China’s New Nationalism May Require Careful Negotiation

Simon Tisdall writes in the Guardian:

In official-speak, it’s about “one world, one dream”. But as the waves of patriotic pride build, next month’s Beijing Olympics are beginning to look like a globally televised, heavily choreographed celebration of advancing, muscular Chinese nationhood. One country, one team.

Using the event to showcase China’s emergence as a potentially dominant world power was always part of the Communist party’s game plan. In this sense, the medals table, which China expects to dominate, is a metaphor for broader international competition for resources and influence.

After centuries of humiliations at western hands, few could fairly deny China a self-glorifying day in the sun. But how to stop Beijing over-egging its nationalist pudding – how to prevent superpower turning to super-arrogance as has happened elsewhere – is the big post-Olympic question.

Speaking at a recent conference in London, Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, voiced concern that China could “go the Bush-Cheney way”, forsaking multilateralism in selfish, unheeding pursuit of perceived national interest.

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