Pols396 week 3 readings part 2(Constructing Global Order with Chinese Characteristics: Yan Xuetong
and the Pre-Qin response to international anarchy.)
Looking for a Chinese School of International Relations
Professor Qin Yaqing has 3 fundamental conditions for creating an original Chinese international
o 1) Should be formed based on Chinese thought and culture and historical traditions and
o 2) It should have a generalizable character, ie. It should assume a universality able to
transcend the local tradition and experience
o 3) its core theoretical assumptions should possess qualities incommensurable with
existing international relations theory.
Qin rejects the notion that a Chinese school can be established simply on the basis of
acknowledging the challenged that China poses as a rising power in the international system.
o Says we must begin from China’s identity in the international system.
o Argues that the core problem of the Chinese school of IR could be that peaceful
integration into international society is a problem that answers the vectors of practical
experience, theoretical knowledge and ends-oriented policy.
This kind of school would proceed along 3 lines of research
1) the structure and evolution of the international system
2) what kind of evolution is propitious to non-violent socialization of a
rising power and what kind of domestic order is best suited to that kind
of non-violent integration.
3) What kind of collective identity is formed through such non-violent
Zue Feng takes up the methodological challenge to found a theoretically adequate Chinese
school of international relations.
o Begins by looking at the relationship between the theories of international relations and
foreign policy. Determines that theories of IR are broader that FP but FP must have a
place in IR.
o Thus, he builds a methodological basis for a Chinese outlook on international relations.
This basis is diplomatic (FP)theory. He Indicates that it is not only a scientific
category it is also a political category which needs to simultaneously look after
the moulding of the governments image as well as wrapping its motives in
legitimacy so that’s its foreign policy behavior can occupy the moral high
Marginality and the need for a Chinese school
Zhu agrees that modern Chinese foreign policy thinking has been conditioned externally by
imported modern Western international relations theory and internally by inherited traditional
modes of thought transmitted over thousands of years. Ren Xiao argues that the need for a Chinese school stems from dissatisfaction with being
consumers of knowledge and a desire to become knowledge producers.
o Says that the world is divided into core and periphery not only in terms of knowledge
and economy but of knowledge production as well. The demand thus stems from a
desire to de-peripheralize China in the world of theory.
o Highlights the tendency in Chinese culture (Confucian) to value harmony and order and
to emphasize norms and ethical behavior in pursuit of order.
o His approach risks a result opposite to his intention. By premising Chinese identity as of
incommensurable difference form that of the west, his approach exacerbates difference
and reifies conflict.
o Argues that the Chinese still remain dependant on Western Theory in so far as they wish
to focus on theoretical problems of the public sphere. In contrast Chinese thought, in
the formula of “cultivate the self, order the family, and pacify the world”. Remains
wedded to a vision that sees the personal and private and public on a single pl