China's approaches to International Law since the Opium War

Phil C W Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


International law is an amalgam of the past, present, and future. The past is important in itself not only because the vast majority of rules and principles of international law have come into being through decades, if not centuries, of deviation, crystallization and consolidation, but also because the past, and one's perspectives of the past, underlie, inform and explain a state's perspectives of a particular order or particular norms or values, and its approaches to the perspectives and actions of other states. The importance of understanding China's historical approaches to international law cannot be understated. China's interactions with international law began to take place in the context of its interactions with Western powers that culminated in the Opium War. This article then examines China's approaches to international law during its republican, communist, and contemporary socialist-market eras.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-892
Number of pages34
JournalLeiden Journal of International Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Approach to international law
  • China
  • Imperialism
  • International history
  • Opium War


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