China’s rise on the global stage has sparked both envy and fear across the globe. Much has been written about how China might reshape the international order, but few have taken the time to delve into the myriad Chinese actors and interests that collectively make up China’s newfound global influence rather than viewing Beijing as a monolith.
Shaun Breslin, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick analyzes the nature of Chinese power and the extreme – and often contradictory – responses that it has triggered across the globe in his book “China Risen? Studying Chinese Global Power.” The book takes the unique approach of delving into the complex Chinese-language debates and discussions surrounding the nature and aims of Chinese power in the 21st century to form a more comprehensive picture of what China actually wants on the global stage.
Breslin highlights the contradictory analyses of China’s rise, noting that “You can end up with two very different conversations about China almost on the same day. One is the impending collapse of China and doom and gloom, and almost at the same time China’s impending rise to global superpower status.”
Breslin also considers how perceptions of China have rapidly shifted in recent years, noting that until 2016, much of the West (minus the United States, which has long harbored suspicions of Beijing’s rise) was relatively acquiescent before taking a much harder line in the past few years.