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Concrete impacts of China's entry into the WTO may not be felt for
several years. The mission [of the PRC to the United Nations]
spokesperson stated on September 11th, 2000 that China's "accession to
the WTO will facilitate China's reform and opening up,"
(http://www.china-un.ch/eng/5206.html). on 17 December, the Hong Kong
Trade Development Council published a Business Alert (which was
prepared by Sandler/Travis Trade Advisory Services in Washington, DC)
about the subject, indicating that at that time, China hadn't finished
drafting laws and regulations to have it implement its commitments to
the WTO. (http://www.tdctrade.com/alert/us0125.htm)
Senator Robert Byrd made some remarks regarding China's overall
climate towards business and the U.S.:
China's WTO commitments don't include any foreign policy commitments
or human rights changes, so no "official" softening up of their
policy. Now that they're in the WTO, there really isn't anything any
government can do to push them away from it (other than calling their
commitments into question).
A good overview of how each business sector is changing was published
at the Lex Mundi european conference:
That doesn't directly affect foreign policy, but it might provide
important keys to understanding it.
Most of the Hong Kong folks and Chinese opposition thinkers supported
the WTO membership optimistically. I guess the thinking is (and
research seems to support this) that economic reforms and political
liberalization can be linked, but it's a much longer-term thing. On
the other hand, the fact that Chinese citizens can buy and sell
directly to foreign partners without government position does signal a
lightening of the load as far as government observation in China.
China has softened its stance on Taiwan just today, (ref.
and they have been freeing dissidents in Tibet lately advance of some
On the other side, China's bans on Internet use have become more
vehement lately and they are blocking many websites in a nod to
state-based news agencies.
So, in summary:
- WTO impact on Chinese FP, if any, will take a significant amount of
- China is become more liberal in parts, but they are very worried
about free speech, which makes it difficult to call them "liberal".
- WTO impacts are primarily economic related, and no clear links to
foreign policy have yet been assessed.
- Jiang Zemin is about to allow Hu Jintao to succeed to the
presidency. This may happen as early as November. He is rumored to
still want to have a heavy impact on foreign policy as his
departure/retirement becomes imminent.
- Jintao appears to be a little more conservative than Zemin
- It is likely that any discussion of reform, domestic or foreign,
will happen early in 2003, but that positive change may still take
Key organizations for China's WTO accession
News on the succession, and a very good summary:
Good luck in your search. Hope this helped!
Number of Google searches (http://news.google.com and standard Google
search) on china, china foreign policy, china WTO impact, china
foreign impact, hu jintao, jiang zemin, PRC WTO, and various