China's recent maritime development has given rise to concerns from littoral states and other regional powers, threatened that China could turn out to be an assertive naval power similar to those maritime empires in history. However, Chinese policymakers and scholars reject such concerns. This commentary examines the claim that China has developed a 'unique' comprehensive projection of sea power. The author suggests that, while China differs from historical maritime powers, this is because of the shift and expansion of the maritime agenda in the contemporary era. China is not unique but rather is meeting domestic policy needs addressing multiple maritime issues. China as a rising sea power is an important case to study contributing to the understanding of contemporary maritime power, especially the use of â€˜grey-zone' operations in the Asia-Pacific.