National Museum Beijing

CfP “Maturing Relations between China and Africa: What’s special in the “special relationship”?” Contribution: The Darfur Dilemma

From “non-interference” to a more constructive engagement: China’s role in the attempt to bring peace to Darfur


Madelaine Wiebalck



In the West, it was widely assumed that the major obstacle to ending the atrocities in Darfur was Beijing’s political support of Khartoum. This paper aims to give a more precise account of China’s role in the conflict in Darfur. The study also sets out to analyze the stages of, and reasons behind, China’s changing attitude vis-à-vis Khartoum. The explanation for this shift proves to be highly complex, as it includes factors such as China’s political and economic interests in Sudan, its aspiration to uphold good relations with the international community and its desire to host a successful Beijing Olympics in 2008 despite calls for boycott due to China’s close ties with Khartoum.

The main conclusion that can be drawn from this research is that China’s approach to foreign policy, which differs greatly from that of its Western counterparts, initially invoked a lot of international criticism; however, when China over time moved closer to the pre-existing conventions of foreign diplomacy, such reproaches were heard less and less.


Read the first Mapping China Working Paper of 2017 here: Working Paper Series 2017 1.


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