The Resurgence of Chinese Nationalism and Pragmatic Nationalism
In the 1990s, Chinese intellectuals shared a deep suspicion of the West and feared a Western conspiracy to contain China. There was a resurgence of ¡隆茫Mao Fever¡隆脌 where his writings and other ¡隆茫say no¡隆脌 books became widely read and distributed. The authors of The China That Can Say No 隆搂C an instant best seller with 2 million copies in 1996 隆搂C claimed that after nearly two centuries of humiliation at the hands of western imperialism, ¡隆茫the twenty-first century will be the century for the Chinese to restore its glory.¡隆脌 Mao Zedong was posthumously restored to his former status as protector of Chinese nationalism, and once again heralded as a ¡隆茫great patriot and national hero¡隆脌 for his firm stance against foreign imperialism.
Zhao asserts that contemporary Chinese leaders have been able to rein in this new sense of popular nationalism. They have replaced ethnic and liberal nationalism with a new pragmatic nationalism in order to gain legitimacy and control of the Communist party. Deng XiaoPing and his successors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao have suppressed ethnic nationalism in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia and have taken affirmative action to assimilate minority groups across the country. The patriotic education campaign of the early 1990s focused on national unity against ethnic separatist movements. Chinese leaders have cautiously encouraged liberal nationalism so long as Chinese citizens to not question the Party¡¯s authority. The patriotic campaign held that China was not ready for liberal democracy, and the one-party rule would maintain political stability, a prerequisite for rapid economic development.
This pragmatic nationalism has been dominant in China since the market-oriented economic reforms in the early 1980s. Pragmatism was exemplified best by Deng¡¯s ¡隆茫cat theory¡隆脌: ¡隆茫A cat, whether it is white or black, is a good one as long as it is able to catch mice.¡隆脌 In other words, the Communist Party would allow certain economic reforms and a loosening of communist ideology in order to preserve the stability of the state.
Pragmatic Nationalism¡¯s implications to foreign policies
Professor Zhao believes China¡¯s pragmatic nationalism is fundamentally interest-driven, reactive and flexible. China will adopt any foreign policy strategy that ensures peaceful development and peaceful coexistence. The failure of the Soviet Union caused pragmatists to shift from a policy of uni-polarity to multi-polarity. Chinese leaders recognize that China¡¯s economic advancement depends heavily on integration with the Western Countries. China has entered the World Trade Organization to accelerate China¡¯s business development, maintained territorial integrity by preventing Taiwan from independence announcement, and won the bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing to advertise its stability and success to the international community. Chinese leaders talk tough in foreign relationship affairs, but in reality, they act in a careful and highly calculated manner to avoid confrontation. However, China is often uncompromising and even arrogant when states demand that it adhere to Western views and positions.
US-China foreign relationship
There are many suspicions, misunderstandings, and misassumptions in the area of U.S. 隆搂C China relations. Relations between these two countries have never been easy. With China¡¯s rise in the 21st century, many fear another extended period of tension between the U.S. and China. Some Americans talk about China¡¯s threat to U.S. security and interests and believe U.S. policy should try to restrain China. Chinese leaders are also concerned the U.S. will do everything to prevent China from gaining equal status with the U.S. However, Professor Zhao believes the conflict is navigable, because the world now is much more pluralized than in the past. It is necessary to build institutions to facilitate the U.S. - China relationship by creating and encouraging dialogue and conversation. Leaders in both China and the U.S. have made efforts to foster a candid, cooperative and constructive relationship.
The mission of Chinese international students
When asked what role Chinese international students played in U.S. 隆搂C China relations, Suisheng Zhao discussed some of the concerns many in the international community have with regard to China. Chinese leaders, in their pragmatic pursuit of economic growth and development, have dismissed the standards that the international community treasures such as moral issues, human rights and transparency. This dismissal may lead to China¡¯s isolation within the international community. As China becomes more powerful, China needs to integrate the moral standards internationally recognized into their pragmatic foreign policies.
Chinese international students can help, on the one hand, by taking what they¡¯ve learned in the U.S. in terms of technology, social sciences, and research and bringing that knowledge back to China. This infusion of western ideas and education can help China make some changes and reforms, and help China fit more into the international community.
On the other hand, Suisheng Zhao further suggested that Chinese international students in U.S. have a mission to help American understand China. There is a huge interest in China among the American people. Chinese international students in the U.S. are a bridge between Americans and Chinese and must promote mutual understanding. Ultimately, Chinese students should make American friends.
¡隆茫The peace of the world could be promoted if people become friendlier to each other.¡隆脌 Suisheng Zhao commented with a smile.