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

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Abstract

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.
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*
ABSTRACT 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 bureau-
cracy, 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.
As policy makers and business leaders all over the world increasingly focus on
the substance of China's global activism and its ``new diplomacy,'' a lesser-
noticed phenomenon is the gradual evolution of the forces shaping foreign
policy formulation in China.
1
China's rapidly proliferating global interests
combined with an evolving political environment have begun to change the
external and internal context for its foreign policy-making. Whereas past
Chinese debates were principally internal deliberations among a narrow elite,
current debates increasingly possess a more public dimension, with multiple
inputs from actors not commonly involved in these traditionally insular
processes.
* 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.
1 Given the continued sensitivity in China of discussing policy-making processes, Chinese sources remain
rare. There is ample Western research including David M. Lampton, The Making of Chinese Foreign
and Security Policy (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002); Lu Ning, The Dynamics of Foreign
Policy Decision-making in China (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997); and A. Doak Barnett, The
Making of Foreign Policy in China (Boulder, CO: Holt, Praeger, 1985).
291
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The China Quarterly, 2007 doi:10.1017/S0305741007001208
This article explores the changing inputs into and deliberative processes
associated with foreign policy-making in China today. It tackles such questions
as: where do new and ``correct'' foreign policy ideas come from, how are they
debated (and disagreements resolved), and how does the government translate
such ideas into policy actions? In short, the article examines the ongoing
evolution of the micro-processes of policy germination, formulation, debate and
articulation on foreign affairs.
We seek to shed further light on these broader questions by analysing the
shifting fortunes of the concept of ``peaceful rise'' (heping jueqi sw). This
was one of the first new concepts to be introduced into China's official foreign
policy under the Hu Jintao (á&) administration. Its initial public articulation
in autumn 2003, the propagation of the idea, the subsequent debate about its
appropriateness as an official term, and the leadership's initial embrace and later
rejection followed a unique and tumultuous pathway ± and one that was not as
opaque as past deliberations about the orthodoxy of ideas in Chinese diplomacy.
The circumstances surrounding the development of peaceful rise and its current
role in government diplomacy illuminate key aspects of the changing nature of
foreign policy formulation in China today.
The debate is particularly relevant because it concerned an idea that dictated
the content of Chinese policies and defined China's foreign policy interests and
identity. By contrast, many previous Chinese debates, such as those regarding
``multipolarity'' and ``peace and development as the main trend of the times,''
focused on the nature of China's external security environment. In this sense, the
peaceful rise debate serves as an indicator of the broadening political space in
China to formulate foreign policy.
2
This article begins by tracing the development of peaceful rise from its origin
to its subsequent modification as an accepted government foreign policy
strategy. It then explains the concept's main tenets and the contours of the
debate.
3
Finally, it suggests several implications of this narrow debate for an
understanding of the evolution of contemporary foreign policy-making in
China.
Peaceful Rise Takes Shape
The intellectual origins of the concept of peaceful rise are rooted in the gradual
evolution of China's reform-era foreign policy over the last 25 years. As China,
beginning in the late 1970s, increased the number and quality of its interactions
with the international community, Chinese officials and analysts became more
attentive to foreign perceptions of China's international behaviour; in particular
they realized that some of their Asian neighbours viewed certain Chinese policies
2 Wang Jisi, ``Peaceful rise: a discourse in China,'' paper prepared for conference on ``The rise of China:
theory and practice,'' Beijing University, Beijing, China, 5±7 January 2006.
3 Interviews were conducted by Bonnie Glaser in Beijing in August 2004, during subsequent visits to
China in 2004±2005, and with Chinese scholars visiting Washington DC.
292
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, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
as a source of instability in East Asia. In other words, Chinese officials gradually
came to recognize, albeit reluctantly, China's role in ``security dilemma''
dynamics in Asia.
During the 1990s, as diplomats sought to rebuild China's international image
after Tiananmen, this sensitization process continued. Officials and analysts
began to see that specific actions, such as the seizure of Mischief Reef in 1995
and the missile tests and military exercises in the Taiwan Strait in the mid-1990s,
raised concerns among Asian nations about China's regional behaviour. In
response, by the late 1990s Chinese leaders sought to address these concerns by
adjusting China's regional diplomacy to focus more on engagement, confidence
building and reassurance. These perceptual shifts manifested in qualitative
improvements in China's bilateral and multilateral diplomacy in Asia, which has
successfully allowed Beijing to present a much more benign image of itself to
Asian nations.
4
Among Western analysts and officials, perceptions ran the
gamut between the ``China threat'' thesis, which viewed China as a potential
revisionist state and potential peer competitor to American military dominance
in Asia, and the ``China collapse'' thesis which claimed that China's ``house of
cards'' economy could easily collapse and plunge the country into a vortex of
political and social chaos.
These discussions in Asia and the West about future challenges posed by
China set the international context for the emergence of peaceful rise. Chinese
officials and analysts paid close attention to Western debates and in particular
the growing uncertainty about the type of rising power it would become.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Chinese scholars and analysts began to appropriate
Western thinking and terminology by publicly writing and talking about
``China's rise'' and these ideas increasingly became part of Chinese popular
discourse around 2002.
5
``Peaceful rise'' emerges
The origins of the peaceful rise theory lie in a December 2002 trip to the United
States by Zheng Bijian (ÑÅZ ) and a delegation from a Chinese Communist
Party (CCP)-affiliated research unit called the China Reform Forum (Zhongguo
gaige kaifang luntan -ý9i>º[). Zheng is a former executive
4 Tang Shiping, ``Lijie zhongguo de anquan zhanlue'' (``Understanding China's security strategy''), Guoji
zhengzhi yanjiu (Studies of International Politics), No. 3 (September 2002), pp. 128±35; Tang Shiping
and Zhang Yunling, ``Zhongguo de diqu zhanlue'' (``China's regional strategy''), Shijie jingji yu
zhengzhi, No. 6 (June 2004), pp. 1±8. Also see Avery Goldstein, Rising to the Challenge: China's Grand
Strategy and International Security (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005). David
Shambaugh, ``China engages Asia: reshaping the regional order,'' International Security, Vol. 29,
No. 3 (2004/05), pp. 64±99.
5 One of the first books on the subject of China's rise was Yan Xuetong et al., Zhongguo de jueqi: guoji
huanjing de pinggu (An Assessment of the International Environment for China's Rise) (Tianjin: Tianjin
renmin chubanshe, 1999). One of the first articles to use the term ``peaceful rise'' is Lu Zhongwei,
``Baowo bianhua, zhongshi weilai,'' (``Firmly grasp change and value the future''), Xiandai guoji guanxi,
No. 8 (2002), p. 4. See also Huang Renwei, Zhongguo jueqi de shijian yu kongjian (The Time and Space
for China's Rise) (Shanghai: Shanghai shehui kexue yuan chubanshe, 2002).
The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making 293
vice-president of the Central Committee's Central Party School and is now
chairman of the China Reform Forum; at that time he was believed to be a
confidant of Hu Jintao, who was then the Party School's president.
Zheng's delegation met numerous senior Bush administration officials and
scholars to discuss American views on China's emerging role in global affairs.
Following these discussions, Zheng concluded that there was pervasive
uncertainty and polarized views in the United States about China's future as a
major power, and that these views would complicate US±China relations and
undermine Beijing's pursuit of great power status. Whether expressed as concern
about Chinese intentions to alter the prevailing international system and
deliberately threaten American interests, or as apprehension about China
imploding due to entrenched weaknesses, Zheng concluded that American
officials and intellectuals harboured little confidence about China's future path
and its implications for global stability.
Following his return to Beijing, Zheng submitted a report to the Central
Committee under the moniker of the Central Policy Research Office in which he
detailed his concerns about American perceptions of China's rising status.
6
In
the report, Zheng advanced the concept of ``the development path of China's
peaceful rise'' (Zhongguo heping jueqi de fazhan daolu -ýswÑUS
ï).
7
He proposed launching a study project to investigate and publicize ``the
relationship between the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics
that began in the late 1970s and its process of integration with the region and the
world,'' which was CCP code-language for researching the implications of
China's rise for regional and global security. Chinese interlocutors say that
Zheng passed his report to Hu Jintao, with whom he had worked closely when
Hu headed the Party School. The project was approved and funded with two
million yuan (about $244,000) and a task force was established to develop a
comprehensive theory of China's peaceful rise.
8
Little progress was made in 2003 due to the SARS epidemic, but peaceful rise
made its initial debut in November 2003 at the Boao Forum (Boao luntan ZÌ º
[) for Asia.
9
Zheng Bijian delivered a speech entitled ``The new road of China's
peaceful rise and the future of Asia'' in which he explained that China's
development path is ``not only a path of striving for rise, but also a path of
adhering to peace and never seeking hegemony.'' Zheng advanced three core
principles of his new concept: China must unswervingly advance economic and
6 Zhang Liwei, ``Personal and official contacts between Zoellick and Zheng Bijian have subtly and
profoundly improved Sino-US relations,'' Shiji jingji baodao, 7 January 2006, Open Source Center
(OSC) CPP20060130050001. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) was re-named the
Open Source Center on 1 November 2005.
7 This is the full and formal name of the peaceful rise concept which is referred to throughout this article.
8 The task force included the China Reform Forum, the Central Party School's Institute of Strategic
Studies, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and the China Institute of International Studies
(CIIS).
9 For a comprehensive English language collection of Zheng's speeches on peaceful rise see China's
Peaceful Rise: Speeches of Zheng Bijian 1997±2005 (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press,
2005).
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The China Quarterly
, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
political reforms centring on the promotion of socialist market economy and
socialist democracy to ensure an institutional guarantee of its peaceful rise;
China must boldly draw on the fruits of human civilization while fostering
Chinese civilization to ensure cultural support for its peaceful rise; and China
must carefully balance the interests of different sectors, securing a co-ordinated
development between urban and rural areas, between different regions, between
society and the economy, and between man and nature, to create a social
environment for China's peaceful rise.
10
According to Zheng Bijian, China's ``development path with a peaceful rise''
refers to the historical period extending from the third plenum of the 11th
Central Committee (December 1978) to the middle of the 21st century. Peaceful
rise emphasizes participating in rather than detaching from economic
globalization, with the goal of lifting China's population out of a state of
underdevelopment. In other words, China has been pursuing the pathway of
peaceful rise since the initiation of the reform and opening period, and will not
change course as it seeks to build a ``well-off society'' by further integrating with
the international community.
Peaceful rise holds that in the process of achieving economic development and
raising the standard of living of the Chinese people over the next half century,
China will not destabilize the international order or oppress its neighbours. In
Zheng Bijian's writings, he acknowledges that historically the rapid rise of
countries to great power status has resulted in drastic changes in the world order
and has even triggered world war. Citing the examples of Germany during the
First World War, Germany and Japan leading up to the Second World War and
the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, he concludes that striving for
national aggrandizement by relying on territorial expansion and military
aggression is doomed to failure.
11
According to Zheng, China's rise will avoid the fate of colonialists and
imperialists of the past because it will not seek external expansion, but instead
will uphold peace, mutual co-operation and common development, assert the
advocates of peaceful rise. To reassure its neighbours, he stresses that China's
peaceful rise not only benefits from the experiences of other countries in Asia,
but will also ``bring about tremendous historic opportunities, rather than threats
to the Asia-Pacific region.''
12
For Zheng, the foundation of China's strategic
interaction with regional states is China's new security concept (xin anquan guan
°hÂ), which was first articulated in 1997 and was one of China's initial
attempts in the 1990s to shape the regional security order in Asia. According to
Chinese specialists, the goal of the new security concept is to achieve collective
10 Zheng Bijian, ``A new path for China's peaceful rise and the future of Asia,'' 3 November 2003, http://
history.boaoforum.org/English/E2003nh/dhwj/t20031103_184101.btk.
11 Interview with Zheng Bijian, ``Peaceful rise: the most important `Chinese characteristic' in socialism
with Chinese characteristics,'' Xuexi shibao, 14 June 2004, FBIS, CPP20040614000309.
12 Zheng Bijian, ``China's peaceful rise and opportunities for the Asia-Pacific region,'' speech at the
Roundtable Meeting between Boao Forum for Asia and China Reform Forum, 24 April 2004.
The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making 295
security through co-operation among Asia-Pacific countries ± even though the
initial articulation of this concept sought to draw a stark contrast with the US-
led security order in Asia.
13
In Zheng's view, the peaceful rise theory will also ensure that China avoids
confrontational relations with the major powers. Zheng explains that by
pursuing a peaceful rise path, socialism and capitalism can compete with each
other while enjoying peaceful relations and learning from each other.
14
In a
paper on lessons of the US±Soviet strategic confrontation in the Cold War,
Beijing University's Wang Jisi () argues that the United States and China
are not destined to vie for hegemony. It is not inevitable that China will
challenge American global hegemony, or that the United States will attempt to
contain China's rise.
15
Ruan Zongze (.ý), vice-president of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA) think tank called the China Institute of International
Studies (CIIS), also insists that China's rise will not disrupt the global balance
and trigger a war. Rather than seeking to challenge or to replace the existing
powers, China seeks ``an equal status as a big country in the international
community so as to contribute more to world peace,'' Ruan claims.
16
Why Zheng Bijian?
One of the most important aspects of the germination of peaceful rise was its
originator and promoter, Zheng Bijian. We maintain that Zheng's professional
experience, Party credentials, credibility in the Chinese system and guanxi (sû )
network are all central to understanding the evolution of peaceful rise, in
particular its rapid ascent into the Party lexicon. Although no longer a
government official, Zheng's experience and connections were critical to the
propagation of the idea. He leveraged his relationships with senior leaders, his
knowledge of the Party system and his credibility as a Party theorist to inject
peaceful rise into the system at the highest levels.
Zheng Bijian, a renowned political theorist who does not shy away from
controversy, has been an influential policy adviser to many Chinese leaders,
including serving as a key drafter of important speeches and Party documents.
In the late 1970s debate over ``practice being the sole criterion of truth'' that
challenged the school of ``two whatevers,'' Zheng wrote articles in support of
Deng Xiaoping's line of reform and opening up. He also played a prominent role
in drafting two key resolutions on spiritual civilization.
17
In the early 1980s,
13 For the linkage between the NSC and peaceful rise see ``Wen Jiabao zongli zai Boao Yazhou luntan zuo
zhuzhi yanjiang'' (``Premier Wen Jiabao makes the keynote speech at the Boao Forum for Asia''),
Xinhuanet, 2 November 2003.
14 Zheng Bijian, ``Peaceful rise: the most important `Chinese characteristic','' pp. 1±2.
15 Wang Jisi, ``Will China and the United States `contend for hegemony'?'' speech delivered at the Boao
Forum, April 2004, published in Huanqiu shibao, 28 May 2004, FBIS, CPP2004060200026.
16 Ruan Zongze, ``What are the implications of China's peaceful rise to the world,'' Boao Forum, April
2004, http://www.crf.org.cn/peacefulrise/ruanzongze1.htm.
17 Tao Lan, ``Zheng Bijian: CPC's authoritative theorist and drafter of important documents,'' Ching pao,
No. 6 (25 September 1997), FBIS, FTS19970925001577.
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, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
Zheng was a personal secretary to Hu Yaobang (á¦). When Deng Xiaoping
made his famous southern tour in 1992, Zheng wrote his key speeches.
18
In 1992
he was elected to the CCP Central Committee and became Ding Guangen's
executive deputy director at the Central Propaganda Department. He also took
part in the editing of Mao Zedong's works, the compilation of the Selected
Works of Deng Xiaoping and the drafting of the document that evaluated the
mistakes committed in the Cultural Revolution.
To the surprise of many Chinese, after reaching the mandatory retirement age
of 70 Zheng was not re-elected to the Central Committee at the 16th Party
Congress in autumn 2002 and was not offered an official position (such as a seat
in the National People's Congress) after he stepped down as vice-president of the
Central Party School. While Zheng is no longer working within the state or in
the Central Committee bureaucracy, he still possesses much credibility within
the Party system and retains an extensive personnel network. He remains a key
policy adviser to China's top leaders and is actively involved in policy
discussions through his role as China Reform Forum chairman, dean of the
Humanities and Social Sciences in the graduate school of the Chinese Academy
of Sciences and as a member of the Sino-Japanese Friendship Committee.
Rising and Demising
After its initial articulation in late 2003, peaceful rise rapidly travelled along a
curious and atypical pathway for Party slogans. It was first formally accepted
and used by China's top leaders, then, after only a few months, dropped in
spring 2004 from official statements following public and internal opposition.
Yet China's leaders continued to use it in a modified form, with similar, if not
identical, conceptual substance. Furthermore, the original idea remained an
active part of public discourse on foreign policy and continues to be commonly
used by scholars and policy analysts. This unfolding of events is detailed below
and provides further insight into the evolving context for and mechanisms of
policy germination, deliberation, formulation and articulation in China on
foreign policy.
Soon after Zheng's initial speech outlining the concept of peaceful rise at Boao
in November 2003, the idea rapidly began to assume the trappings of official
Party lexicon. China's top Party and military leaders publicly used the term
several times, signalling official endorsement. Such usages may well have been
part of Zheng Bijian's political marketing strategy to ensure that the term
became a key CCP slogan, thereby enhancing his stature. The rapid transition
from initial articulation to endorsement by the top leadership indicates Zheng's
influence but also suggests that policy co-ordination with the MFA and PLA
may have been quite limited.
18 According to one PLA source, Deng rejected speeches written by others and was only satisfied with the
speeches that Zheng Bijian wrote.
The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making 297
In December 2003, Premier Wen Jiabao ()¶) became the first senior
Chinese leader to endorse the peaceful rise theory publicly. In a speech at
Harvard University, Wen declared that China is:
A rising power dedicated to peace ¼ While opening still wider to the outside world, we
must more fully and more consciously depend on our own structural innovation, on
constantly expanding the domestic market, on converting the huge savings of our citizens
into investment, and on improving the quality of the population and scientific and
technological progress to solve the problems of resources and the environment. Here lies
the essence of China's relative peaceful rise and development.
19
Wen also reiterated Zheng Bijian's ``multiplication and division problems''
which are at the heart of his peaceful rise theory. Since China has 1.3 billion
people, any difficulty in economic and social development, however small, will
become a large-scale problem if it is multiplied by 1.3 billion. Similarly, despite
China's impressive accumulation of financial and material resources, when
divided by 1.3 billion people, it is quite low.
Then, on 26 December 2003, while addressing a symposium marking the
110th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong, President Hu Jintao embraced
``peaceful rise.'' He told an audience that included many of his Politburo
standing committee colleagues that China must ``insist on taking the road of
peaceful rise, insist on getting along with all other countries on the basis of the
five principles of peaceful co-existence, actively develop exchanges and co-
operation with other countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, and
contribute to the lofty causes of mankind's peace and development.''
20
Two
months later, on 23 February 2004, Hu Jintao further expounded the peaceful
rise theory at the tenth ``collective study'' session of the Politburo. He urged his
fellow leaders to ``persist in the development path of peaceful rise and the
peaceful foreign policy of independence and self-reliance.''
21
Chinese leaders then further clarified the meaning of the peaceful rise theory,
indicating even wider development of and support for this new foreign policy
concept. In response to a reporter's question in the Premier's annual press
conference following the Tenth National People's Congress in mid-March 2004,
Wen Jiabao asked, ``what are the connotations of China's peaceful rise?'' and
then explained five aspects of the new theory. First, China must take full
advantage of the opportunity of world peace to develop and strengthen itself,
and at the same time safeguard world peace with its development. Secondly, the
rise of China must be based on its own efforts and resources as well as the
innovation of its system as a result of reform. Thirdly, China's rise can't be
achieved without the rest of the world, and the country must maintain its
opening-up policy and develop economic and trade exchanges based on mutual
19 China Daily, 10 December 2003, www.chinadaily.com.
20 Gu Ping, ``China's `peaceful rise,' which emphasizes achieving modernization through self-reliance, will
benefit mankind,'' Renmin ribao, 17 February 2004, FBIS, CPP20040217000059.
21 Ta kung pao, 4 March 2004, FBIS, CPP20040304000096; Xinhua, 24 February 2004, FBIS,
CPP20040224000264. China Foreign Affairs University Professor Qin Yaqing and CASS researcher
Zhang Yuyan made presentations.
298
The China Quarterly
, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
benefit. Fourthly, China's rise will require a long time and the hard work of
many generations. Finally, the rise of China will not pose a threat to any other
country or be achieved at the expense of any particular nation. China does not
seek hegemony now, nor will it ever seek hegemony even after it becomes more
powerful, Wen stated.
22
Another key leadership endorsement of the theory came in a March 2004
statement by the minister of national defence, Cao Gangchuan (ùÝ), who
discussed the concept during his visit to Thailand on 31 March 2004. Cao
pledged that China would not follow the path of Western powers in expanding
externally after their national strength increased. He also stressed the
importance of gaining the international community's support for China's rise,
especially the preservation of social stability and ``the motherland's unity.''
Finally, he asserted that peace is the ultimate goal of China's peaceful rise and
promised that the interests of other countries, including peripheral countries,
would not be harmed, but rather would benefit from China's rise.
23
To publicize the peaceful rise theory and win domestic and international
support for its content, Zheng Bijian and the China Reform Forum organized a
roundtable discussion on ``Peaceful rise and economic globalization'' at the
Boao Forum for Asia in late April 2004. On the opening day of the forum, a
Xinhua (°N) report noted that the mention of peaceful rise by Chinese leaders
Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao ``indicated that peaceful rise had formally become
China's national strategy.''
24
The fall from grace begins
Signs soon emerged that China's leaders had concerns about the new peaceful
rise theory. In the keynote address to the Boao conference on 24 April, Hu
Jintao eschewed the phrase ``peaceful rise,'' even though his remarks echoed
similar themes. He mentioned ``peace and stability,'' ``peace and tranquility''
and ``peaceful co-existence,'' but not ``peaceful rise.'' Instead, he promised that
China would ``follow a peaceful development path (heping fazhan sÑU)
holding high the banners of peace, development and co-operation, joining the
other Asian countries in bringing about Asian rejuvenation, and making a
greater contribution to the lofty cause of peace and development in the world.''
25
A few days later, Politburo standing committee member Zeng Qinghong (þ
¢) endorsed the concept of peaceful rise but did not use the term, instead
22 Premier Wen Jiabao's press conference at the conclusion of the second session of the Tenth National
People's Congress (NPC), 15 March 2004. http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/zxxx/t80119.htm.
23 Luo Qinwen, ``Chinese National Defence Minister expounds on the `peaceful rise' road,'' Zhongguo
xinwen she, 31 March 2004, FBIS, CPP20040401000025.
24 Xinhua Backgrounder, 23 April 2004, FBIS, CPP20040423000068.
25 Hu Jintao, 23 April 2004 Boao Forum speech. Xinhua, 24 April 2004, FBIS, CPP20040424000082. The
similarity between Hu's ``peaceful development'' and Deng's famous axiom of ``peace and
development'' being the main ``trend of the times'' is probably not a coincidence. In this sense, Hu
is putting forward a slogan that appears to differ little in terminology from Dengist foreign-policy
thought.
The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making 299
embracing Hu's new formulation. During remarks at the opening ceremony of
the ministerial segment of the 60th session of the United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Zeng promised that China would
``never seek hegemony, no matter how well-developed it becomes,'' and labelled
China's path as peaceful development, not peaceful rise.
26
So what happened to peaceful rise? According to several Chinese experts, a
Politburo standing committee meeting was held in early April before the Boao
Forum to discuss the theory. At that meeting, Zheng presented the findings of
his research in the form of a 200,000-character report to the leadership.
27
Chinese sources say that the top leadership made a decision to permit continued
research and discussion of peaceful rise in academic circles, but no longer to use
the term in leadership speeches or government and Party documents. China
Reform Forum analysts insist, however, that the senior leadership remained
interested in Zheng Bijian's project and did not discourage continued
development and exposition of the theory.
In subsequent months, the CCP's decision on no usage by Chinese leaders and
in official statements and documents prevailed. In December 2005, the State
Council issued a white paper entitled ``China's peaceful development road'' that
eschewed the term peaceful rise.
28
Yet, the phrase was and continues to be used
in numerous mainstream Chinese publications.
29
It has decidedly not vanished
from public discourse. This provides a stark contrast to China's Leninist
political culture which places priority on developing and enforcing unified
language and would have banned usage of a rejected phrase in all public
discourse.
Nevertheless, a decline in usage of the term was evident in Chinese
publications. Based on a search in the China Academic Journals database of
political journals, there were zero articles with the term ``peaceful rise'' in the
title/text published in 2001, 0/1 in 2002, 8/41 in 2003, 191/1054 in 2004, 130/1444
in 2005 and 59/865 in 2006. The pattern is slightly different for newspapers. In
26 Zeng's speech was titled ``Take the path of peaceful development, seek prosperity in common in the
Asia-Pacific region,'' Xinhua, 26 April 2004, FBIS, CPP20040426000112. See also Shao Zongwei and
Zhang Yong, ``Zeng: nation will not seek hegemony,'' China Daily (Internet Version±WWW), 27 April
2004, FBIS, CPP20040427000016. A China Reform Forum scholar said the spirit of Zeng's speech
came from the report that Zheng Bijian had given to the leadership a few weeks earlier. Interview, 11
August 2004.
27 According to one source, the ``interview'' with Zheng Bijian that was published in the Party School's
Study Times in June was based on this report. See Zheng Bijian, ``Peaceful rise: the most important
`Chinese characteristic'.''
28 China's Peaceful Development Road (Beijing, China: State Council Information Office, December
2005); http://www.china.com.cn/english/features/book/152684.htm.
29 For example, several new books emerged in late 2004 that explored various dimensions of China's rise
and one prominent book by Shanghai authors was even entitled China's Peaceful Rise. Jiang Xiyuan
and Xialiping, Zhongguo heping jueqi (China's Peaceful Rise) (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue
chubanshe, July 2004). The next two volumes are part of a three-book series on rising powers. Zhang
Youwen and Xu Mingqi (eds.), Qiangguo jingji: Zhongguo heping jueqi de zhanluÈe yu daolu (Powerful
Economy: The Trend and Objective of China's Peaceful Rise) (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, March 2004);
Zhang Youwen and Xu Mingqi (eds.), Jingji qiangguo: Zhongguo heping jueqi de qushi yu mubiao
(Economic Power: The Trend and Objective of China's Peaceful Rise) (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe,
March 2004).
300
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, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
the text of articles, ``peaceful rise'' first appeared in People's Daily (mainland
edition) and Renmin wang in November 2003 (with two and five instances
respectively). Its appearance peaked in April 2004 (19 and 111 instances
respectively). In People's Daily, usage rapidly declined after April 2004, with one
to two instances per month for the last five months of 2004. The total number of
references in 2004 was 53. In 2005, the total in People's Daily declined to 14
instances, with no discernable monthly pattern. Yet in Renmin wang, usage of
peaceful rise continued throughout 2004 and 2005, with a monthly average of 36
usages after April 2004. Interestingly, the English-language China Daily did not
begin using peaceful rise until January 2004, and then its usage continued
sporadically (with no instances in some months) through 2004 and into 2005,
but with no clear pattern.
30
Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, the decision to use peaceful
development instead of peaceful rise does not appear to have affected the thrust
of the diplomatic strategy embodied in Zheng's original concept. Despite the
mid-April leadership decision to eschew official use of peaceful rise, subsequent
speeches by Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao and Zeng Qinghong continued to highlight
the themes of reassurance and the mutual benefits of China's rise, especially
within Asia. In the words of Beijing University's Wang Jisi, ``in substance, both
peaceful rise and peaceful development carry the same message that China's
growing power will not be threatening to the outside world and therefore the
many variations of the `China threat theory' are to be rejected.''
31
Thus, the
leadership's debate over peaceful rise was more about determining the ``correct''
terminology to use so that the Party could agree on unified official language ± a
common requirement of Leninist political systems. The change to peaceful
development did not reflect disagreement with the overall policy orientation that
Zheng Bijian outlined in his original conception of peaceful rise. In the words of
Party School international theorist Liu Jianfei (úÞ): ``Scholars probably need
not waste their energies trying to figure out which is more politically correct,
peaceful rise or peaceful development. Besides, there is no essential difference
between the two. Both are just two ways of expressing the same process.''
32
China Debates Peaceful Rise
What explains the leadership's initial embrace and subsequent rejection/
modification of this new foreign policy concept, together with its unusual
willingness to allow its continued usage in non-official publications and settings?
The answer to the former question is ultimately unknowable in the absence of an
30 The data and frequency counts were graciously assisted by Alastair Iain Johnston. In each instance, the
frequency counts were the number of articles in each publication that contain reference to the term
``peaceful rise'' in the full text.
31 Wang Jisi, ``Peaceful rise: a discourse in China.''
32 Liu Jianfei, ``Wei heping jueqi zhengming'' (``A rectification of peaceful rise''), Liaowang xinwen
zhoukan, 2 January 2006, p. 62.
The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making 301
authoritative account of the Politburo standing committee meeting in which the
decision reportedly occurred. We argue that, at a minimum, the intensive debate
(in key institutions like the MFA and the PLA as well as among elite analysts
and scholars) about this new idea shaped the environment in which the
leadership in April 2004 made their decision. This case study underscores the
growing impact of public discourse on leaders when choosing among competing
policy options.
Many Chinese experts and institutions began to conduct research on peaceful
rise in 2003 and 2004 because they were encouraged by leadership attention to
the concept and the provision of government funding. Newspapers and leading
Chinese journals published articles that explored various facets of the theory ±
including its feasibility, challenges to its realization and its theoretical soundness.
Universities and think tanks held internal seminars to discuss peaceful rise.
Initially, domestic and foreign reaction was largely positive.
In early 2004, however, criticism of the theory mounted and by spring public
debate was full blown. Attacks on peaceful rise emanated from many different
quarters and the objections were numerous. The MFA, retired ambassadors and
the PLA raised concerns about the wisdom of the peaceful rise theory; these
arguments emerged through varied official channels that reportedly reached the
ears of China's top leadership. University-based scholars and think-tank
analysts were among the most publicly vocal critics. According to interviews,
their published arguments reflected those being made internally, and, through
various channels, these arguments were brought to the attention of Chinese
leaders.
33
Supporters also expounded their views, both in published articles and
internally. At least eight major criticisms were levied against ``peaceful rise.''
They are summarized below.
Weaken China's ability to deter Taiwan independence
Many Chinese analysts and scholars questioned whether peaceful rise would
undermine China's ability to deter moves by Taiwan towards independence.
Such concern became acute in the lead-up to and following the re-election of
Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian (H4A) in March 2004. This event triggered
a significant challenge to peaceful rise advocates at the very moment when the
theory was first being debated. According to a Central Party School professor
who acknowledged that Chen's unexpected victory had a negative impact on the
discussion of China's peaceful rise, ``some experts criticizing `peaceful rise'
claimed that the adoption of the theory would constrain China's policy options
in dealing with Taiwan's pro-independence forces and make it more difficult to
make the decision to use force when necessary.'' An analyst from the China
Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) said that too much
33 On the various channels used to communicate such views to leaders see Bonnie S. Glaser and Phillip C.
Saunders, ``Chinese civilian foreign policy research institutes: evolving roles and increasing influence,''
The China Quarterly, No. 171 (2002), pp. 601±20.
302
The China Quarterly
, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
emphasis on peaceful rise could give Taiwan the wrong signal: ``Peaceful rise
could be interpreted as meaning that China is giving up its resolution to use
force to prevent independence.''
Several Chinese analysts addressed the problem of whether the use of force to
deter Taiwan independence contradicted a peaceful rise strategy, and thus that
Zheng's theory was untenable. People's University Professor Shi Yinhong (ö·
) contended that China's rise would be blocked if it ``cannot keep `Taiwan
independence' at bay for long or resort to force to stop or smash `Taiwan
independence'.'' He argued, however, that local military conflicts are not at odds
with a peaceful rise and can facilitate it if properly managed.
34
Zhang Wenmu
( () charged that those who believe that reunification can be achieved
peacefully are ``very naõÈve,'' and urged the Chinese government to learn lessons
from the United States, which used force at the end of the 19th century to
occupy Hawaii, the Philippines and Cuba.
35
Some Chinese argued that advocacy of a peaceful rise strategy could not only
affect Taiwan but also cause the Japanese to interpret incorrectly China's
tolerance of Japanese nationalists who illegally land on the Diaoyu islands and
directly challenge Chinese sovereignty. An editorial in Hong Kong's Ming pao
(Mingbao 1) stated that ``We approve of Beijing's `peaceful rise' foreign
policy ¼ However Japanese right wingers are growing in strength'' and
``China's forbearance may be regarded as cowardice.''
36
China's ``peaceful rise'' may not be possible
Many sceptics argued that peaceful rise was not an attainable goal because the
theory lacks an historical precedent and China's external security environment is
unfavourable, citing threats to China from the US±Japan alliance, US
unilateralism, NATO expansionism and the negative impact of globalization.
One of the harshest attacks on the peaceful rise theory was launched by Beijing
University Professor Pan Wei (Xô) who argued that ``peaceful rise has never
occurred on earth.'' The rise of the United States to great power status, then to
superpower status, and its efforts to maintain its hegemonic position ``has clearly
been a history of war,'' Pan claimed. Posing the question ``is it possible that a
sheep can `rise' before a lion,'' he concluded that no existing great power would
welcome another country's rise.
37
Qinghua University Professor Chu Shulong (Z) warned that China
would encounter big obstacles to its development ``if the thinking of `containing
China' became the mainstay of the national strategies and policies of the US and
34 Shi Yinhong, ``Basic trials and essential `platforms' for China's peaceful rise,'' Ta kung pao, 14 March
2004, FBIS, CPP20040315000111.
35 Zhang Wenmu, ``Great powers' historical experience and China's choice,'' Strategy and Management,
No. 2 (2004).
36 Ming bao, 25 March 2004.
37 Pan Wei, ```Peaceful rise' has never happened on the earth!'' March 2004, as posted on www.irchina.
org.
The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making 303
some other countries.''
38
Some Chinese experts opposed the peaceful rise theory
as unrealistic because the use of force to achieve great power status may be not
only unavoidable but necessary. Yan Xuetong (f), the head of the Institute
of International Studies at Qinghua University, argued that rise is China's only
choice and ``all peace strategies that would prevent China's rise must be
excluded.''
39
The term ``jueqi'' will intensify concerns among China's neighbours
The term jueqi (w) became the target of considerable criticism because it was
seen as provocative rather than reassuring. The character jue ()injueqi
contains the radical for mountain (shan q) and carries the connotation of
abruptness, Chinese experts explained. It suggests that ``something comes out of
nowhere and does so violently, like the rise of a mountain,'' indicated one
scholar. ``Jueqi sounds like a challenge,'' said a CICIR analyst. ``If there is a flat
horizon and the something rises on the horizon, then it will pose a threat to the
pre-existing situation ± the existing balance among powers. Using the term jueqi
will easily cause suspicion and wariness among other countries.''
40
Experts
claimed that countries using Chinese characters, such as Japan and Korea,
expressed concern about the phrase.
A PLA major general averred that when foreigners hear the term peaceful rise
they emphasize the rise, not its peaceful aspects and associate it with a possible
Chinese challenge to the international order. MFA officials specifically objected
to use of the slogan on the grounds that it ``gives people the impression that
China is getting strong and therefore creates uneasiness'' ± undermining MFA
efforts to repudiate the ``China threat'' theory. MFA officials emphasize that
China is a developing country and still has many problems. A group of retired
ambassadors also strongly opposed the term because it ``reflected a position of
arrogance,'' according to the MFA source, who noted that retired ambassadors
still ``have their influence'' on the leadership.
41
It is premature to discuss ``China's rise''
Many Chinese scholars stressed the numerous domestic obstacles to China's rise
and argued that it is too early to talk about a China that is rising. One expert
38 Chu Shulong, cited in ``What to do after becoming a big power,'' Renmin ribao, 26 June 2004, FBIS,
CPP20040628000074.
39 Yan Xuetong, ``Peaceful rise and safeguarding peace ± on strategy and tactics of China's peaceful rise,''
Guoji wenti yanjiu, No. 3 (13 May 2004), FBIS, CPP20040616000261.
40 This was among several criticisms cited by Zhang Hongxi, former consul general in New York, who
harshly condemned the concept of peaceful rise in Shijie zhishi, 16 August 2005, FBIS,
CPP20050901000267.
41 An advisory group composed of retired ambassadors was established by Jiang Zemin in September
1998 called the ambassadors consulting mechanism (dashi zixun jizhi). Sources say that Hu Jintao has
not followed Jiang's practice of meeting the ambassadors group, but its members continue to meet
sporadically and send reports to the leadership.
304
The China Quarterly
, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
cited the need first to reform state-owned enterprises and China's immature
capital markets, narrow the income gap in Chinese society, improve the
functioning of the government, address energy shortages that slow economic
development, cope with the deteriorating environmental situation, address
challenges from international society, and reform China's political system. A
PLA researcher said that China's rise is inevitable, but would be a very
long process. Since China aspires to become a medium developed country in
the year 2050, ``it is not appropriate to use the term peaceful rise now,'' he
asserted.
``Peaceful rise'' is contrary to Deng Xiaoping's guidance on foreign affairs
work
The debate over peaceful rise was also influenced by the ongoing debate among
Chinese analysts over how to interpret Deng Xiaoping's statement in the early
1990s that China should on the one hand ``bide its time and hide its capabilities''
(tao guang yang hui ìI{f) while at the same time ``accomplish some things''
(you suo zuo wei @\:).
42
A Beijing University professor said that some of
the critics of peaceful rise cited the first part of Deng's maxim and emphasized
that China should focus on its own problems. ``To some, there are contra-
dictions with Deng's tao guang yang hui. China should be more modest.''
43
``Peaceful rise'' could undermine support for military modernization
Some in the PLA worried that a commitment to emerge peacefully as a great
power would diminish domestic support for the continued allocation of greater
resources to military modernization.
44
Senior PLA officers argued publicly that
national defence is an indispensable element of China's national security. In an
article published in early 2004, Lieutenant General Li Jijun (NEG), former
director of the Central Military Commission General Office and vice-president
of the Academy of Military Sciences, noted that the peaceful rise of China is
``surrounded by geopolitical strategy. This has at least two implications: one is
to take the path of peaceful development and not threaten others; two is to have
the capability to defend our country against aggression,'' an argument in favour
42 For an authoritative explanation of these phrases, see Qian Qichen's entry in Wang Taiping (ed.), Deng
Xiaoping waijiao sixiang yanjiu lunwen ji (Collected Papers on the Study of Deng Xiaoping's Diplomatic
Thought) (Beijing: Shijie zhishi chubanshe, 1996.) The authors are grateful to Taylor Fravel for
highlighting this important source.
43 According to CICIR America expert Yuan Peng: ``The debate in China over `peaceful rise' or `peaceful
development' is in part associated with whether to continue the `low profile' policy or to change over to
a stance of `striving for some achievements in world affairs ¼.'' This suggests that some Chinese
experts attempted to use the peaceful rise debate to promote a more active foreign policy. Yuan Peng,
``China's rise and the external circumstances,'' Contemporary International Relations, Vol. 15, No. 10
(October 2005), p. 10.
44 According to China's official statistics, the defence budget has quadrupled in real terms since 1995 and
its share of annual GDP has grown accordingly. This has occurred as the government has run a budget
deficit.
The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making 305
of the consistency between peaceful rise and continued funding for military
modernization.
45
Promoting ``peaceful rise'' could incite domestic nationalism
Another objection was that promotion of China's peaceful rise could incite
domestic nationalism and create political problems for China's new leadership.
One expert noted, for example, that ``people could get stimulated and think that
we are better than others.''
46
Resentment runs deep against foreigners for
exploitation of China during the ``century of humiliation,'' when foreign powers
divided and subjugated China from the mid 19th century until 1949. Experts
suggested that the leadership feared that discussion of China's rise might lead to
demands for retribution.
Slogans are not policies
Finally, for many scholars and officials, the problem with the peaceful rise
theory is in the approach (common in Chinese statecraft) of relying on a slogan
with limited policy prescriptions, instead of on actual policies, to achieve foreign
policy objectives. They argue that mere rhetorical refutation of the ``China
threat theory'' and verbal pledges that China will not strive for hegemony are
insufficient to persuade China's neighbours that it will not threaten their
interests as its power accumulates. A senior MFA official applauded the
concept, but complained that Chinese diplomacy should not be reduced to
simple phrases. ``China needs to do tangible things to allay the fears of other
countries,'' he asserted. Whether the issue is managing the South China Sea
dispute, the exchange rate of the RMB or trade disputes, he said, ``China should
be responsible and capable.''
The Alchemy of Foreign Policy-Making in China: ``Peaceful Rise'' and
Beyond
The unique fate of peaceful rise raises several implications for the contemporary
understanding of foreign policy formulation in China. The origin and debate
about peaceful rise suggest new external and internal dynamics that are
influencing the micro-processes of policy germination, debate, formalization and
articulation of foreign policy.
First, the evolution of peaceful rise provides an example of how a new policy
line (and, importantly, one that dictates the substance of actual policy, as
opposed to assessing China's security environment) can arise from varied and
non-traditional sources. Zheng Bijian identified the need for a new policy,
solicited scholars to conduct preliminary research, coined a new phrase,
45 Li Jijun, ``Need to bolster traditional, non-traditional security,'' Liaowang, 9 February 2004, FBIS,
CPP20040414000056.
46 See also interview with Shi Yinhong in Nanfeng chuang, 1 February 2006, OSC, CPP20060216050009.
306
The China Quarterly
, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
publicized it, presented the research findings to China's top leaders and deftly
manoeuvred to have them publicly endorse his term.
This unique evolutionary pathway adds a layer to Western understanding of
the policy germination and formulation processes in China. Past Western
research of foreign policy decision-making in China sought to explain
interactions between government officials and analysts from government-backed
research institutes; those debates were for the most part initiated and concluded
within such circles. Prominent examples include China's post-Cold War debate
about the United States' projected demise and the degree of multipolarity in the
international system; the MFA's development of ``the new security concept'' in
the mid to late 1990s; and the 1999 debate about whether ``peace and
development'' remained the main trend of the times.
47
The tale of peaceful rise underscores the growing relevance of think-tank
analysts and especially university-based scholars to foreign policy-making in
China. While the former used to regularly parrot government policy in their
commentary and the latter used to be completely marginal to foreign policy
discussions, much has changed in the last decade. Analysts and scholars now
regularly interact with and advise government officials, and many commonly
appear in China's print and broadcast media to comment on current
international topics, including peaceful rise. They are thus both opinion-makers
and conveyors of public opinion. As Robert Suettinger argued: ``Whereas
central leadership endorsement of an idea in the past might have been sufficient
to have it widely praised and disseminated, China's intellectual climate has
changed considerably since then, and for the better.''
48
This shifting public
discourse increasingly has a bearing on Chinese foreign policy, and an influence
that the government recognizes. A contributing factor may be a changing
political climate in China: there is a greater tolerance for a multiplicity of competing
views on foreign policy topics and occasionally a willingness to re-evaluate
government policy based on expert criticism and/or recommendations.
49
It remains unclear, however, to what extent these analysts and scholars
influenced the leadership's decision to cease official use of the term peaceful rise.
Opposition by the MFA and the PLA was certainly important. The publication
of articles in China's largely state-controlled media ± both in favour and critical
of peaceful rise ± suggests that both positions may have had high-level backing.
47 The seminal work on the peace and development debate is David M. Finkelstein, China Reconsiders Its
National Security: The Great Peace and Development Debate of 1999 (Washington, DC: CNA
Corporation, December 2000). Also see Ren Xiao, The International Relations Theoretical Discourse in
China: A Preliminary Analysis (Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University, Asia
Paper No. 9, http://www.gwu.edu/,sigur/pubs/SCAP9-Xiao.pdf; Denny Roy, ``China's pitch for a
multipolar world: the new security concept,'' Honolulu, HI: Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies,
Vol. 2, May 2003.
48 Robert L. Suettinger, ``The rise and descent of `peaceful rise'.'' See also See Evan Medeiros, ``China
debates its `peaceful rise' strategy,'' YaleGlobal Online, 22 June 2004, http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.
article?id54118.
49 On this point see Evan S. Medeiros, ``Agents of influence: assessing the role of Chinese foreign policy
research organizations after the 16th Party Congress,'' in Andrew Scobell and Larry Wortzel (eds.),
Civil±Military Change in China (Washington, DC: The American Enterprise Institute, September 2004).
The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making 307
In the end, the critics prevailed, but only to a very narrow degree: the conceptual
content was not altered and the term continues to be used.
Given these considerations, especially the changing political climate in China,
a further implication of the peaceful rise debate is that timing and external
events clearly matter. They were at least as important as the intense domestic
debate in influencing the leadership's shift to peaceful development as the
official slogan. The re-election of Chen Shui-bian in March 2004 and China's
substantially increased anxiety created a political milieu in which many were
immediately concerned about the implications of peaceful rise for China's ability
to manage the Taiwan Strait issue. A Central Party School professor predicted
that ``if the Taiwan issue calms down, then perhaps the leadership will consider
`peaceful rise' again.''
Another possible factor in explaining the official modification of peaceful rise
is domestic political considerations, specifically the supposed opposition from
Jiang Zemin.
50
His role in the debate cannot be conclusively determined,
however. Jiang never spoke publicly in support of or against peaceful rise, but
well-informed scholars say that he used the term in internal speeches. Yet he also
reportedly later objected to its use. He apparently believed that it was being
promoted as a new grand strategy that could aid the early consolidation of
power by the fourth-generation leadership; this could, in turn, diminish his
political influence over China's foreign and security policy. A CICIR analyst
asserted that ``Zheng Bijian raised the peaceful rise concept too early ± only one
year after Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao took power.'' Based on currently available
information, Jiang's role in the standing committee deliberations as well as the
leadership's specific reactions to Jiang's moves cannot be verified.
Apart from the implications for the process of foreign policy-making in
China, the evolution of peaceful rise theory directly informs our understanding
of new trends in the substance of Chinese diplomacy. The essence of peaceful rise
is strategic reassurance to China's neighbours and major powers that China's
ascension will not threaten their economic or security interests. According to
Zheng's concept, China's ``peaceful intentions,'' its limited national capabilities,
favourable security environment, cultural disposition towards harmony and
peace, and development strategy all predispose China's rise in global affairs to
be a peaceful one. Regardless of the accuracy of these claims, the arguments
reflect an important recognition by China that it is nested in several overlapping
security dilemmas and that it needs to manage external perceptions of its rise in
order to avoid the development of balancing coalitions. As demonstrated in the
debate about peaceful rise, Chinese scholars and policy makers are increasingly
aware that Beijing's behaviour has an impact on the policies of other nations,
especially China's neighbours. Chinese policies, such as those towards South-
East Asian nations, increasingly reflect this insight.
50 See Suettinger, ``The rise and descent of `peaceful rise'.''
308
The China Quarterly
, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
Interestingly, criticism of peaceful rise in early 2004 centred far more on the
implications for the Taiwan issue and the appropriateness of the specific
phraseology than on the larger concept of reassurance embodied in the idea of a
peaceful rise. Indeed, the leadership's final decision to use the term ``peaceful
development'' reiterated the core goal of reassuring other nations that China is
not a revisionist state that will destabilize the international system as it
revitalizes itself. While the words may have changed, the conceptual substance
has largely remained the same. The point is not that China's rise would not
ultimately create complications in international relations, but rather that
Chinese policy makers recognize the complications associated with China's
changing global role, and they are nominally seeking to manage this
process with an understanding of the historically determined challenges
Beijing faces.
Conclusion
The purpose of this article was to examine the evolution of the concept of
peaceful rise in order to illuminate the traditionally opaque process of foreign
policy formulation in a rapidly changing China. The article sought, in particular,
to highlight the changing domestic context in which Chinese diplomatic
strategies and actions are being forged. Our research offers several insights.
We argue that that new foreign policy ideas and strategies can be injected from
outside the formal central government bureaucracy, albeit by actors who have
channels to the leadership and extensive knowledge of the right buttons to push
within the Party and government systems. While such atypical intervention
occurred in China's economic policy-making for years dating back to the 1980s,
it appears to be a relatively new trend in foreign policy-making. This conclusion
underscores that some aspects of policy-making in China remain loosely
institutionalized, and thus create room for policy entrepreneurs with connec-
tions and knowledge of the system to make their mark.
Furthermore, we maintain that opinions and debates among Chinese think-
tank analysts and university-based scholars can influence government policy ±
albeit at different times and to varying degrees. Determining the occasion, type
and extent of such influence remains a long-term research challenge for
international China watchers, however. In the case of peaceful rise, the intensive
disagreement about the theory's implications probably contributed to a political
climate in which acceptance of the original formulation of the phrase was too
controversial for China's new leadership ± especially in light of external events
that heightened national anxieties about Taiwan policy. The influence of these
experts was exerted through their growing and higher quality interactions with
policy makers (including on some occasions with Politburo members) as well as
via China's media. As the media liberalize and the political climate becomes
more conducive to openly debating traditionally sensitive foreign policy and
national security questions, the roles of these experts in both shaping and
The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy-Making 309
conveying public opinion will be likely to continue to grow ± making assessment
of their influence event more difficult.
Nevertheless, there are limits to our analysis. First, this is one case study with
admittedly narrow boundaries. Additional examples of similar foreign policy
debates need to be examined to determine the degree to which a trend exists or
whether this case is unique. Secondly, our arguments mainly rely on selective
accounts by Chinese involved on the margins of the leadership's deliberations.
They also rely on the correlation of government decisions with these public
debates. Without access to accounts by senior Chinese policy makers, the
ultimate reasons for the rejection/modification of peaceful rise as official policy
cannot be known with certainty, limiting our ability to draw strong causal
linkages between public debates and leadership decisions.
This article suggests several future avenues for research in the field of Chinese
foreign policy studies. The influence of various interest groups and public
opinion appears to be on the rise in foreign policy-making, albeit from a low
baseline. Assessing the degree of their influence and the manner in which they
exert it will be central to understanding the factors shaping the direction of
Chinese foreign policy in the future.
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, 190, June 2007, pp. 291±310
... The West's wary reaction to the "peaceful rise" (Glaser and Medeiros, 2007;Buzan, 2014) predetermined a reflective transformation of this concept, which was essentially taken out of Beijing's global foreign policy discourse in 2004. It was replaced by "peaceful development, " designed to "calm" the international community by softening the emphasis. ...
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O interesse por perspectivas não-ocidentais das Teorias das Relações Internacionais (TRI) tem tido bastante avanço na China. A atenção aos enfoques teóricos não-ocidentais baseia-se, principalmente, em uma consideração de que o carácter ocidental das TRI é insuficiente para explicar as relações internacionais da China, que coloca em xeque o pressuposto universalista das TRI. Não obstante, o caráter ocidental e claramente estadunidense/eurocêntrico das TRI é um reflexo evidente da posição dominante destes centros na hierarquia internacional de poder. Assim, as TRI fornecem fontes inesgotáveis de legitimidade tanto para as políticas dos EUA e do Ocidente, quanto para determinados atores, instituições e projetos, ao mesmo tempo em que distorce, ou marginaliza o potencial de narrativas alternativas. É justamente na necessidade de aprofundar a relação entre os trabalhos da academia chinesa e as transformações do sistema internacional que reside a relevância deste trabalho, que tenta abordar explorações teóricas de uma nova forma, além de considerar o potencial de sua contribuição para a exploração de lentes teóricas internacionais alternativas. Este trabalho apresenta um panorama sobre o estudo teórico das Relações Internacionais (RI) na China, por meio de uma pesquisa descritiva dos trabalhos de Zhao Tinyang, Yan Xuetong e Qin Yaqing. O objetivo principal deste artigo é dar uma contribuição ao estudo da TRI, examinando o processo de construção de uma Escola Chinesa de Relações Internacionais. Da mesma forma, esta contribuição visa avançar na identificação de abordagens teóricas chinesas, abordando seus principais autores e suas semelhanças com outras correntes teóricas das RI. Verifica-se que a necessidade de construir uma corrente teórica capaz de enquadrar a visão de mundo da China nas RI, embora passível de complementaridade, se manifesta de maneiras distintas para cada autor. Este artigo analisa esses debates com o objetivo de identificar influências internas (de pensadores e acadêmicos chineses) e externas (das teorias do mainstream ocidental) em torno de uma possível “Escola Chinesa de RI”. Para tanto, o artigo se divide em três seções principais. A primeira consiste em uma contextualização desse processo, analisando a sua evolução e apresentando seus pontos-chaves. A segunda oferece um um levantamento das três principais abordagens da disciplina na China (Excepcionalismo ou Tianxia, a Escola Tsinghua e a Teoria Relacional). A primeira delas aborda o sistema Tianxia e sua visão do mundo como um todo englobado em um único sistema a partir de uma visão filosófica utópica, proposta por Zhao Tingyang. Em segundo lugar, o trabalho de Yan Xuetong, também conhecido como abordagem Tsinghua ou realismo moral. Este autor não é a favor do desenvolvimento de uma escola diferenciada, mas busca oferecer uma perspectiva diferenciada dentro dos arcabouços teóricos ocidentais, incorporando conceitos do pensamento chinês às teorias realistas clássicas. Finalmente, a terceira das abordagens, a integrativa, que usa uma combinação de teorias chinesas e ocidentais para explicar o mundo e a visão da China a partir de uma perspectiva relacional, de Qin Yaqing. Por fim, através de algumas reflexões finais, tentar-se-á situar o potencial contributivo destas abordagens para as RI como um todo.
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Since Deng Xiaoping’s reforms (Spence, 2013), the re-emergence of China has sparked countless debates among International Relations scholars on how best to respond.
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Bringing together some of the most innovative scholars in both the English School of international relations and East Asian studies, this volume investigates whether or not significant and distinct international social structures exist at the regional level represented by 'East Asia', and what this can tell us about international society both regionally and globally. The book's main finding is that the regional dispute over how its states and peoples should relate to the Western-dominated global international society makes the existence of East Asian international society essentially contested. While this regional-global social dynamic is present in many regions, it is particularly strong in East Asia. This book will appeal to audiences interested in developing English School theory, the study of East Asian international relations and comparative regionalism.
Chapter
Bringing together some of the most innovative scholars in both the English School of international relations and East Asian studies, this volume investigates whether or not significant and distinct international social structures exist at the regional level represented by 'East Asia', and what this can tell us about international society both regionally and globally. The book's main finding is that the regional dispute over how its states and peoples should relate to the Western-dominated global international society makes the existence of East Asian international society essentially contested. While this regional-global social dynamic is present in many regions, it is particularly strong in East Asia. This book will appeal to audiences interested in developing English School theory, the study of East Asian international relations and comparative regionalism.
Chapter
Bringing together some of the most innovative scholars in both the English School of international relations and East Asian studies, this volume investigates whether or not significant and distinct international social structures exist at the regional level represented by 'East Asia', and what this can tell us about international society both regionally and globally. The book's main finding is that the regional dispute over how its states and peoples should relate to the Western-dominated global international society makes the existence of East Asian international society essentially contested. While this regional-global social dynamic is present in many regions, it is particularly strong in East Asia. This book will appeal to audiences interested in developing English School theory, the study of East Asian international relations and comparative regionalism.
Chapter
Bringing together some of the most innovative scholars in both the English School of international relations and East Asian studies, this volume investigates whether or not significant and distinct international social structures exist at the regional level represented by 'East Asia', and what this can tell us about international society both regionally and globally. The book's main finding is that the regional dispute over how its states and peoples should relate to the Western-dominated global international society makes the existence of East Asian international society essentially contested. While this regional-global social dynamic is present in many regions, it is particularly strong in East Asia. This book will appeal to audiences interested in developing English School theory, the study of East Asian international relations and comparative regionalism.
Chapter
Bringing together some of the most innovative scholars in both the English School of international relations and East Asian studies, this volume investigates whether or not significant and distinct international social structures exist at the regional level represented by 'East Asia', and what this can tell us about international society both regionally and globally. The book's main finding is that the regional dispute over how its states and peoples should relate to the Western-dominated global international society makes the existence of East Asian international society essentially contested. While this regional-global social dynamic is present in many regions, it is particularly strong in East Asia. This book will appeal to audiences interested in developing English School theory, the study of East Asian international relations and comparative regionalism.
Article
The liberal international order (LIO) is now in a complex crisis. Its legitimacy and sustainability are put to the test with the growth of deglobalization forces, the rise of emerging powers dissatisfied with the LIO designed by the US, and climate change and the global pandemic. The crisis of the LIO is particularly salient in the Indo-Pacific, the epicenter of the US-China strategic competition, and secondary states in this region are increasingly concerned about its geopolitical consequences. However, I argue that secondary states often treated as the pawns of great powers can turn this circumstance to their advantage by adopting various strategies that maximize their leverage. We should take seriously the possibility that secondary states, by which I denote all states that are weaker or smaller than the hegemonic state and the rising power, can shape the contours of the US-China strategic competition and the newly emerging international order in the Indo-Pacific region. Preoccupied with great power politics, the existing literature on order transition has neglected the fact that secondary states can develop and exercise their own agency. Moreover, it remains vague what agency means in IR and how secondary states enact it. Against this backdrop, I propose an analytical framework that unpacks various types of agency along three dimensions—the motivation of agency, the type of mobilized resources, and the availability of partners. It will help us explain how weaker and smaller states participate and make their voice in reshaping international order in the Indo-Pacific.
China Reconsiders Its National Security: The Great Peace and Development Debate of Also see Ren Xiao, The International Relations Theoretical Discourse in China: A Preliminary Analysis (Sigur Center for Asian StudiesChina's pitch for a multipolar world: the new security concept
  • M David
  • Finkelstein
The seminal work on the peace and development debate is David M. Finkelstein, China Reconsiders Its National Security: The Great Peace and Development Debate of 1999 (Washington, DC: CNA Corporation, December 2000). Also see Ren Xiao, The International Relations Theoretical Discourse in China: A Preliminary Analysis (Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University, Asia Paper No. 9, http://www.gwu.edu/,sigur/pubs/SCAP9-Xiao.pdf; Denny Roy, ``China's pitch for a multipolar world: the new security concept,'' Honolulu, HI: Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Vol. 2, May 2003.
China debates its`peacefulits`peaceful rise' strategy,'' YaleGlobal OnlineAgents of influence: assessing the role of Chinese foreign policy research organizations after the 16th Party Congress The American Enterprise Institute
  • Robert L Suettinger
Robert L. Suettinger, ``The rise and descent of`peacefulof`peaceful rise'.'' See also See Evan Medeiros, ``China debates its`peacefulits`peaceful rise' strategy,'' YaleGlobal Online, 22 June 2004, http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display. article?id54118. 49 On this point see Evan S. Medeiros, ``Agents of influence: assessing the role of Chinese foreign policy research organizations after the 16th Party Congress,'' in Andrew Scobell and Larry Wortzel (eds.), Civil±Military Change in China (Washington, DC: The American Enterprise Institute, September 2004).
cited in``in``What to do after becoming a big power
  • Chu Shulong
Chu Shulong, cited in``in``What to do after becoming a big power,'' Renmin ribao, 26 June 2004, FBIS, CPP20040628000074.
Peaceful rise and safeguarding peace ± on strategy and tactics of China's peaceful rise
  • Yan Xuetong
Yan Xuetong, ``Peaceful rise and safeguarding peace ± on strategy and tactics of China's peaceful rise,'' Guoji wenti yanjiu, No. 3 (13 May 2004), FBIS, CPP20040616000261.
China Reconsiders Its National Security: The Great Peace and Development Debate of
The seminal work on the peace and development debate is David M. Finkelstein, China Reconsiders Its National Security: The Great Peace and Development Debate of 1999 (Washington, DC: CNA Corporation, December 2000). Also see Ren Xiao, The International Relations Theoretical Discourse in China: A Preliminary Analysis (Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University, Asia Paper No. 9, http://www.gwu.edu/,sigur/pubs/SCAP9-Xiao.pdf;
The rise and descent of`peacefulof`peaceful rise'.'' See also See Evan Medeiros
  • Robert L Suettinger
Robert L. Suettinger, ``The rise and descent of`peacefulof`peaceful rise'.'' See also See Evan Medeiros, ``China debates its`peacefulits`peaceful rise' strategy,'' YaleGlobal Online, 22 June 2004, http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display. article?id54118.
China's pitch for a multipolar world: the new security concept
  • Denny Roy
Denny Roy,``China's pitch for a multipolar world: the new security concept,'' Honolulu, HI: Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Vol. 2, May 2003.
The rise and descent of`peaceful rise'.'' See also See Evan Medeiros
  • Robert L Suettinger
Robert L. Suettinger,``The rise and descent of`peaceful rise'.'' See also See Evan Medeiros,``China debates its`peaceful rise' strategy,'' YaleGlobal Online, 22 June 2004, http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display. article?id54118.