Professor Yan Xuetong, a Distinguished Professor, and Dean in Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University has been a leading Chinese public intellectual and a theorist in the field of International relations. He has produced an incredible body of work which is a significant source of knowledge on how the Chinese academia imagines China’s present and future status in the international order. He is also a well-received and followed scholar in China, primarily because he takes a nationalist tone in writing on issues like US-China relations for example. So his opinions hold some clues on China’s perceptions of its status in the world and more importantly the direction that it is headed into.
Perhaps the central question of research in the field of international relations has been on the rise and fall of great powers and why and how it happens. The subsequent and related question is how to identify the signs of an impending power transition. In fact, a significant amount of research and writing in the field is devoted to the study of these questions. Yan Xuetong’s latest book Leadership and the Rise of Great Powers deals with them and comes up with creative and imaginative predictions for the next decade when the power transition is expected to accelerate for the reasons discussed by the author.