Contextualising China’s Call for Discourse Power in International Politics

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Scholars have been studying whether China’s call for “discourse power” in international politics (initially made in 2011) is simply a tactic in the country’s now-familiar pursuit of national interests as part of its ascendency. A closer look is required to avoid mistakenly considering it as no more than the Communist Party’s propaganda, which would miss the point regarding China’s use of the phrase in the context of prevailing normative worldviews regarding fairness and justice. The current Chinese international relations (IR) literature contains a significant number of articles on discourse power (huayuquan) that discuss how calls for protecting sovereignty and rights in international affairs represent a perceived cultural need on the part of the Chinese government to articulate its own worldview while promoting its national interests. The author argues that without identifying theoretical or conceptual rationales and processes that support China’s assertion of a need for discourse power in international affairs, it is possible to overlook the important cultural roots underlying the Chinese government’s repeated demands for legitimacy in its dealings with other nation-states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-189
Number of pages18
JournalChina: An International Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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