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New Book: “China’s Political Worldview and Chinese Exceptionalism: International Order and Global Leadership”
06 Aug 2021
Lee Jun Hui

The book titled China’s Political Worldview and Chinese Exceptionalism: International Order and Global Leadership was launched on 6 August 2021. Authored by Dr Benjamin Ho, Assistant Professor at the China Programme, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, RSIS, the book studied China’s international relations and foreign policy through the lens of “Chinese exceptionalism”. The book contends that this self-perception of exceptionalism is a key driver underlying China’s international politics.

In his introductory remarks, Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman, RSIS, noted the importance of understanding how China’s rise would affect the rest of the world. Dr Ho then elaborated on the concept of exceptionalism and its relation to international politics, as well as to the political worldview of China’s leaders and public intellectuals. Also discussed were the book’s various chapters, which draw upon recent examples like the coronavirus outbreak and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Dr Hoo Tiang Boon, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the China Programme, RSIS, examined the book’s unique contributions to the scholarly literature on China and raised the question of whether today’s US-China tensions could be partly explained by differences in Chinese and American exceptionalism. Dr Li Mingjiang, Associate Professor and Provost’s Chair in International Relations, RSIS, broached questions on the various sources of Chinese exceptionalism and on the political expediency underlying certain political actors’ use of the exceptionalism narrative.

Following Dr Ho’s response to the two discussants, the webinar ended with a Q&A session between the participants and panellists. The discussion topics included the economic sources of Chinese exceptionalism, the role of a ‘clash of civilisations’ in explaining today’s US-China conflict, and the accommodation by countries of one another’s claims to exceptionalism.

Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel:

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