economic sanctions

Economic Sanctions as a Tool of China’s Hybrid Strategies

Author: Rafał Wiśniewski
Institution: Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland)
Published online: 10 July 2021
Final submission: 30 June 2021
Printed issue: December 2021
Source: Show
Page no: 13
Pages: 91-103
DOI Address:
PDF: ppsy/50/ppsy202133.pdf

The article aims to analyze the role of economic sanctions in the People’s Republic of China’s overall approach to achieving its security objectives in the international arena. During the last two decades, Beijing used this instrument on numerous occasions to exert pressure on a varied group of actors. China’s current strategy toward a range of disputes and conflicts it is engaged in (the South China Sea territorial disputes most prominently stand out) is often described using the popular vocabulary of “hybrid warfare” or “grey zone conflicts”. Putting the conceptual complications aside, the author agrees that the PRC’s approach can be viewed as part of a growing trend for great powers to employ what can be called “hybrid strategies” toward its opponents. As part of a broader category of economic statecraft, economic sanctions form an important element of this approach. Considering current scholarship on both “hybrid” (or “grey area”) warfare and economic sanctions, the article answers the question of why the PRC increasingly resorts to hybrid strategies (including economic coercion) and identifies the main characteristics of Chinese economic sanctions. It also provides preliminary conclusions on their effectiveness.

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