Zhao Suisheng, Professor and Executive Director of the Center for China-US Cooperation at Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver. He is founding editor of the Journal of Contemporary China and is the author or editor of nine books or monographs. His most recent books include Debating Political Reform in China: Rule of Law versus Democratization (M. E. Sharpe, 2006), A Nation-State by Construction: Dynamics of Modern Chinese Nationalism (Stanford University Press, 2004), Chinese Foreign Policy: Pragmatism and Strategic Behavior (M. E. Sharpe, 2003), China and Democracy: Reconsidering the Prospects for a Democratic China (Routledge, 2000), Across the Taiwan Strait: Mainland China, Taiwan, and the Crisis of 1995-96 (Routledge, 1999).
Following a preliminary exposition dedicated to summarising the theoretical debates on the origin and nature of Chinese nationalism (Chapter 1), Zhao Suisheng sets out to retrace the history of China over the past five hundred years in the light of this nationalism, which, he believes, represents a dimension of the analysis that has been greatly neglected both by specialists and by general opinion. As he treads this path, the author adopts a “primordialist” perspective (taking into consideration the solid, atavistic and emotional data concerning national identity) that is tempered by numerous elaborations on the instrumental character of a loyalty to the nation-state that has been constructed in rational fashion by “political entrepreneurs” in response to particular historical situations.