University of Baltimore Journal of International Law


Anlei ZuoFollow


China’s approaches to international law are an example of non-Western peoples’ perspectives towards the Western-dominated international law. How has China understood and interacted with the Western- dominated international law since its modern history? This research provides a historical and evolutionary framework for “China and international law” to reveal China’s approaches to the Western dominated international law since the Opium War. It finds that China is historically critical and culturally conservative, and since the Opium War, it has interacted with the Western-dominated international law in a reluctant, instrumental and pragmatic way. The research concludes that the final goal of China’s participation in international society and interaction with the Western-dominated international law has always been national rejuvenation. The South China Sea arbitration case illustrates the growing divergences between Chinese perceptions of international law and the Western-dominated international law that result from clash of ignorance” rather than a “clash of civilizations.” Structural biases and systematic violence of Eurocentrism in the Western dominated international law and international legal scholarship are integral components of the “clash of ignorance,” and the rise of China could be an opportunity to rectify them with a more democratic and balanced approach.



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