07 May 2011

Workshop on “Economic and Fiscal Factors in the Making of China’s Foreign and Security Policy,” Harvard University Fairbank Center, 13 May

Fuguo Qiangbing (富国強兵) Revisited: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Economic and Fiscal Factors in the Making of China’s Foreign and Security Policy since the Late Qing

Click here for a copy of the conference flyer.

Workshop Date: Friday, May 13, 2011, 1:00 pm

Location: Harvard University, CGIS South, Room S050, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA

Organizers: Felix Boecking, University of Edinburgh, An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow, and Andrew Erickson, US Naval War College, Princeton-Harvard China and the World Postdoctoral Fellow

In the 18th century, the Qing Empire conducted a series of successful military campaigns on its Central Asian frontier at the same time as experiencing a period of economic prosperity. By the late 19th century, China had suffered several military defeats against Western powers and been forced to re-open its economy to the world market. As the imperial government had to find new ways to finance the expenditure needed to create a modern military, Chinese officials and intellectuals began to think about modern ways in warfare and public finance as being linked, as they were in the Western states with whom the Chinese empire found itself in conflict. From this point onward, fiscal and economic factors were instrumental in shaping the foreign and security policy of successive Chinese governments. And yet, these factors have not received a proportionate amount of attention in academic writing.

All the papers presented at this workshop engage with the balance between economic and political/military strength in Chinese foreign policy-making, with one historical paper each on the late Qing, Republican, and early Chinese Communist state, and three papers on contemporary PRC foreign policy. The research presented at this workshop will demonstrate the extent to which the ability of successive governments of China to achieve their foreign and security policy objectives depended on the strength of their fiscal and economic policy. This, in turn, suggests that economic statecraft is a key paradigm in understanding China’s foreign relations—a finding that we regard as the central contribution of our research to historically informed understandings of China’s foreign relations.


Panel 1 (1:30-3:30 pm)

Chair/discussant: Robert Ross (Boston College)


M. Taylor Fravel (MIT), “Economic Growth, Regime Insecurity, and Military Strategy: Non-Combat Operations in China’s Rise”

Andrew Erickson (US Naval War College, PHCW postdoctoral fellow), “Chinese Defense Expenditures: Implications for Foreign and Security Policy”

William Norris (Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program), “Business-Government Relations and Contemporary Chinese Economic Statecraft”

Tea/coffee (3:30-4:00 pm)

Panel 2 (4:00-6:00 pm)

Chair/discussant: Elisabeth Köll (Harvard Business School)


Stephen Halsey (UMiami), “Para-statal Enterprises and Economic Development in Late Qing Foreign Policy”

Felix Boecking (University of Edinburgh/An Wang postdoctoral fellow) and Monika Kauer (research scholar, Harvard), “Sovereignty in Bonds: Chinese Nationalism and Capital Markets, 1927-1939”

Christopher Leighton (MIT), “Patriotic Capital: Private Business and Foreign Policy, 1949-56”

Closing Remarks (6:00-6:15 pm)

Reception (6:15-7:00 pm)