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date: 31 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Can China rise peacefully? To form judgments about how China will use its growing power we should understand the domestic political context in which Chinese foreign policy is made. Several key features of the Chinese political system are making it difficult for it to sustain a cautious, reassuring foreign policy toward its neighbors. Most of these features are likely to persist or even worsen over the next decade unless China experiences major changes in political institutions and a new basis for political legitimacy. These features are a politically insecure Communist Party leadership that is highly responsive to nationalist public opinion; media myths about international and domestic threats that cause officials to believe their own propaganda; and a policy process characterized by inadequate restraint over parochial bureaucratic interests that may gain from international and domestic overreach.

Keywords: peaceful rise, restraint, leadership insecurity, nationalism, media myths, logrolling

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