Universalism and Equal Sovereignty as Contested Myths of International Law in the Sino-Western Encounter

Citation
Title:
Universalism and Equal Sovereignty as Contested Myths of International Law in the Sino-Western Encounter
Author:
Year: 
2011
Publication: 
ournal of the History of International Law
Volume: 
13
Issue: 
1
Start Page: 
75
End Page: 
116
Publisher: 
Martinus Nijhoff Publishers
Language: 
English
URL: 
www.brill.nl/jhil
Select license: 
No License (All right reserved)
DOI: 
PMID: 
ISSN: 
Abstract:

Contrary to the relevant traditional historiography, this paper argues that early modern Sino-Western conflicts were to a great extent attributable to the sustained contestation between China and the Western empires (particularly Britain) over their competing claims to sovereignty in China. It shows that the Western empires’ demand for extraterritoriality and natural rights to freely trade, travel, and/or proselytize in China originated in their assumption of universal sovereignty in the non-Christian world. The early Sino-Western encounter illustrates how the discourses of sovereign equality and universal justice, as two origin myths of modern international law and diplomacy, were constructed, deployed, challenged, and adapted in the course of Western expansion in the age of empire.

 

Number of Pages in PDF File: 44

Keywords: international law, sovereignty, imperialism, Chinese law, British empire, Sino-Western relations, opium war, law and empire, colonialism, universalism

Comments
  • Recommend Us