China and Sovereignty: Approaches to Sovereignty in the Chinese Expert Environment

  • Aleš Karmazin
Keywords: China, sovereignty, theory of International Relations, Hong Kong, human rights, law, expert knowledge


Sovereignty is a key issue in the foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China. In the paper, I focus on the understanding of this key notion and phenomenon by Chinese experts. The main research question of the paper is how the Chinese expert (academic) sphere approaches sovereignty and how the notion of sovereignty is conceptually or theoretically developed within the Chinese sphere. In the paper, I show that one dominant model, which is identical with the so-called conservative (absolutist, Westphalian) understanding of sovereignty, can be identified. However, in some specific cases, Chinese authors demonstrate a relatively high degree of creativity and, hence, move beyond the conservative understanding of sovereignty. These cases are related to China’s relations to Taiwan and Hong Kong, connections between sovereignty and human rights, and the concept of inter-temporal law.

Author Biography

Aleš Karmazin

born in 1987, he is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Political Studies, the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, and a lecturer at the Department of Asian Studies, Metropolitan University Prague. He received his MSc(Econ) in International Relations from Aberystwyth University and his MSc in China in Comparative Perspective from the London School of Economics. He was also a visiting research fellow at Peking University. His research interests include constructivist and critical theoretical approaches in IR, the domestic and foreign policies of China and India, international relations in East Asia, the issue of international order and state sovereignty.

Research Articles