Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power
and government—2002, Political science—China—History—To 1500, Confucianism—China
: Princeton University Press
During a conversation in Beijing in 2008, Dr. Henry Kissinger told
me he believed that—when China became a strong world power—
the Chinese government would adopt ancient Chinese philosophy rather
than Marxism or liberalism to guide its foreign policy. He also believed
that people outside of China would be eager to learn about these matters.
His two predictions proved to be correct after just three years.
In September of 2011, only six months after this book was published,
the Chinese government published its white paper on foreign policy
called China’s Peaceful Development. The white paper clearly stated that the
Chinese government based its foreign policy on the fine tradition of Chinese
culture, and that “Peaceful development carries forward Chinese
historical and cultural tradition.”1 Of course, I do not mean to imply that
my book itself brought about a new foreign policy; rather, it aims to systematize
thinking about what China’s foreign policy ought to look like,
and to set standards to evaluate progress and regress in foreign policy.
I hope that my book can help to steer the wave in a direction that is both
moral and realistic.
By the end of 2012, the book seems to have struck a chord in different
disciplines and in different countries. The photo of United States
Vice President Joe Biden holding this book in Chengdu Airport, China,
in August 2011 reflects the book’s attractiveness to politicians. The New
York Times commissioned and published my article linking the core idea of
this book with China-United States relations in late 2011, and it turned
out to be one of the top ten most emailed articles the day it appeared.2
Finally, the World Economic Forum’s annual 2012 meeting in Davos held
a special session on this book.
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