Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

China and Iran: Ancient Partners in a Post-Imperial World

By Gill, Bates | The China Journal, July 2007 | Go to article overview

China and Iran: Ancient Partners in a Post-Imperial World


Gill, Bates, The China Journal


China and Iran: Ancient Partners in a Post-Imperial World, by John W. Garver. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006. xii + 401 pp. US50.00/£32 (hardcover), US$24.95/£15.99 (paperback).

As in his previous volumes, this latest book by John Garver delivers a well-researched and highly-detailed read. A book on this topic is long overdue: as Garver notes, only two other book-length studies of China-Iran relations have appeared in the past 40 years, the most recent in 1982. Much has happened since then; not least, both of these nations have (re)emerged as critical players, garnering headlines and concern in the United States, Europe and Asia.

As tbe world - and especially the Western world - wrestles with how to engage these emerging powers, China and Iran delivers a vital message: to understand these countries and their relationship demands that we take their historical and cultural affinity, both in the ancient and contemporary periods, into serious account. Garver declares his intention to "set aside [his] American perceptual-normative lenses and understand the relation between China and Iran as the leaders of those two countries have understood it" (p. x). In so doing, he frequently and convincingly explains the deep ties and interests which Beijing and Teheran share.

The first several chapters provide detailed historical background, beginning with the "spirit of Sino-Iranian relations" and taking us to 2004. The importance of history, culture and civilization in the relationship resonates strongest in the shared perceptions that each is a "victim" of colonial excess, which emerged successfully in a post-colonial and post-Cold War world as independent nations able to reassert their historical role as regional powers, and each is regaining their sense of pride as great civilizations. Relatedly, Garver notes that the two countries also share a similar aversion to and concern over the "hegemony" of the United States.

However, the book recognizes that this "anti-hegemonism" must be exercised cautiously in Beijing, especially since Iran's version is far more confrontational than China's. In discussing the relationship between post-revolutionary Iran and post-Mao China, Garver highlights the delicate but thus far successful balancing act which Beijing plays: cultivating strong relations with an ever-more defiant Iran while also strengthening ties to the "Great Satans", the United States and Israel. Good relations with Iran has benefits, but Beijing cautiously avoids ties with Teheran which could "tarnish China's own international image and hinder its quest for international respectability" (p. 138). Beijing's success in this regard is no small diplomatic feat, placing it in a strong diplomatic position. China's crucial - though not yet fully realized-role as a key multilateral partner to constrain Iran's nuclear ambitions reflects Beijing's diplomatic poise and standing in both Teheran and Washington.

Chapters 5 to 9 address specific cases and provide rich evidentiary detail about China-Iran ties, especially since 1979: the Xinjiang factor, Chinese assistance to Iran's nuclear programs, China-Iran military development cooperation, the US factor, and Sino-Iranian energy and economic cooperation. At only 10 pages, the chapter on Xinjiang is rather superficial. It is far less detailed and interesting than the otber case studies, and unfortunately comes off as a late-stage afterthought. The remaining chapters, however, form an extensive and thorough survey on critical aspects of China-Iran relations.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

China and Iran: Ancient Partners in a Post-Imperial World
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.