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Whether China is a responsible stakeholder is evaluated from employing three sets of standards: normative, ‘aspirational’ standards (i.e. those that make a good community member and an upstanding citizen); rational choice (is China acting in line with shared or complementary self-interest?); and power analysis (whether China is upsetting an established world order or contributing to the formation of a new one?). In the process, this article examines both China and the standards themselves.