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China Solutions and Chinese Wisdom for the World: Stress Testing China’s Agenda for Global Ordering?


Date: Thursday 5 May 2022

Time: 14.00 – 16.00

Location: Aula Magna, Stockholm university

Shaun Breslin, Professor of Politics and International Relations, University of Warwick, with a prominent panel of China scholars.

Please use this link to register before 4 May, 2022.

Bild på forskaren Shaun Breslin.
Shaun Breslin, Professor of Politics and International Relations, University of Warwick.

China’s leaders have long challenged the supposed universalism of norms and principles that underpin the way the (liberal) world is supposed to be ordered. Historically, the emphasis was on constructing alternative understandings and definitions built on China’s unique (non-Western) experiences and thinking to explain why Chinese thinking and practice did not conform with Western expectations; hence the ubiquity of the qualifier “with Chinese characteristics”. Under Xi Jinping, however, these China derived norms and preferences are promoted as having salience beyond China’s borders too, with “Chinese wisdom” providing the basis for a new (non-Western) normative approach to global governance for all.

It is somewhat ironic that what started out as a means of explaining Chinese uniqueness has become transformed into an outline for a new universalism. But analysing what China’s leaders have said (and how some Chinese scholars have studied and explained what they said), helps us understand the logic deployed to explain this normative transformation. So too does noting the significance of “Occidentalism”; building a discourse of what China isn't and what China opposes as the basis of this new position. And as the Ukraine crisis continues to unfold, we can now ask if Chinese diplomatic behaviour matches up to the self-defined identity of being a new type of Great Power, and assess the efficacy of China’s preferred approach to resolving international crises.

Shaun Breslin is Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, and Co-Editor of The Pacific Review. His research interests focus on the intersection between Chinese domestic politics and China’s international relations, and the global consequences of the nature of China’s rise. His most recent book, China Risen: Studying Chinese global power was published by Bristol University Press in 2021. He was recently horrified to calculate that his first visit to China in 1984 was closer in time to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China than it is to today.
The lecture by Prof. Shaun Breslin will be followed by a panel of distinguished China scholars (more information about the speakers):
Karl Gustafsson, Associate Professor of International Relations, Stockholm University
Johan Lagerkvist, Professor of Chinese Language and Culture, Director, Stockholm Center for Global Asia, Stockholm University
Nicola Nymalm, Assistant Professor, Institute for War Studies and Military History, Swedish Defence University, Associate Research Fellow, Swedish Institute of International Affairs 
Nicholas Olczak, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Economic History and International Relations, Stockholm University
Marina Svensson, Professor of Modern China Studies, Director, Center for East and Southeast Asian Studies, Lund University.