China's Quest for 'Legitimate' Great Power Status and the Military's Role in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Taking on a Civiliser's Role?
To many analysts of China, it is a common assumption that China covets an
equal status with the Great Powers of the international community, and harbours
considerable frustration towards its perceived status. We are told that there
exists a powerful sentiment that the 'Chinese nation deserves a much better fate
than that which it has experienced in the modern world.' In this paper, I seek
to examine the process by which Beijing attempts to improve its social standing
in the international community. I do so by focusing on China's participation in
United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. While China's attempts to seek
'prestige' from its peers has been noted elsewhere, most of these works do not
focus on the process, and neither do they examine the role the Chinese military
plays in it. I hope to demonstrate that the so-called 'rise of China' need not
be threatening to international order, and that the military - once seen as a
bastion of hard-line nationalism - may be playing a surprisingly constructive
role than imagined.