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Introducing China

Introducing China: The World's Oldest Great Power Charts its Next Comeback

Volume: 176
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Introducing China
    Book Description:

    China's transformation has been patiently, methodically and very deliberately constructed by a leadership group that has equally carefully protected its monopoly on power. Today's China is proceeding with great seriousness and determination to become a first-rank state with a balanced portfolio of power and no major vulnerabilities. China takes itself very seriously and is inviting the world to overlook the formidable hard power assets it is determined to acquire in favour of simply enjoying the fruits of its market and trusting in the sincerity of its rhetoric on being determined to become a benign and peaceful new-age major power.

    eISBN: 978-1-921666-19-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. About the Author
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    China intrigues in so many ways: a mesmerisingly large population, an intimidatingly long political and cultural tradition, a reputation for looking at and thinking about issues in very distinctive ways, a cultural predisposition to communicate in indirect and ambiguous ways, a continuous tradition of authoritarian and opaque governance, and so forth. Until about fifteen years ago, however, China was an interest for a small band of specialists. That has all changed. China is now a compulsory object of understanding and analysis for all students of strategy, international relations and global economics.

    We know that China has dominated East Asia in...

  8. Chapter 1 Imperial China: Practice Makes Perfect?
    (pp. 5-30)

    The Yellow River in Northern China is one of four regions with a legitimate claim to being the ʹcradle of civilisationʹ—the other three being the Nile in present-day Egypt; the Tigress/Euphrates in present-day Iraq; and the Indus in India/Pakistan¹ In each of these regions, evidence dating back beyond four thousand years has been found of people living in settled communities, growing and storing food, specializing in particular skills and exchanging goods and services among themselves.

    Things moved pretty slowly in those days. In China, just three dynasties presided over the ensuing 1800 years: the Xia for over five centuries...

  9. Chapter 2 The Peopleʹs Republic of China: Early Foreign and Security Policy Choices
    (pp. 31-68)

    In 1949, Mao Zedongʹs Communist forces swept their nationalist rivals out of Chinaʹs heartland—with the remnants taking refuge on Taiwan and in northern Burma—and proclaimed the Peopleʹs Republic of China (PRC) on 1 October of that year. Beyond superior military skills, the decisive development was that public opinion ultimately swung emphatically in favour of the Communists as more disciplined, less corrupt and less brutal than the Nationalists.

    In allied discussions on the postwar order, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt consistently insisted that China had to be brought into the inner circle of major powers, including through granting them...

  10. Chapter 3 Chinaʹs Military Modernisation
    (pp. 69-92)

    The patient, methodical and pragmatic manner in which China has approached its economic and broad foreign policy objectives has, if anything, been even more conspicuous in the military sphere. The evidence supports the contention that shaping the evolution of the Peopleʹs Liberation Army (PLA) was a vital component of Deng Xiaopingʹs grand strategy and that an ʹunderstandingʹ between the political and military leadership held together amazingly well.

    The uncertainty and speculation surrounding the sort of power that China could become, and on the extent of the adaptation of familiar arrangements and processes in the security arena that could become necessary...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 93-98)

    What are we to make of this short and eclectic enquiry into Chinaʹs current resurgence? We are, in my view, past the point at which it makes sense to focus on assessing whether China will succeed in ʹstanding upʹ and resuming its place among the worldʹs most consequential states. Chinaʹs development into a mature contemporary state has a long way to run, but it has arguably completed its (re)-emergence, and it has the balance and robustness to sustain a strong, positive trajectory into the indefinite future. If everyone in East Asia is already very much aware of a compelling new...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 99-104)