Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

In ways unprecedented for a state in the modern era, the economic and military power of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has developed and expanded rapidly, presenting strategists and policymakers in the United States—and other countries, particularly those around the PRC’s periphery—with a combination of challenges and opportunities the nature and ramifications of which are...

I. Challenges of Sinological Epistemology

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1. Information and the State

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pp. 11-39

Doing research in, or about, a society that is unprecedentedly open to information but in which the government is systematically devoted to controlling and manipulating certain aspects of the available information presents peculiar challenges. We must be acutely aware of these challenges if we are to make sense of Chinese narratives about the United States and of what such stories reveal about...

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2. China Watches America

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pp. 40-63

China, of course, absorbs and expresses ideas about America not simply passively and not simply through media and propaganda outlets. Particularly given the central position of the United States in the international political, economic, and security arenas for so many years, China also absorbs America actively—through the eyes and analytic constructs of those Chinese whose job it is to interpret the...

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3. Challenges of a Bounded Information Space

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pp. 64-82

Clearly, any effort to analyze perspectives and views within the modern Chinese information space is one that faces important epistemological challenges. More is surely knowable about Chinese society and the thoughts and feelings of ordinary Chinese today than ever before, but this growing openness has been highly uneven: it is concentrated in arenas that do not matter to the CCP...

II. Images of America and the Telos of China’s Return

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4. Virtue and Identity

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pp. 85-108

Chinese images of the United States have been inescapably wrapped up with China’s own predicament—with the state of its internal politics, with impressions of its position and status in the world, with Chinese fears and aspirations for their own future, with how various Chinese groups and interests have maneuvered and positioned themselves against each other, and with China’s very sense of...

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5. Postimperial China in an American World

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pp. 109-130

China, of course, changed tremendously during the first few decades of the twentieth century, a period that spanned the collapse of the Qing, the birth of a new republic, its collapse into warlordism, civil war, and Japanese invasion, and then the consolidation of an extraordinarily brutal and capricious Communist regime under Mao Zedong. Many of the themes we have seen emerge in the late Qing...

III. America in Chinese Politics in Deng’s Era of Reform

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6. Change and Continuity during Reform and Opening

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pp. 133-160

The period between Deng Xiaoping’s ascension as China’s paramount leader in 1978 and his decision in 1989 to order the army to open fire on Chinese students and workers who had been demonstrating on and around Tiananmen Square was a pivotal time in China’s modern history. This was an era of enormous change in China, and the country’s internal debates over its future were as fierce as at...

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7. Warring Americas in the Chinese Mind

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pp. 161-180

Thanks in large part to some of the very opening that accompanied Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime was not the only contender in the game of looking at the United States for lessons for and about China and of constructing (and reconstructing) narratives of America through the prism and for the purposes of debating their own country’s future. Deng’s...

IV. Repression, Nationalism, Chineseness, and the Roaring Nineties

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8. Tiananmen Tensions

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pp. 183-204

The period of reaction and repression after the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989, saw important developments in the Party-state’s approach to politics, international relations, and the management of China’s narrative of America. Deeming further economic development to be essential to China’s dream of return, and feeling that engagement with the West—and especially with the...

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9. Power and Nationalism

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pp. 205-226

The 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis suggests the power that politico-moral matters raising questions about China’s status and identity can have in producing belligerent self-righteousness even in a government otherwise strongly committed to a self-consciously nonprovocative posture. The currents of virtuocratic moralpolitik, it would appear, run deep in the Chinese Party-state and have become...

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10. Muscularity and Opoortunity

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pp. 227-244

It may be useful here, however, to pause our study of America narratives in Chinese politics and foreign policy in order to examine Sino-Japanese relations during the 1990s, for Japan offers an interesting comparison case with which to explore, by analogy, some of the dynamics operative in Sino-American affairs. Specifically, the “Japan case” may provide a case study in which to explore the...

V. Chinese Discourse in the New Century

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11. Contesting Frameworks

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pp. 247-266

As China entered the new century, its Communist leaders faced both new opportunities and greater challenges, all of which—along with the regime’s responses thereto—had important implications for narratives of and approaches to the United States. As the economic growth of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continued, it became progressively stronger on the international stage even as...

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12. A Defensive Counternarrative

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pp. 267-297

As the Chinese Party-state worked to adjust its legitimacy narrative to meet the challenges of late twentieth-century and early twenty-first century politics in a rapidly developing but ever more starkly unequal society, it was considered important for the regime to provide a response to critics—both at home and abroad—who argued that the one-party dictatorship of the Chinese Communist...

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13. An Offensive Counternarrative

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pp. 298-326

As we have seen, the emerging discourse within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of democracy as consultation by a virtuous ruling elite with the subject population it ruled owed a great deal to Confucian thinking, for this theory essentially replicated, in modern guise, the ancient conceit of a sage autocrat administering the realm with benevolence and virtue. The Party’s developing...

VI. China and America in a New World—the Inflection Point of 2008–2009

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14. Heady Days

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pp. 329-350

Since the beginning of the reform era, as described in chapters 6 and 7, the Chinese Party-state had looked at the United States with both aspiration and a profound sense of opposition. For most of this period, however, the positive and negative aspects of these sentiments existed in a balance that generally favored the positive—though decreasingly so over time. To the extent that China aspired to...

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15. Interpreting Politics

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pp. 351-370

Significantly, the psychoconceptual dislocation of China’s apparent loss of the long-established American model of modernity came at a time not just when China was stronger than ever but also when the Party-state was—for its own internal reasons related to the legitimacy challenges of authoritarian modernization—beginning self-consciously to articulate an ever-more specifically...

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16. Looking to the Future

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pp. 371-390

As the Chinese Party-state struggled with these interpretive issues, Chinese thinkers themselves pondered the implications of such ideas for the system of global order—and, of course, for China’s place within it. Building on some by now well-established themes of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) discourse, People’s Republic of China (PR C) scholars and propagandists worked to incorporate perceived...

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17. Debating Taoist Nationalism

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pp. 391-412

Significantly, the American financial crisis dramatically affected the balance between positive and negative elements in Chinese perceptions of and approaches to the United States. As we have seen, one of the pillars of the so-called Taoist nationalism of Dengist time biding was the notion that China needed both to maintain the peaceful international environment required for outward-oriented...

VII. China, America, and the Future

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18. Self-Image and Return

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pp. 415-440

Not surprisingly, as Chinese elites have increasingly openly debated the merits and demerits of a more self-assertive posture vis-à-vis the United States, they have also debated the future nature of the world system and the role that China should have within it. This chapter attempts to survey some of what has become apparent to date in Chinese narratives about China in the world, tying this together...

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19. China in a New World

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pp. 441-474

The ambition of setting the terms of a new world system, therefore, certainly seems clear enough in the Party-state’s official—and officially permitted—narrative of global order. While the operational specifics of such an order remain perhaps conveniently opaque, however, its basic structural character deserves further attention, for Chinese sources seem to suggest that it differs in critical...

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20. Some Policy Implications

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pp. 475-502

As described throughout the previous chapters, for a mix of reasons related in part to China’s security environment but particularly to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime’s domestic insecurities, China’s narrative of America has over time become progressively darker and more threatening since the early reform period of Deng Xiaoping. Aspirational and oppositional elements have both consistently...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 503-504

Most of the research and writing that resulted in this book was undertaken when I was employed as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, and under a generous research grant from the Office of Net Assessment at the U.S. Department of Defense. In thanking those who helped make this manuscript possible, therefore, I should begin with Andrew Marshall, the founding—and...

Notes

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pp. 505-610

Index

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pp. 611-638

About the Series, Other Works in the Series

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