A guard in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Johnathan Nightingale/Flickr.
Gregory J. Moore, National Interest: China Talks about Harmony, But Feeds Global Disorder
The peaceful rhetoric stops at the water’s edge.
Anyone familiar with the foreign policy rhetoric emanating from Beijing for the past three decades or more has heard talk of China’s “good neighbor policy,” its “peaceful rise” and its aspirations to contribute to a “harmonious world,” by way of “a new type of great power relations.” China pledged under Deng Xiaoping to pursue a “good neighbor policy,” and China arguably followed through on that for the next three decades. China’s modus operandi during this era was what Deng called a policy of “taoguang yanghui,” literally “avoiding the [spot]light, nurturing obscurity,” or more colloquially, “biding one’s time and lying low.” Under Hu Jintao, the foreign policy mantra was “peaceful rise”—later changed to “peaceful development,” perhaps so as to avoid associations realists might make with rising powers and the complications this might bring).
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WNU Editor: I was stationed in China when Deng Xiaoping ordered the implementation of a “good neighbor policy”. But even then there was a general consensus from China's neighbours (at least from the diplomats that I knew at the time who told me so) .... that they did not expect this policy to be set in stone. Even my Chinese counterparts told me that it was going to change .... but their focus at the time was economic development and growth. 30 years later .... I can now say that everyone was right.