(034) CHINA’S JANUS-FACED RESPONSE TO THE ARAB REVOLUTIONS Cover Image

(034) CHINA’S JANUS-FACED RESPONSE TO THE ARAB REVOLUTIONS
(034) CHINA’S JANUS-FACED RESPONSE TO THE ARAB REVOLUTIONS

Author(s): Jonas Parello-Plesner, Raffaelo Pantucci
Subject(s): International relations/trade, Geopolitics, Peace and Conflict Studies
Published by: ECFR European Council on Foreign Relations
Keywords: Arab spring; Muammar Gaddafi; Ai Weiwei;
Summary/Abstract: China’s response to the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa was two-faced like the Roman god Janus. In a pragmatic break with its sovereigntist approach to international relations, China inter-vened to protect thousands of its citizens and its growing commercial interests in North Africa and sup-ported UN sanctions against Muammar Gaddafi. However, since February there has also been a wi-despread crackdown to prevent the wave of protests that had engulfed the Middle East and North Africa spreading to China. The arrest of artist Ai Weiwei at the beginning of April brought this crack-down to the attention of the world. This Janus-faced response presents a dilemma for the European Union. On the one hand, it suggests that China could in the future become a partner for the EU in crisis management and that it is moving towards a more proactive foreign policy. On the other hand, China’s response to protests at home represents a clear challenge to the EU’s newfound commitment to de-mocracy promotion. The EU should therefore seek to do more crisis-management planning together with China while remaining vocal and consistent on China’s human rights and internal reform process, even if it incites Chinese anger and results in a reaction in other fields.

  • Page Count: 10
  • Publication Year: 2011
  • Language: English