Strategic Thinking in Chinese Foreign Policy – Strategic power and relationship building

Course content

The distinct role of relationship building within China’s foreign relations has been given increased attention in the international relations literature the past decade. Looking to the philosophy of Chinese military culture and the teachings of Sun Tzu - where objects are defined relative to its relationships and interactions with the environment as opposed to its distinct attributes, we see that relational thinking have a longstanding place within ancient Chinese strategy thinking. Not only in their military strategies, but also in their political and business strategies. The question then, is what this means for the manner in which Chinas foreign policy is implemented, and how China assert its interests abroad.

In this course, we will investigate Chinese foreign policy efforts through a distinct East Asian notion of relationship building – guanxi [关系], and approach to strategic advantage – shi [势], as a fundamental characteristic of Chinese statecraft and foreign policy strategy. More specifically, we will discuss i) some of the main theoretical and methodological challenges we are faced with when we seek to analyse the rise of a non-western super power; ii) identify approaches that allow us to better understand the process of how the Chinese Communist Party seek to attain extraterritorial influence; iii) look at empirical examples and critically discuss the potential and limitations of such approaches; iv) critically explore the degree to which we are looking at dynamics that are uniquely Chinese or whether they can be considered universal.

Education

MSc in Political Science

MSc in Social Science

MSc in Security Risk Management

Bachelor in Political Science

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

 

After having completed this course, student will have gained:

  • a solid understanding of the philosophy of Chinese military strategy, and the difference between a strategy and strategic thinking.
  • a foundational understanding on Chinas relational approach to international relations.
  • in-depth knowledge in how the Chinese Communist Party seeks to assert extraterritorial influence.
  • an understanding of the various tools and strategies used to guide policy outcomes abroad, such as the United Front.
  • a good grasp with the process through which Chinese state power is channelled.
  • An appreciation of the overlap between Chinas national and foreign policy

Skills:

 

After having completed this course, students will have:

  • the skills to analytically evaluate theoretical arguments and different types of scientific evidence,
  • the analytical skills to critically evaluate and assess foreign policy analysis on CCP foreign policy.
  • the ability to evaluate the scope and limitations within analytical frameworks commonly used to assess Chinese political influence, such as soft power analysis.

 

  • the skills to apply a variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches in a foreign policy analysis

Competences:

 

After having completed this course, students will:

  • have the competence and awareness to identify and question conclusions that are unduly orientalised or Occidentalised.
  • Be able to review and digest a wide variety of theoretical and empirical literature
  • the competence to critically evaluate, analyse and communicate a coherent scientific argument, supported by empirical evidence,
  • develop and communicate own scientific arguments.
  • conduct independent analytical thinking

 

Lectures and seminars. The course will be highly interactive and the students are expected to engage in discussions through seminars and in-class group work.

  • Brady, Anne-Marie, (2017). China as a Polar Great Power. Washington D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Cambridge University Press.
  • Brady, Anne-Marie. “Magic weapons: China's political influence activities under Xi Jinping.” (2017)
  • Cooke, Samantha, (2022). Non-Western Global Theories of International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan (ebook).
  • Colley, Thomas, and Carolijn van Noort, (2022). ‘Introduction: Strategic Narratives and Global Policy Initiative’, in Strategic Narratives, Ontological Security and Global Policy. Palgrave Studies in International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
  • Deenon, David B. H., eds. (2021). ‘Conclusion’ pp. 233 - 253, in China’ Grand Strategy. New York: New York University Press.  
  • Doshi, Rushi, (2021). ‘Introduction’ pp. 21 – 41, in The Long Game: China’s Grands Strategy to Displace the American Order. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Doshi, Rushi, (2021). ‘A coherent body of thought and Action’, pp. 51- 70, in The Long Game: China’s Grands Strategy to Displace the American Order. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Doshi, Rushi, (2021). ‘The Party Leads Everything’, pp. 71 - 114, in The Long Game: China’s Grands Strategy to Displace the American Order. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Feng, Huiyun, (2007). ‘China as a rising power’ pp. 1 - 16, in Chinese strategic culture and Foreign Policy Decision -Making: Confucianism, leadership and war. Asian Security Studies. London & New York: Routledge.
  • Feng, Huiyun, (2007). ‘China’s strategic culture and war’ pp. 17 - 35, in Chinese strategic culture and Foreign Policy Decision -Making: Confucianism, leadership and war. Asian Security Studies. London & New York: Routledge.
  • Fritz, Audrey, “How China’s military–civil fusion policy ties into its push for world-class universities”, The strategist ASPI (2021) https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/how-chinas-military-civil-fusion-policy-ties-into-its-push-for-world-class-universities/ (accessed: May 31, 2021).
  • Groot, G., & Wang, R. (2018). “Who represents? Xi Jinping’s Grand United Front Work, legitimation, participation and consultative democracy”. Journal of Contemporary China, 27(112), (2018), 569-583.
  • Groot, Gerry, “Understanding the Role of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Associations in United Front Work”, The Jamestown Foundation China Brief 18(11) (June 19, 2018).
  • Groot, Gerry, “The CCP’s Grand United Front abroad”, www.sinopsis.cz September 24, 2019 https://sinopsis.cz/en/the-ccps-grand-united-front-abroad/ (accessed: March 26, 2021).
  • Horsburgh, N., Nordin, A., & Breslin, S. (Eds.). (2013). Chinese Politics and International Relations: Innovation and Invention (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315866734
  • Hsu Szu-Chien and J. Michael Cole, (2020). Insidious Power: How China Undermines Global Democracy. Manchester, UK: Camphor Press.
  • Johnston, Alastair Ian, (1995). ‘Strategic Culture: a critique’, pp. 109 – 154, in Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  • Johnston, Alastair Ian, (1995). ‘Some Questions of Methodology, pp. 32 – 60, in Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  • Johnston, Alastair Ian, (1995). ‘Chinese Strategic Culture and the Parabellum Paradigm’, pp. 61 – 108, in Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  • Joske, Alex, “Reorganizing the United Front Work Department: New Structures for a New Era of Diaspora and Religious Affairs Work”, www.jamestown.org  May 9, 2019 https://jamestown.org/program/reorganizing-the-united-front-work-department-new-structures-for-a-new-era-of-diaspora-and-religious-affairs-work/ (accessed: March 20, 2021).Joske, Alex, “Hunting the phoenix,” Policy Brief, (Report No. 35/2020) ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre. https://www.aspi.org.au/report/hunting-phoenix (accessed: July 7, 2021).
  • Kachiga, J. (2021). The Rise of China and International Relations Theory. New York, United States of America: Peter Lang Verlag.
  • Kavalski, E. (2016) ‘Relationality and its Chinese characteristics’, China Quarterly, 226, 551–559.
  • Kavalski, Emilian, (2018). Guanxi or What is the Chinese for Relational Theory of World Politics International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 18: 397-420.
  • Kavalski, Emilian, (2018). ‘Chinese Concepts and Relational International Politics’, All Azimuth V7(1): pp. 87-102.
  • Kissinger, Henry, (2011). ‘The Singularity of China’ pp. 21- 50, On China. New York: The Penguin Press. [Prologue and Chapter 1.]
  • Lai, David, and Gary Hamby. 2002. East meets west: an ancient game sheds new light on US–Asian strategic relations. Korean Journal of Defense Analysis 14(1): 247–275.
  • Lai, David, (2004). Learning from the stones: a ‘Go’ approach to mastering China’s strategic concept, Shi. Carlisle: Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College.
  • Lim, Darren J., Victor A. Ferguson & Rosa Bishop, “Chinese Outbound Tourism as an Instrument of Economic Statecraft”, Journal of Contemporary China 29(126) (2020): 916-933.
  • Lulu, Jichang, (2019). ‘Repurposing democracy: The European Parliament China Friendship Cluster’, Sinopsis: China in context and perspective, 26 November https://sinopsis.cz/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ep.pdf [accessed: 25.07.2022].
  • Mark R. McNeilly (2015). ‘Introduction’ pp. 1-7, in Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Mark R. McNeilly (2015). ‘Win all without fighting’ pp. 8 – 28, in Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare. New York: Oxford University Press

 

  • Mark R. McNeilly (2015). ‘Avoid strength, attack weakness’ pp. 29 – 61, in Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Mott, William Henry, and Jae Chang Kim, (2006). The Philosophy of Chinese Military Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Ogden, Chris, (2008). ‘Diaspora Meets IR’s Constructivism: An Appraisal’, Politics, 28(1): 1-10.
  • Pye, Lucien W., (1985). Asian Power and Politics: the cultural dimensions of authority. London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  • Qin, Yaqing [秦, 亚 青], (2009). 关系本位与过程建构: 将中国理念植入国际关系理论 [Relationality and processual construction: bringing Chinese ideas into international relations theory]. 中国社会科学, 3 期: 5–20: http://ias.zjnu.cn/_upload/article/files/80/a1/a53d22ce448e8cc7587e0a70e1db/a9c53f94-9ce7-4129-b3b6-815cc35e4d18.pdf [Accessed: 02.02,2021].
  • Qin Yaqing, (2012). A Relational Theory of World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Qin Yaqing, (2016). ‘A Relational Theory of World Politics’, International Studies Review, 18: 33-47.
  • Shih, Chih-yu, (1990). ‘Perspectives on Chinese Foreign Policy Behaviour’ pp.  4 - 15, in The Spirit of Chinese Foreign Policy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shih, Chih-yu, (1990). ‘Chinese Psychoculture and Foreign Policy Motivation pp.  37 - 61, in The Spirit of Chinese Foreign Policy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shih, Chih-yu, (1990). ‘National Self-image Demonstrated: force in Chinese Diplomacy’ pp.  148 - 188, in The Spirit of Chinese Foreign Policy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shih, Chih-yu, (1990). (1990). ‘Conclusion’ pp. 189 - 192, in The Spirit of Chinese Foreign Policy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shih, C.-Y., Huang, C.-C., Yeophantong, P., Bunskoek, R., Ikeda, J., Hwang, Y.-J., Wang, H.-J., Chang, C.-Y., & Chen, C.-C. (2019). China and International Theory: The Balance of Relationships (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429423130
  • Shih, C. Y. (2022). Post-Chineseness: Cultural Politics and International Relations. SUNY Press.
  • Tiffert, Glenn, and Oliver McPherson-Smith, (2022). China’s Sharp Power in Africa: A Handbook for Building National Resilience. The Hoover Institution.
  • To, James Jiann Hua, Qiaowu: Extra-Territorial Policies for the Overseas Chinese. (Brill: Leiden, 2014).
  • You Quan [尤权], ‘尤权:坚持大统战工作格局’ [You Quan: Persist with the Great United Front Work Arrangement], People’s Daily, 26 November (2019) http://theory.people.com.cn/n1/2019/1126/c40531-31474052.html (accessed: December 15, 2021).

Zhang, Y., & Chang, T.-C. (Eds.). (2016). Constructing a Chinese School of International Relations: Ongoing Debates and Sociological Realities (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315692432

 

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)

Oral feedback through discussions and peer to peer during seminars and group-work.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Type of assessment details
Free written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28

Kursusinformation

Language
English
Course number
ASTK18424U
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Duration

1 semester

Placement
Spring
Studyboard
Department of Political Science, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Political Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Line Marie Breistrand   (3-717267456e6b7833707a336970)
Saved on the 31-10-2022

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