SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute academics give evidence in Foreign Affairs Committee report

9 April 2019

SOAS China Institute Director Professor Steve Tsang and Academic Member Dr Yuka Kobayashi (Lecturer/Assistant Professor in China and International Politics) have been quoted extensively in a new report by the Foreign Affairs Committee on China.

The report, China and the Rules-Based International System, follows evidence given by Professor Tsang and Dr Kobayashi to the Foreign Affairs Committee's Inquiry into China and the international rule-based system, which examines how China has participated and engaged with the international order and how the UK can respond to the process.

Professor Tsang is quoted on the scale of disparity in China, Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power, the developing situation in Xinjiang and autonomy in Hong Kong. Dr Kobayashi is quoted on the Belt and Road Initiative, its impact on development and the UK’s potential role in the project. She also gave evidence on China in the WTO and its growing importance in international economic/trade governance.

The report finds that the UK needs to recalibrate its policy towards China to fully acknowledge the consolidation of power in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party under President Xi Jinping. The Foreign Affairs Committee says China is seeking a role in the world commensurate with its growing economic power, and the United Kingdom should welcome China’s desire to participate in global governance.

However, Chinese foreign policy is shaped by the need to serve the interests and perceived legitimacy of the Communist Party. This makes China a viable partner for the UK on some issues, but an active challenger on others. The current framework of UK policy towards China reflects an unwillingness to face this reality.

The full report can be found on the Foreign Affairs Committee website. Dr Kobayashi’s evidence can be viewed at Parliament TV and Professor Tsang’s evidence is in full here.