Orville Schell: Don't Mistake 'Chinese Dream' for a Horatio Alger 'Bootstraps' Story [Video]

China has become an economic and military powerhouse seeking to restore its former greatness after a century and a half of foreign intervention and imperialism. This was the major theme outlined by Director of Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations Orville Schell and John Delury of Yonsei University at Asia Society New York last night at the launch of their new book, Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century.

In a conversation moderated by the eminent China historian Jonathan Spence of Yale University, Schell and Delury charted the transformation of Chinese society over the past generation and summarized the country's struggles and successes, citing several of the intellectuals and leaders who paved the way for national rejuvenation.

Today, Schell explained, President Xi Jinping's Chinese dream is "not a dream of Horatio Alger so much, of an individual pulling themselves up by the bootstraps… it's a dream for a strong and respected China."

Delury agreed, adding that the China's equivalent of the American dream is "a collective project, a national project," one that extends beyond the idea that "your kids will be better off than you."

For more discussion on Schell and Delury's new book and insight into what China's actions mean today, please see the highlights above or watch the entire program here.

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Justin McDonnell is an Online Editorial and Public Programs Contributor at Asia Society.