The rise of China is a major theme in international relations for both scholars and statesmen. Based on existing theories, namely the power transition theory and the balance of power theory, China’s rise is forecasted to be violent, either by challenging the existing hegemon or by inviting counterbalancing efforts. Nonetheless, these arguments are highly controversial and lead to a neglect of theorization about rising great powers. Therefore, this article attempts to revisit and revive the theoretical discussions and present a refined theory of rising great powers that can explain the past and illuminate the future. To provide a clear picture of capabilities, the refined theory exclusively focuses on material variables. The theory demonstrates that the different material contexts in which great powers rise explain the differences in their external behaviors and how they are treated by existing great powers. From this point of view, although China may simply be another rising great power in modern history, the material context of its rise is different. It is precisely this difference that explains the peacefulness of this rising great power.