China’s long march to national rejuvenation: toward a Neo-Imperial order in East Asia?

Friso M.S. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The material disparity with the West, and the havoc wreaked in the period of Japanese imperial encroachment on Chinese territory and autonomy after the First Opium War, have shaped and guided China’s collective memory and its shared desire of national rejuvenation to this day. In tracing the deeper historical roots of what Xi Jinping contemporarily frames as a “Chinese dream” of “wealth and power,” the article discerns key actors, events, and organizing principles in a long process toward restoring China’s deemed rightful place in the regional system. Taking into account the region-specific socio-historical complex of China and East Asia, and further exploring the parameters of an International Relations theory with “Chinese characteristics,” the article’s comparative historical analysis details how China’s leaders have chosen to mobilize the nation’s “domestic resources” in their common pursuit of national rejuvenation. Providing greater insight into how and according to which interlinked domestic and foreign explanatory markers this is attained, the article argues that we are currently in the last phase of rejuvenation and advances implications for China’s further trajectory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-63
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Security
Issue number1
Early online date20 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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