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

Pak K. Lee*, Gerald Chan, Lai Ha Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-444
Number of pages22
JournalReview of International Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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