Popular Nationalism and Chinese Foreign Policy
This article focuses on the influence of popular nationalism on contemporary Chinese foreign policy. After analyzing several cases of popular protest with nationalistic overtones, we reach the conclusion that the impact of popular nationalism on Chinese foreign policy is limited. Firstly, the communist regime tightly controls any attempts at unsanctified collective action and allows a nationalist protest to happen only when it is favorable for signaling China’s resolve to its diplomatic partners during international crises. Second, nationalism is only a part of the contemporary PRC’s legitimacy, as another part of it is its keeping up of the steady pace of its economic modernization and increasing of the general welfare, which couldn’t be achieved without maintaining a high level of economic interdependence with many crucial economic partners, including the USA and Japan. Third, the Chinese public is, in general, not as nationalistic as is indicated in much of the literature analyzing nationalism in the contemporary PRC.
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