Chinese Perspectives on International Relations: A Framework by Gerald Chan (auth.)

By Gerald Chan (auth.)

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Extra info for Chinese Perspectives on International Relations: A Framework for Analysis

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In conceptual terms it has remained a distinct strand of thought in Chinese political philosophy, arguing that the realisation of beneficial policies depends on institutions rather than good intention. 5 Mao Zedong's famous saying that 'political power grows out of the barrel of a gun' rings true, especially in a crisis situation when the legitimacy of the CCP or the position of its top leaders comes under serious challenge. Mao also said that the gun must come under the control of the Party, so the Party is the ultimate source of authority, and the most powerful people in China are the seven standing committee members of the 22-member strong Politburo.

Hence some Chinese can seem to be on high moral ground when they swear they will stick to their principles, such as the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and a China that will never become a hegemon, but can change their tactics back and forth when circumstances demand without feeling any sense of quilt. They see the shift as part of the rules of military tactics, and would earnestly deny any wrongdoing and could honestly become furious if they were accused of cheating, playing tricks, or changing their principles.

Quite the contrary: they can contribute something towards building the philosophical base of Chinese thinking in IR. In a recently published article entitled 'The search for a new system of methodology for analysing economic and political relations of the world - on the creation of dialectics in international relations', 36 the authors strongly recommend the use of dialectics as a method to analyse IR. They define dialectics in IR as a scientific study of the general pattern of the workings of various kinds of contradictions in IR, based on the methods of studying international politics, international strategy, and the practice of international struggle; it is a branch of dialectical historicism and an application and special manifestation of the general theory of dialectical materialism in IR.

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