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International Relations Since the End of the Cold WarNew and Old Dimensions$
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Geir Lundestad

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199666430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199666430.001.0001

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China’s Prolonged Rise

China’s Prolonged Rise

Legitimacy Challenges and Dilemmas in the Reform and Opening-Up Era

(p.246) 13 China’s Prolonged Rise
International Relations Since the End of the Cold War

Chen Jian

Oxford University Press

This essay adopts a historical approach to treat China’s rise—or, more accurately speaking, China’s prolonged rise—not only as a phenomenon generated by the reform and opening-up project but also as a longer, larger, broader, and deeper process that began in China’s “age of revolutions.” While China’s embarking on the reform and opening-up process in the late 1970s represents an important point of departure for China’s rise, its agenda, as well as the legitimacy narrative underpinning the agenda, was the product of China’s “age of revolutions.” Indeed, it was the successes and failures of China’s revolutions that prepared some of the fundamental conditions for the coming of the reform and opening era. All of this also has burdened the reform and opening process with many hurdles, making it impossible for China’s rise not to become a course paradoxical and prolonged. Binding the essay together is the analysis of the evolving legitimacy challenges that the Chinese “Communist” state has been facing, both in Mao’s times and during the periods that Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao serve as China’s top leaders.

Keywords:   China’s prolonged rise, legitimacy challenges, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jingtao

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