Are Chinese elites ready to go for superpower status and stop “hiding their claws,” as Deng Xiaoping used to put it? Does the leadership feel prepared to play the role of a dominant power? Here are some of the smarter answers that I’ve read in recent memory, from a Chinese thinker who doesn’t fall under one of the easy labels of either a western liberal or a reflexive nationalist. Wang Jisi, dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, tells Yoichi Funabashi of Asahi Shimbun, that — Some younger-generation opinion leaders and others, maybe some officials as well, are calling for a more assertive policy toward other countries.
But the mainstream thinking, I mean the top leadership, is still very sober-minded about China’s own power and influence, and they are very conscious of China’s internal challenges combined with external challenges. Here is a snippet of an extended interview that is worth the time: