China in Darfur: Humanitarian rule-maker or rule-taker?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Review of International Studies, 2012, 38 (2), pp. 423 - 444
Issue Date:
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Most people hold that in its quest for natural resources abroad, China shields rogue states with egregious human-rights record from international opprobrium and sanctions. Its political support for Sudan is a case in point. By examining Chinese perspectives on humanitarian intervention and national sovereignty, this article first argues that Beijing's interests are so multiple and complex that concern about the implications of humanitarian intervention for national integration is more crucial than oil in determining its policy towards Sudan. Paradoxically it asserts that China, a non-democratic country, is more influential than liberal democratic states in making the rules of humanitarian intervention in Darfur because of a lack of political will in the West. In addition, there are early signs that China intends to utilise its newfound power to remake international rules regarding territorial sovereignty. Further development is likely to be shaped by its interactions with the United States.
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