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Title: The discourse and practice of sovereignty in the People's Republic of China : principles and pragmatism in the management of Hong Kong and Taiwan affairs
Author: Tok, Sow Keat
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 497X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation has two objectives: one, to dispel the “myth” and assumption that China holds on to an “absolute” view of sovereignty, and has arguably acted in accordance to this view; and two, to forward an alternative view of sovereignty as seen through Beijing’s eyes. This dissertation argues that China’s sovereignty is one which flexibly accommodates, at times voluntarily concedes, different mix of de facto rights according to each respective context and issue. This is attributed to China’s historical experiences with the concept, as well as its discourses. When “sovereignty” was introduced into Chinese thinking, the result is a “view” of sovereignty which juxtaposed Chinese previous understanding of “supreme authority” with an interpretation of the Western concept of sovereignty. “Sovereignty,” in this view, is essentially a de jure construct as its de facto component (or “right of governance”) is purposely and effectively detached from the concept to serve the political needs of the regime. It thus approximates one grounded on graded rings of sovereignty, where authority emanates from the core, but each “level of sovereignty” is entrusted to exercise different “right of governance.” As long as no overt challenge is posed to the idea that a single, de jure sovereignty— more specifically understood as a nominal “supreme authority”—resides in Beijing, this Chinese view of sovereignty is upheld. A “light” constructivist approach which explores the relationship between norms, ideational structures, agency and “discursive formations” is applied to the case studies of Hong Kong (and Macao) and Taiwan to support the arguments in this dissertation. Chinese discourses on “sovereignty” were examined in details through analysing a large sample size of Chinese academic writings from 1980 till 2008, in addition to policy documents and announced official positions of the Chinese leadership. This is further augmented by analyses of Beijing’s policy behaviours towards, in particular, Hong Kong’s autonomy and Taiwan’s international space.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) ; University of Warwick ; Chen Jiageng ji jin hui (Singapore)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JQ Political institutions (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.)