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China and the Barbarians

Resisting the Western World Order

China’s development over the centuries has purposely diverged from that of the West in terms of language, philosophy, and history, and for many decades its nationalism created a form of isolationism. In order to maintain its influence the Chinese Communist Party has created the myth that, without the Party, China could not have returned to the world stage and that, without the Party, the “territorial integrity” of the country cannot be restored. But what does this “restored” China look like? To answer, Henk Schulte Nordholt examines how Beijing’s regional policy is causing structural tensions between China and most of the countries located in East and Southeast Asia, and also, indirectly, their ally the United States. In China and the Barbarians, Nordholt offers his analysis of the possible trajectory of China’s internal political and cultural developments in the coming years.

464 pages | 50 halftones, 5 maps | 6 x 9

Asian Studies:

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"It's a revelatory . . .book for general readers, but should also be regarded as a must-have addition to the libraries of serious Sinologists. . . . In 300 magisterial pages, Nordholdt sets out to catalog the existential problems confronting 21st century China, which he regards as a cultural idea, rather than a racial fact. . . . To understand how the present system came to power, Nordholt stresses the importance of patriotism in the creation of the new China." 

Asia Today International

"China and the Barbarians delves into China’s development over the centuries in the areas of philosophy, language, and nationalism in an attempt to describe how the country has managed to maintain a disparate path from that of countries looking to control and assimilate it into the Western-centric world order."

The Beijinger

"In China and the Barbarians, Nordholt attempts to explain several phenomena: how the history of China shapes the way Chinese policy makers and intellectuals see the world, how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) utilizes nationalism to shape public sentiment and its policies, and whether the current authoritarian mode of governing can continue. Drawing on the philosopher Tu Wei-ming, who sees China as an ideological battleground between socialism, Confucianism, and liberalism, Nordholt suggests that instead of maintaining the current repressive system of governance or following the Western liberal democratic order, China is most likely to follow the “third way,” which will draw on Confucianism and be more receptive to the people’s opinions."

Justin Wu | Pacific Affairs

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