Thucydides’ Trap and Online Readers’ Reviews of Two Books on Zheng He’s Voyages

Dexin Tian, Chin-Chung Chao


 This article analyzes 458 online readers’ reviews of two books on Zheng He’s seven voyages. Under the theoretical guidance of reader response criticism and via the research methods of website observation and purposive selection and textual and thematic analyses, this study has found: influenced by such dominant Chinese cultural values as harmony, benevolence, and mutual benefits, Zheng He’s voyages were non-aggressive exchanges of trade and culture, showing basically no evidence of hostile attitudes, offensive actions, or beclouded emotions of fear, hubris, and honor. Instead of supporting the trustworthiness of Thucydides’ trap, the online readers’ reviews call on tapping the complementary aspects between China and the United States and drawing invaluable lessons from the past for mutually-beneficial bilateral relationship.


Thucydides’ trap, U.S.–China case, readers’ reviews, Zheng He’s voyages

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