CWR > Volume 6(1); 2020 > Current Development
Research Paper
Published online: March 1, 2020

The 1907 Hague Peace Conference: Understanding China’s Initial Steps towards the ‘International Society’

Clémence Lizé
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Before the Republican era, the Qing dynasty had taken on initiatives to interact with the international governmental system imposed by Europeans. In particular, at the 1907 Hague Peace Conference, Chinese diplomats took on singular approaches to defend China’s interests within the international legal framework of the time. Their actions demonstrate increased understanding of the Western international legal understanding, as well as clarity over the limits to the integration to the “civilised class of nations.” Chinese diplomats’ interactions demonstrate the hybrid intellectual space, which was emerging, integrating traditional Chinese understanding of its cosmology with European-inherited concepts of universality and civilisation. Their actions also demonstrate the country’s volition to engage and interact with a non-Chinese universal system, as opposed to their more passive participation at the 1899 Hague Conference. As such, the Qing had already laid the foundations for a modern dialogue between the West and the Chinese in international diplomacy, prior to the Versailles Treaty in 1919.

Keywords : 1907 Hague Peace Conference, Qing diplomacy, International Law, European System of Public Order

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