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Title: Construction of China and India's national interests : the Tibet question
Author: Lee, S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 8452
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2016
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The purpose of this research is to examine China and India's national interests with regard to Tibet, and the ways in which these interests have been shaped and pursued. While drawing on the sizeable body of academic literature which already addresses this topic, this thesis contends that the conclusions which have been reached to date have tended to be arbitrary, insofar as studies have suffered from a lack of theoretical and conceptual clarity on 'national interest'. The intention here is therefore to discuss the two countries' stances using a more rigorous analytical framework based on explicit theoretical and conceptual foundations. From a rationalist and critical constructivist perspective in tandem, it attempts to identify and compare the rationales behind China and India's pursuit of national interest vis-à-vis Tibet, and to examine the domestic processes of interest formation concerning the Tibet issue in elite discourse. To develop a rationalist account, content analysis is used to argue that both countries are primarily concerned about the security implications of the Tibetan question. For China, Tibet is a domestic issue, and symbolises internal integrity and the modernisation of the nation, especially with regard to minority areas. For India, Tibet remains a useful means of containing China, especially during negotiations over border disputes. To complement these findings, critical discourse analysis is used to develop a constructivist account examining the role of nationalism in the processes whereby elites have shaped, justified and pursued their national interests. This account suggests that the Communist Party of China has constructed a myth of Chinese nationhood partly in order to realise its interests vis-à-vis Tibet. The CPC has drawn on Han nationalism to fortify the concept of the Chinese nation, and on propaganda about development to neutralise Tibetan nationalism. In the case of India, the elite, while acknowledging their inability to contain China with the Tibet card, have attempted to boost nationalism by emphasising their generous, democratic and peaceful approach towards Tibet, and thereby comparing themselves favourably with China. The thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge in two main ways: it departs from the existing literature by taking a constructivist approach to China and India's national interest with regard to Tibet; and it is the first empirical study in this research area to explore the role of nationalism as a strategic means of shaping and pursuing national interest.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available