An essential problem wih the rise of china falls
in their intentions, many analysts, some from 
mainland China claim that this is a peaceful rise[1],
and have even subsituated the term ‘rise’ with ‘development’ to decrease the
negative connotation attached to it[2][3][4][5],
but on the other hand some analysts believe that, by having the power
transition theory[6] in mind, the
clash of great powers is inevitable[7][8].
In a historical study of similar cases, a rising power and an established
power, Alison[9] has found out
that in 12 cases of his 16 case study, the rivalry has ended in war, and the
second group expect this to happen with China.


The change in Chinese attitudes towards its own
rise can be more visible when observed through the change of leadership in
China, from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping and the evolution of Chinese Grand
Strategy. Whilst Hu believed in Deng Xiaoping’s strategy of ‘keeping
a low profile and achieving something’ implying keeping a low profile and
moving ahead and developing, Xi is completely different[10],
some have called it a cult of personality towards Xi[11]
as he tries to consolidate his power in the society through his anti-corruption
campaign and the re-shuffling of the Central Military Commission (CMC)[12]
and owning its loyalty towards himself[13].
he has initiated a major PLA reform and restructuring to increase its
effectiveness and to use its power more when needed. In a rare event, he
appeared in PLA’s 90th anniversary in military uniform and observed
a significant military parade and maneuver, compared to the usual Tianmen
Square march (SCMP)[14],
in inner Mongolia where many new instruments were shown and paraded, put this
alongside the visit to Hong Kong by PLAN Aircraft carrier the Liaoning after
some hard discourse on Hong Kong’s relations with the Mainland[15]
and you can see how China is now more relaxed to flex its muscle and show the
world its capabilities.

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the external side of matters, China has become more aggressive in different
frontiers, such as the East China Sea and South China Sea. It has started
building man-made islands in the disputed territories with others and has been
using its military to enforce its claims. In the case of Paracel islands
disputed with Vietnam, china has been basing its SAM systems on the islands[16]
and is actively upgrading its military infrastructures and the islands now have
the capability to host large number of ships, military and civilian and
The installation of point defense systems in the Spratley has been a source of
worry as well, in the region[18].

[1] Cui Liru
(2012) Peaceful Rise: China’s Modernisation Trajectory, The International
Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs, 47:2, 14-17

[2] Taylor Fravel, M.,
(2010) International Studies Review, Volume
12, Issue 4,

[3] Nelson, M. G (2014). China’s
Peaceful Rise: Army command and general staff college fort leavenworth ks
school of advanced military studies monograph.

[4] Qin Yaqing; International Society as a Process:
Institutions, Identities, and China’s Peaceful Rise, The Chinese Journal of
International Politics, Volume 3, Issue 2, 1 July 2010,

[5] Ibid 5

[6] Kim, W., Gates, S (2015). Power transition theory and the rise of
China: International Area Studies Review, Vol 18, Issue 3

[7] Baogang He
(2012) Politics of Accommodation of the Rise of China: the case of Australia,
Journal of Contemporary China, 21:73, 53-70

[8] Mersheimer, J. (2004). Why China’s rise will not be peaceful:
University of China CIR.

[9] Alison, Graham (2016): Destined for War, can America and china
escape the Thucydides’s trap.

[10] Masuda, M. (2016). Why has
Chinese foreign policy become more assertive: East Asia Forum.


[12] ibid