Can China's peaceful development work? With "peaceful development" China is presenting its ascent not as a power shift, but as a paradigm shift. It claims that its rise will be different from expansive powers in the past and that it is to set an example for a fundamental revision of the nature of great power politics. It does not matter how much power China relatively gains, but how much others can also benefit from it. Instead of tragic rivalry for hegemony, the aim is to develop strategic relationships that allow both China and its partners to gain, and to invest collectively in a stable and prosperous world order. If so, it could herald the end of a history that has been characterized by hostile balancing and hegemonic wars.
It could pave the way for stronger institutionalized international cooperation on economic, environmental and security affairs. This project will evaluate how much
Chinese thought and practice in international politics is guided by cooperative norms, how deeply these norms have been internalized, what the underlying motivations are, and how Chinese thinkers and practitioners evaluate the success of "peaceful development", and what this can signify for the future world order.