Non-interference as a doctrine in China's Africa policy : the case of Darfur

Theron, Annette (2012-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aimed to look at non-interference as a doctrine in China’s Africa Policy. This involved looking at the non-interference principle in general, not only in Beijing’s policies. The non-interference principle as contained in the policies of the African Union, United Nations and in the policies of Western and Asian states were discussed, noting a gradual shift away from strict non-interference towards non-indifference and humanitarian intervention. Beijing’s orthodox understanding of non-interference, on the other hand, is based on respect for the sovereignty of other states and a belief that, unless requested, no state should interfere in the domestic affairs of another state. The doctrine of non-interference, as understood by Beijing was then applied to the crisis in Darfur. In the case of Darfur, Beijing initially adhered to its understanding of non-interference, in spite of criticism that its behaviour was based solely on China’s own interests. China initially ignored international expectations to intervene in the affairs of Khartoum. In fact, Beijing continued to support Khartoum and abstained from UN Security Council resolutions on the matter. Initially the government in Beijing was not willing to make any adjustments to the non-interference doctrine, as the situation in Darfur did not seem to present any reason for Beijing to disregard its own policies. Yet Beijing gradually shifted in non-interference; seen in its pressure on Khartoum to allow the AU/UN hybrid peacekeeping force. The reasons for the shift are ascribed to various factors ranging from international pressure and even the possible reputational risk. China managed to balance its economic and political interests in Sudan with its duties and expectations of the Security Council. At the same time, Beijing continued to protect the sovereignty of the Khartoum government by adhering to its beliefs of the right of the state. The subtle shift away from Beijing’s orthodox understanding of non-interference can be seen as China changing its non-interference doctrine to suit its new role in the international community. It can also be seen as China still adhering to the non-interference doctrine, as it places emphasis on avoiding sanctions and still requires permission from the host state for external intervention. Another key element is that it adapted when its interests were at risk. It would seem probable that this trend will continue, resulting rather in Beijing implementing a form of ‘pro-active non-interference’ based on the situation. Such a position would indicate a shift in the doctrine of non-interference based on the situation and pressure, but according to certain core values of Beijing.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die navorser het ondersoek ingestel na die nietussenkomsleerstelling soos dit in China se Afrika-beleid vervat word. Die nietussenkomsbeginsel soos geformuleer in die beleidsdokumente van die Afrika-unie (AU), Verenigde Nasies (VN), en in die beleidsdokumente van die Westerse en Oosterse state is ook ondersoek. Die wegbeweging van die streng toepassing van die nietussenkomsleerstelling na ’n beleid van onverskilligheid en tussenkoms wat gebaseer is op die beskerming van menseregte was ’n geleidelike proses. Beijing se konvensionele begrip van hierdie beginsel was volgehou met die verstand dat soewereiiteit van ander state gerespekteer moet word en state nie moet inmeng by die interne sake van ander state nie, behalwe wanneer dit versoek word. Die klem word in beleidsdokumente eerder gelê op respek, gelykheid, samewerking en wedersydse voordeel. Die nietussenkomsleerstelling soos dit verstaan word deur Beijing word ondersoek aan die hand van die Dafoer-krisis. Dit toon Beijing het aanvanklik volgehou met die toepassing van die nietussenkomsleerstelling in China se buitelandsse beleid en optrede, ten spyte van die aantuigings dat hierdie gedrag slegs ter wille van eie belang is. Beijing het haar aanvanklik nie aan die internasionale gemeenskap se verwagting om in te gryp by die sake van Khartoum gesteur nie; China het aangehou om Khartoum te ondersteun en van die VN-veiligheidsraad te weerhou rakende hierdie kwessie. Beijing se optrede teenoor Khartoum het met tyd verander. Sjinese verteenwoordigers het druk op Khartoum begin plaas in 2006 om AU/VN-magte in Darfoer toe te laat. Verskeie redes kan aangevoer word hoekom Beijing uiteindelik haar beleid aangepas het. Van hierdie redes sluit in internasionale druk en die moontlikheid vir China om nie meer as gasheerland vir die Olimpiese Spele in 2008 op te tree nie. Dit kom voor of China daarin geslaag het om die land se ekonomiese en politiese belange in Soedan te balanseer met die verwagtinge wat ander lande van China as ’n permanente VN-lid gehad het. Beijing het gepoog om in so ’n mate in te gryp dat Khartoum se soewereiniteit steeds gerespekteer word. Aan die hand van hierdie subtiele veranderinge in China se beleid en optrede, kan die afleiding gemaak word dat Beijing nie die nietussenkomsleerstelling streng toegepas het nie, maar na die Darfoer-krisis eerder neig na ’n proaktiewe toepassing van die nietuseenkomsleerstelling. Byvoorbeeld, Beijing keur steeds nie die instelling van sanksies goed nie en vereis dat soewereinitiet van state gerespekteer word. Dit blyk dat China die buitelandse beleid aangepas het om steeds die land se belange te beskerm en om te voldoen aan die internasionale vereistes. Hierdie meer proaktiewe optrede blyk om net in sekere gevalle toegepas te word. Daar word bevind dat daar ’n aanpassing van die is met betrekking tot die oorspronklike posisie van die nietussenkomsleerstelling. Beijing sal egter voortgaan om getrou te wees aan aspekte van die oorspronklike leerstelling.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/19970
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