Prawo międzynarodowe z perspektywy Chin

Tomasz Widłak


International Law from the Perspective of China

The unprecedented rise of China on the international scene to the status of at least one of the major superpowers of the 21st century has not quite been followed by Chinese science of law. In particular, the question that needs to be  asked is one about the attitude of China towards international law. The aim of this article is to analyse whether there is any coherent and complex vision of modern international law emerging in contemporary China. In undertaking this attempt, the author goes through an uneasy experience the Middle Kingdom has had with the classical international law and the role it has played in Chinese affirmation of the famous Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. After that, Chinese attitudes toward the international law of human rights and the principles of the use of force in international relations are briefly looked at. Also more recent Chinese practice in selected areas of international law such as WTO law is taken into account. Seeking more general answers in the area of philosophy of international law and China’s official international policies towards UN and foreign relations, the article concludes that at this point of time China still holds on to rather conservative and tried positivist views on international law. A few proposals of possible reasons for this state of affairs are given. The article concludes that it may be too early to expect the arrival of an original, mature Chinese doctrine of international law. Nonetheless, this may change very swiftly provided that there comes into being a political need for China to embrace its world leadership role also in ideological and philosophic terms.