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More than Peripheral: How Provinces Influence China's Foreign Policy

  • Audrye Wong (a1)

Most analyses of China's foreign and security policies treat China as a unitary actor, assuming a cohesive grand strategy articulated by Beijing. I challenge this conventional wisdom, showing how Chinese provinces can affect the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. This contributes to existing research on the role of subnational actors in China, which has focused on how they shape domestic and economic policies. Using Hainan and Yunnan as case studies, I identify three mechanisms of provincial influence – trailblazing, carpetbagging, and resisting – and illustrate them with examples of key provincial policies. This analysis provides a more nuanced argument than is commonly found in international relations for the motivations behind evolving and increasingly activist Chinese foreign policy. It also has important policy implications for understanding and responding to Chinese behaviour, in the South China Sea and beyond.

大多数关于中国外交和安全政策的分析把中国当成统一的行为者, 假设大战略是由中央政府勾出的。以改变这些传统的观点,本文考察了地方政府如何影响中国的外交决策与执行过程。 这也对关于中国地方行为者的研究做出了贡献,因为它们通常只关注国内和经济政策。以海南省和云南省为案例,本文指出了地方影响的三个机制——开拓,投机,和抵抗——并调查了各种地方政策举例说明。比起国际关系中试图解释日益演变,日益积极的中国外交政策的动机的普遍说法,本文提供了更加精细的论据。这种分析对理解和应对中国的外交行为,包括南海问题等其他方面, 也具有重要的政策意义。

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