How are Foreign Policy Decisions Made in China?

Linda Jakobson, Ryan Manuel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The growing number of actors involved in China's international activities has led to fractured authority in foreign policy decision-making. Actors vie for the attention of senior officials to promote their interests on any specific issue. As a result, decision making is often a slow process; there are multiple channels of information, and actors appeal to public opinion to support their claims. Since 2012, Xi Jinping has taken charge of all foreign policy related decision-making bodies in what appears to be an attempt to improve coordination of interest groups. A slight shift to a more personified foreign policy than during the Hu or Jiang eras has also taken place. In this paper, we describe how foreign policy decisions should be made in China according to formal rules; next, we take into account the reality of how the Chinese political system deals with China's evolving international role. We conclude by assessing the risks of fragmentation, on the one hand, and Xi's efforts to recentralise foreign policy, on the other hand.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-110
    JournalAsia & The Pacific Policy Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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