Since 1978 and its opening to the world, China has experienced tremendous changes in various realms, ranging from the accumulation of material wealth to transformation in social values. Security policy is no exception. The country has undergone profound shifts in the ways in which it thinks about and practices security, including the way that China’s unique characteristics and innovativeness are represented to the rest of the world (Qin 2008; Wang 2008; Yang 2008; Zhu 2009).2 This novel situation demands new thinking, new ideas and even a new language to (re)present and (re)define security, as well as to create new ways to maintain peace and stability. In the face of an ever-changing and increasingly challenging context of global and regional insecurity, Chinese political leaders have been required to reshape their perceptions and understandings of the external world in order to tackle the emergence of non-traditional threats at the national, regional and global levels. In this ever-unfolding process, Chinese security thinking has increasingly

drawn on philosophical insights and teachings from traditional culture and, to some extent, interacted with security concepts from outside China. This is in remarkable contrast to the first three decades after 1949, when China’s security ideas were shepherded mainly by a Marxist ideology devoted to “proletarian revolution” and “class struggle” around the world. Although Marxism is still retained as the official ideology today, in the security realm it coexists alongside other views of this issue. Interest in bringing ideas derived from Chinese traditional culture into this field reflects the rehabilitation of Confucius and his teachings, which suffered widespread criticism in China during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Confucianism’s renewed appeal also lies in the common understanding that traditional culture serves as a crucial source of distinctive Chinese perspectives on the ever-changing politics of security. Alongside the (re)theorization of security, China has involved itself in the international community slowly but in an increasingly confident way. The country’s participation in the formation and evolution of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) after the end of the Cold War is a case in point.