During the Xinhai revolution, China faced contending domestic identities, and its roles within the international order were assigned by external powers. In the 100 years that have followed, China's internal competing identities have become more stable and it now faces major challenges in reconciling its contending international identities. China's current ascendency returns it to a position of directing the international order, which resembles its position before the Xinhai revolution.
As China changes international identities and gradually moves from being a developing state to a great power, it creates uncertainty among other states. In order for China's rise to continue, it needs to prevent this uncertainty from becoming conflict: it needs a stable international environment. This paper argues that by adopting a view of China's rise as a series of shifts in its identity, the scepter of conflict can be reduced because the uncertainty that is being created can be understood as well as contribute understanding about international behavior. This paper looks at the roles and identities displayed by China at the UN Climate Change conferences.