Thu, Apr 7, 2016, 5:00 pm
190 WALLACE HALL
Restricted to Students, Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs only
A light dinner will be served. Please RSVP Here: http://goo.gl/forms/MOHSG4vm5K
To what extent can Chinese provinces act counter to the interests or preferences of the central government? Most analyses of Chinese foreign and security policies treat China as a unitary actor, assuming a cohesive grand strategy articulated by Beijing. Current research on the role of subnational actors has focused on how they shape Beijing’s domestic and economic policies, largely assuming that foreign security policy is controlled by the center. I challenge this conventional wisdom, showing how provinces can affect the formulation and implementation of Chinese foreign security policy. Using Hainan and Yunnan as case studies, I identify three main modes of provincial influence – pioneering, resisting, and opportunism – and illustrate these dynamics with examples of different provincial policies. This 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 behavior, not least in the South China Sea. In addition, I present a mixed-methods research design for expanding the study to other border provinces and examining how different variables affect the degree of provincial influence over time.