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The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making in China: The Ascension and Demise of the Theory of “Peaceful Rise”

  • Bonnie S Glaser and Evan S Medeiros

China's rapidly proliferating global interests and evolving political environment have begun to change the international and domestic context for its foreign policy-making. This article explores the changing inputs into and processes associated with foreign policy-making in China today. It does this by analysing the shifting fortunes of “peaceful rise,” one of the first new foreign policy concepts to be introduced under the Hu Jintao administration. The authors draw several implications from this narrow debate for understanding contemporary foreign policy-making in China. It provides an example of how new foreign policy ideas and strategies can come from outside the formal, central government bureaucracy, and underscores the growing relevance of think-tank analysts and university-based scholars. Finally, the authors argue that the Chinese leadership's decision to eschew “peaceful rise” in favour of “peaceful development” was fundamentally a question of terminology and thus preserved China's strategy of reassuring other nations.

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* The authors wish to thank Michael Glosny, Eric Heginbotham and Alastair Iain Johnston for their comments on an earlier draft. Ms Glaser would also like to thank all the Chinese scholars who agreed to share their views on a not-for-attribution basis.

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The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
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