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Preventing and Responding to Atrocity Crimes: China, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect

Barelli, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-6650-7232 (2018). Preventing and Responding to Atrocity Crimes: China, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect. Journal of Conflict & Security Law, 23(2), doi: 10.1093/jcsl/kry016

Abstract

With China on the rise, a question that is becoming increasingly important for international lawyers is that of the potential implications of Beijing’s strident defence of State sovereignty for the international legal system. Against this background, a better understanding of Chinese interpretations of sovereignty appears not only useful but also desirable. This article contributes to clarifying some of the intricacies of those interpretations by examining China’s approach to the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). Through an analysis of both its conceptual and practical engagement with R2P, the article reveals that Beijing’s attitudes towards questions of sovereignty and non-intervention in the context of humanitarian crises are more complex and nuanced than often assumed. After exploring the conditions under which China would accept infringements of sovereignty aimed at protecting basic values of humanity, the article suggests that the real challenge that Beijing will face going forward is not to show more willingness to engage in forcible interventions, but, rather, make credible contributions to peacefully preventing and halting the commission of atrocity crimes.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in 'Journal of Conflict & Security Law' following peer review. The version of record Barelli, M. (2018). Preventing and Responding to Atrocity Crimes: China, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect. Journal of Conflict & Security Law, is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/jcsl/kry016.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
K Law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > International Law and Affairs Group
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/20319
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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