The Discipline of International Law in Republican China and Contemporary Taiwan

Washington University Global Studies Law Review, Vol. 14(1), pp. 87-129, 2015

Singapore Management University School of Law Research Paper No. 22/2014

43 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2014 Last revised: 13 Aug 2015

See all articles by Pasha L. Hsieh

Pasha L. Hsieh

Singapore Management University - School of Law

Date Written: April 12, 2014

Abstract

This article examines the evolution of international law as a professional and intellectual discipline in the Republic of China (ROC), which has governed Mainland China (1912-1949) and post-1949 Taiwan. The ROC’s centennial development fundamentally shaped modern China’s course of foreign relations and postwar global governance. The article argues that statism, pragmatism and idealism define the major features of the ROC’s approach to international law. These characteristics transformed the law of nations into universally valid normative claims and prompted modern China’s intellectual focus on the civilized nation concept. First, the article analyzes the professionalization of the discipline of international law. It offers insight into the cultivation of China’s first-generation international lawyers in the Foreign Ministry, international law societies and the Shanghai Mixed Court. Second, it explores the ROC’s approach of assertive legalism in applying international law to advance diplomatic objectives. The nation’s strategic engagement with unequal treaties, the League of Nations, and the United Nations contributed to its Grotian moment. The assertion of legal claims in judicial proceedings and Taiwan’s international standing further reinforced the dynamic dimension of the discipline. Therefore, this article provides a valuable case study of twentieth century international lawmaking in East Asia.

Keywords: China, Taiwan, International Law, Nationalist Government, Unequal Treaties

Suggested Citation

Hsieh, Pasha L., The Discipline of International Law in Republican China and Contemporary Taiwan (April 12, 2014). Washington University Global Studies Law Review, Vol. 14(1), pp. 87-129, 2015; Singapore Management University School of Law Research Paper No. 22/2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2424151

Pasha L. Hsieh (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - School of Law ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Level 4
Singapore, 179943
Singapore
68280345 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.smu.edu.sg/directory/pasha-l-hsieh

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