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Palgrave Macmillan

Slogan Politics

Understanding Chinese Foreign Policy Concepts

  • Book
  • © 2020


  • Looks at the policy formation process and interplay among different actors within the Chinese political system
  • Posits that the existing analysis which consider China’s foreign policy concepts as concrete strategies are mistaken
  • Argues that when Chinese leaders put forward foreign policy concepts, they should be taken as vague policy slogans rather than concrete strategies
  • Elaborates on how Chinese foreign policy concepts are not policy announcements but calls to mobilise domestic and international actors
  • Shows how this approach opens spaces for local and sub-national actors to inject their agenda and interests, where there is a risk of losing control over these concepts

Part of the book series: Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific (CSAP)

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About this book

This book studies the three most important Chinese foreign policy concepts under Xi Jinping’s leadership – “New Type of Great Power Relations”, “Belt and Road Initiative” and “Community of Shared Future for Mankind”. Those signature concepts are often considered as China’s well-thought-out strategic plans reflecting Beijing’s concrete geopolitical vision. This book, however, argues that these views are mistaken. It develops a slogan politics approach to study Chinese foreign policy concepts. The overarching argument is that those concepts should be understood as multifunctional slogans for political communication on the domestic and international stages. This book shows how those concepts function as political slogans to (1) declare intent, (2) assert power and test domestic and international support, (3) promote state propaganda, and (4) call for intellectual support. The slogan politics approach highlights the critical role of China’s academic and local actors as well as international actors in shaping China’s foreign policy ideas. It provides critical insights to understand how Chinese domestic actors exert their influence and voice their narratives to influence China’s policy agenda and debate. It suggests that the existing analyses vastly exaggerate Beijing’s capacity to coordinate domestic actors including forging coherent Chinese foreign policy narratives and unifying use of China’s policy concepts.

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Table of contents (6 chapters)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

    Jinghan Zeng

About the author

Jinghan ZENG is Professor of China and International Studies in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University. He previously taught at University of Warwick, De Montfort University and University of London's Royal Holloway College. His research lies in the field of China's domestic and international politics. He is the author of The Chinese Communist Party's Capacity to Rule: Ideology, Legitimacy and Party Cohesion (Palgrave 2015). His academic papers have appeared in The Pacific Review, Journal of Contemporary China, International Affairs, JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Contemporary Politics among others. He frequently appears in TV and radio broadcasts including the BBC, ABC Australia, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, Russia Today (RT), China Central Television and China Global Television Network (CGTN). Before his academic career, he worked for the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York City.

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