Think Tank (January to February 2019)
Dr Hoo Tiang Boon (centre) speaking at the book launch. Beside him is Amb Ong Keng Yong (Right) and Prof Khong Yuen Foong
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China’s Global Identity: Considering the Responsibilities of Great Power
29 Jan 2019

“China’s great power identity, contrary to general assessments, is not “newly found” but has longer and deeper antecedents, going back to a time when China had a civilisational complex of a “great central kingdom”.

This book is the first sustained study to track the evolution of Chinese thinking on their country’s responsibilities to international society. Traditional Chinese thinking on the concept of responsibility tended to be fairly inward looking and referenced primarily the domestic context. By the early 1990s, however, a more substantive internal debate on China’s global responsibility had emerged. It is possible to locate three distinct schools of thought in this evolving debate, i.e. the “internationalist”, “developmental” and “sceptics” positions.

The United States has played a key role in influencing China’s great power self-perception and this American role has largely been underestimated by observers. The United States is a “significant Other” in China’s great power identity. Chinese elites see America as the “doorkeeper” to recognition of China’s great power status, and as the key “constraint” or “enabler” of its rise.”

Introduction by Dr Hoo Tiang Boon, Assistant Professor at RSIS, of his new book China’s Global Identity: Considering the Responsibilities of Great Power. 

The book was launched on 29 January 2019 by RSIS Executive Deputy Chairman Amb Ong Keng Yong. The book launch also featured a book review by Professor Khong Yuen Foong, Vice-Dean (Research) and Li Ka Shing Professor in Political Science at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Prof Khong lauded the book as a study that not only informs but also gets readers to ponder more.

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