Today, the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China has published a report (titled „Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014“) on the human rights record of the United States (see full text here: http://www.ecns.cn/2015/06-26/170804.shtml), inter alia criticising torture methods conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
– Forsythe, Michael (2015), China Issues Report on U.S. Human Rights Record, in Annual Tit for Tat, New York Times, Sinosphere Blog, 26th June 2015, available online at: http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/26/china-issues-report-on-u-s-human-rights-record-in-annual-tit-for-tat/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=World&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs®ion=Body (last accessed: 26th June 2015).
– People’s Daily Online 人民网 (2015), United States, please do not act as ‚elderly human rights teacher‘ 美国，别当“人权教师爷“, 27th June 2015, available online at: http://world.people.com.cn/n/2015/0627/c157278-27215840.html (last accessed: 26th June 2015).
„We build too many walls and not enough bridges.“ – Sir Isaac Newton
This blog shall deliver a specific European perspective on China’s foreign policy within a globalised world. It shall bring insight into a wide array of topics, ranging from economic, security to diplomatic and ideological issues.
The intention of the author is deep-rooted in a wish to build bridges between different civilisations. In times of globalisation, the parameter of distance has vanished to a high degree, bringing people and ideas together. The People’s Republic of China, due to its self-imposed isolation, has long been mysterious to the European audience. Since the country has opened gradually to the world, its importance for the solution of a large variety of problems has risen remarkably. Therefore, we must need to understand what China wants, how it tries to reach its goals and which implications China’s foreign policy has for the Western hemisphere, including Europe.
Furthermore, this blog understands China’s rise in international society and its role as a key player in global politics as a premise and thus tries to analyse Chinese foreign policy objectives more closer.
“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.” – Noam Chomsky
Andreas Lehrfeld is a sinology, classical Chinese philology, political science and public law graduate. During his studies, he put special emphasis on the integration of China in international organizations and public international law, especially the United Nations, international humanitarian law and the international human rights system. He was also employed as research assistant at the Chair for Chinese politics and economy at Trier University under Professor Sebastian Heilmann. Furthermore, he gained working experience at the German Bundestag and the Berlin-based Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). Since early 2016, Mr Lehrfeld is pursuing his PhD studies on the topic „Chinese Positions on the Use of Force by States“ at Cologne University. In his dissertation, he conducts research on topics such as collective security, the use of force against non-state actors and humanitarian intervention.
Mr Lehrfeld’s Magister thesis (China and the global order – Chinese participation in international law within the United Nations framework, 2002 – 2015) – against the background of China’s global rise as well as its national self-image – addressed the People’s Republic of China’s engagement in the International Human Rights Regime as well as in international human rights law within the United Nations system. Furthermore, in his additional Bachelor thesis (The arbitration case between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea – Origins, instruments and goals), he elaborated on the bilateral conflict between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea.
As a major rising power, the foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China belongs to his specific sphere of interest. During his studies and a one-year stay abroad in China he has not only become acquainted with Chinese foreign policy objectives and Chinese involvement in international politics but also with the overall Chinese attitude towards life and Chinese culture itself. In facing up to this different civilization, the experiences then made have helped fostering his intercultural competences. Currently he is a visiting lecturer at Cologne University where he conducts a seminar on the foundations of and current challenges for Chinese foreign policy. Against the background of his special interest in international understanding, he furthermore works as a project associate in the China programme of Stiftung Mercator, one of the largest private foundations in Germany.
Notwithstanding his special interest in China and the Asia-Pacific region, Mr Lehrfeld’s further interest extends to global affairs in general. In this regard, by preparing for and participating in several national and international ModelUN simulations in Berlin, Brussels and New York, he became not only familiar with opinions contradictory to his own ideals but also with various international key topics such as legal aspects concerning the use of drones or disarmament issues on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. Moreover, he was hereby introduced in the specifics of the UN system which has led him to change his area of expertise towards international organisations and public international law.