It is sometimes supposed that historically the Chinese world order was peaceful and harmonious, unlike the violent European warring states.*
Not so, says Wang Yuan-kang:**
China expanded when strong and retracted when weak. Considerations of relative power were key to Chinese security policymaking. Military violence, conquests, and wars of annihilation are common in Chinese history. The historical facts do not support the popular view that the Chinese world order was relatively peaceful and harmonious.
*e.g. David C. Kang, East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010).
**In an ISSF roundtable (pdf) on Wang Yuan-kang, Harmony and War: Confucian Culture and Chinese Power Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011).