China and the UN Security Council

jungcANU China Seminar Series

Reconciling Status: China and the Dilemma of Intervention at the UN Security Council, 2000–2015
Courtney J. Fung

Thursday, 20 October 2016, 4-5:30pm
Seminar Room A, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU, Canberra

What explains China’s varied response in regards to intervention at the UN Security Council? In recent memory, China acquiesced and supported intervention into Sudan regarding the Darfur crisis and into Libya during its Arab Spring protests, but vetoed intervention into Syria. All of these cases were part of the post-11 September regime change public discourse, when legal and military tools were used to target governments due to their egregious domestic human rights records. Courtney Fung argues that China’s status concerns are an overlooked determinant in understanding China’s position on intervention. China’s pursuit of status is in part driven by a consequentialist calculation to maximise China’s reputation as a group member, but it is also inherently social, with a logic of appropriateness concern to conform to an intersubjective standard of good behaviour as a group member. Though China’s focus on status is not a new proposition, Fung offers greater analytical purchase in two ways: first, by specifying the scope conditions for status, and by unpacking the effects of China’s twin status as a great power and as a developing state. This research draws upon participant observation at UN Headquarters; significant fieldwork in Beijing and New York, and analysis of Chinese-language sources.

Courtney Fung is an assistant professor of International Relations at the University of Hong Kong and is currently on sabbatical as an honorary research fellow in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.

Before joining HKU, Courtney was a post-doctoral research fellow with the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program, based at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University. Prior positions include research fellowships with the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, and with the Global Peace Operations Program at the Center on International Cooperation, New York University. Courtney’s book manuscript explores China ‘s United Nations Security Council activity regarding intervention as a means to understand broader trends in Chinese foreign and security policy. Other research projects include India and China’s normative roles in response to the responsibility to protect, and an RGC Early Career Scheme funded project on the impact of regional organizations on China’s position on intervention at the United Nations.

Courtney holds a PhD in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, where she was awarded the Peter Ackerman Dissertation Prize for her doctoral thesis. She also holds an M.A. in Security Policy Studies from the George Washington University, and a B.Sc. (Hons) in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Courtney serves as a member of the Fletcher Board of Advisors.

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