Mark Chou

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Fuelled by unparalleled recent development, China has by necessity been reaching outward in search of foreign resources and international recognition. The three books reviewed in this essay all speak to China's spectacular global ascendency of the past two decades—and to the political consequences and international reactions that have followed. What unites these three volumes—Tongdong Bai's China: The Political Philosophy of the Middle Kingdom (2012), Peter Nolan's Is China Buying the World? (2012) and William Callahan and Elena Barabantseva's edited volume, China Orders the World: Normative Soft Power and Foreign Policy (2011)—is their focus on the uniquely Chinese norms that now underpin China's soft power in the twenty-first century. How will China go about ordering the world and will it succeed? The answers to these questions, as these authors demonstrate, may have less to do with China's present than with its ancient past.

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Journal Article

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