China's participation in the international legal system has long been a topic of academic inquiry both inside and outside China, and has produced a rich literature reflecting mainly two concerns. First, is China a help or a hindrance to the development of the international legal system? If China is a help, what impact has China made upon the contemporary international legal system and what can China contribute to its further development? Secondly, what impact has the international legal system in which China has participated had on China? In recent years, the context in which these questions are framed has changed greatly. After the founding of the PRC in 1949, China was seen as a potential rebel against the prevailing international legal system. Today, China is depicted, at least in the mind of US decision-makers, as a stakeholder of the world order.
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