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Reviewed by:
  • "Harmonious World" and China's New Foreign Policy, and: Challenges to Chinese Foreign Policy: Diplomacy, Globalization, and the Next World Power
  • Zhiqun Zhu (bio)
Sujian Guo and Jean-Marc F. Blanchard, editors. "Harmonious World" and China's New Foreign Policy. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008. xv, 252 pp. Hardcover $65.00, ISBN 978-0-7391-2603-5. Paperback $32.95, ISBN 978-0-7391-2604-2.
Yufan Hao, C. X. George Wei, and Lowell Dittmer, editors. Challenges to Chinese Foreign Policy: Diplomacy, Globalization, and the Next World Power. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2009. 378 pp. Paperback $29.95, ISBN 978-0-8131-9202-4. Hardcover $75.00, ISBN: 978-0-8131-2529-9.

As China becomes a key player in international economics and politics today, publications on China are booming. Every year, dozens of new books on Chinese foreign policy make their way to the bookshelves. Some (mostly Western) scholars tend to explain Chinese foreign policy using existing international relations theories or historical analogies. Other scholars (mostly Chinese) tend to employ empirical evidence to describe and analyze Beijing's policies with a focus on the [End Page 121] linkage between domestic politics and foreign relations. Contributors to the two books reviewed here apparently belong to the second category.

Empirically rich, the two books address major changes and challenges in Chinese foreign policy today. Theoretically ambitious, the editors and contributors aim to develop an analytical framework for better understanding Chinese foreign policy and its impact.

The Hao, Wei, and Dittmer book is a collection of articles by Chinese scholars who teach at Chinese universities or who originally came from China but now teach at universities abroad. This book is one of very few in English that present the perspectives of Chinese scholars on China's foreign policy. The book asks a few important questions: Will China's growing power lead the Chinese leadership to challenge the existing international norms, rules, and institutions? Or will China's integration into the international economy, its growing middle class, and its increasing participation in international institutions lead to China's becoming a status quo power? How should the world respond to this reemerging great power?

This edited volume, developed from two international conferences held in China (Nanchang University in 2005 and University of Macao in 2006), is divided into four parts. The chapters in part 1 address China's relations with the United States—its most important counterpart in foreign relations. Part 2 discusses challenges in China's relations with other major powers: Russia, Japan, and the European Union. Part 3 deals with China's challenges in its neighborhood, covering the Korean peninsula, South Asia, the Taiwan Strait, and Hong Kong and Macao. Part 4 examines the dynamic changes in China's external relations as well as the new and lasting internal elements that have influenced its policy making. In the conclusion, Lowell Dittmer offers a historical perspective of Chinese foreign relations and summarizes Beijing's grand strategies for rising peacefully. Taken together, the contributors argue that although China's security environment seems to have improved, the challenges remain daunting, and some of them come from within. China has been a status quo power since the mid-1990s and will remain so in the near future (Hao, p. 13).

The Guo and Blanchard book derives from papers presented at an international conference held at San Francisco State University in 2007. "Peaceful development" (和平发展) and "harmonious world" (和谐世界) have become new foreign policy principles under President Hu Jintao. What do these terms mean? How has China pursued its new diplomatic objectives? What are the implications of China's new foreign policy? A group of China scholars attempts to address these questions in the book and hopes to help readers understand what kind of "harmonious world" China is seeking.

The book includes ten well-researched chapters that cover China's new diplomacy in the global south, its embrace of multilateral institutions, its relations with other major powers, its economic and trade policies, its efforts to project soft power, and its search for identity as it expands its relations with the rest of the [End Page 122] world. How domestic opinions affect China's harmonious world policy...


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