China as the ‘Wave of the Future’: The Chinese Politico‐Economic Model

Rosemary Foot

in The Practice of Power

Published in print April 1997 | ISBN: 9780198292920
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599286 | DOI:
 China as the ‘Wave of the Future’: The Chinese Politico‐Economic Model

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This is the last of four chapters focusing on America’s perceptions of China’s capabilities, and dwelling on the correspondence between those perceptions and the projected consequences. It focuses on US perceptions of the political economy of China from the 1950s to 1978 and its perceived consequences for China’s capabilities both internally and as a political and economic model for other developing countries. Although the decline in Beijing’s hard and soft power resources did not follow a linear trajectory, the apparent overall weaknesses of its economy eased America’s fears about the Third World impact of its politico-economic model, and also reduced concerns that any contact between Washington and Beijing would raise the prestige of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the point where its path to development would be revived as a serious source of inspiration in large parts of the developing world. The chapter dwells primarily on China’s perceived soft power attributes. The different sections look at domestic order and advancement in China in the 1950s, the Chinese model under stress from 1959 to 1965, the impact of the early Cultural Revolution in the second half of the 1960s, and restabilization and re-emergence in 1969–78.

Keywords: American perceptions of Chinese power; China; China's capabilities; Chinese political economy; Cultural Revolution; history; People's Republic of China; political economy; power; soft power; United States

Chapter.  11800 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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