The rise of China is a hot topic in the 21st century. What does this rising superpower want to pursue, reflected by its grand strategy, has different implications to the international system in the new millennium. After the death of China’s Chairman Mao, China’s foreign policy follows a doctrine highlighted by its then de facto leader Deng Xiaoping, that insisted China should hide its ambitions and refrain from asserting its power in the global stage. This study seeks to find out whether China has experienced a grand strategy shift in the past ten years, and if yes, what are its driving forces. Existing literature on great power politics, in particular hegemonic stability theory and structural realism, provides different arguments on state behavior and its implications on China’s grand strategy. Based on the literature, this study provides three competing hypotheses and tests them with on a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Based on a thorough time series analysis between 2005 and 2014, as well as arguments supported by scholars in the field, this study suggests that China has indeed experienced a grand strategy shift. China’s need for security and safety, and a global environment that favors its existence are the driving forces for its grand strategy shift. China’s new grand strategy requires it to be more assertive and more engaging in the global arena by actively build up strategic partnerships and engage in international institutions.


Lantis, Jeffrey


International Relations; Political Science


Asian Studies | International Relations

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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