New research report on China’s approaches to multilateralism

A research report, Theory and Practice in China’s Approaches to Multilateralism and Critical Reflections on the Western ‘Rules-Based International Order’, authored by Anthony Carty (Professor of International Law at the Beijing Institute of Technology School of Law) and Jing Gu (Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development at the Institute of Development Studies) was published by the Institute of Development Studies on 26 October 2021.

The aim in this study is to explain how China does in fact have a multilateral approach to international relations. China’s core idea of a community of shared future of humanity shows that it is aware of the need for a universal foundation for world order. The Research Report focuses on explaining the Chinese approach to multilateralism from its own internal perspective, with Chinese philosophy and history shaping its view of the nature of rules, rights, law, and of institutions which should shape relationships.

A number of case studies show how the Chinese perspectives are implemented, such as with regards to development finance, infrastructure projects (especially the Belt and Road Initiative), shaping new international organisations (such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), climate change, cyber-regulation and Chinese participation in the United Nations in the field of human rights and peacekeeping. Looking at critical Western opinion of this activity, we find speculation around Chinese motives. This is why a major emphasis is placed on a hermeneutic approach to China which explains how it sees its intentions. The heart of the Research Report is an exploration of the underlying Chinese philosophy of rulemaking, undertaken in a comparative perspective to show how far it resembles or differs from the Western philosophy of rulemaking.

Download the report here.

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