Reasons behind China’s rapidly growing use of the veto in the UNSC regarding Syria are vaguely related to the case of Syria itself, but directly reflect the primacy of China’s domestic politics and its strategic aspirations to reshape global governance.
This article examines intersection of three contemporary issues that occupy academic thought intensively: China’s global politics, its changing voting practice at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and the international response to the civil war in Syria. The aim of the article is to provide quantitative and qualitative analysis of China’s voting practice in the UNSC regarding the civil war in Syria, to outline a legal and political interpretation of its voting patterns and to conceptualise China’s politics in the UNSC regarding this issue. The article argues that reasons behind China’s rapidly growing use of the veto in the UNSC regarding Syria are vaguely related to the case of Syria itself, but directly reflect the primacy of China’s domestic politics and its strategic aspirations to reshape global governance. Growing concern within the international community about the human rights abuses taking place on a mass scale against Uighurs in Xinjiang is the most prominent catalyst that enables and provokes China’s systemic reaction. Therefore, although China has neither geopolitical nor strategic interests in Syria, Syria’s case serves as a battleground for China’s attempts to transform the collectively accepted interpretation of multilateralism, democratic values, and norms. This aspect underlines the necessity to observe China’s politics from the perspective of social constructivism. Methodologically, this article draws on political discourse analysis theory, examines China’s arguments in the UNSC and argues that China’s voting behaviour in the UNSC regarding Syria focused on reinterpretation of two grand concepts of international law: state sovereignty and non-interference
Read the full Executive Summary of the research here: Socrates-20-2_08-Reire_099-114