Worrying About Ethnicity: A New Generation of China Dreams?

  • David Tobin
Part of the The Nottingham China Policy Institute series book series (NCP)


President Xi Jinping’s China Dream is the ‘renewal of the Chinese nation’ to become a ‘strong and prosperous nation’ (fuqing daguo).1 This chapter will analyse China Dreams as acts of identity articulation to chart China’s (inter)national identity. It analyses China’s ethnic minority policy debates which centre on arguments about whether China should be a multi-ethnic state or a mono-ethnic nation-state. The increasingly contested relationship between ethnicity and nation is central to understanding how China’s leading thinkers articulate who is China and how the answer will either propel or bring an end to China’s rise. The chapter then explores how these different ethnic futures are deeply intertwined with predictions about China’s position in international politics. The China Dream thus becomes a way to chart the future of China’s domestic and international politics and a means to narrate who is China at home and abroad. William A. Callahan2 has shown how Chinese exceptionalism is increasingly popular amongst political elites and public intellectuals in China. The military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq alongside the 2008 financial crisis have led to a perception amongst Chinese thinkers such as Hu Angang3 and Zhang Weiwei4 that the soft power of the United States is declining and China’s is concomitantly rising.


Ethnic Minority National Identity Preferential Policy Chinese Communist Party Soft Power 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Notes and references

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© David Tobin 2015

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  • David Tobin

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