China’s Foreign Policy in the ‘Going Out’ Era: An Analysis of China’s Zambia Policy

Liang, Yuchen (2023) China’s Foreign Policy in the ‘Going Out’ Era: An Analysis of China’s Zambia Policy. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

China’s Foreign Policy in the ‘Going Out’ Era: An Analysis of China’s Zambia Policy
PhD thesis
Liang, Yuchen - International Relations - July 2023.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


This dissertation analyses Chinese foreign policymaking in the context of Sino-Zambian relations in the ‘Going Out’ era (1997-2022). China’s foreign policymaking system tends to be regarded as a ‘black box’ by foreign observers, owing to their limited access to it. In particular, Western researchers’ ability to understand Chinese foreign policymaking is stymied by impediments such as language barriers and difficulties in gaining access to key actors inside the system. Unusually in this context, this dissertation presents the findings of twelve elite interviews with senior officials that shed new light on the Chinese foreign policymaking process. Situated theoretically within a fragmented authoritarianism framework that rejects the conventional image of Chinese foreign policymaking as centralised, top-down, and highly coordinated, the dissertation instead explores how Chinese foreign policy is made “on the ground,” with all the messiness, confusion, and contradictions this entails. In the process, the dissertation develops the concept of “policy lagging” in order to explain some of the notable failures of China’s foreign policy when it comes to Zambia. It finds that China’s foreign policymaking system is surprisingly ineffective at coordinating the various actors involved in the process. Furthermore, communication between those actors is compromised by a system of policy-related information flows that is not fit for purpose. China’s foreign policymaking system proves to be insufficiently proactive: policy adoptions are slow to occur, and important matters escalate before resolutions can be found. These problems are exacerbated by policymakers’ willingness to justify policy failures and their unwillingness to make timely policy adaptions.

Keywords:China, foreign policy
Subjects:L Social studies > L243 Politics of a specific country/region
L Social studies > L420 International Social Policy
L Social studies > L250 International Relations
L Social studies > L240 International Politics
Divisions:COLLEGE OF ARTS, SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:55727
Deposited On:11 Aug 2023 09:08

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