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Democratization of the People’s Republic of China and Military Conflict in the Taiwan Strait


  • Mario Esteban


This article questions whether China’s democratization would necessarily lead to a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan Strait conflict. The belligerent character of transitional regimes and the irrelevance of the democratic peace theory to civil wars are highlighted against the prevailing vision in Washington and Taibei. From this perspective, the article presents a credible democratization scenario that could actually facilitate the outbreak of a military conflict between Beijing and Taibei. Given the nationalist attitudes of China’s population and the People’s Liberation Army and the weakness of Chinese institutions, an abrupt and foreign-promoted liberalization process is discouraged. It is suggested that the United States and Republic of China governments should therefore promote gradual political liberalization from above in China and not regard China’s democratization as the solution to the Taiwan conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Mario Esteban, 2007. "Democratization of the People’s Republic of China and Military Conflict in the Taiwan Strait," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 36(6), pages 6-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:chaktu:v:36:y:2007:i:6:p:6-31

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