Power, Restraint, and China’s Rise

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 30 March 2017


SDSC Reading Room, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU


Assistant Professor Chin-Hao Huang, Yale-NUS College


Bell School

Please note that this is a book manuscript review seminar: two chapters from the manuscript will be circulated ten days in advance and taken as read by participants. Please register for the event to receive the chapters in advance.

The conventional wisdom holds that China’s rise is disrupting the global balance of power in unpredictable ways. In contrast, Power, Restraint, and China’s Rise tackles the puzzle: how and why does China constrain its power even as its military capabilities are increasing at unprecedented rates? It reasons that if rising powers care about their acceptance within the international community, they can be motivated to act beyond zero-sum considerations. Put simply, defiance and deflection of international security norms are not foreign policy options by default. The challenge is to identify the scope conditions for compliance behavior and analyze how one of the most consequential emerging powers today exercises power and restraint in security affairs. Huang tests the logical consistency of his argument by examining the patterns and conditions under which China is more (or less) likely to cooperate, comply with international norms, and take on self-constraining commitments in three empirical cases: UN peacekeeping operations, the Arms Trade Treaty regulating global trade in conventional arms, and the ongoing maritime disputes in the South China Sea. The findings provide insights into understanding change in Chinese foreign policy, how to incentivize China to become a responsible power. This seminar will feature the introductory/conceptual chapter, and the empirical case study of the South China Sea.

Chin-Hao Huang is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale-NUS College. He specializes in international security, with a focus on China and Asia. He is a recent recipient of the American Political Science Association (APSA) Foreign Policy Best Paper Award for his research on China’s compliance behavior in multilateral security institutions. His field work has been supported in part by the United States Institute of Peace, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, MacArthur Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation. His works have been published in The China Quarterly, The China Journal, International Peacekeeping, and in edited volumes through Oxford University Press and Routledge, among others. He has testified and presented on China’s foreign affairs before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, U.S. Congress. He has also served as a consultant for U.S. and European foundations, governments, and companies on their strategies and policies in China and Asia. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Southern California and B.S. with honors from Georgetown University.

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