Chinese leaders have long been fascinated by the United States, but have often chosen to demonize America for perceived cultural and military imperialism. Especially under Communist rule, Chinese leaders have crafted and re-crafted portrayals of the United States according to the needs of their own agenda and the regime's self-image -- often seeing America as an antagonist and foil, but sometimes playing it up as a model.
In China Looks at the West, Christopher A. Ford investigates what these depictions reveal about internal Chinese politics and Beijing's ambitions in the world today. In particular, Ford emphasizes the importance of China's "return" to global preeminence in state images, which has become an essential concept in the regime's self-image and legitimacy. He also examines the history of Chinese intellectual engagement with America, surveying the ways in which Chinese elites have manipulated attitudes toward the United States, and revealing how leaders from Qing dynasty officials to Mao Zedong and from to Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping have altered and reconstructed this narrative to support their own political agendas.
Ford concludes the volume with a series of scenario-based alternatives for how China's approaches to understanding itself and other nations may evolve in the future. Based on extensive research, including interviews with Chinese scholars and researchers, this groundbreaking study is essential reading for policymakers and readers seeking to understand current and future Sino-American relations.
IntroductionInformation and the StateChina Watches AmericaChallenges of a Bounded Information SpaceVirtue and IdentityPostimperial China in a American WorldChange and Continuity during Reform and OpeningWarring Americas in the Chinese MindTiananmen TensionsPower and NationalismMuscularity and OpportunityContesting FrameworksA Defensive CounternnarativeAn Offensive CounternarrativeHeady DaysInterpreting PoliticsLooking to the FutureDebating Taoist NatoinalismSelf-Image and ReturnChina in a New WorldSome Policy Implications
"A comprehensive and very impressive analytical survey of the role that various Chinese institutions, political and intellectual establishments, and the Communist Party-State play in shaping, manufacturing, and manipulating the images of the United States and using those images as bases to formulate political, ideological, and security policies. It marks a milestone in the field both for its scope and depth of research and its unique conceptual framework that is rare among even the most seasoned China scholars." -- Maochun Yu, author of OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War
"Christopher A. Ford's China Looks at the West is an important study establishing a foundation for understanding China's approach to the United States, which is the most important international relationship early in the twenty‐first century.
[...]In sum, the book provides a well‐written discussion of several important arguments involving China's approach to the United States that will be of interest to general readers and specialists. It provides a great amount of food for thought along with well‐argued assessments that nonetheless do not provide a final word on the sensitive and long‐standing contentious issues discussed." --
" China Looks at the West: Identity, Global Ambitions, and the Future of Sino-American Relations is an ambitious undertaking -- and a remarkably successful one, for it digests a largescholarly literature to elucidate long-term trends that can help us make sense of the changing Sino-American relationship." -- Online Library of Law & Liberty