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A prizewinning historian and expert on Chinese foreign relations examines China's relationship with the outside world over the last 250 years, showing how the past will set the course for China's future

Over the past 250 years of momentous change and dramatic upheaval, China has proved itself to be a Restless Empire.

Tracing China’s course from the eighteenth-century Qing Dynasty to today's People’s Republic, Restless Empire shows how the country’s worldview has evolved. It explains how Chinese attitudes have been determined by both receptiveness and resistance to outside influence and presents the preoccupations that have set its foreign-relations agenda.

Within two decades China is likely to depose the United States as the world’s largest economy. By then the country expects to have eradicated poverty among its population of more than one and a half billion, and established itself as the world’s technological powerhouse. Meanwhile, some – especially its neighbours – are afraid that China will strengthen its military might in order to bend others to its will.

A new form of Chinese nationalism is rising. Many Chinese are angry about perceived past injustices and fear a loss of identity to commercial forces and foreign influences. So, will China’s attraction to world society dwindle, or will China continue to engage? Will it attempt to recreate a Sino-centric international order in Eastern Asia, or pursue a more harmonious diplomatic route? And can it overcome its lack of democracy and transparency, or are these characteristics hard-wired into the Chinese system? Whatever the case, we ignore China’s international history at our peril.

Restless Empire is a magisterial and indispensible history of the most important state in world affairs today.

Reviews

Written by one of the most distinguished scholars on China, this book brings clarity and insight into complex historical issues

Jung Chang

Thorough, fast-moving, and consistently clear. Restless Empire gives an excellent introduction to the vagaries of China’s foreign relations over the last 250 years

Jonathan Spence, author of The Search for Modern China

An authoritative and lucid history of China’s foreign relations from the peak of the Qing dynasty in the eighteenth century to the present day. Anyone seeking to understand the role China may play in our future world should start with this book

Stephen R. Platt, author of Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom

An essential guide to modern China’s often violent encounter with the rest of the world

Frank Dikotter, author of 'Maoâ??s Great Famine'

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099569596

    November 3, 2014

    Vintage

    528 pages

    RRP $27.99

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  • EBook

    9781446485101

    September 6, 2012

    Vintage Digital

    528 pages

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