International Law Studies


In 2023 China adopted a comprehensive Law on Foreign Relations. Although the law is intended to shape China’s diplomatic relations and its cultural, economic, and other exchanges, as well as China’s relations with the United Nations and other international organizations, implementation of the law will be guided by (inter alia) Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The law makes clear that China’s foreign relations will be conducted to uphold its system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, safeguard its sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity, and promote its economic and social development. This revisionist “rule by law” manifesto is a direct attack on the existing rules-based international order. Riddled with Communist propaganda and falsehoods, the new law describes Xi Jinping’s vision of building a new type of international relations that will allow China to reform the global governance system with a new sovereignty-based order that better reflects its domestic and global interests. This article examines select portions of the new law to demonstrate that China’s actions are in direct opposition to the words in the law and that China sees itself as above the law and rules-based international order.