to the inherent methodological limitations of qualitative studies in the social sciences. Our chosen subject matter adds greater methodological challenges. China, as suggested by its totem of the dragon, presents multidimensional, complex, and sometimes even mysterious images. The Maoist legacy of policy secrecy and the authoritarian nature of the PRC's political system have presented extra difficulties. After some twenty years of reform and opening-up, China has now become a greatly diversified society, featuring a much less centralized government, a commercialized press, and an increasingly pluralistic intellectual community. Modern investigative tools of social science inquiry, such as independent and systematic surveys and polling, have just barely started in the PRC.

    We hope that the scrupulous reading of Chinese materials and frequent field research help surmount some of the methodological difficulties to minimize mistakes in our findings. Most of our contributors are Western-trained China experts with American doctorates in political science and are native speakers of the Chinese language. All of us have lived in China for extended periods of time and have been studying China for many years. Currently, most of us are university-based scholars actively publishing in the field of Chinese foreign policy studies.

    Our backgrounds and expertise should hopefully equip us with enough closeness and appropriate distance to our subject matter so as to present an in-depth and accurate analysis. This does not mean that we share the same views and arrive at the same conclusions regarding China's worldview and its international future; in fact, the authors in this book do not always agree among ourselves. Taken together, however, what all of us reject is the doomsday view of the China threat. Instead, we argue that even though China's international view is uncertain, continuous domestic reforms and deepening enmeshment in the international system in combination with an engagement strategy from the reigning hegemon, the United States, and other major powers can induce China to pursue a foreign course that is compatible with the international and regional order.

    Chapter 2, by Fei-Ling Wang, explores China's self-image and strategic intentions. China's is a self-image rife with contradictions. The juxtaposition of increased self-confidence within the Chinese nation and a peculiar but persistent sense of political insecurity among PRC leadership has deeply colored China's strategic considerations. With limited and rather transparent external demands centering around the political survival of the PRC regime and the national unification cause, Wang concludes, China's self-image and strategic intentions are likely to sustain a conservative and pragmatic foreign policy in the near future.

    Chapter 3, by Yong Deng, probes the Chinese theorizing on national interests in international relations in the 1990s. His findings support the argument that China's national-interests conception is still dominated by realpolitik thinking. But they also show that liberal values do exist and are gaining some legitimacy in China's discourse on international relations. Doubtless, encouraging a liberal-oriented redefinition of national interests would bring about a more cooperative China less apt to redraft the rules of the game in foreign relations. However, Deng notes immense difficulties dampening the prospects of liberalization in China's worldview, not the least of which is the "liberal dilemma" rooted in the inability of Chinese "liberals" to reconcile internationalist thinking with their nationalism and sovereignty concerns.

    Chapter 4, by Jianwei Wang, examines China's perceptual evolution and consequent policy changes regarding multilateral diplomacy and multilateralism in collective security. Wang discusses, at the global level, China's attitudes toward UN peacekeeping operations in recent years and finds that China, although it supports most of the UN Charter Chapter VI operations, is reluctant to endorse Chapter VII operations. At the regional level, Wang explores China's calculation and policy response toward a regional security regime as reflected in its "new thinking of security cooperation." The evidence suggests that overall China has become more receptive to security multilateralism and that this reflects behavioral adaptation as well as some conceptual changes.

    Chapter 5, by Ming Wan, discusses Chinese views on human rights and democracy, not only those of the government but also those of the society. On the one hand, Chinese society is not ready at this stage to push for democracy and human rights. Despite serious social and economic problems, the Chinese society is largely content with the country's economic performance. The government and society share a broad consensus, emphasizing stability as a precondition for economic development. The current regime enjoys significant popular support, whereas the dissident movement attracts little sympathy in China. On the other hand, since the late 1970s ordinary Chinese have become more conscious of their rights, especially property rights. More importantly, the society supports the regime because of a cynical calculation of its best interest; the party-state is seen as a necessary evil for achieving the development goals that the society supports. The party-state will find it difficult to maintain its power when the society's calculations change due to economic crises, enhanced political awareness, or available alternatives.

    Chapter 6, by Weixing Hu, explores China's views and policy on the issue of nuclear proliferation. China has moved up on the learning curve on nuclear nonproliferation since it ratified the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1992. Beijing's consciousness of nuclear proliferation risks has increased steadily in recent years, and its long-standing mistrust and suspicion toward the NPT regime was replaced by a more cooperative posture. This change is not a short-term maneuver. Rather, it represents a major shift in Beijing's perception of this international regime in particular and in its approaches to arms control and international security in general. Using the concept of learning, Hu explains how the interaction of domestic dynamics and external factors has effected changes in Beijing's nuclear export controls, thereby bringing China's behavior closer to the international standard.

    Chapter 7, by Ming Zhang, reports on the Chinese public images of the United States, which have become a volatile factor in Sino-American relations. Noting the complexity and contradictions in the Chinese perception, Zhang finds that the Chinese public images of the United States have most noticeably undergone a shift from a romantically positive one in the 1980s to a negative one in the 1990s. The suspicion, anger, frustration, and assertiveness the public has expressed toward the United States stem from a negative view on American society, politics, media, and foreign policy, but how these sentiments will evolve remain uncertain.

    Chapter 8, by Yasheng Huang, examines a number of problem areas in the economic relationships between China and the United States. Since 1980, China has moved from an autarkic economy to an important player in the world economy. Along with this development in foreign trade and investment, China has also entered into increasing economic policy conflicts, mainly with the United States. Issues such as trade deficits, intellectual property rights violations, domestic market protection, technology transfer, accession terms to the World Trade Organization, dumping, unfair competition, and the like have increasingly dominated the agenda between China and the United States. Huang argues that a number of unique features of China, the nature of its political regime, its size, its development strategies, the functions of Hong Kong, and the role of foreign-invested enterprises in the bilateral trade have all contributed to the complexity of the economic relations between China and the United States.

    Chapter 9, by Bin Yu, examines the development of China's regional policy during the reform decades. This conscientiously conceived and carefully executed regionalization effort is in sharp contrast to the PRC's "lack" of a regional policy under Mao. As a result, China's overall foreign policy has scaled down from global to regional, from political-security—oriented to trade-development—centered, from high-profile to low-profile, from ideological to pragmatic. This "regionalization" of China's foreign policy has been the result of both a long-term effort to create a periphery conducive to China's modernization and a short-term need to offset the post-Tiananmen Western sanctions. Ironically, such a reorientation of China's foreign policy has not necessarily led to a more desired outcome. A more stable and peaceful regional environment cannot be constructed without a more stable working relationship with the United States, the sole superpower that has been deeply involved in Asian affairs and forwardly deployed around China's periphery.

    Chapter 10, by Suisheng Zhao, analyzes China's views and policy on Taiwan. Although Beijing's peaceful offense after 1979 had brought about some desirable changes in cross-strait relations, its military exercises, including missile tests aimed at Taiwan prior to Taiwan's first direct presidential election in March 1996, created an international crisis. By focusing on the shift in Beijing's perceptions, Zhao's account helps us understand the major causes and objectives of China's military exercises. He argues that the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1995-1996 was not the result of differences in ideology or social and political systems between the two sides or because Beijing planned to press Taipei for immediate reunification. Rather, it resulted, to a great extent, from Beijing's perceptual shift concerning Taiwan's internal political development and external status. The military exercises served as a crisis bargaining strategy supplementary to peaceful offense.

    Chapter 11, by Thomas Christensen, concludes this volume by analyzing the deep roots of the Chinese worldview being explored. Tying together all the chapters, Christensen describes the external and internal causes of the rise of a possible Chinese "hypernationalism" in the post-Cold War era. He echoes most contributors' findings that the major powers need to engage China with caution, thoughtfulness, and good information about internal factors in China. He warns that two traps need to be avoided: counterproductive external pressures that may fuel Chinese nationalism, and passive concession that may reward belligerent foreign policies of a rising China.


As editors, we wish to thank all the contributors for not only completing their individual chapters in a timely fashion but also working closely with us through the project. Their professionalism and friendship are greatly appreciated. The book benefits immensely from a two-day workshop held in Atlanta in early February 1998, where contributors gathered to thoroughly discuss an earlier draft of all chapters. We would like to acknowledge the generous financial support from the International Studies Association (ISA) made available through its 1997/98 Workshop Grants. We are grateful to Vicki L. Golich and other members of the 1997/98 ISA Grants Committee for their confidence in this project, and to Dana Larsen at ISA headquarters for logistical support. The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology kindly provided the venue and support for our workshop. We thank William J. Long, Wanda G. Moore, and Joy W. Daniell for their help.

    We presented our earlier findings and benefited from comments and discussion at two panels at the 1998 ISA annual meeting held in March 1998 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Susan McEachern, our editor at Rowman & Littlefield, had enough confidence in this project at the proposal stage to extend us a book contract and some seed money for the subsequent symposium. She has since offered wise counsel. We also thank the publisher's anonymous reviewer for a strong vote of confidence and for suggested revisions. Professors Chih-Yu Shih, Song Xinning, and Zhang Xiaojin and many other individuals, whose names are not listed here, have provided encouragement and advice to us in this project, for which we are deeply thankful.


Yong Deng and Fei-Ling Wang

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Introduction: Toward an Understanding of China's Worldview Chapter 3 Self Image and Strategic Intentions: National Confidence and Political Insecurity Chapter 4 Conception of National Interests: Realpolitik, Liberal Dilemma, and the Possibility of Change Chapter 5 Managing Conflict: Chinese Perspectives on Multilateral Diplomacy and Collective Security Chapter 6 Human Rights and Democracy Chapter 7 Nuclear Nonproliferation Chapter 8 Public Images of the United States Chapter 9 Sino-U.S. Relations: The Economic Dimensions Chapter 10 China and Its Asian Neighbors: Implications for Sino-U.S. Relations Chapter 11 Taiwan: From Peaceful Offense to Coercive Strategy Chapter 12 Pride, Pressure, and Politics: the Roots of China's Worldview Chapter 13 Selected Bibliography Chapter 14 Index Chapter 15 About the Editors and Contributors
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