Nationalism in China’s security strategies

Political instability in China is challenging regime security. The Chinese Communist Party uses nationalism as an instrument for unifying the people around a common identity from which the regime can draw its legitimacy for preserving communism and the authoritative state. But nationalism is a double-edged sword. While political nationalism provides the regime with opportunities for strengthening its authority, it also fuels popular nationalism that in return constrains the leaders to pursue their nationalist agenda or risk undermining their own legitimacy.

Foto: Forsvarsakademiet møder Kinas militære topfolk

This article examines how nationalism acts as an intervening variable in China’s security strategies by analysing the interaction between China’s strategic situation at the system-level and the elements of nationalism at the domestic level. It then examines China’s security strategies in two different case-studies to demonstrate how nationalism can constrain ends, ways or means.[2] The first case-study examines the regime’s response to political instability in the Xinjiang region and argues that nationalism causes the regime to apply particularly heavy-handed, if not counterproductive, ways and means in its domestic security strategies. The second case-study examines China’s policies in its territorial dispute with Japan over the Daioyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and argues that nationalism prevents the regime from pursuing mutually beneficial ends in the dispute.

China’s relative capabilities and position in the international system

The anarchic nature of the international system compels the state to be concerned with its own survival. The distribution of power and the developments which the state perceives as threats and opportunities thereby shape its security strategies. The state seeks to enhance its competitive advantage and probability of survival and does this both by influencing and by adapting to the system.[3] The ways to achieve this can be through behaviour changing strategies, such as balancing or deterrence, and by achieving a position from where it can influence the norms of the international system. The principal means by which the state pursues these strategies are diplomatic, economic, and military.

In diplomacy, China has been an increasingly active player in the international system since the 1990s. It has taken a less confrontational, more sophisticated approach toward regional and global affairs, embracing international institutions and norms to promote its own interests.[4] In 1998, China introduced a new security doctrine that has shaped its diplomacy. The ‘New Security Concept’ emphasises Peaceful Coexistence[5] based on ‘mutually beneficial cooperation on the basis of equality, mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and resolution of conflicts through dialogue’.[6] China’s active involvement in global and regional institutions has increased its influence on agenda-setting in the international system, which helps it balance against other great powers. However, China has also actively watered down several UN Security Resolutions aimed at, for example, Iran, Sudan and North Korea, often under the clause that it goes against the principles of sovereignty and non-intervention. While these principles are also the basis of the UN Charter, it can be argued that China does this in order to hedge against outside criticism of its own regime. China’s authoritative regime and repression of human rights are continually criticised and it weakens its prestige and legitimacy. Additionally, China has no allies and it cannot present an alliance system in its region as an alternative to that of the US. Nor does it have a state-model that is attractive to most other states. In affairs where it does not have economic or military leverage, China will therefore have difficulties influencing other states to support its interests.

In economics, China’s high growth rates and integration into the world economy gives it a significant source of power in the international system. For example, being a key player in both G20 and the World Trade Organisation gives it significant leverage to influence the international system. But integration into the world economy has also made China dependent upon foreign direct investments, and it depends heavily upon the US market for exports, and Japan, the US, South Korea, Germany and even Taiwan for imports.[7] Another increasingly significant aspect of China’s economy is its dependency on energy. China is the world’s largest consumer of coal, which covers 70% of its energy needs. Its dependency on oil is increasing steadily, as it is for several other economies in Asia, which creates a natural competition for energy resources.[8] China’s dependency on other economies restrains it from making decisive changes in the balance of power, and its energy dependency is a particular vulnerability. Consequently, China is investing heavily in developing its own energy resources and reducing its dependency on imported coal, oil and gas. Through its energy cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation[9] it is developing pipelines westwards to the Caspian Sea, and it is also investing in third world countries’ energy infrastructures, such as oil drilling in Sudan.[10] These investments support its diplomatic and economic position, spread its risk over more suppliers and, most importantly, reduce its dependency on the US and the Middle East.

In military affairs, China has shown more restraint in its use of force under its New Security Concept as opposed to the mid-1990s where it was threatening Taiwan with invasion. On several issues it has shown patience and moderation and made use of multilateral diplomacy and economic cooperation, such as in a number of territorial disputes with neighbours that historically have caused tension.[11] Still, China’s annual military expenditure has accelerated since 1996 and by 2009 had increased nearly five-fold.[12] China is modernising its military through reform, procurement of modern weapons and development of doctrine[13] and it has become visible in peacekeeping and joint exercises. It is developing its power projection and area denial capabilities, which demonstrate a shift in focus towards protecting interests off the Chinese mainland.[14] Even though China has recently shown restraint in its use of force, the shift in the regional military power balance is remorselessly in China’s favour, and it is a concern for its neighbouring states.

Overall, China can be said to be benefitting from the existing world order. The regional stability and economic possibilities have perhaps never been more favourable for China. However, the main threats to China that can either weaken its position and wealth, or threaten its regime, are criticism of its domestic affairs and state system and its dependency on energy.

When considering China’s strategic options, its position and relative capabilities would suggest that it could continue to strengthen these through cooperation with the US and compliance with international norms. This way, China could become the most important partner to the US in Asia and the Asia-Pacific instead of Russia or its rivals Japan and India. In fact, this option was already in the cards for China, when Obama visited Beijing in late 2009, but it was politely turned down.[15] Of course, such a strategy would imply that China would eventually have to give up its claims to Taiwan and implement regime changes. Instead, China seems to be strengthening its position and capabilities in order to balance against US influence in the region by slowly eroding the position of other powers in regional affairs. Rather than trying to be an example as an aspiring superpower, China is seeking to preserve the minimum necessary legitimacy and prestige while emphasising the flaws of others. It does this by promoting its difference in norms and cultures as well as the notion that the Chinese way is as good as any other, by defending the principles of sovereignty and non-interference, and by promoting multi-polarity as an alternative to US hegemony.

Nationalism and domestic political stability

Economic growth has given credibility to the regime’s performance, but it has also created a wealth gap between urban and rural populations and caused corruption among local government officials. China’s integration into the world economy has increased the number of, for example, Japanese and American owned companies within China. Altogether, it is a turn away from both the traditional communist ideology and the safeguarding against Western ‘encroachment’, which brings the legitimacy of the regime into question.

The notion of Western encroachment dates back to the Opium Wars of the mid-nineteenth century, when colonial powers, or the ‘new barbarians from the sea’, not only defeated the Qing Dynasty militarily, but also attacked the foundation of Chinese culture. China was no longer the centre of the universe, but had become partly colonised and heavily influenced by European culture.[16] The two following Sino-Japanese wars were likewise humiliating, and even worse, the Japanese occupation in the late 1930s resulted in massacres of millions of Chinese civilians.[17]

The narrative today is that it was the Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army that liberated China from Japanese occupation and in the decades after led a weakened China towards a new uprising in an unequal world. Communism is not abandoned, but it is a model that is unique to China and which is independent from Westernised democracy. The authoritative regime is necessary if economic growth and wealth for the people is to continue without compromising territorial integrity or Chinese culture.[18] This narrative, as a political agenda, instils a sense of purpose in the struggle to restore China to its former greatness in the modern world, while placing the party at the centre. It is a collective idea of world class struggle from which the political elite can derive their legitimacy.

Chinese history is a narrative of a superior and independent Chinese civilization that has continuously been under threat by ‘barbarians’ both from the outside and from within. In the Chinese tradition, separatism is therefore seen as one of the evils that threaten Chinese sovereignty, and the regime’s response to this has been to maintain a tight control of the state. This tradition suggests a low tolerance that calls for hard measures to suppress unrest. In the Chinese tradition, however, ‘barbarians’ can be converted and become Chinese by adopting Chinese culture.[19] It is therefore not a national sentiment that calls for genocide or displacement of non-Chinese, but for assimilation. This sentiment calls for strategies that seek to win over non-Chinese people living on Chinese territory with the aim of creating cultural homogeneity in the population – not of embracing different cultures.

Political and popular nationalism

Chinese political nationalism does not seek the ends of a world revolution, but serves to maintain internal order and the current regime. This is partly done with reference to a history of greatness, victimization and uprising, and partly by identifying threats to Chinese sovereignty that can rally the people and legitimate tight political control. The mission of restoring greatness gives this sense of purpose, but if pursued aggressively, it could cause a direct threat to regional security – particularly if it also develops into an agenda of avenging past humiliation. Since the stance with the US in the Strait of Taiwan in 1996, the Chinese regime has been careful to balance its claims for Taiwan with its regional security strategies – seeking and reassuring of peaceful coexistence – while putting more emphasis on achieving greater international status.

While the Communist Party has generally been able to decide the content and political agenda of Chinese nationalism, and adjust it according to national policy needs, there still appears to be a significant bottom-up form of nationalism. This popular nationalism influences the political elite and therefore it is the interaction between political elite and popular nationalism that, as a whole, influences China’s security strategies. The anti-Western nationalists are perhaps the most significant in relation to the political nationalism. This movement is also called ‘Say No’ism’ with reference to a nationalist book published in 1996, shortly after the military confrontation with the US in the Taiwan Strait, that urged the government to ‘Say No’ in relations with the US and Japan.[20]

While the regime encourages nationalistic sentiments, it also fears them. On several occasions, alleged foreign humiliation has been met with public criticism of the government as being too weak. This, in turn, can cause internal division in the elite and compel leaders to pursue nationalist objectives so as not to be accused by their opponents of being weak. The regime may desire to pursue strategies of friendly cooperation with the West and Japan in order to strengthen its international position, but it will have to be balanced with the popular nationalism or it could threaten political stability and the legitimacy of the regime.  This suggests that policy-makers will, to some extent, remain restrained in their approach to the West and Japan, or will be compelled to maintain secrecy around agreements made on affairs that compromise the nationalist agenda.

Nationalism in the security strategies for Xinjiang

The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is China’s most westerly region, bordering Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Mongolia. The region has long been marked by separatist movements and clashes between the largest ethnic group, the Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighurs, and the Han-Chinese people, who comprise the dominant culture group in China.

The area of today’s Xinjiang has been dominated by the Chinese dynasties for more than 2000 years, since the dynasties’ efforts to secure the Silk Road. It has served as a strategic buffer zone for the Chinese mainland, first against the barbarians in the west and later against the Soviet Union. At times, the area has been lost to Turkic tribes, and twice, in 1933 and 1944, insurgencies have broken out in the region proclaiming an East Turkestan Republic.

Today, the Xinjiang region is still a strategic buffer zone to the west – not just towards Russia, but also towards the current US military presence in the region. The quality and number of Chinese forces in the area continue to increase and military infrastructure is expanding.[21] This enables China, in times of crisis, to counter the US presence in and around Afghanistan, or to build up land and air forces at the border to India, with whom China still has border disputes.

Of perhaps more strategic importance is the recent discovery of large oil and gas reserves in Xinjiang. Since 2002, China has extended the network of pipelines linking the region’s fields and refineries to Shanghai and abroad to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. In 2007, Xinjiang became China’s primary source of energy, producing a third of its total oil and gas resources and 40% of its coal resources.[22] Xinjiang’s resources and location have enabled China to take a lead position, or at a minimum a position equal to Russia’s, in Central Asian affairs both in bilateral relations and through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Its resources and infrastructures are also making China less dependent on overseas deliveries and less vulnerable to changes in energy prices. Maintaining control over Xinjiang, and preventing movements towards the formation of an East Turkestan state, is therefore an indisputable end in the Chinese regime’s strategies for this region.

The root causes to political instability in Xinjiang stem from the confrontation between ethnic minorities and Han-Chinese. Xinjiang is home to several ethnic groups, where the majority of the population is Muslim Turkic peoples who desire autonomy free from Chinese rule. The Chinese government’s strategy for controlling multi-ethnic provinces has, in summary, been to win over the discontented people with economic development. This improves the standard of living and integrates the ethnic groups into Chinese society and culture. But concurrent with the recent infrastructural development of Xinjiang, masses of Han-Chinese have migrated to Xinjiang, whom the regime has encouraged to move westwards with economic opportunity and better tax rates. This has significantly changed the demography of the region and led to fears that Uighur culture is being overwhelmed by a flood of Han-Chinese.[23] Today, the ethnic division is estimated to be 45% Uighur, 40% Han-Chinese and 15% others.[24] The economic development has mostly favoured the Han-Chinese population, causing a substantial economic gap between ethnicities. In 2007, some 80% of Uighurs lived below the official poverty line, and the average income of urban inhabitants (mostly Han-Chinese) was almost four times that of rural people (mostly Uighurs and other minorities).[25]

Chinese authorities generally respond to unrest in a direct and hard way. Since 2001, an official ‘Strike Hard and Rectify’ campaign has been employed with frequent security crackdowns targeting known separatist and Turkic organisations.[26] It can be argued that even though the heavy-handed methods reduce the immediate threat from violent elements, it also increases the general pressure on the Muslim Turkic populations, thereby deepening the core grievances. This is where elements of nationalism, and the Chinese national sentiment, can be argued to dominate the approach taken towards the security issues in Xinjiang. The approach is based on economic development strategies, migration of Han-Chinese, cultural restraints on ethnicities, little minority representation in local governance, and hard security crackdowns. This suggests that the strategies are based on the fundamental view that the ethnic groups are ‘barbarians’ in the frontier lands who must be subdued and assimilated into Chinese culture. Instead of committing to strategies that would address the root causes by, for example, promoting minority rights, multiculturalism, and social development, the central and regional governments prefer a hard approach. It emphasises both the existence of the historical threat from separatism as well as demonstrates to the Han-Chinese that the regime is capable of responding to the threat, which is necessary in order not to appear weak. Altogether, the narratives of the political nationalism and the authorities’ resolute handling of the ‘ungrateful’ minorities support the legitimacy of preserving an authoritarian regime because it has resonance in the Han-Chinese population group.

China’s domestic security strategies in Xinjiang are criticised at the international level, but not enough to be a restraint to China’s interests in the international system. Sino-American relations, for example, remain largely unaffected by the events in Xinjiang. Arguably, the US-led Global War on Terror has given some legitimacy to fighting terrorism with all means necessary and China has not been hesitant to label separatist movements as religious (i.e. Islamic) extremists and terrorists.[27] In fact, combatting ‘terrorism’ has forged stronger ties with China’s neighbours in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and particularly in military cooperation with Russia.

Following the bloody events in Xinjiang in 2009, where nearly two hundred people were killed in clashes between Uighurs and Han-Chinese, the European Union (EU) called for the Chinese authorities to ‘develop a genuine Han-Uighur dialogue and adopt more inclusive and comprehensive economic policies in Xinjiang aimed at strengthening local ownership and to protect the cultural identity of the Uighur population.’[28]  The EU also noted that it is China’s biggest trading partner and investor and that ‘trade and economic relations have overshadowed the question of democratic reforms, respect for human rights and the rule of law’.[29] Beijing called this ‘meddling in internal affairs’ and demanded that ‘the European side stop making the same mistakes again and again, earnestly respect the principles of equality and mutual respect, and do more to benefit the healthy and stable development of China-EU relations’.[30] Neither the EU’s expression of concern nor Beijing’s response has led to changes in the trade between the two powers. This is but one example of how China continues to emphasise the principles of sovereignty and non-interference, which can, at least in part, be considered hedging strategies. Chinese leaders defend the regime’s right to apply its own methods in domestic affairs, but more importantly, they demonstrate their capability to safeguard China against ‘Western encroachment’.

Nationalism in the East China Sea Dispute

A significantly different case that demonstrates how security and foreign-policy issues are complicated by nationalism is the on-going dispute over the delineation of the sea-borders between China and Japan. For decades this historical dispute has revolved around a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as Daioyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese. Japan claims that the islands were occupied by Japan in 1895, while China maintains that they were discovered by China in the fifteenth century and have since been part of the Greater China. The dispute remained dormant until the late 1960s, when undersea natural gas reserves were discovered in the East China Sea. Since then, diplomatic and military tension has periodically arisen over the territorial claims. Over the past decade, tension has further increased as both powers have moved to explore and drill for oil and gas close to the disputed region. The territorial dispute regularly triggers strong popular responses, both in China and in Japan.

While diplomatic negotiations have been on-going since 2004, several incidents have occurred both in the waters and at home in the two countries. In 2005, Japan decided to take ownership of a lighthouse which had been built on one of the islands by Japanese activists in 1978. This move angered the Chinese government, which called it a ‘serious provocation and violation of China's territorial sovereignty’.[31] Japan announced that the two Chinese gas fields, Chunxiao and Duanqiao, were linked to Japanese fields and initiated procedures to grant drilling rights within the disputed area to Japanese gas companies. Japan’s move triggered protest demonstrations outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing, and China responded by granting rights to China National Offshore Oil Corporation close to the disputed region. For a decade now, naval vessels and aircraft have regularly engaged in a game of brinkmanship, with both countries trying to assert their claims to the territory. Following the events in 2005, however, China further asserted itself by announcing that it was creating an East China Sea reserve fleet, which Japan in the following months tracked twice within the disputed area.[32] In September 2010, the dispute peaked again with the detention of a Chinese trawler captain, who had rammed a Japanese coast guard vessel near the disputed islands. The incident triggered anti-Japanese demonstrations in several Chinese cities, and China cancelled a visit by a popular Japanese band and one thousand Japanese students, who were to visit the World Expo in Shanghai. The negotiations scheduled for September 2010 have been suspended indefinitely awaiting the diplomatic fallout.[33]

Japan relies on energy imports for approximately 80% of its energy needs and has virtually no oil or gas resources of its own. China relies on imports for approximately 50% of its oil consumption and aims to increase its reliance on natural gas. The Chinese gas production today, however, barely breaks even with its consumption. Access to oil and gas resources within the disputed area alone would significantly reduce China’s dependency on oil imports, and enable it to produce more gas than it consumes for decades ahead.[34] But the undersea resources cannot be exploited until a permanent settlement has been achieved. China’s claims to the islands are frail and China cannot use its position to coerce a settlement in its own favour. The power balance and economic interdependencies likewise deter China from backing up its claims with military or economic means. On Japan’s initiative, the two countries had in 2006 reached an agreement, in principle, of joint investments and exploration of the gas resources, but neither has been willing to propose a new demarcation of the border and little progress has been achieved since then.[35] While such a cooperative strategy could produce a win-win outcome, and thus strengthen both China’s relative capabilities and position, it would require compromising over claims that China has now been asserting for more than forty years.

Since 1990, there have been 25 incidents where Chinese threats and provocations in the dispute can be linked to other issues that China has used to compel Japan to change its behaviour or policy.[36] These issues are for example, when Japan announced a reduction of its aid to China, during Japan-US talks on their security alliance, when Japan bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, and on several occasions where China has demanded concessions for Japan’s atrocities in the 1937-45 Sino-Japanese War.[37] This suggests that China is benefitting from the enduring dispute as a means of compelling Japan instead of pursuing a win-win solution. It does, however, only offer a part explanation.  China’s gains from this dispute do not necessarily outweigh the benefits China could otherwise have gained from a settlement – in both international prestige and energy security.

It is instead the Chinese regime itself that appears to be gaining something from maintaining the status quo in the dispute. The dispute frequently stirs the popular anti-Japanese sentiment and aversion to Western encroachment and this bolsters the regime’s nationalist agenda by providing it with opportunities to demonstrate its capability to resist Japan. However, if the regime does not respond appropriately to the popular nationalist demands, it will undermine its authority and it is therefore constrained by nationalism to remain on a confrontational course with Japan over historical issues. In the international system, it has therefore become a strategy of impeding Japan’s access to resources by keeping the status quo and attempting to undercut its prestige by continuously drawing in Japan’s history.


China is a growing power in global and regional affairs and since the mid-1990s it has promoted peaceful coexistence while developing its capabilities and strengthening its position. In its security strategies it seeks to balance against the US alliance system by promoting multi-polarity and strengthening its relative power capabilities while safeguarding its vulnerabilities, such as its dependency on energy imports. But China’s internal political stability is challenged by an increasing wealth gap between rich and poor, corruption in the state administration, separatist movements, ethnic violence, and demands for liberalisation of the authoritative regime. The regime itself is therefore under pressure and the Chinese Communist Party retains its power through tight state control while drawing its legitimacy from economic growth and nationalist values. Nationalism is used as a political instrument to unite a diverse nation around a Chinese identity and to protect China’s cultural integrity from internal and external threats. The nationalism revolves around the Party as the guardian of China, which will restore its former greatness and protect it from barbarians and Western encroachment.

The political nationalism increasingly interacts with the popular nationalism. There are regularly widespread demonstrations organised by nationalist movements, which either demand that the threat from separatists is controlled or protest against Western or Japanese influence. To the popular nationalists, nationalism therefore becomes a political agenda that they expect their regime to fulfil.

When strategic choices become nationalist issues in the public, the nationalist agenda that strengthens the regime’s authority takes priority. This is seen in the dispute with Japan over the Daioyu/Senkaku Islands, where compromises or cooperation with Japan result in strong nationalist demonstrations at home. It appears that keeping the dispute going strengthens the regime’s authority at home and therefore a status quo in the dispute is preferred to a strategy of cooperation with Japan, which could have expanded its energy resources and improved bilateral relations.

The ways and means in the regime’s security strategies also appear to be restrained by nationalism. In the Chinese tradition there is a constant threat from barbarians and separatism and a need to counter these resolutely such as in Xinjiang. Heavy-handed methods may also be in accord with the public sentiment and strengthen the regime’s authority, and thereby the concerns for the regime’s security take priority when choosing ways and means.

Even though China is pursuing strategies that can strengthen its capabilities and position, it is regime security that appears to take priority in the final choices. Both internationally and domestically, the regime seeks to exploit the opportunities that arise for strengthening its authority and legitimacy in the Chinese population, and this is done within a framework guided by nationalism. For the regime, however, the nationalist agenda is a double-edged sword that can constrain it to strategic choices that serve nationalist ends. Furthermore, nationalism and its narrative of Western encroachment, the threat from barbarians and China’s sufferings during the Japanese occupation compel the regime to apply ways and means in their strategies, which can demonstrate their capability to safeguard China’s sovereignty and cultural integrity.

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[1] Nicolai Meulengracht is a major in the Danish Army. He attended the Senior Joint Staff Course at the Royal Danish Defence College in 2010-11 and wrote his master’s thesis in strategic studies on nationalism in Chinese security strategies.

[2] This article uses ends, ways and means to describe strategy. Ends are the objectives or desired outcomes, ways are the methods used to achieve the ends, and means are the resources and processes applied to the execution.

[3] These assumptions about the international system are based on neoclassical realism as defined by Gideon Rose, ‘Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy’, World Politics no. 51 (1998), pp. 144-172.

[4] M. Taylor Fravel and Evan S. Medeiros, ‘China's New Diplomacy’, Foreign Affairs (Nov/Dec 2003), p. 22.

[5] The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence originate from an agreement between China and India over Tibet back in 1954. The principles were: Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty; Mutual non-aggression against anyone; Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs; Equality and mutual benefit; Peaceful co-existence.

[6] Phillip C. Saunders, ‘China's Role in Asia’ in David Shambaugh and Michael Yahuda (eds.), International Relations of Asia (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008), p. 131.

[7] Rémy Davison, ‘China and the Asia-Pacific’ in Michael K. Connors, Rémy Davison and Jörn Dosch (eds.), The New Global Politics of the Asia-Pacific (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), pp. 55-56.

[8] IHS Jane's, ‘Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment: Armed Forces, China’, 15 October 2010, <> [Accessed 1 April 2011].

[9] In 1996, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan formed the Shanghai Five to create confidence-building measures and reduce military tension in Central Asia. In 2001, Uzbekistan joined, and it became the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which aims at security (with a particular focus on terrorism, separatism, and extremism), economic and cultural cooperation.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Fravel & Medeiros, ‘China's New Diplomacy’, p. 26.

[12] It should be noted that the percentage of the gross domestic product has remained stable around 2% the past decade, which is comparable to that of France or Australia and only half of that of the US.

[13] Phillip C. Saunders, ‘China's Role in Asia’, pp. 135-136.

[14] Mark Cozad, ‘China's Regional Power Projection: Prospects for Future Missions in the South and East China Seas’ in Roy Kamphausen, David Lai and Andrew Scobell (eds.), Beyond the Strait: PLA Missions Other Than Taiwan (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2009), pp. 289-91.

[15] See for example the outcomes of the meetings between Obama and Wen at Helene Cooper, ‘China Holds Firm on Major Issues in Obama’s Visit’, New York Times, 17 November 2009, <http://www.ny­ti­­/2009­/11/18­/world­/a­sia/18prexy.html>, and Xinhua, ‘Wen: China disagrees to so-called G2’, China Daily, 18 Nov 2009, <> [Accessed 1 September 2011].

[16] Chen Zhimin, ‘Nationalism, Internationalism and Chinese Foreign Policy’, Journal of Contemporary China (February 2005), p. 38.

[17] John Keay, China: A History (New York: Basic Books, 2009), p. 513.

[18] See for example how the Constitution of Communist Party of China balances ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ with market economy while upholding the ‘basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism’ at <­/docu­ment/txt/2007-12/13/content_90532.htm> [Accessed 1 April 2011].

[19] Chen Zhimin, ‘Nationalism, Internationalism and Chinese Foreign Policy’, pp.36-37.

[20] Chen Zhimin, ‘Nationalism, Internationalism and Chinese Foreign Policy’, pp. 50-51.

[21] IHS Jane’s, ‘Xinjiang’.

[22] Ibid.

[23] IHS Jane’s, ‘Xinjiang’.

[24] BBC News, ‘Regions and territories: Xinjiang’, 28 April 2010, <> [Accessed 1 April 2011].

[25] IHS Jane’s, ‘Xinjiang’.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] European Union, ‘Motion for a Resolution: European Parliament resolution on the rights of minorities in China and the use of death penalty (B7 0184/2009)’, 11 November 2009, <http://www.europarl.euro­­des/get­­pe=MOTION&re­fe... [Accessed 1 April 2011].

[29] Ibid.

[30] IHS Jane’s, ‘Xinjiang’.

[31] IHS Jane's, “China And Northeast Asia - Security”. Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment, 11 Feb 2011, www.ja­

[32] Ibid.

[33] BBC News, “Q&A: China-Japan islands row”. 24 Sept 2010,

[34] EIA, “Analysis Brief: China”. US Energy Information Administration – Country Briefs, Nov 2010,

[35] IHS Jane's, ‘Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment: China And Northeast Asia – Security’, 11 February 2011, <> [Accessed 1 April 2011].

[36] Krista E. Wiegand, ‘China’s Strategy in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute: Issue Linkage and Coercive Diplomacy’, Asian Security, vol. 5, no. 2 (2009), pp. 170-193.

[37] Ibid.