EASSC Publications


Human Security and the Chinese Dream

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper


In recent years, there has been much attention on China’s foreign policies. Chinese political and foreign aid initiatives in Africa, including bilateral relations with problematic governments in some African states, have given rise to considerable concerns about the nature of Chinese involvement across the continent. The One Belt, One Road initiative has also drawn considerable interest. This bold attempt to develop an infrastructure network via land and sea, connecting trade markets across a vast expanse, is worthy of such attention as the success of this initiative is now a strategic imperative for China’s rise. In addition, China’s territorial claims in the South China Seas, including the building of islands in that region, has also drawn considerable and understandable attention and alarm from outside parties. These foreign policy initiatives are all linked to the “China Dream”, which in its most simplistic form is a policy that seeks to increase China’s economic and political might to ensure it reaches great power status. Obviously, Chinese foreign policy is an important area of analysis in contemporary discussions of the Chinese state and regional and international affairs. However, Xi Jinping has identified that the China Dream involves the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, or in other words, a Chinese renaissance. Therefore, this is a policy that is as much about the domestic situation in China as it is about China’s foreign policies and foreign relations. Hence, in seeking to analyse the current trajectory of the China Dream, this paper deliberately focuses inwards and examines the domestic situation within China. It seeks to examine how “the people” are faring in the Chinese renaissance. In particular, it asks: how has the Chinese renaissance affected human security within the People’s Republic of China? It also asks: are the people benefitting from the China Dream? Ultimately, China’s domestic policies will have a significant impact on what can be achieved via its foreign policies. Therefore, it is timely to pause and consider how the Chinese people are faring in the modern Chinese state.

Journal, Book or Conference Title

East Asia Security Symposium and Conference 东亚安全座谈谈论会

Publication Details

Author information:

Anna Hayes is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science in the College of Arts, Society and Education at James Cook University. Anna is co-editor of three recent books: Inside Xinjiang: Space, place and power in China’s Muslim Far Northwest (Routledge 2016) with Michael Clarke; Migration and Insecurity: Citizenship and social inclusion in a transnational era (Routledge 2013) with Niklaus Steiner and Robert Mason; and Cultures in Refuge: Seeking Sanctuary in Modern Australia (Ashgate 2012) with Robert Mason. Her most recent research examines human insecurity and contested histories in Xinjiang, as well as the Uyghur-Australian community.



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