Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, China has witnessed a surge in world history research and a reorientation towards what is called a ‘global view on history’. This article will demonstrate, however, that the ‘global’ in these discussions is not regarded as the substance of the historical process but merely as the context for the development of the nation-state as the uncontested historical unit. This specific orientation is caused by a persistent nationalism, discursive traditions, and alliances of world history writing with contemporary political discourse. Three major concepts will be discussed: integration/interaction as a response to China's ‘open door’ policy and in connection with discourse on globalization; ‘modernization’ in its relation to the Four Modernizations of state ideology; and the ‘rise of the great powers’ as related to discussions of ‘China's rise’. Particular attention will be given to the problem of Eurocentrism in Chinese world history writing.