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The Peaceful History of Chinese Expansion

March 11, 2012

Earlier this week Stephen Walt had a guest post from Yuan-kang Wang on his blog taking issue with the ‘official version’ of historical China’s peaceful nature that feeds into the narrative of ‘peaceful rise’

As you might expect on a realist’s blog the message is not the uniqueness of Chinese history but how much it shares with the history of other states.  Wang takes issue with three claims.

Myth 1: China did not expand when it was strong.

Myth 2: The Seven Voyages of Zheng He demonstrates the peaceful nature of Chinese power.

Myth 3: The Great Wall of China symbolizes a nation preoccupied with defense.

In each case he argues that the ‘official version’ leaves out the violent bits of the history.   Well worth a read.

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