JSI Seminar: A Chinese Alternative to Sovereignty?: Revisiting the Qing Concept of ‘Stateliness’ – Law School: Events JSI Seminar: A Chinese Alternative to Sovereignty?: Revisiting the Qing Concept of ‘Stateliness’ – Law School: Events

JSI Seminar: A Chinese Alternative to Sovereignty?: Revisiting the Qing Concept of ‘Stateliness’

JSI Seminar: A Chinese Alternative to Sovereignty?: Revisiting the Qing Concept of ‘Stateliness’

Speaker: Assistant Professor Ryan Mitchell, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Today, the People’s Republic of China is one of the most prominent global advocates of a (near) absolute conception of state sovereignty vis-a-vis international legal norms. It is hardly unique in this respect of course. Quite a few of its positions are shared in many respects by other self-construed ‘great powers’, not least its fellow UN Security Council members. The modern critiques of sovereignty most often advanced in global discourse by international lawyers and political or legal scholars, meanwhile, frequently invoke notions of global integration, cosmopolitan ethical obligations, transnational legal processes, or other such ideas derived from Western legal thought. Some scholars, Chinese and Western, have also looked to ancient Chinese thought for sources of similar post-sovereign theories of political and legal order.

This paper adopts a different approach, seeking to reconstruct a Chinese theory of state and world order distinct from that of post-nineteenth century nation-state sovereignty, but also from either a Kantian-influenced Western-cosmopolitan Souveränitätskritik or Confucian ethical universalism. This alternative conception centers on the concept of guoti, or “stateliness,” which was the most important norm invoked by China’s Qing rulers and officials as they confronted Western encroachments and treaty negotiations during the dynasty’s protracted decline from 1840-1911. As the paper will show, the notion of “stateliness” was articulated not as a critique of state sovereignty, but as a fully-realized alternative. Like the Western territorial-administrative state sovereign model, Qing “stateliness” posited a certain “domain reservée” for the individual state’s jurisdiction. Unlike the former, however, that authority was defined not by reference to administrative control or spatial exclusivity, but rather in relational terms permitting extensive compromise and forms of interaction within (debatable) boundaries. When Western international law came to China, it was first received by reference to these local theories of rule, before aggressive commercial and military expansionism gradually prompted a full Chinese embrace of the new Western sovereignty logic. After reconstructing the pertinent features of the Qing notion of stateliness, this paper will suggest several ways that the notion might be recovered for the problems and questions of international legal order today.

 

 

Time: 6-7.30pm

This is an online event. Once you register you will receive the Zoom details.

 

CPD Points: 1.5

 

This event is hosted by the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence at The University of Sydney Law School. 

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Date

Apr 15 2021

Time

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

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Organizer

Professional Learning and Community Engagement
Phone
02 9351 0429
Email
law.events@sydney.edu.au
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