On Chinas Modern Foreign Policy Through the Prism of the Concepts of Dao and Shi

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-2-78-92
Song Zhihao, szhihao@mail.ru
Institute of China and Contemporary Asia, Russian Academy of Sciences, 32, Nakhimovskii Prosp., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 10.10.2022. Revised 27.10.2022. Accepted 01.12.2022.

Acknowledgements. The research work was funded by China Scholarship Council (CSC).

Abstract. China’s diplomatic approach under Xi Jinping is notably distinct from previous eras. Instead of pursuing the road of peaceful development, China appears to have abandoned its self-positioning as a “ancient civilized country” and has grown increasingly aggressive in the international community. Western academics and journalists have even coined the term “war wolf diplomacy” to characterize this trend. However, the author contends that this transformation is unavoidable since China is in the process of discovering itself, which implies that it is modifying its foreign policy in response to the genuine demands of its own development, defining its diplomatic “dao”. One of the most significant aspects in this procedure is the “shi” and only by accurately assessing, following, and planning the “shi” can the aforementioned duties be completed more effectively and finally achieve the aim of successful rising. In this paper, the author not only discusses classical Chinese philosophical writings in order to select key points from the sages’ thought for analyzing and explaining modern Chinese foreign policy, but also demonstrates some of the more successful theoretical constructions of the Chinese school of international relations theory. The author begins the first part by debating the “Way of the King” and “hegemony strategy”, pointing out that currently China’s foreign policy applies both concepts, with the former principle assisting China in implementing the fundamental principal of “not solving international problems by force”. While the “hegemonic” strategy is largely utilized to give a powerful reaction to external challenges, as indicated by the rising number of (counter)sanctions imposed in recent years. The author wants to present a reasonable explanation for China’s change in foreign policy style in the second half of the paper. According to him, this change represents a sound strategic decision by the Chinese leadership to “act in line with the ‘shi’”. However, because the transformation is still in its early stages, it is not yet feasible to foresee the eventual conclusion, therefore the overall trend in China’s foreign policy today should be judged in a way that does not unnecessarily laud or discredit it.

Keywords: China, period of Xi Jinping, China’s foreign policy, traditional ideological-political values, the Way (dao), configurations of power (shi), the “Way of the King” (wangdao), the “hegemony” strategy (badao)


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For citation:
Song Zhihao On Chinas Modern Foreign Policy Through the Prism of the Concepts of Dao and Shi. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 78-92. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-2-78-92 EDN: YDDACJ

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