The Reform Era Foreign Policy Narrative: 1978 Onward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Important lines of continuity exist linking China’s policies before and after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. Deng Xiaoping and other Chinese leaders adopted new methods, but did so in order to pursue objectives similar to those of China’s foreign policy before the Reform Era began. Firstly, they intended to ensure the creation of a powerful, strong country. Mao and Deng were nationalists, no matter what their differences in terms of economic policies. Secondly, they sought to establish relations which worked clearly in China’s carefully defined own national interests. Thirdly, they wished to ensure that there were boundaries to ensure that the narrative of historic victimization never recurred. This means that, although the PRC Reform Era international affairs narrative had a different structure to that which was prosecuted in the period up to 1978, it was built on the same foundations. The extraordinary thing about the template of foreign relations set in place in the 1980s during the first decade of Reform and Opening Up, moreover, is just how resilient it has been, and how consistently Chinese leaders have followed it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Economic Statecraft from 1978 to 1989
Subtitle of host publicationThe First Decade of Deng Xiaoping’s Reforms
EditorsPriscilla Roberts
PublisherSpringer Nature Singapore
ISBN (Electronic)9789811692178
ISBN (Print)9789811692161
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2022


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