August 26, 2019

Chinese leaders often invoke the feelings of the Chinese people in international disputes. However, most survey research on Chinese public opinion on international affairs has looked at measures of nationalist identity rather than beliefs about foreign policy and evaluations of the government’s performance. Five surveys of Chinese citizens, netizens, and elites help illuminate the attitudes that the Chinese government grapples with in managing international security policy. The results suggest that Chinese attitudes are more hawkish than dovish and that younger Chinese, while perhaps not more nationalist in identity, may be more hawkish in their foreign policy beliefs than older generations. Netizens and elites are even more inclined to call on the Chinese government to invest in and rely more on military strength.

Jessica Chen WeissCornell University,

Pages 679-695 | Published online: 07 Mar 2019

Jessica Chen Weiss is Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University. She is the author of Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations (Oxford University Press, 2014). The dissertation on which it is based won the 2009 American Political Science Association Award for best dissertation in international relations, law and politics.