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The "Liberal" International Order: Any Room for an Illiberal Rising Power Like China?

UC Irvine Center for Global Peace & Conflict Studies hosts a discussion with Shiping Tang on the impact of China's rise in the Liberal international order.

April 27, 2016 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Some of the underpinning principles of “liberal” international order are foundationally different from the underpinning principles of liberal (domestic) order. Most prominently, no international order can be objectively legitimate because unlike a liberal domestic order that is ideally based on subjects’ “voluntary submission” to an order, an international order, even a “liberal” one, cannot be based on subjects’ voluntary submission to an order. Yet, perhaps ironically, it is precisely because of the not-so-genuine liberal nature of the “liberal” international order that makes some reshaping the international order via intra-system bargaining between the rising powers and the reigning hegemon more feasible than most liberals would like to admit. Dr.Tang will explore the possible role of China as an illiberal rising power in the (re-)shaping of the “liberal” international order, illustrating with the case of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) from its possible origin in the failure of intra-system reform of IMF to its eventual quasi-intra-system formation.

Shiping Tang is Fudan Distinguished Professor and Dr. Seaker Chan Chair Professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA), Fudan University, Shanghai, China. For the 2015-16 academic year, he is a Fulbright visiting research scholar at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California at San Diego. Prof. Tang has very broad research interests and has published widely. His most recent book, The Social Evolution of International Politics (2013), received the International Studies Association (ISA) "Annual Best Book Award" in 2015.