Daring to Struggle

China's Global Ambitions Under Xi Jinping

Bates Gill

Daring to Struggle

China's Global Ambitions Under Xi Jinping

Bates Gill









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Increasingly powerful, prosperous and authoritarian, China under the leadership of Xi Jinping has become a more intense competitor across the globe -- economically, technologically, diplomatically, militarily, and in seeking to influence people's hearts and minds. But what does China ultimately want in the world?

In this timely and illuminating book, internationally renowned China scholar Bates Gill explains the fundamental motivations driving the country's more dynamic, assertive and risk-taking approach to the world under Xi Jinping. With original and perceptive analysis, Daring to Struggle focuses on six increasingly important interests for today's China -- legitimacy, sovereignty, wealth, power, leadership and ideas -- and details how the determined pursuit of them at home and abroad profoundly shapes its foreign relationships, contributing to a more contested strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

Readers will gain richer insights on: the increasing role of the Chinese Communist Party in the country's international affairs; the looming risks of conflict in areas of contested sovereignty around China's periphery; Beijing's dramatically changing approach to foreign economic relations; its expanding use of economic leverage and military coercion; China's aspirations to greater leadership in global governance; and the well-resourced promotion of its ideas, image and influence across the world.


Acknowledgements Introduction: Understanding China's global ambitions under Xi Jinping 1. Opportunities: Seeking national rejuvenation 2. Legitimacy: Prioritizing the Party and its rule 3. Sovereignty: Achieving territorial integrity and expanded "strategic frontiers" 4. Wealth: Pursuing national development and prosperity 5. Power: Leveraging China's growing economic and military might 6. Leadership: Gaining a greater say in how the world works 7. Ideas: Competing for hearts and minds around the globe 8. Challenges: Confronting headwinds for the China Dream Conclusion: A contested future Notes Index


Dr Bates Gill has a 30-year international career as an institution leader, policy advisor, consultant and educator. He is Chair of the Department of Security Studies and Criminology, Macquarie University in Sydney and Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute in London.


"In this probing and engrossing study, leading China scholar Bates Gill has contributed the most comprehensive and in-depth assessment to date of China's global impact under strongman ruler Xi Jinping. Clearly conceptualized, well written, and based on granular research, it is filled with insights but troubling in its implications. Professor Gill argues that Xi's China has a big chip on its shoulder and is driven by an insatiable craving for respectDLwhen married together with the attributes of hard power, he argues that this could be a combustible combination. Daring to Struggle should be carefully read by all serious China watchers." -- David Shambaugh, George Washington University

"Bates Gill offers the clearest picture yet of 'what China wants.' His well-structured study returns constantly to the Chinese Communist Party's elusive and dangerous search for legitimacy and points to the need for deep US engagement with allies and partners to navigate the Xi Era." -- Michael J. Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies

"At the very moment that China has moved to the center of global politics, Bates Gill has produced a Rosetta stone-like guide to understanding Xi Jinping's worldview. This book is essential reading for scholars, policymakers and business leaders alike. It provides an unusually lucid analysis of how Xi's China thinks about its role in the world and how Xi plans to achieve his global goals, which remain both inchoate and dynamic. Gill's aptly titled Daring to Struggle finds the right balance between analysis and forecasting in helping the reader fathom Chinese foreign policy today and in the future." -- Evan Medeiros, Georgetown University

"In this gripping new work, Bates Gill tackles what may be the most salient set of questions in international affairs - "what does China want?" And "how will it get what it wants?" The globe's future likely hinges on the answers to these questions. Daring to Struggle dares to try, employing the lens of six thematic drivers to explain the trajectory of China's ambitions, ultimately arguing that China will not shrink from any contest. This is a must-read book for both specialists and interested observers!" -- Roy D. Kamphausen, The National Bureau of Asian Research