The End of China's Dengist Diplomacy

Oct 17, 2017 | 09:00 GMT

A bust of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping looks out at a member of China's People's Liberation Army.

Directly engaging, picking sides or deploying troops in a conflict would mark the clear end of China's Dengist foreign policy and raise the country to the status of an interventionist power like Russia, the United States or the European states. 

(LAM YIK FEI/Getty Images)

Editor's Note

The 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress runs Oct. 18-24. The convention marks the start of a transition as delegates name new members to lead China's most powerful political institutions. But the change in personnel is only part of a larger transformation underway in the Party and in the country — a process that began long before the party congress kicked off and will continue long after it ends. This is the second installment in a four-part series examining how far China has come in its transition, and how far it has yet to go.

For some three decades, the words of Deng Xiaoping have guided Chinese foreign policy. "Observe calmly," he cautioned, "secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership. Deng's was a "China first" policy, one that sought to avoid conflict and trouble while building up the country's domestic capacity and strength. And on the whole, it has been a successful foreign policy. But now, Beijing is nearing the limits of its long-standing foreign policy. ...

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