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Prof. Wang Jisi: Studies of international politics and China’s foreign strategy

Peking University, Mar. 16, 2011: “I don’t deal with politics, but I study how others deal with it”, said Professor Wang Jisi, dean of Peking University (PKU) School of International Studies, who delivered a lecture at PKU on March 10. As the 12th Lecture on Research Studies for Graduate Students (also called Caizhai Lecture) held by PKU Graduate School, it was about studies of international politics and China’s foreign strategy.



In the two-hour lecture, Professor Wang elaborated on four points: the establishment and development of international politics, the studies of international politics in China, how to view China’s international environment from political perspective, and China’s foreign strategy. Professor Wang stressed that China was just beginning the integration into the world, and needed to accumulate more experience and knowledge. Scholars, students, and citizens concerned about state affairs should have a comprehensive grasp of international issues. Studies of international issues, as he added, were based on politics, but now also involved more and more interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary knowledge and training.


Professor Wang explained that the bitter lessons of the two world wars encouraged the emergence of international politics. Western international politics in the beginning of the Cold War, represented by Morgenthau’s Politics among Nations, centered around power and interest. Later with less danger of nuclear war and the development of globalization, the studies of international politics were combined with those of global economics, forming new interdisciplinary branches like international political economics, regional studies, etc.


In regard to the hot issues of globalization, non-governmental organization and non-traditional security, Professor Wang held the idea that international politics was not only politics among nations, but also concerning subjects of law, economics, sociology, anthropology, etc. The study of international politics in China in the past 20 years had been deeply influenced by American theories, and even his own students quoted a lot from American theories in their graduation theses. He commented hereto, “I advocate more survey and research. We need theories, but must be careful not to be caught up in them.”


''The US has a high level of theoretical development. However, we should find our own way to perfect our civilization.” In the eyes of Professor Wang, “what relates most to the improvement of people’s life condition is to build a well-off society in an all-round way. We have to spend a lot of time in getting to know ourselves, or we cannot understand what is concerned to us, let alone give suggestions to the government. But in the meanwhile, we should also avoid looking at the world according to nothing but our own experience and ideas. We should know others’ ways of thinking, and perform different manners of communication towards people from different nations”.



At the end of the lecture, Professor Wang emphasized that international politics studies required knowledge of international issues, our own needs, as well as a clear comparison of countries in their different political conditions with flexible application of theories.


Translated by: Cao Yixing
Edited by: Arthars
Source: PKU News (Chinese)