What does China want? Three takes on the rise of a superpower

Book reviews: History, finance and the relationship with the US are covered in these three different perspectives on the ‘Middle Kingdom’

The Chinese self-perception of exceptionalism – that their civilisation is superior and thus deserves to be on top of a world hierarchy – has been a constant through much of its history. Photograph: Getty

The Chinese self-perception of exceptionalism – that their civilisation is superior and thus deserves to be on top of a world hierarchy – has been a constant through much of its history. Photograph: Getty

People in the West routinely ask: “What does China want?” Three recently published books consider this broad question from different perspectives, looking at how this powerful nation got to where it stands today and contemplating where it might be going.

In Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World, journalist and historian Michael Schuman argues the answer to what China wants is quite simple: the superpower status it always had, but briefly lost.

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