China and International Law

Over the past thirty years, China has gone from one of the most isolated countries in the world to a major player in international affairs, a leading exporter, and a much more influential voice on regional security matters. Yet even with the rapid economic growth and increased influence that China has achieved over the past several decades, it maintains an ambivalent attitude towards many key aspects of international law and the architecture of global order. This class will explore China’s ambivalent engagement with international law in the context of its increasing prominence as an emerging power, and will in particular look to address the question of how China might adapt to the existing world order, and the ways in which it might look to influence its evolution. The class will cover a range of issues, including China’s membership in the WTO; its engagement with the international human rights regime; China’s approach to international cooperation on issues like global warming and nuclear non-proliferation; and international law aspects of the dispute over the South China Sea; among others.  
Credits: 2