ABSTRACT

Since 1990, China has contributed over 7,000 peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping operations, and Chinese peacekeepers have served in places such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, and Sudan. In 2012, China was sending more peacekeeping personnel abroad than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC). As of December 2012, China was sending 1,815 peacekeepers (military and police) to UN operations. This made China fifteenth overall in the ranking of contributors (the next permanent member of the UNSC was France, sending 919 people and ranking Paris at twenty-sixth; the United States was fifty-seventh, sending 111 peacekeepers).1 Importantly, three-quarters of all Chinese personnel deployed under the UN serve in Africa. The number of Chinese military personnel sent on peacekeeping operations (PKOs) has been growing in recent years and has become a major development in Sino-African relations, as many of the Chinese peacekeepers are deployed on the African continent. However, China’s stance on peace operations is closely tied to its attitude on state sovereignty, and this limits the type of interventions that Beijing is prepared to sanction vis-à-vis its role in peacekeeping missions. The most remarkable feature of China’s “flurry of UN peacekeeping” efforts in the post-Cold War era has been its focus on the “domestic political scene” of the countries where the Chinese contribute to peace operations.2