A reviving Middle Kingdom for China
The collapse of the Soviet Union at the start of the 1990s, together with China’s continuing advancement gave the decade an increasingly Chinafocused feel. The stakes were high for the international system of China’s rise and coming role. Goodman and Segal considered that ‘in thinking strategically about modern international affairs, there is no more important challenge than to understand the nature and implications of a rising China’ (1997: 1). Paradoxes abounded, since ‘China is not generally well understood but the world is acutely aware of it. Indeed China itself ranks as a global preoccupation’ (Dellios 1999: 4). In structural terms, Rex Li argued that, in the wake of the Soviet collapse ‘the emergence of China as a great power is arguably the single most important development in the post-Cold War world’ (2004: 23) of the 1990s.