Whither China’s Non-Interference Principle?
26 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2011 Last revised: 9 Feb 2012
Date Written: December 2, 2011
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, including the non-interference principle, won China the reputation as the champion of the world’s newly independent nations in the mid-1950s. But nowadays the non-interference principle brings China the reputation as a patron of pariah states and is viewed as an excuse for China to resist outside criticism on its human rights situation. Why does the same principle suffer opposite treatments across this time? Is non-interference still a basic principle in rising China’s foreign policy? Is it time to abandon such an unwelcome principle?
I answer the above questions through examining the evolution of the non-interference/non-intervention principle in China’s foreign policy and in international law. Criticism of China’s non-interference principle is attributed to both the erosion of the non-intervention principle in international law and China’s rising power and influence. China has determined to keep non-interference as a basic principle in its new diplomatic strategy, i.e., the ‘harmonious world theory.’ I suggest China be open to other countries’ soft interference and use it constructively in international communications. On the other hand, China should continue its limited and conditional support for forcible intervention.
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