Cover of Rebranding China by Xiaoyu Pu
Rebranding China
Contested Status Signaling in the Changing Global Order
Xiaoyu Pu


January 2019
176 pages.

Cloth ISBN: 9781503606838
Digital ISBN: 9781503607866

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China is intensely conscious of its status, both at home and abroad. This concern is often interpreted as an undivided desire for higher standing as a global leader. Yet, Chinese political elites heatedly debate the nation's role as it becomes an increasingly important player in international affairs. At times, China positions itself not as a nascent global power but as a fragile developing country. Contradictory posturing makes decoding China's foreign policy a challenge, generating anxiety and uncertainty in many parts of the world. Using the metaphor of rebranding to understand China's varying displays of status, Xiaoyu Pu analyzes a rising China's challenges and dilemmas on the global stage.

As competing pressures mount across domestic, regional, and international audiences, China must pivot between different representational tactics. Rebranding China demystifies how the state represents its global position by analyzing recent military transformations, regional diplomacy, and international financial negotiations. Drawing on a sweeping body of research, including original Chinese sources and interdisciplinary ideas from sociology, psychology, and international relations, this book puts forward an innovative framework for interpreting China's foreign policy.

About the author

Xiaoyu Pu is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is also a Public Intellectuals Program Fellow with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

"Xiaoyu Pu offers a thoughtful analysis of China's competing status-signaling behavior while at the same time advancing the study of status to new and exciting territories."

—T. V. Paul, James McGill Professor of International Relations, McGill University

"In Rebranding China, Xiaoyu Pu offers an innovative and insightful analysis of the various and often contradictory ways that a rising China portrays itself on the international stage. This is a must read for anyone interested in China's foreign relations and China's domestic political development in the reform era."

—Thomas J. Christensen, Columbia University

"Xiaoyu Pu has written an original, insightful and creative book. Rebranding China elegantly explains China's otherwise contradictory images of itself as both a greatpower and a developing state."

—M. Taylor Fravel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology