China Looks at the West: Identity, Global Ambitions, and the Future of Sino-American Relations

China Looks at the West: Identity, Global Ambitions, and the Future of Sino-American Relations

by Christopher A. Ford


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Chinese leaders have long been fascinated by the United States, but have often chosen to demonize America for perceived cultural and military imperialism. Especially under Communist rule, Chinese leaders have crafted and re-crafted portrayals of the United States according to the needs of their own agenda and the regime's self-image — often seeing America as an antagonist and foil, but sometimes playing it up as a model.

In China Looks at the West, Christopher A. Ford investigates what these depictions reveal about internal Chinese politics and Beijing's ambitions in the world today. In particular, Ford emphasizes the importance of China's "return" to global preeminence in state images, which has become an essential concept in the regime's self-image and legitimacy. He also examines the history of Chinese intellectual engagement with America, surveying the ways in which Chinese elites have manipulated attitudes toward the United States, and revealing how leaders from Qing dynasty officials to Mao Zedong and from to Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping have altered and reconstructed this narrative to support their own political agendas.

Ford concludes the volume with a series of scenario-based alternatives for how China's approaches to understanding itself and other nations may evolve in the future. Based on extensive research, including interviews with Chinese scholars and researchers, this groundbreaking study is essential reading for policymakers and readers seeking to understand current and future Sino-American relations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813165400
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 07/28/2015
Series: Asia in the New Millennium
Pages: 650
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Christopher A. Ford is Chief Investigative Counsel for the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. He previously served as Republican Chief Counsel at the Senate Committee on Appropriations, as a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute, United States Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. He is the author of The Mind of Empire: China's History and Modern Foreign Relations.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I Challenges of Sinological Epistemology

1 Information and the State 11

2 China Watches America 40

3 Challenges of a Bounded Information Space 64

II Images of America and the Telos of China's Return

4 Virtue and Identity 85

5 Postimperial China in an American World 109

III America in Chinese Politics in Deng's Era of Reform

6 Change and Continuity during Reform and Opening 133

7 Warring Americas in the Chinese Mind 161

IV Repression, Nationalism, Chineseness, and the Roaring Nineties

8 Tiananmen Tensions 183

9 Power and Nationalism 205

10 Muscularity and Opportunity 227

V Chinese Discourse in the New Century

11 Contesting Frameworks 247

12 A Defensive Counternarrative 267

13 An Offensive Counternarrative 298

VI China and America in a New World- the Inflection Point of 2008-2009

14 Heady Days 329

15 Interpreting Politics 351

16 Looking to the Future 371

17 Debating Taoist Nationalism 391

VII China, America, and the Future

18 Self-image and Return 415

19 China in a New World 441

20 Some Policy Implications 475

Acknowledgments 503

Notes 505

Index 611

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