China is often presented as an authoritarian monolith whose foreign policy also follows the party line. The Chinese leadership is eager to promote a “China Model” as an alternative to the existing international order. Despite the appearance of unity and strength, there are many inconsistencies in China’s foreign policy. China holds that states should not intervene in the affairs of other states, but has actually not acted accordingly in recent years. These inconsistencies, in combination with China’s growing power, will have dramatic effects on the future shape of international order.
This seminar focuses on the nature and reasons of these inconsistences. There are different sources of the Chinese Communist Party’s domestic legitimacy competing within the complex and highly fragmented Chinese party-state. Based on his new book, the speaker Tim Rühlig elucidates how Chinese foreign policymakers strategize and react within the context of a massive and complex bureaucratic system that is constantly under pressure from many sides. Rühlig suggests that the inconsistencies are likely to contribute to a more particularistic, plural, and fragmented international order in the years to come.