Saturday, 9th August 2014
China’s Global Personality
Source: Chatham House
China’s ‘global personality’ – the interaction between its identity and foreign and security policy approaches – cannot be reduced to any single overriding concept. It is complex and dynamic, and features multiple layers. It is also in a period of flux, magnified by a sense (especially among Chinese elites) of global shifts in traditional economic balance and political power.
The ambiguity and evolution are reflected in debates in China around the implications of its rise for its traditional identity as a developing country, whether it should become more ‘revisionist’ in seeking to change international or regional order, and how assertive its foreign and security policy should be. There is also debate about the nature of China’s complex and changing global environment.
China is not the only driver of change in its global personality. Perceptions and policy choices by other countries that are global actors are important, especially the United States and Japan. The United States remains the single most important of these, and discussion of its policy choices has so far dominated the (non-Chinese) literature about the ‘rise of China’.
Influencing perceptions of and the discourse about China is part of Beijing’s diplomatic challenge, but the spread overseas of Chinese commercial and individual interests makes this more difficult. Longer- term implications of China’s rise depend on the interactions not just between strategic and tactical decisions made by the Chinese and other governments, but also arising from the global political and economic impact of Chinese non-state actors.
The underlying context is uncertainty about the extent and impact of the rise of China, which so far is greater at a regional than global level, China’s economic size is not yet matched by its diplomatic and other influence, and its rapid but uneven development has created new domestic risks. Still, China’s global influence has spread substantially. In the country itself, the idea that it has become a major power has become stronger.
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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.
A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.
Adrian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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