While in the past other emerging powers have used territorial expansion or other forms of aggression in order to insert themselves into the international arena, China is taking a different road. In this timely collection of speeches, Zheng Bijian, one of China’s leading thinkers on ideological questions, examines “China’s peaceful rise,” addressing some of the most complex issues China faces as it emerges into a rapidly changing world order. These speeches reflect Zheng’s firm sense that the lessons of history demand that China pursue a stable, peaceful international environment as a first priority. Such a strategy will not only help smooth China’s rise—it will also translate China’s successes into benefits for other countries as well. These speeches are worth reading not only for the strength of their ideas, but also for a greater understanding of the political and policy constraints and opportunities in relations with China. They help us begin to answer the crucial question that informs all these speeches: How should we think about China?
Zheng Bijian is chairman of the China Reform Forum, a Beijing-based think tank working on domestic and international issues. He was formerly executive vice president of the Central Party School, serving as deputy to Chinese President Hu Jintao.