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.
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
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