Chapter

Chinese Exceptionalism in the Intellectual World of China’s Foreign Policy

Feng Zhang

in China Across the Divide

Published in print July 2013 | ISBN: 9780199919864
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199345601 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199919864.003.0003
Chinese Exceptionalism in the Intellectual World of China’s Foreign Policy

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Although exceptionalism is an important dimension of China’s foreign policy, it has not been a subject of serious scholarly research. This chapter examines the manifestations and sources of contemporary Chinese exceptionalism and explains its implications for foreign policy. Chinese exceptionalism is defined by great power reformism, benevolent pacifism, and harmonious inclusionism. While resting on an important factual basis, it is constructed by mixing facts with myths through selective use of China’s vast historical and cultural experiences. Exceptionalism does not determine policy, but by being an essential part of the worldview of the Chinese government and many intellectuals, it can become an important source for policy ideas. It can also be viewed as a normative theory for China’s foreign policy, as one among six major schools competing for ideational influence in China’s foreign policy formation.

Keywords: China’s foreign policy; Chinese exceptionalism; intellectuals; policy ideas

Chapter.  12032 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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