Yilin Wang ~ The Dissociation of Chinese International Law Scholars from TWAIL

(2022) 3 TWAIL Review 1–24 
ISSN 2563-6693
Published under a Creative Commons licence

Despite historical affinity and instrumental utility for criticizing Eurocentrism and structural bias, Chinese international law scholars gradually lost interest in Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) in substantiating arguments in the Chinese approach to international law. This article first delineates what TWAIL entails and its importance to international law. More specifically, by delineating the relationship between TWAIL and Chinese scholars from the 1950s to the current period, I explain this dissociation in light of China’s rapid economic growth, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the rise of China, and associated implications for international law. On this basis, I then explain why the absence of TWAIL scholarship is more conspicuous in China based on two reasons: the close identification between Chinese scholars with the government’s position and the lack of inter-disciplinary studies. Finally, I argue that dissociation between Chinese scholars and TWAIL is a sign that Chinese scholars in international law are paving towards developing a sui generis Chinese site of agency in international legal theory.