Riget i Midten af Darfur-konflikten - En analyse af Kinas ageren i FN's Sikkerhedsråd i forbindelse med konflikten i Darfur

Christian Barse & Marie Navarana Biisgård

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The motivation for this master thesis takes its outset in the western discourse on China’s role in the conflict in Darfur. The critique of China’s role has been very strong, claiming that China would not vote for an UN intervention in the Security Council because of their oil interests in Sudan. As the conflict in Darfur and the humanitarian crises got worse, so did the critique of China’s behaviour in the Security Council. Eventually western critiques connected Chinas role in Darfur with the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, calling it the “Genocide Olympics”. The critique first subsided when the Security Council adopted resolution 1769 at the end of July 2007, giving its mandate to a UN/AU hybrid force as a peacekeeping operation in Darfur. It is interesting that China abstained from voting for all the previous resolutions, which suggested an intervention or the like in Darfur. The aim of this thesis is to investigate China’s role in the Security Council in relation to the conflict in Darfur, with the motivation to vary the one-sided critique there has been in the western discourse. Our cardinal question is as follows: Which drivers are fundamental in Chinese foreign policy, exemplified through China’s behaviour in the UN Security Council in relation to the conflict in Darfur from February 2003 until August 2007? In order to investigate and categorize the different Chinese drivers, an analytical framework is constructed. The framework contains internal and external drivers, which are categorized as either liberalistic or realistic drivers. This is done because a study of the drivers shows that there are many conflicting drivers in China’s foreign policy. With regard to Darfur for example, China one the one hand wants to have an international solution to the conflict, but on the other hand they have abstained from voting for implementation of any force, which would be breach on Sudan’s sovereignty. As China eventually voted for the hybrid force, it was only because the government in Khartoum had accepted this force. Interestingly, the reason for this acceptance was, because China had put bilateral pressure on Khartoum behind the curtains. China’s behaviour in the Security Council with regard to the conflict in Darfur, portrays the dichotomy in Chinese foreign policy well. Drivers such as respect for the sovereignty of other states and non-interference are categorized as realistic drivers. The liberalistic drivers, such as multilateral cooperation and interdependence stand in contrast to the realistic drivers, which is the reason for the dichotomy in China’s foreign policy. In order to theorize this dichotomy Georg Sørensen’s theory on the three types of ideal states is applied to the analytical frame. Sørensen’s theory explains that there are three types of states in the international system: modern, postmodern and postcolonial. The western states, consists mostly of liberalistic drivers, and the sovereignty of other states can be broken if the states are incapable of taking care of its own citizens. The drivers of modern states are based on a realistic approach to International Relations, which means that non-interference and respect for sovereignty is emphasized. By applying the analytical framework of Chinese drivers we show that China has both modern (realistic) and postmodern (liberalistic) drivers in their foreign policy. Using Sørensen’s theory on the Chinese drivers shows that China is a modern state with postmodern tendencies. This means that Chinas approach to International Relations is different from most western, postmodern states. In order to test this argument it is applied on Chinas behaviour in the Security Council in relation to the conflict in Darfur, which functions as the case in this thesis. The empirical data in the thesis is found in the Security Councils resolutions and minutes that deal with Darfur. Our timeline goes from February 2003, when the conflict began, until August 2007, when the Security Council unanimously passed the resolution which gave mandate to the UN/AU hybrid force. The findings show that China emphasizes the realist driver of sovereignty and non-interference. But they show also that China wants to support at multilateral solution to the conflict, which is why China continuously has emphasized the collaboration with the AU, who have had troops in Darfur almost since the conflict broke out. The case shows that China will not compromise when it comes to sovereignty, a realistic driver – it is essential that Khartoum accepts the resolutions made by the Security Council. On the other hand China has been enthusiastic on finding an international solution to the problems in Darfur, a liberalistic driver. But instead of sanction on Sudan, which China believes only would worsen the situation, China began to put pressure on Khartoum behind the curtains. This approach is different from the postmodern western approach. Keeping the result, Khartoum’s acceptance of the hybrid force, in mind, it has also proven to be effective. To sum up, the conclusion of the thesis is that China is a modern state, with postmodern tendencies. Hence, China’s foreign policy has different drivers than the postmodern states. This is exemplified through China’s behaviour in the Security Council in regard to the conflict in Darfur. China abstains from voting for resolutions, which breach the sovereignty of the Sudan. Instead, China puts pressure on the government in Khartoum behind the curtains, which shows that China has a different approach to International Relations, due to their type of statehood. This varies the western discourse, which simplifies the Chinese drivers to be exclusively about oil, and gives a theoretical based explanation of China’s behaviour in the Security Council.

UddannelserKultur- og Sprogmødestudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) KandidatInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 dec. 2007
VejledereLars Jensen


  • Kina, Darfur, FN